Starting an auto care shop is always in the minds of many people. Entrepreneurs dreaming of setting up such a shop include car enthusiasts, hobbyist, people employed in the auto industry as well as an “average Joe”. The car industry is one of the thriving industries consequently making an auto care shop a profitable venture. However, setting up shop is not an easy feat; it requires a number of processes in order for the business to takeoff smoothly. Any person looking to venture in this line of trade or curious on how to start an auto care shop will need to apply the following guidelines:
Step 1: Research
On paper, starting an auto care business appears simple and mundane. Unfortunately, this is often not the case. There is more to setting up the business than meets the eye. This is influenced by the dynamism of the auto industry which sees new car models, improved technology, as well as a more informed and demanding customer. It is therefore necessary to carryout research on the type of cars, technologies, legislation, environmental impacts, amongst other issues affecting the trade.
Step 2: Proper Planning
The next step is planning. This involves many aspects surrounding the trade. For instance, the design of the shop, the type of motor vehicles, the equipment needed, capital availability, financing, business type whether partnership or sole proprietorship, amongst many other aspects. Besides planning, it is also essential to have a good way of implementing the plan. This will make the execution of the plan easier and also minimize the chances of incurring huge losses. Most times, poor execution is always the main cause of an auto shop failing within its first year of establishment.
Step 3: Acquire Knowledge
It always pays to acquire hands on knowledge when thinking of starting an auto care shop. Initially, an individual will read books, magazines, as well as blogs from successful auto care entrepreneurs. Furthermore, knowledge base is also built by attending seminars and conferences. Additionally, a person will also benefit greatly by visiting already established shops and talking to the business owners, managers, as well as the employees. This helps in shedding more light on the “gray areas” and understanding the current market.
Step 4: Niche Market/Specialization
Although there are many types of motor vehicles in the market, it is necessary to identify a niche market. For instance, a person may specialize in American, Japanese, German, or Korean cars. This will mostly be influenced by his skill in that particular model and also the popularity of the car in the region. Specialization also calls for identifying a particular brand. For instance, you may need to focus on the Ford, Cadillac, or Chevrolet models for American cars. In case of German cars, you need to choose amongst Audi, BMW, Mercedes, or Opel.
Step 5: Acquire necessary Equipment
Equipment used in an auto care shop can be quite expensive. It can cost more than $100,000 USD. As a prospective car auto shop owner, it is advisable to accumulate the machinery overtime rather than going for a loan. This may take years and will include visiting auctions, buying from pawnshops, or looking for great deals online. After sometime, a person will have accumulated the necessary equipment without having to start the business on debt.
Step 6: Business Registration
Armed with adequate skill and the necessary equipment, the next step is to register the business. The auto care shop should be registered as a legitimate business. It should also operate in accordance to the set down rules and regulation. This may involve talking to a lawyer, visiting offices of the watchdog bodies, and liaising with the Automobile Association.
Step 7: Shop Management
Setting up shop and running it are very different. Proper management is what determines the success and continuity of the business. A person should therefore avoid taking shortcuts such as running the trade as a “one man show”. Employing a qualified bookkeeper or a competent help desk assistant is beneficial.
Just like many other trades, passion plays a central role when planning to start an auto care shop. Even a skilled auto care specialist lacking passion will find the going quite rough. Additionally, ambition is also important, it is the fuel that drives a person to envision a bigger and more successful business. Therefore, prior to delving on how to start an auto care shop, a person needs to really affirm his /her passion for this trade.