Owning an auto body repair shop is a dream for many people who would love to spend all day repairing various types of vehicles. It can also be an extremely lucrative business that also provides you with a better work/life balance. However, there are plenty of tasks to perform before starting your company, and your auto repair shop business plan may change over time.
Fortunately, these challenges can be exciting, and you can follow certain steps to increase your chances of success. You could be running your own repair shop sooner than you thought possible.
Let’s dive in and find out how you can achieve your ambitions.
Write Your Auto Repair Shop Business Plan
All new business owners in any sector need to have a business plan that keeps them on the right track. You should include factors such as financing, permits and licenses, your target market, contingency plans, and many other considerations. Don’t be afraid to ask for business tips from industry professionals who may see gaps in your planning.
You should also treat your business plan as a living document, amending it according to your current situation. Perhaps you’ll grow more quickly than expected. In this case, you may require more staff and equipment. By regularly referring to your plan, you can ensure you don’t stray too far from your main goals.
Choose the Right Location
Identifying your target market in your business plan can help you choose the right location for your auto repair shop. For example, if you plan to contract with large companies with lots of vehicles, then perhaps premises in a major city will be the right choice. In contrast, if you’d like to work with local residents, then you don’t want to be too far away from their homes.
It can also be a good idea to have local transport options such as buses or trains nearby. This means customers can easily get home again after leaving their vehicle at your repair shop.
Purchase the Necessary Workshop Equipment
One of the most important questions to ask is ‘what does an auto repair shop need?’ so you never have to turn down new customers. If you plan on providing general repairs, this may be a more straightforward task. But, if you are going to branch out and specialize in certain areas, you may need to find specific equipment to ensure your staff can perform work to a high standard.
Find Reliable Auto Part Suppliers
It can be challenging to predict which parts you’ll need as you never know which repairs may be required on any given day. This is why it’s important to find a reliable auto parts supplier that keeps good stock levels of various items. When you know you can quickly locate the required parts, you can keep customers happy as they are able to pick up their vehicles with minimal delay.
Choose the Right Computer Software
Having specialized auto repair shop software can streamline your workflow and significantly improve many aspects of your business processes. While many companies continue to use different computer systems for separate repair shop tasks, this is inefficient and can contribute to unnecessary errors.
It is possible to use dedicated software such as that found at Tekmetric.com. Your staff can easily schedule appointments and view client files containing all the relevant information. Mechanics can also send inspection findings and photos to customers via print, email, or text, providing a rapid and convenient service.
By having all your repair shop information on one system, you can also get a much better overview of how your business is operating. You can identify areas for improvement to help you stay ahead of your competitors.
Hire Talented Mechanics
It can be tempting to try to keep costs down by hiring less qualified staff and training them while on the job. However, if they produce substandard work, you’ll have to redo the repair, and it may damage your reputation. While you don’t have to employ employees that stretch your budget, it’s a good idea to check qualifications and experience levels before making a new hire.
You could even consider offering a trial period while you determine if a candidate will be a good fit for your business.
Set Customer Service Standards
Your mechanics and office staff should be in no doubt as to the required standards of customer service. You can set targets related to factors such as average repair times, customer query response times, and workshop appearance. The auto repair shop industry is highly competitive, so raising your service standards can set you apart from other rival businesses.
Marketing an auto repair shop correctly can be the difference between success and failure. It is likely you’ll be relying on trade from the surrounding area, so local advertising will be critical. You can use traditional methods such as billboard ads and leaflet drops. But, you should also have an online strategy.
You could advertise to particular groups of people using highly targeted Facebook ads. It’s also a good idea to list your company on Google My Business, displaying your repair shop location, opening hours, and contact details.
You can also ask for customer reviews to show others why they should trust your business with their vehicle.
Start Your Own Auto Body Repair Shop
Hopefully, you now know what to include in your auto repair shop business plan and are ready to take the next step. You can scale your business to meet your needs and meet plenty of great people as more and more customers use your services. You can even become a valued and established part of your local community, helping others with their essential vehicle needs on a daily basis.
For more articles like this, be sure to check out the posts in our News and Opinion sections before you go.