While there are many similarities in beginning any new business, there are some subjects that are expressly unique to starting an auto repair shop. As with any business you need to develop a business plan so you can determine just how to best make your business grow.
You need to determine, for starters, if there is an actual need for an auto repair business in your chosen area. You need to know how many and of what skills you will need for hiring employees, and you need to know how to fund the original startup costs.
You must determine what kinds of vehicles you will be willing and able to work on in your auto repair shop. With hundreds of makes and models as well as foreign styles on the road, you must determine where your focus will lie. If you plan on working on any vehicle, you must realize the need for a larger and more experienced set of mechanics. These people will be the very backbone of your auto repair shop so you will need to figure on paying a premium for their services. It may entail a much larger inventory of standard parts and will require dealing occasionally with overseas tariffs and shipping concerns for the non-American brands.
You need to determine if the area you wish to settle in can support another auto repair shop. If there are a glut of choices in the area then regardless of the quality of your work, you may struggle to survive in a saturated market. If an area like this is your only option, then you must develop a specialty niche and make this service stand out.
Along with the service you want to provide is the need to acquire the specialized equipment that will help make the work successful. Along with such standard fare as a hydraulic lift, tire changer and balancer, and the ubiquitous set of tools, many new cars require computer diagnostics equipment and other non-traditional products. Be sure your finances cover all the tools you need.
Location is not quite as important for an auto repair shop as it is for many retail outlets or restaurants. Investigate any local laws or ordinances, as they may quickly limit the number of places within the city you may establish your shop. Often auto repair is considered part of the Industrial Zone and will not be allowed in areas where retail is more prevalent. This does not mean no one will ever find you. Word of mouth advertising about good service received is a major component in auto repair. If you maintain excellent work standards, the people will hear about you and come looking.
Along with the financial aspect of developing an auto repair shop, you need to determine what kinds of features you can use to make your shop unique and stand out from your competition. You need to figure in any specials, discounts, or pricing variations beforehand so that you offer a consistent face to the world of customers. You will want to find ways to improve customer relations so they keep coming back to your shop. Automobiles by nature will require routine work so developing high quality customer relations is a very crucial step in making your repair shop grow.