If you have a passion for cars, then starting up a garage seems to be one of the most promising and interesting business ventures. Working and tinkering on vehicles all days, getting the rare chance to work on special models or work with important clients, and perhaps even save up enough so that you can own a luxury car yourself and bring it into your own shop for tuning, repairs and maintenance.
Unfortunately, the auto industry is a tough nut to crack and there are many complications involved when it comes to starting up something like an auto garage. But if you are dedicated, then you could make just about any business plan work no matter how unlikely it seems or how difficult it could become. Passion isn’t enough, however, and you’re going to need a lot of willpower and money to get through the toughest period: the first year. If these warnings haven’t scared you off running your own garage yet, then here are a couple of tips to get you started.
Repair Garages are Phasing Out
Unless you have a contract with a manufacturer and strike a deal, then chances are your business isn’t going to make much money without a large amount of exposure. This is because many car manufacturers or financing companies tie the car owner to specific garages to repair their vehicles as part of their contracts. As a result, the only repairs you get will be from people who have specialised or old vehicles or people with accidental damages that don’t require much work to fix.
There Is Highly Specialised Equipment
You aren’t going to get by with just a single toolbox and a couple of spare parts. From wedge jacks to impact wrenches and vehicle lifts or computerised diagnostic equipment, there is a wealth of equipment required to run a successful garage and some of these parts can cost a lot of money. This makes a garage one of the more expensive startups to kickstart your business career. Coupled with the amount of money you’ll lose during your first year, starting an auto garage is no easy task and not for the weak.
You Must Advertise Aggressively
Garages aren’t in prime locations most of the time because of the specialised equipment and location they require. This means that auto garages are frequently found in industrial areas or under railway arches, meaning that they don’t get much foot traffic exposure unless you’re lucky. As a result, you need to advertise aggressively and make sure that people know you exist. Run promotions in local newspapers and magazines, print off flyers, stickers and try to get in touch with local businesses that are willing to refer people to you.
Online Marketing Is a Must
In addition to aggressive local advertising, you need to be computer-savvy enough to use the internet to market your garage. For starters, get your business listed on Google Maps so that people can find you with their search tools, and try to build up an audience using social media. A great way to bring attention to your services is to run a blog on your website. You could use the blog to make detailed repair videos or report on repairs that you have been doing in your garage.