How To Start An Auto Center In 10 Steps
If you have a knack for vehicle repair and maintenance, why not start an auto center? With a wide range of customers on-hand every day, it’s easy to set up your new business with a cash flow that will allow you to purchase the best tools possible. Keep reading if this sounds like something that could be interesting to you.
Here are 10 steps that will help you start a thriving auto center:
1. Decide what type of auto center to open
There are several types of auto centers to choose from. You can open a do-it-yourself (DIY) center where customers drop off their cars for you to work on it, or you can opt for an express lube center, selling services like oil changes and tire rotations. There are also full-service garages that go beyond the basics of just fixing up your car. Some garages offer body shop services and more advanced things like transmission work or engine repair.
2. Setting up the location
Once your business is chosen, determine if you want to have an indoor garage space with bays for repairs done on-site or if there’s enough room around your home to build a simple outdoor garage with a few repair bays. The latter will allow you to set up shop without having to pay for a lot of extra space that you won’t be using all the time.
3. Estimating start-up costs and revenue
Before you begin, try to get an estimate on how much your start-up costs will be. This should include everything from purchasing tools and equipment to building repairs needed before you can open your doors, as well as things like rent for a commercial location or insurance if you’re opening a mobile operation. Once this is done, determine how much money you’ll need to keep going each month until the business becomes profitable.
4. Write a business plan
This step may not prove completely necessary when you’re just starting, but it can’t hurt to have one written up. It will be a good reference point later on if you need to make changes or improvements in the future.
5. Contact your local city hall for licensing requirements
There are many things you’ll need to get licenses for before opening an auto center, including business licenses and automotive shop licenses, depending on what type of place you decide to set up shop in. Check with tax services offices, too, since they may also provide information about any additional state or federal registrations needed. You’ll want to keep these numbers with you when opening bank accounts, too, so that everything is done correctly from the start.
6. Find out about business grants available in your area
In addition to licensing requirements, there may be certain things you can get for free from local city halls through grants. These will help your business get off on a solid financial footing and allow you to add tools and equipment that you might not otherwise have been able to afford at the beginning of your venture.
7. Find a supplier who can offer wholesale prices on car repair tools & equipment
This will be extremely important when it comes time to buy all the necessary tools and equipment to fix cars efficiently and adequately. You’ll want industrial supplies catalog so that you don’t overspend initially, but instead place orders for small amounts until your business is well-established with an established customer base, so you know where your money is best spent. Source local suppliers too for windscreens, rims, custom paint jobs or even decals.
8. Learn how to properly use the tools and equipment you’ll offer to customers for sale or maintenance
It’s essential to know how to use all of the tools that your business offers because your customers will expect you to be able to perform almost all car repairs in-house, whether they’re big jobs or small ones like an oil change. During slow times at work, take time out to practice changing tires, rotating, filling fluids by hand if necessary (or using a lift), tune-ups, and other routine services. You can’t offer quality customer service if you don’t know exactly what you’re doing behind the scenes too!
9. Set up insurance coverage for yourself and any employees who might work for you
It’s wise to have liability insurance from the get-go if a customer comes to your shop with an injury and decides to sue you. In addition, if you hire employees during the early stages of business, they must be insured against negligent behavior when working with customers or handling replacement parts and tools. This way, if anything happens while they’re on the clock at work, your business will be covered by insurance and not liable for any legal action.
10. Purchase supplies and stock up on valuable automotive repair equipment
You’ll need to stock up on items early in the game so that you have everything ready when a customer comes in for a car repair, and it’s necessary to fulfill their order quickly and efficiently with a complete set of replacement parts.
There you have it!
That covers the basic steps needed to open an auto center or shop. It may not be easy or cheap, but if you’re committed to making it work, then nothing will stop you from achieving your targets!
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