In 2018, new vehicle sales rose slightly in the US, despite predictions saying otherwise. Car manufacturers reported a total sale of 17.27 million vehicles, which is a 0.3 percent increase from 2017. The uptick happened even in the midst of a volatile stock market, rising interest rates, and increasing truck and car rates that pushed some consumers out of the new-vehicle market.
With 276.1 million registered vehicles in the US, automotive is one of the promising industries to enter today. All those cars, vans, and trucks will need services. So you may want to consider opening an auto service center. Here are some things you should consider before starting your car repair shop.
Estimate the costs
Before spending a dime, get an estimate of the total projected cost to open and keep your shop running. This way, you can set a budget beforehand and make sure you don’t accidentally put all your eggs in one basket. This will also help plan your operations once your shop opens, so you don’t go bankrupt before getting your first customer.
Some of the costs you have to consider are rent, insurance fees, and tools and equipment. The hardware is the most important aspect of running your repair center since you can’t perform your service without them, but they could also be the most expensive. It’s best to invest in quality equipment early on since these will get you your money’s worth and will last for a long while. Look for a sturdy hoist, reliable air compressor, and a multi-purpose press, and buy top brands, like magnetic sheet metal brakes from Baileigh.
Certifications aren’t required for you to work on cars, but they do provide advantages. Certifications from the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) are highly regarded in the auto repair industry. A certification can build a company’s credibility; it shows that a mechanic has achieved a certain level of knowledge and skills, and is one of the best in the field. Certified repair centers appeal more to clients than non-certified ones because it makes them feel confident in the service.
It’s also easier for certified mechanics to acquire insurance. Without any certifications, insurance companies may think you’re a high-risk client and may choose not to insure you.
The ASE offers a range of certifications in different specializations. Mechanics need to take an individual exam and get a passing grade to get certified. There are more than 40 tests available, covering different aspects of automotive repair.
Study the market
Of course, you have to know if people will buy whatever you’re selling. When deciding on your shop’s location, you have to observe the population in and around the area and see what kind of consumers will be patronizing your services. This way, you can align your branding, selling points, and specialization according to your consumers’ personalities and preferences.
You also have to consider the saturation of similar services in the location. It’s important for a start-up to know its competition. This way, you can devise effective strategies in making your brand stand out in the market and convincing customers to choose you instead of the others.
When you’re starting a business, you have to be smart, strategic, and creative, no matter the industry. As a new player, you have to have a unique selling point – either in the form of certifications, high-quality equipment, or field specializations – so you rise above the competition.