How to Start Your Own Auto Repair Shop

Did you know that more than 1,600 businesses start every day? That’s over 600,000 each year.

Most small business owners have an idea and jump right in without any planning or preparation. They wind up trying to do too much just to stay afloat and burn out.

You can’t do that, especially if you’re about to open an auto repair service business. It takes a lot of investment and you simply can’t afford to dive right in.

It’s a huge risk to start a business, and the odds of success are slim. A high percentage close by the fifth year in business.

It’s still possible to build a successful business with the right approach. Read on to learn how to start an auto repair shop.

1. Know the Market

Market research is your friend. You’ll learn about the local market, why people buy, and how many other repair shops are in your area.

Get creative and think about how you can set your auto service apart from the others.

Research parts vendors. Analyze the costs for parts, order minimums, quality, payment terms, and availability.

Learn what the regulatory landscape is like. What are the licensing requirements? Find out if there are standards that you need to meet.

2. Decide Your Business Model and Legal Structure

Auto service shops have a couple of ways to structure their business. They can be a franchise where you license the right to use a brand and someone else’s system of operations.

The alternative is to create an independent business. You’ll need to build your own brand, which takes money and time. You do maintain control over every part of the business.

From a legal standpoint, you have to choose a legal structure. This impacts your liability and possibly your taxes. Many businesses start as LLCs, but you should check with an attorney to make sure that’s the right path for you.

3. Create a Business Plan

The business plan documents every aspect of your business. You know what you need to start the business and how much it costs.

You’ll understand how much money you need to start the business, the advantages of certain locations, and the monthly expenses.

The business plan creates a guideline to help your business become profitable. You’ll also do deeper research into the competitive environment and the target market.

You could use the business plan to get financing if you need to.

4. Get Equipment and Systems

You already made a list of the equipment you need. It’s time to purchase equipment and set up your shop.

If you franchise your business, you probably have a specific vendor to buy from. If you’re on your own, don’t hesitate to purchase used equipment to save money.

The difference between smart business owners and everyone else is that smart business owners use leverage. They create systems so they can handle more clients while minimizing time and effort.

Don’t wait until you have too many customers to build systems. Do it now so you can increase revenue and profits.

What kind of systems do you need? You should have a shop management tool that has contact, communication, and analytics features.

Good shop management software handles inventory, financials, and every aspect of your service business.

Look for software suites like and Shop Boss. You’ll be able to scale your business much faster.

5. Market the Auto Repair Service

There are several ways to market your auto repair shop. Digital marketing is necessary because most people spend their waking hours online. That’s how they find most services.

Everyone will tell you that you need to be on social media. Social media will help you build your brand, but you want to be more direct with potential customers.

SEO and PPC ads are the best way to get customers from the start. Get your business to appear in the first few search results means that you’ll generate a lot of quality leads.

Be sure to have a website that makes it clear who you serve and how. You can also make it easy for people to book a service appointment online.

6.  Serve Customers

This is simply your chance to shine. You should put a lot of attention into creating an incredible customer experience.

Your customers should feel welcomed when they walk in the door. Make people comfortable while they wait by adding waiting room amenities.

Educate and empower your customers. Many of them don’t know a lot about auto repairs. Explain to them how their cars work.

That puts them at ease and they learn to trust you more than other auto service shops.

7. Ask for Reviews and Referrals

Business owners always think that customers will rave about them. They will, but you have to ask them.

You should always ask your customers for feedback to make sure that you’re doing a good job. It also lets customers know that you care about quality.

It’s also a chance to remind customers that your business depends on positive reviews and referrals. The more positive reviews you can get, the higher you’ll rank in search results. You’ll also build trust with prospects right away because you have plenty of social proof.

Build a Successful Auto Repair Service

Starting a business is hard, which is why few survive to make it to five or ten years. You just learned how to open a business the right way – with planning, research, and preparation.

Take the time to learn about the auto repair service market and see where you can create an edge against the competition. You can write your business plan, finance it, and create systems to manage the business.

You’ll be ready to market the business and serve your customers. They’ll be so happy, that they’ll tell everyone they know.

Click on the Business tab at the top of this page for more fantastic business insights and tips.

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