Setting up and running a successful car repair business

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Cars are currently one of the most popular means of transport. For this reason, most companies from the automotive sector cannot complain about a lack of customers. Such businesses include car repair shops, which provide both specialist and general technical services. Read on to find out how to start your own car repair business. 

So eröffnen Sie eine Autowerkstatt

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Cars are currently one of the most popular means of transport. For this reason, most companies from the automotive sector cannot complain about a lack of customers. Such businesses include car repair shops, which provide both specialist and general technical services. Read on to find out how to start your own car repair business. 

Car repair business overview

As you can probably imagine, car repair shops offer services covering the repairing, servicing, and sometimes also rebuilding of cars and their components. This includes services related to mechanical and electrical repairs of vehicles and their bodywork, electronic systems and replacing windows. Car repair shops also deal with technical inspections, paint repairs, as well as replacing wheels and tyres, changing spare parts and fitting various types of car accessories. 

To offer such services you should therefore have the appropriate skills, as to a large extent you will be taking responsibility for the safety of the driver and their passengers. Car repair shops must also be properly equipped in order to provide services in a professional manner. As for the premises, they should be spacious enough to allow you to work comfortably. 

What are the basic steps for opening a car repair shop?

One of the main dilemmas when planning to open a car repair shop is getting your head around all sorts of organisational matters. To open a car repair business you do not need to have any special licenses or permits related to repairing cars. The key requirement are sufficient skills or properly trained staff, enabling professional and efficient handling of any tasks that you take on. 

The second most important aspect are the premises where you intend to run your business. You could even start off by offering car repair services from your home garage. However, bear in mind that it must fulfil basic health and safety requirements. You will need appropriate ventilation, adequate lighting, and a non-slip floor. 

Once you have decided what type of services you will be offering, and are aware of the health and safety requirements for it to operate, it’s time to move on to the formalities. These may seem complicated at first, but are in fact not as big an obstacle as they might seem. 

The first step is to set up your own business. You can choose to run your company as a sole trader, a partnership or a limited liability company or limited liability partnership. The first type is the most popular, especially for first-time business owners, while the latter is usually used for professional service providers, such as accountancy and legal firms. 

The next issue to consider is taxation. The amount of tax you pay annually is calculated as a percentage of your income. Since April 2015 a single Corporation Tax has been in place, determined by HM Revenue & Customs. The current applicable rate for companies is 19%. This rate will therefore apply if you decide to set up your own car repair business. 

The online process to register a company in the UK typically takes less than 24 hours. 

Before starting the registration process, you’ll need a name for your company, as well as a registered address – this can be any UK address. In the case of a limited liability company you will also need at least one director and at least one shareholder – this can be an indvidual or another company. 

In the case of a limited liability company you must also have a ‘memorandum’ and an ‘articles of association’ document in place at the time of incorporation. You can use standard template documents, or professional advisers can create them on your company’s behalf. 

Formal requirements and type of company

Although creating your own brand sounds more rewarding, more and more business owners choose to join an existing franchise with a recognisable brand. This is also a convenient solution when it comes to extensive training provided by the franchise owner. Being part of a network will also provide you easier access to spare parts and materials at favourable prices, and you will be able to count on assistance in setting up your car repair shop. 

Another advantage of this option is that you will not need to put as much effort into marketing activities, as you will be offering your services as part of a recognisable brand. It is not only a matter of the logo and brand recognition, but also the fact that most franchise owners already have their own department responsible for advertising and marketing. 

However, before you decide which route to take, you should get to know what is available on the market. Such information will be easily accessible on the Internet. Research in this matter is crucial, and if you choose the first option you come across you could live to regret it later on. The costs of entering into such franchise cooperation can in some cases be very high. Some franchise models may also require a very high standard of premises, an up-front fee for expensive software, or require that you purchase specific equipment, sometimes very expensive. However, a lot depends on the type of garage under the franchise partnership, so with a little bit of research you should be able to find the best option for you. 

