There is a lot to consider when it comes to starting your own business. This is especially true when starting an automotive business. Embarking on your journey to entrepreneurship is an exciting time. It can also be a stressful one if you’re unprepared.
If you want to start a business in an uncertain economic climate, then an auto shop is a great place to look. Automotive repair and tire retail businesses are both thought of as recession-resistant. Even in the worst economic conditions, people still need their cars.
Pretty much everyone needs reliable transportation to commute to work, run errands, and go about their lives. Because cars are so essential to the daily lives of Americans, auto repair services historically perform well even during an economic downturn. As of 2018 there were an estimated 230,600 auto repair and maintenance shops in the United States. And the industry is expected to continue growing.
There’s never been a better time to get in on the auto industry. Of course, as with any new business, prior preparation is the key to future success. Here is what you need to know about starting an automotive business and how you can set your auto shop up for success.
1. What Kind of Auto Shop are You Opening?
The first step to starting an automotive business is to lay out a clear vision for what your business does. You should know exactly what sort of auto shop you’re opening and your available services. There are all kinds of different auto shops, and each one is a little different.
It’s not uncommon for many auto shops to specialize in specific types of repair. Depending on the kind of shop you open, the necessary equipment can also change. Some of the specialty auto shops you’ll come across include the following.
Body shops provide auto body repair specific to your car’s exterior. These services may include fixing dents and scratches or replacing damaged body panels after a collision. A traditional auto mechanic is going to make sure everything looks great under the hood, but they might not be able to help with a new bumper.
Like the name suggests, a transmission shop focuses solely on your vehicle’s transmission. This includes transmission service, maintenance, and repair. The transmission is an indispensable and complex part of your vehicle. Because of this, there are transmission problems that a mechanic who is not a specialist may not be prepared to fix.
Tire Repair and Tire Retail Shops
Everybody eventually needs new tires. This makes tire repair and retail stores particularly popular with people starting automotive businesses. A steady stream of customers and a product that is always in demand are both great reasons to specialize in tire services.
These are only a few of the many types of auto shops available. There are many others, including those that focus on inspections or shops that specialize in auto glass repair or brake services. Take the time to research the different options and determine the kind of business you want to open.
2. Put Together a Business Plan
The next step in opening your auto shop is to have a business plan in place. Your business plan is the roadmap for the success of your business. Your business plan should clearly define the following so that anyone who reads it clearly understands the fundamentals of your company.
- What is your business?
- What does your business do?
- Who are your competitors?
- Who are your customers?
- How does your business operate?
- How do your finances work?
Building a business plan isn’t a step to take lightly. Many entrepreneurs work with a consultant to ensure their business plan covers all the bases. Once your plan is in place, you should be ready to take the next step in starting your business.
3. Decide on a Location
Now that you know what kind of business you’re starting and you have a plan, it’s time to decide where that business is going to go. Finding the right location is a fundamental element of any successful auto repair shop, it can also be one of the most expensive.
It takes time and money to find the right location, and it costs even more to maintain it. Brick and mortar locations are costly endeavors where you must pay rent, utilities, and more in addition to other overhead expenses.
As more customers want to avoid waiting rooms and the inconvenience of visiting a garage, savvy entrepreneurs are taking the tire shop directly to the customer. Tread Connection’s mobile tire service vans have a much lower overhead than traditional brick-and-mortar locations. With a wide range of customers including both retail and corporate clients, a mobile tire service is a convenient and cost-effective option for starting your automotive business.
4. Secure Financing for Your Business
You know what your business should look like. You’ve put together a comprehensive business plan. You’ve scouted potential locations. But how are you going to pay for it all? Unless you’re prepared to finance your business yourself, there’s a good chance you’ll need to be approved for a loan.
This is where that business plan comes in handy. You’ll need to present your plan to potential investors, including banks, to secure a loan to cover the cost of equipment, the location, payroll, insurance, and other expenses. Many entrepreneurs seek out Small Business Administration (SBA) loans to help get their dreams of business ownership off the ground.
5. Hire the Right Employees
Running a business is rarely a one-person show. This is especially true when it comes to an auto shop. Your business can only be as good as its people. That’s why finding and hiring the right employees is one of the most important things you can do when starting an automotive business.
Reputation is everything when it comes to the success of an auto shop. Your employees and the work they do is a representation of you as both a company and a business owner.
When customers like your employees and trust them to do good work, they’re going to come back, and they’re going to tell their friends. The same can be said for a negative experience. Make sure you thoroughly vet your employees and hire the right people to represent your business.
6. Start Marketing and Attracting Customers
Once everything in place, you’re ready to get down to business. It’s time to start marketing and bringing in customers. You’ll need a website where customers can find your business online and schedule their auto services. You’ll also need to take out advertising online and in print so that your message is being seen by the right people. After the customers start rolling in, it’s time to get down to business!
7. Skip the Steps and Start an Automotive Franchise with Tread Connection
Clearly, there’s a lot that goes into starting a successful automotive business. Between the time, money, and effort it takes to get the doors open, it’s a serious undertaking that requires a lot of work. One thing you may not have considered is purchasing an automotive franchise.
By purchasing an automotive franchise, you’re buying into a proven and established business model that will have already done much of this work for you. An auto franchise has already established the type of shop and put together a thorough business plan that details everything from how much to charge for services to where to source your parts.
Don’t wait to take advantage of this recession-resistant industry. Learn how you can start your mobile tire retail and repair franchise with Tread Connection today!