A,B,C 's Of Opening An Auto Repair Facility

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Looking To Open Up An Auto Repair Facility?


We’ve all been there, tired and frustrated with our boss.  You get the feeling that you can absolutely do this better than they can… and you want to do this better than they do it.  So you start to dream about what it would be like if you ran your own auto facility. Funny thing about our dreams, they don’t account for the brick walls you’ll run into.  Lucky for you and your dreams, we account for quite a few of them in this article. 

We are going to lay out the challenges, that we are aware of, that 'soon to be shop owners' may face and need to consider.  Please note that our experience, is from a densely populated area, local laws might make it harder or easier to accomplish some or all of these tasks.  This is meant to be used as a guide on what to expect and the type of research to do when trying to open a shop in your local area.

Where It All Starts

  1. Budget:  All of this costs money to start.  The less you plan for, the more expensive things get. You can save significant time and money finding an existing facility that is abandoned or is for sale already and has the equipment you need to get you started.
  2. Patience:  Nothing happens at the speed of light these days, unless you’re using CAR on your mobile device.  A lot of time is spent waiting on the input or response of others. Pick a method to manage all of the tasks.  We outline how to build a team with your gmail account. You can also organize everything in your plan to open a business with Gmail using the same logic to track tasks, save documents and have mobile access to everything.
  3. Research: You want to survive the first 5 years?  Get used to asking a ton of questions, to anyone who will help you or hear you out.  Ask questions about everything, and most importantly… as yourself and do your own homework.

 

Questions to consider asking yourself, others, and/or Google:

  • How many shops are in a 4 mile radius?
  • What’s the population in the 3 surrounding towns, plus the one I’m in?
  • How many households?
  • How much money do I have for this investment into my future? The sub questions here are insane.  What’s my projected monthly expenses? How long can I survive after having setup the business?
  • Are there other people I can partner with in this endeavor?
  • Does this location have parking?
  • What’s the crime like in this area?
  • What’s the traffic like? Go there, morning, noon and night… get to know your potential new neighborhood before you sign on the dotted line.

Now that the easy stuff is out of the way.  Let’s dig in.

What To Consider When Wanting To Take The Plunge

Advertising & Marketing

You need to advertise and market your business and/or yourself.  The choice is ultimately up to you. A combination of the two is usually a good way to approach.

How can you advertise and market yourself?

Talk to people about what you do and what they do, everywhere you go.  Especially locally. You never know who you’re talking to and the buying power they can represent in one way or another.

Participate in local activities.  Don’t push your business onto people, show up… be a part of the community.  Build the relationships with people.

How can you advertise and market your business?

We explain the challenges we see in marketing an auto repair business today and we discuss several of the basics you need to survive the landscape.  Remember, this is the minimum.

  1. Website
  2. Facebook Business Page
  3. Google Business Page

We also discuss some advertising models to contemplate trying out at your auto repair facility.

  1. Adwords Campaign through your Google Business Administration Page
  2. Local Paper Advertising
  3. Yext (Marketing & Advertising in this service)
Equipment
Local Government
Location
Payments
Refuse
Software
Tools
Training
Vendors

Your Team

Let me start by saying, they are not your employees. Treat them as such and they will treat it as a job not a career. I can’t stress how important this aspect it.  The world is changing at an alarming rate and this industry is no exception right now.  If you want to ensure longevity you need to prepare to share the burden and some of the benefits, in order to attract employees that build a team.

A lot of people let their ego drive their initiative to do more.  Sometimes it can work out but more often than not, it burns people out and you’re left alone wondering why you can’t “find good help”.  As a business owner, I made the choice to involve our team members in all company decisions. This doesn’t mean they have the final say, this means they have a say.  When your team members have a say, they are more vested in everyone’s success.

In addition, we are going to make an assumption here.  We need to in order to provide a good example. We are going to assume that you, the person reading this article, have technician experience and you want to open a shop because you can and will do things better.  First, congrats. That feeling is amazing. Second, research till you question everything…. THEN, execute.

If you are the good technician, you are going to need at least ONE more team member to start.  That team member will inevitably become the shop manager if you can do this correctly. Here are the responsibilities that you are NOT aware of as a technician.

  • Who’s going to answer phones?
  • Who’s going to monitor your social media?
  • Who’s going to deal with happy and/or irate customers?
  • Who’s going to follow through on parts orders?
  • Who’s going to make estimates and get customer authorizations?
  • Who’s going to keep your paperwork in order so you can review it on weekends?

If you’re a technician and you’re serious about opening up a business in this industry in today’s world… the very first hire needs to be someone who is going to keep the business moving, according to your vision.  You can not focus on being great at repair and running a front office. You can try to do both for a while, but you will eventually burn yourself out. The amount of mental energy it takes for you to switch from one role to the next, is exhausting beyond measure.

Your team and your vision to build this team… is your greatest long term asset. Please note, this is not the definitive guide on how to open an auto repair business. This is merely a guide to get you to start thinking about the things you will need to worry about to run a successful business in nearly every industry… but especially the auto repair industry.

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