If you have a passion for cars, opening a garage can be a great way to turn your hobby into a lucrative business. Nowadays having a car is something so common that you don’t have to worry about not having any customers. There will always be a need for someone to help others maintain their vehicles. Knowing where to start can be the most difficult part of creating your own business. Luckily, from this guide, you will find out everything you need to know about opening a garage.
6 steps to opening a garage
- Decide on the type of garage you want to open
You have to ask yourself what kind of services you want to offer. Most standard auto repair garages offer general services and repairs, but you might want to expand that and give customers the chance to, for example, repaint their cars, check the tyres, or upgrade the cooling system. You might also decide to specialise in a certain type of cars like electric vehicles.
- Decide on the location of the garage
Choosing the right location is extremely important as it can determine how many customers find your business. The most popular location of car repair garages include:
- city centre
- industrial estates
- the proximity of motorways.
When you’re picking a location you need to ask yourself whether there will be a demand for your services in the area. You should also make sure that the garage is easy to find to attract customers who were just driving by.
- Purchase necessary equipment
You will need a lot of tools, tyre changers, machinery to lift cars etc. Buying equipment can be expensive so if you’re just starting and you don’t want to invest too much money, you can consider renting equipment. This way you could start working and buy your own things once you’ve made some profit.
- Get licences and permits
No matter what type of a business you open, you need to obtain a number of licences and permits that allow you to operate legally.
|area of running a garage||necessary licences|
|vehicle services||Motor Vehicle Repair Business Licence (MVRB)|
Trade licence plates
MOT testing authorisation
|the premises||Public space surveillance licence|
Pavement or street display licence
Licence to play background music
|the environment||Permit for the discharge of trade effluent|
Permits and exemptions issued by the Environment Agency
Permits issued by your local authority
|other||Motor Trade Insurance|
Employers’ Liability insurance
The licences and permits you might need depending on the type of your garage. Here are a few examples but you should always verify what will be required before you start accepting customers.
- Hire employees
Finding the right team is very important as they will interact with customers and take care of their cars. They have to be not only qualified for the job, but also committed and motivated. Make sure you take time to talk to many different candidates before you decide who will be the best fit for the job.
- Advertise your garage
Once you have everything set up, you need to let the customers know who you are and what you do. Running a marketing campaign is very important in encouraging clients to pick you over your competitors.
Questions to ask yourself before opening a garage
Before you jump to opening the garage, you have to spend a lot of time thinking about the concept for your business. There are many car repair garages out there so before you launch your own, you have to make sure it will stand out. A few questions to consider when thinking of opening a garage are:
- What will make my garage different from my competitors?
- How much money will I need to spend?
- How will I get the funding?
- How many repairs a week do I need to do to make a profit?
- What additional services will I offer?
- What will make my garage unique?
How to prepare a business plan
Preparing a detailed business plan is very important when opening a garage or any other business. A business plan will help you organise your ideas and will guide you through each step of the process. A good business plan should include the following sections:
|section||what should it cover|
|Executive summary||An overview of your concept for the business.|
Synopsis of the whole business plan.
|Company description||A detailed description of the company’s structure and mission. |
Description of the industry.
|Market analysis||Overview of the competitors.|
Definition of the structure and size of the market.
Trends in the market.
Potential for growth.
|Organisational structure and management||Company’s legal structure.|
Key team members.
|Services||Overview of products and services your business offers. |
Explanation of how your services will benefit customers.
|Marketing and sales||Description of your marketing strategy.|
Promotion and advertising.
|Funding||Overview of how much money you will need to open and then run the business.|
Explanation of how you will get the funding.
|Financial projection||A prognosis of how the company will perform over the next few years.|
Opening a garage on a budget
Opening a garage often requires a big upfront investment. Nevertheless, it’s also possible to open one if you’re on a budget. If you want to reduce the upfront costs, there are a few options you can consider.
- Home garage – you can start a garage at home if you have enough space. It’s a great way to offer services to friends and family and get some experience before you can purchase a big, professional space for your business.
- Mobile mechanic business – this way you would bring your services to customers. This option allows you to reach customers in many areas of the town. As you probably won’t be able to carry many tools around you might want to pick just one area of expertise and specialise in it.
- Garage rental – if you can’t afford to buy your own garage, you can rent one instead. Online you can find many shop owners who put up space they have for rent. This way you won’t have to pay much upfront and if you ever want to move your business to a different part of town you can rent something else.
Tips for success when opening a business
When you’re opening a garage or any other business, you obviously want it to be successful. Sometimes it takes some time before your new business brings you money. Nevertheless, even if at first things don’t go as planned, you shouldn’t get discouraged. It’s important not to give up and keep working hard. If you do it, you can be sure to succeed. Some tips for success when starting your own business include:
- Know what your strengths and weaknesses are.
As a business, there will be certain areas and things you excel at. It’s important to know what these things are so you can specialise in them and use them to beat the competition. Nevertheless, there will also be some things that you, as a business, don’t do that well. It’s completely normal as no one can be an expert in every single aspect of running a business. Knowing what your weaknesses are can help you notice what you need to work on. If you know that you underperform in some areas, you can hire someone who will help you.
- Focus on something you enjoy
It’s important to love what you’re doing. If you focus on something you have a real passion for, you can be sure that you’ll perform well. If you build a business around something you love, it has a higher chance of success than if you force yourself to do something solely for the money.
- Understand your customers and the market
The needs of your customers, as well as trends in the market change all the time. It’s important you do research regularly to keep up with these developments. If you don’t take the time to understand your customers, you might find yourself selling a product or offering services that are not sought-after in a certain area.
- Ask for help
If you ever face any problems, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Getting advice from someone who’s more experienced than you is always a good idea. Asking for help doesn’t mean that your business isn’t doing well. It simply means that you need a bit of guidance to continue growing. Learning new things is an important aspect of creating your own business.