If there’s one thing Americans love, it’s their cars. Most people need to use a vehicle to get where they’re going. It’s also the preferred method of transportation when it comes to shipping goods and raw materials. Automobiles are used in nearly every industry in the country. And the number of vehicles on the road is only increasing, which means it’s a great time to get into the auto repair shop business.
The industry is expected to see an annual growth rate of 7.6% through 2030. That’s largely because Americans are keeping their cars longer than they have in years past. Now that the average new car costs around $50,000, most consumers are looking to get every mile out of their current make and model. You’ll need to learn the ins and outs of the automotive repair industry before you open your own shop. Use these tips for starting an auto repair shop to create a sustainable business model that works for you and your employees.
Automate Your Inventory
Running a successful auto shop means having access to a steady supply of replacement parts. There’s nothing worse than telling your customers that you need to order a part before starting the repairs, as this will only delay the process. Find a retailer that will supply you with the parts you need, so you don’t have to keep your customers waiting. If you service diesel engines and industrial vehicles, shop for diesel truck parts online to save money.
Once you have the necessary items in stock, keep track of your inventory using an inventory management system, so you don’t have to worry about running out of supplies. The software will alert you when you run low on certain items, so you can place another order before you run out. Make sure you still have enough in stock to hold you over until the shipment can be delivered. Workers can use scanners to upload the supplies into the system when they arrive to give you an accurate count.
Cater to the Needs of Local Drivers
You should only carry the best replacement parts for the vehicles you plan on servicing. If you put in a faulty part, it will only sour your relationship with the customer. Research different brands and parts by reading the reviews to keep your shop stocked with the best of everything. Talk to your customers to get a better sense of what they prefer to keep under the hood. Use brands like Xtreme Diesel that are known for making quality goods that stand the test of time.
Keeping too much inventory on hand can also slow down your business. There’s no point in stocking several variations of the same part when there’s only so much space to go around. You will get a better sense of your customer’s needs as you continue making repairs. Learn about the most popular makes and models in your specialty to get a better sense of how and why they fail. For example, if a lot of your customers own the Ford Powerstroke 6.0 engine, keep plenty of EGR coolers and replacement gaskets and seals on hand to fix common issues on the fly.
Track Time Spent on Individual Tasks
Your workers only have so much time during the day, so do your best to keep them on track during their shifts by increasing efficiency. Have your employees log how much time they spend on various tasks, such as diagnostics, repairs, logging inventory, or retrieving supplies. Help speed things up by changing the way your employees work.
Some workers may have trouble prioritizing tasks when trying to do several things at once. Consider delegating tasks to certain individuals instead of trying to do everything yourself, so you can look at the bigger picture. If workers are spending too much time retrieving supplies, keep commonly used parts and products in the shop to save time. Look for ways to rearrange the space to keep vehicles, customers, and equipment moving.
Give Transparent Estimates
No one likes to be taken for a ride. Mechanics tend to get a bad reputation because some have a tendency to overcharge for repairs, especially if the owner doesn’t know their way around under the hood. Keep your prices transparent to avoid any confusion or misunderstandings. Post your rates online and in the shop to give people a better idea of what they can expect to pay. Give your customers an itemized bill when the repairs are complete and explain the charges to them in detail before starting a job. Include any fees or taxes that may apply as well.
Educate Your Customer Base
You can help your customers avoid running into trouble on the road by giving them the knowledge they need to maintain their vehicles at home. Lots of people make mistakes behind the wheel that can lead to costly repairs later on. Spend some time explaining the root cause of the problem to the customer and giving them tips on how they can prevent the issue from happening again. You can give them advice on things like choosing the best oil or fuel, watching out for strange noises, and keeping track of important service intervals.
There are lots of auto shops out there, but you can rise above the competition if you use quality parts and give your customers honest, transparent quotes. Use these tips to start a successful auto shop in your area.