You could also open a car repair shop as an additional service, for example on top of running an MOT test station. Such an approach would allow you to offer comprehensive services to customers who come to you for their annual MOT tests. In this case, however, you will need to hire mechanics, as combining both roles would be very difficult. 

When running a garage, make sure you remember about necessary insurance. You will be responsible for the vehicle you are repairing for the duration of the process. When repairing or taking the vehicle for a test drive, various unforeseen situations may occur, not necessarily always your fault. Thefts or fires are also potential risks you should take into consideration. 

Necessary tools in a car repair workshop

In addition to hiring specialised staff and purchasing professional equipment, a car repair shop must be properly managed in order to operate efficiently. The right software will come in handy here, allowing you not only to schedule specific repairs, but also to keep a register of spare parts or materials. The appropriate software will also allow you to efficiently issue invoices and arrange deliveries. 

A professional marketing approach is also very important. In this case, the opinions of customers who have already used your services will be invaluable. Basic and simple advertising methods in the age of online marketing are often ineffective, if not confirmed by customers who have already used your services. After all, most customers will share their positive experiences with relatives or friends, as well as advise against specific service providers if they were dissatisfied. For this reason, the best advertisement will be the high level of service of your business. 

The key to effective advertising are therefore your qualified staff and mechanics, able to effectively deal with all issues and leave each customer satisfied enough to use your services again. Of course, the more active you are on local advertising boards and social media the better. The Internet provides many opportunities in this matter, even without spending a penny. 

If your car is parked in the same place for a longer time, protect it from wind, weather and dirt with this 431 to 508 cm in length car cover from MSW. It can be quickly pulled over the car body, fastened in no time and offers all the protection of a garage.

Thanks to the surface made of reflective aluminium, a breathable middle layer made of PEVA as well as a soft cotton lining, your paintwork will always stay fresh, shiny and ready for your next road trip, even when parked for longer periods with this Car Cover for cars from 431 to 508 cm in length with 3 protective layers.

This Car Cover for cars up to 431 cm in length is made of a soft non-woven fabric with a material density of 70 g/m² that reliably keeps dirt and water away from your valuable car. Nevertheless, the fabric is soft enough to cover your paint not only safely, but also gently.

What equipment will you need in a car repair shop?

Having covered how to set up a car repair shop and ensure its efficient operation, it’s time to move on to the necessary equipment. A lot here depends on your budget. When investing in professional tools and equipment for a garage, you need to think carefully and take into account the scope of the services you plan to offer. 

As a minimum, various types of car jacks, gauges, pullers, wrenches, instruments for adjusting the clutch or hydraulic presses equipment will always be useful. There is nothing to stop you from investing in various types of state-of-the-art equipment, but in some cases you may need to have appropriate certificates authorising their use. 

Some specialised equipment will also be subject to technical inspections. These could be hoists, cranes, pressure lifts, overhead cranes, etc. In these cases you should check the requirements according to the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations (LOLER). 

How to start a car repair shop – summary

A car repair business can be very profitable, as long as you stick to some basic steps regarding quality and safety. Suitable premises meeting strict occupational health and safety regulations, specialised staff, and ideally your own skill set related to mechanics, are a good start. You will also need the appropriate equipment, as well professional marketing and advertising. 

Also bear in mind insurance, because in this line of business you are fully responsible for the vehicles entrusted to you for the duration of the repair. In addition to pursuing your passions, a car repair shop is a significant responsibility. 

The right software will make it much easier for you to professionally run the company. There is always the option to cooperate with a network of branded repair shops that will help you deal with basic matters, such as equipment, parts delivery, or even the previously mentioned software. You can decide to run your car repair shop on our own, or as a partnership. Depending on your needs and expectation, you can choose various forms of business entity. 

Knowing how to open a car repair shop and how to run it efficiently is the first step to success, but remember that a car repair shop is a much greater responsibility than a home DIY workshop. 

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