As long as cars remain the most widely used form of transportation, there will be a need for people to repair those cars as they break down. If you have a solid background and interest in car repair, an auto mechanic shop is an opportunity to run a worthwhile business venture. Running an auto mechanic shop, as with any business, can be a challenge. Proper planning and preparation, though, will make it much easier.
Create a business plan. The key to running an auto mechanic shop is having a plan and being able to execute it. You should plan if you want to run a franchise mechanic shop or your own independent shop. Once you make this decision, you need to go about securing the proper licenses, permits and required insurance to run your shop. You will also need to buy the proper equipment for your mechanics.
Choose a location for your shop. Picking a location is an important step, because it can lessen the need to spend money on advertising. You should pick a location which is large enough to support your business and is in a centralized location. The closer you get to high-traffic areas, the more people will see your business and be aware it exists. Picking a high traffic area will also make you more accessible to people who have car trouble suddenly and need immediate assistance.
Establish core values and ethics for your shop. Customers are inherently weary of auto mechanic shops because of the notion that they will be told they need unnecessary service. You can help eliminate this preconception by creating a list of core values and ethics you will follow. These should be posted so customers are aware of them; include things like proper and timely service, a promise not to overcharge for services rendered, and a guarantee that you stand by your work and will fix any mistakes free.
Hire a well-trained staff. This is an important step because properly trained mechanics will be able to complete tasks quickly and efficiently. You should also make sure to treat your employees well so they stay with the company. Get your employees involved with the customer whose car they are repairing. If customers feel they are being treated fairly and honestly by their mechanics, they will develop relationships with the mechanics that keep them coming to your repair shop for business.
Provide excellent customer service. This is the biggest step in keeping customers happy and coming back. Make sure your employees are friendly and helpful to customers. Provide sales and rewards for returning customers, such as buy 3 tires get a 4th free or buy 3 oil changes get the 4th free. This will give customers a reason to keep returning to your shop.
Advertise your shop. Customers need to know not only that your shop is open for business, but what types of services you provide. Consider having frequent specials or sales. You could also advertise in a local paper or through direct mailings.
Consider getting accredited by AAA or the Better Business Bureau. This will give proof to your customers that you take their concerns and trust seriously.