How to Start a Small Auto Repair Business

By Melantha Matthews

  • Overview

    An auto repair business is a great investment. The problems inherent in running a auto repair business include finding a space to lease at an affordable rate. However, there will never be a shortage of customers. The best part is that you'll have a steady stream of customers. You even may own much of the equipment needed to begin an auto repair business.
    • Step 1

      Find a place where you can set up shop. To do this enlist the help of a realtor or find it on your own. Look for a shop that meets your needs. The property should be affordable and meet your space requirements. Ideally, you want a property that you will own over time. However, if at this stage of the game it is impractical to take out a mortgage on a property look for space that you can lease. Once you begin to show a profit and have saved some money perhaps you can negotiate a purchase of the property where your business currently exists. For now look for a property that is easily accessible and in an area that offers a high volume of traffic.
    • Step 2

      Put together a business plan. Once that is completed, figure out a name for your business and your business logo if you have not done this already. Once you have reached a final draft of your logo, take your concept to a printer and have them print up envelopes, letterheads and business cards.

    • Step 3

      Begin to build a list of people you can inform about your business. This can be timely. An option to build this list is to hire someone who is willing to volunteer his or her time or work for a minimum. This list will contain small businesses in your area to start, as this is your best bet. If you know of friends who own businesses remember to include them.
    • Step 4

      Begin by making brochures that detail the nature of your service. You may hire a professional to create them, but if you are creative and know a program such as Microsoft Word or know someone who does you can make these yourself. Be as professional as possible. Once you have reached a final draft, head to a copy center and run off a few thousand copies.
    • Step 5

      Draft a flyer to let potential customers know about your auto repair business. Make sure to be clear and concise. Distribute these in the surrounding area or pay someone to do so. Local kids are great to employ for this task. Keep a master copy for future printings.
    • Step 6

      Utilize those mailing lists. Print out postcard-size flyers and use the lists to address their labels. Apply the labels. Another way of addressing the envelopes is running them through a printer and printing the addresses directly on the envelopes. Microsoft Word's "Mail Merge" feature can help automate this task. You can also hand-write the addresses on the envelopes. Choose what looks most professional.
    • Step 7

      Keep a detailed list of all new customers and start sending oil change discounts and other deals to these individuals, plus the people on your mailing list. This keeps your business fresh in potential customers' minds. Whatever methods you employ, if others can use your services, you can offer competitive discounts and if your skills are effective this will help spread the word about your business.
    • Step 8

      Leave brochures and business cards in stores in the area. This is a great opportunity to interact with owners of these businesses. They may be interested in using your auto repair services themselves.
    • Step 9

      Once you begin to make an impression, and enjoy the fruits of your previous labors, hire more people and begin to expand.
    • Skill: Moderately Challenging
    • Ingredients:
    • Office equipment (telephone, printer, fax)
    • Office supplies (paper, staplers, index cards)
    • Broadband Internet access
    • Business cards, flyers, envelopes
    • Address labels
    • Website
    • Initial investment of $12,000 to $15,000
    • Automotive repair tools
    • Mailing lists comprised of small to mid-sized businesses
    • Warning:
    • Pay careful attention to legal guidelines (such as OHSA's) regarding auto repair in your area. This means doing your homework. You want your services to be of the best quality and have longevity in your field. Legalities should never be a hindrance to the success of your business, but an accent to your company's reputation. Be sure to obtain certificates and licensing appropriate to the area in which you do business.

    © High Speed Ventures 2011