If you’ve got the appropriate skills, knowledge and enthusiasm, then you might look into a career working on cars. Making the leap from weekend garage tinkerer to full-time mechanic can be a tricky one, and the step to actually owning your own business is perhaps even more so. But the results can be tremendously rewarding.
Let’s take a look at some of the things that would-be garage-owners should think about prior to setting up shop.
This is a business that absolutely needs a physical premises. Ideally, it needs to be large enough to accommodate several customer vehicles, as well as all of your tools and equipment (which we’ll get to). This usually means renting out a warehouse – ideally one that’s easily accessible via road.
Getting your first few clients will help you to get the ball rolling. From there, you’ll be able to expand your customer-base through word-of-mouth – but only if you do a good job in the first place. Think of your customers as potential evangelists for your brand, and bear in mind that people who receive poor-quality service are likely to be vocal about it among their peer group. To start with, however, it’s worth putting the word out to family and friends.
Working as a mechanic means having access to a range of different tools. Some of these you might use every day; others you might reach for only once in a while. It’s essential that they’re kept in working order, and that they’re secure against theft. This means checking them at fixed intervals and logging any problems, but it also means investing in tool boxes and cabinets which can keep equipment safe.
You are entering an extremely competitive business here, and it’s vital that you stay visible at all times. This means putting up ads, not only on social media, but in the real world. Your clientele will mostly be local, and that means that you need to use the appropriate tools provided by Google, Facebook and the like to localise your business, so that your business appears whenever a person nearby searches for a mechanic.
Striking the right price will allow you to attract the maximum number of customers while keeping your margins healthy. Here’s where your market research will pay dividends. Look at what your local competition is doing, and price accordingly. You might be tempted to price aggressively, but before doing so you should ensure that such a strategy will be sustainable in the long-term. If you’re really cheap, you might appear cheap to your would-be customers. Which is rarely a good thing if you’re trying to exude competence and professionalism.