There are many reasons why we choose to go into one business or another. If you’ve always wanted to start a garage, maybe it’s because you’ve always loved vehicles. It could be because you’ve started to get a lot more hands-on with your own car maintenance and think you could make a living off it. Whatever your reason, the fact is that being handy isn’t enough. You’re going to need to be prepared to run a business. From the planning stages to how you keep people coming back. In this article, we’re going to help you prepare to start your own auto shop.
Planning on the business side of things – As we’ve already mentioned, you can’t just think of starting a business as a job. You’re not just getting paid for your skills. You’re making money on your business savvy as well. That means that it’s best to start off with a real business plan. Know what location you’re going to use. Get the licenses you need to start that business. Formulate how much you’re going to invest, how much you need to break even and how you do that. A business plan is a great way to lay down the tracks for future success.
Identifying your fit in the market – One of the most important parts of starting any business is finding your fit in the market. Identify your unique selling propositions. One of the most important ones is going to be the location of the garage itself. Who else inhabits the local market? If you do have nearby competition, what do you prioritise as what sets you apart from them? Will it be the prices you offer? The level of service? Perhaps a specialisation with methods and vehicles that are more green. There are a lot of different USPs, take the time to identify which will work best for you.
Your finance options – A business plan is also a great way to put together the finances you need in order to start your business. In particular, when applying for loans from the bank or approaching investors. Showing that you have invested time into strategizing your success is always a good idea. It shows that you have both the initiative and forethought to become a success. Of course, there are many different ways of putting together the finances you need. Have a look at your options, weigh the pros and cons and find the method right for you.
The protections you need – Any business is a big investment. When you’re dealing with cars and expensive equipment, you are surrounded by a lot of potential risk. Risk that cost you big, financially speaking. Hundreds of businesses a year go under because they don’t protect themselves from the financial risks in their business. Not only does this mean protecting your premises from the risk of crime. It also means making sure you have the right insurance. Insurance like property and health insurance for you and your employees. As well as more specialised options like motortraders insurance, since you’re dealing with vehicles.
Keeping up-to-date with training – Whether you’re new to being a mechanic or you want to build on your existing skills, you can never neglect your training. Make sure that you’re fully qualified. A lot of mechanics start off with an apprenticeship scheme. Some people, however, may think that they’re too old to spend that time as an apprentice. There are courses that can help you become qualified just as easily. Just make sure that you always take the time to keep you and your employees up-to-date with training. You never know what technological or equipment changes you may need to adapt to.
The equipment you need – Speaking of equipment, that’s another expense that you need to make sure you are constantly calculating for. Not just the initial price but any repairs and maintenance that might need to be carried out on it. Being unprepared in terms of the equipment you need is an easy way to find yourself with unexpected costs down the line. There are places that you can rent equipment for, but for long-term monetary gain, it’s better to make the investment yourself. Just make sure you systematise the process of looking after them to keep them in good condition for as long as possible.
Getting the admin sorted – You will quickly find out that running a garage doesn’t mean you spend all day fixing and looking after cars. You also need to get used to the tasks that quantify running an actual business. Tasks like systematizing your payment options, payroll, equipment maintenance and more. Make plans for all the admin tasks you need to take care of in advance. Particularly in terms of how the finances are sorted. The easier you make it on yourself, the less time you have to spend on it.
Marketing is crucial – Even before you’re up and running, you need to get the marketing rolling. Use a launch, on social media or through the paper, to make your presence known. Then start to use your customers as a launch pad for your own marketing. Word of mouth is powerful. Get the customers on your side and ask them to leave reviews online or give you a testimonial. Of course, this means providing a service worthy of that kind of response. So focus on keeping in touch with customers and keeping them coming back.
Keeping up with tech – A bit part of any modern marketing strategy has to rely online. It doesn’t just go for marketing either, however. Nowadays, the internet and technology play a big role in the success of business. Focusing on that can be what sets you apart from your competition. For one, having a website and a social media presence are essential steps. But you can even take it further. More auto shops nowadays are starting to use apps to deliver services. Giving estimations for quotes or making it easier for customers to get in contact. Keep up with the tech and leave your competition behind.