Small engine shops are a practical business for an entrepreneur with mechanical skills. There is an array of equipment that requires maintenance, as well as repairs, on a regular basis. Business for a small engine shop is often seasonal depending on where it is located. To be successful, the shop should determine the repair and maintenance needs of the surrounding community and be prepared to offer services that match those needs.
A small engine shop requires a space that is well-lit and extremely well ventilated. The shop should be easily accessible and visible to prospective customers. Check with the local zoning board to ensure you are in compliance with regulations for this type of business. You should also determine if any licenses or special permits are required. A small engine mechanic relies heavily on a good set of hand tools including wrenches, pliers and screwdrivers. Testing equipment such as computerized engine analyzers, compression gauges, ammeters and voltmeters assist mechanics in the troubleshooting process.
Maintenance and Repair
The list of vehicles and equipment that can be serviced by a small engine shop is long. Outdoor maintenance equipment such as lawnmowers, weed eaters, chain saws and tractors all require tune ups and occasional repairs. This type of equipment will keep a shop busy in the spring and summer. Recreational items such as motorcycles, motorboats, jet skis, and go karts will also increase warm month business, while repairs of snowmobiles and snow blowers will rise during the fall and winter months. Portable generators may also require repair and maintenance throughout the year.
Other Revenue Generators
Due to the seasonal nature of the small engine repair business, you should explore other revenue-generating possibilities. Determine the requirements to become a certified provider for machines still under warranty. You may need to attend formal training from the manufacturer, but it can be worthwhile if competing shops do not offer this service. Also consider the possibility of stocking and selling parts for small engines, though this may translate to higher start-up costs and more space needed for inventory. Offer discounted prices for annual maintenance during off season periods and consider selling maintenance contracts to keep a steady stream of revenue flowing.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, small engine repair shops continue to be a viable business with good job prospects for mechanics. As the government increases regulations on emissions from small engines, shops offering expertise in emissions-reducing technology should excel.