Setting Up Shop: A Quick Guide to Starting Your Own Car Repair Business

In today’s economy, it’s not unusual for people to turn to entrepreneurship to give themselves better opportunities in life. Working from home lends itself to an incredible amount of flexibility and pride. Does that mean that you have to trade in your wrench for a desk? Of course not. If you have a love of cars and a history in the motor trade field, why not provide a much needed service to the community? Here’s how to get started repairing cars for a living:

car repair business
photo credit: Zlatko Unger via photopin cc

1. Determine Your Offerings

Will you turn your outdated barn into a garage? Maybe you’d prefer to become a mobile mechanic, driving from job to job, providing assistance to people who need it. No matter how you decide to operate your business, it’s important that you determine the scope of your business before you start out.

2. Write a Business Plan

Notes jotted down on a bar napkin don’t count as a business plan. If you want to run a successful company, you’ve got to have a plan that provides detailed information regarding your financing, hours of operation, the number of employees, if any, that you will hire, how you will order supplies, and how you plan to turn a profit. If you need to apply for a business loan, you will need to have a sound business plan to show lenders.

3. Secure a Location

If you’re going to be working for yourself, you have options when it comes to location. You may choose to convert a building on your property into a garage, work out of a rented space, or even take your show on the road. Mobile mechanics are in high demand and typically successful. Wherever you choose to set up shop, you’ll need to secure your location before you hang an open sign. If you choose to work from your property, read up on zoning laws in your city to find out what is required of home businesses in regards to paperwork and fees.

4. Stock Your Shelves

If you don’t have everything that you need to provide service, you’ll need to get it; this is where you’re business plan can come in handy. No matter how badly you want a tool or gadget, don’t include it in your shopping list if you don’t need it to complete the services you’ve outlined in your business plan. For now, concentrate on the things that you need; the wants can be bought after you start turning a profit.

5. Get Organized

Before you open your doors for the first time, get your office in order. You don’t need to have an office that consists of anything but a laptop and a cell phone, but you do need to establish a system for keeping records, sending invoices and accepting payments. You can easily convert a spare bedroom, an empty closet, or a corner of the garage into an office. Be sure to find out what records must be kept to stay in compliance with any local business laws.

6. Purchase Insurance

Once you’ve got your shop set up, you’ll have a better idea of exactly how much insurance you need. A site like Traderquote can help you find the best insurance for your needs at the best price. Don’t be afraid to compare policies and search for the best price. The important thing is that you don’t skimp on insurance. You are better off buying too much than too little.

7. Market Yourself

When your doors are finally open, it’s time to market yourself. Hang flyers, pass out business cards, create a website, and set up a social media account. The more people see your name, the more attention your business will get. Consider contacting your local newspaper and asking them to feature your new business in the local section. Set up a table at a local event or fair. There are dozens of low-cost, effective ways to market a new business. Get creative and recruit friends and family to help.

Entrepreneurship is about more than fixing cars for your friends and family. Starting your own business will allow you to support yourself and your family, provided that you take the necessary steps. If you’ve been dragging your feet, stop; there is no better time than now to become your own boss.

About the Author: Author Karen Boyarsky is an avid blogger. You can follow her on Twitter @Boyarskykareni.