How to Start an Auto Repair Business (Without Tons of Overhead Costs)

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how to start an auto repair business

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If you’re considering whether to start an auto repair business, but you’re concerned about the process, you’re in the right place. Here, we’ll discuss how to start an auto repair business in depth.

Since you’re considering an auto repair business, it’s likely you either enjoy fixing and repairing cars, or you enjoy the auto industry, and you want to be a part of it. Starting an auto repair business can be a very exciting venture, but there are things you should consider like:

  • Whether starting a business is the right fit for you (like something you’ll enjoy)
  • Whether you’ll like “typical days” in the auto repair business
  • How much money and time you’ll need
  • Your options for monetizing your shop
  • and, how you’ll get people to know about your services

We’ll be discussing all of these things here to show you how to start an auto repair business, and to help you decide if this is a good fit for you. Let’s get started…If you’d like to see this content in video format, check out out here:

What does an Auto Repair Business do? | An Overview

how to start an auto repair business

When most people think of auto repair business, they think of the places you go when you need your car fixed. This could include:

  • Routine vehicle maintenance like oil changes, tune-ups, tire rotation, tire changes, and more
  • Autobody services like collision repair and painting
  • Or, Aftermarket upgrades like window tinting, stereo upgrades, and rim installation

Regardless of which “niche” you choose within the auto repair business, each service is useful and lucrative when planned well.

Who is an Auto Repair business right for?

The auto repair business is good for:

  • Someone who has a passion to help others maintain their cars
  • Someone who enjoys technical vehicle maintenance tasks
  • Someone who doesn’t mind mastering the technical skills, and who is also willing to improve in skills like networking, sales, leadership, communication, basic finance, and basic legal (especially until you’re able to hire components out).

What’s a typical day in an Auto Repair business like?

A typical day in an auto repair business is going to vary based on the demand, the systems you have in place, and your willingness to service the demand in your area. If you decide to work in an area with a high demand for auto repair shops, and a low supply, you can expect to be very busy. Alternatively, if you decide to work in an area with a low demand, you can expect to have alot of time on your hands.

Ideally, you choose a good balance for you. If you’re trying to find a lucrative opportunity, you want a consistent flow of customers and good profit margins.

On a typical day, you should have your time divided between acquiring work, doing the work, managing the work, and strategizing for growth.

Acquiring the work: This means that you may be putting out flyers, doing videos, negotiate collaborations (with car rental companies or those who would need vehicle repair in mass), or market online to acquire work.

Doing the work: As the entrepreneur, you might repair the cars and maintain a staff of auto mechanics to do the work.

Managing the work: This might consist of managing your inventory, making sure you have the right tools and supplies, and giving feedback to contractors, vendors, and employees working with you.

Strategizing about the work: In order to gain a larger market share or grow the business, you have to take time to think about ways you can improve, problems you could solve better, and opportunities that are untapped to grow your auto repair business.

Who is the target market for an Auto Repair business?

how to start an auto repair business

The target market for the auto repair business is mostly going to be divided between business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-consumer (B2C). With B2B collaborations, we’re talking about companies like:

  • Rental car companies
  • Taxi companies
  • Corporations who send employees to travel alot
  • Complimentary auto repair shops (for example a routine maintenance shop can collaborate with an aftermarket repair shop, and so on).
  • and more

Ideal B2B collaborations are the ones who would be willing to sign a contract and get service consistently. One steady B2B contract could really impact your business favorably. Say for example, one rental company signs a contract with you to perform maintenance on 10 cars per week, this contract alone could earn you thousands per month, and add stability to your business.

You could also secure B2B collaborations thru affiliate marketing. Let’s say, for example, you repair cars for the vehicle rental company, and they have an affiliate program. This would mean that any time you refer a client to rent a car, you could get a commission for the referral–there are so many ways to add affiliate marketing into your business monetization. You can learn more about affiliate marketing with my #1 recommended Internet marketing training here.

Often times, B2C contracts are less likely to have consistency or contracts. B2C opportunities are:

  • Direct to consumer
  • People who need their cars fixed
  • People who need aftermarket upgrades
  • And people who need maintenance for prevention

You could create contract terms for consumers and make incentives for signing up. Having a predictable workflow could give you much more financial stability.

How does an Auto Repair Shop Make Money?

An auto repair shop can make money with products, services, events, and affiliate collaborations. Multiple streams of income are ideal in business because it can help you earn more revenue and recover from fluctuations that come from time to time. Here are some examples of how you can monetize your auto repair shop.

Products: You can make an income from products that are relevant to the people who come to your shop. To discover the relevance, you may want to watch for which products they tend to ask you about, look for, or you can look at other similar shops to see what seems to be “leaving their shelves”.

You can rent space in your parking lot for car dealers or up-and-coming mechanics. Renting space isn’t a direct time-money exchange, so it can add revenue without increasing the recurring workload much.  Some products I’ve seen sell at auto repair businesses include tire pressure checkers, auto emergency kits, auto fresheners, vehicle parts, drinks, small snacks you can, and many other things you can buy branded with your business logo at Deluxe here.

Services: In addition to products, you can also make an income from services. Typical auto repair services include things like oil change, windshield repair, tire change, tune-ups, air filter replacement, battery placement, and other services that make the car operable or enhances the user experience.

Events: Events are a little less common for auto repair shops, but they can be a source of revenue. You can offer educational events for auto repair professionals, for companies, or for consumers. The events can help build the trust between you and the customers and add another revenue stream.

Affiliate partnerships: Lastly, you can collaborate with other companies who would want to market to the same audience as you have, then when you send them a referral, you can get a commission. Here is just an example of some of the possibilities, but there are many more companies you could collaborate with.

Here are a few examples…

how to start an auto repair business(Source: Wealthy Affiliate Affiliate)

Or, even more…

how to start an auto repair shop(Source: ShareaSale)

There are lots of companies you could earn revenue from in your auto repair business thru an affiliate partnership.  These affiliate networks can help you find companies you could collaborate with to add referrals as an additional source of revenue for your company! If you’d like to learn more about how to earn thru affiliate marketing, check out my #1 recommended internet marketing training program here.

What is the growth potential in an Auto Repair business?

The growth potential of an auto repair business that is built with the multiple streams of income I’ve outlined above has immense growth potential. While the services may be limited to the local area and the schedules of people, the products and affiliate partnerships could be sold to people all over the world, and could be sold by leveraging the internet and a website.

What are the skills you’ll need to make an Auto Repair business work?

To make an auto repair business work, you’d need the skills connected with the delivery of your service or great human resource skills to hire people who are skilled in performing the primary service you’ll be selling. You’d also need marketing and sales skills, so you can attract potential customers and convert them into buyers. You’d need sufficient finance skills to price well and to make sure the expenses stay below the income, so you’ll be able to afford running the business, paying yourself, paying others, and growing.

What are the costs involved with an Auto Repair business?

There are several expenses you may want to consider over time, however, I’m a big fan of starting a business using what I call the “Minimum Viable Business Plan” method. In other words, you start out with the bare bones requirements until you prove you can sell it.

Regardless of how much money, time, and connections you have, each entrepreneur has to learn how to acquire a sufficient volume of customers to “prove their concept” and create a sustainable business. I think you should do this first, so these would be the startup expenses I think you should consider:

The tools to perform the job

  • Website — $0-$400
  • Business cards — $25
  • Transportation — $100
  • Education — $100
  • Forms like invoices, receipts, etc. — $100 – $200

If you decide to go with the minimum viable business method, you could probably get started for less than $1000.  As long as you practice being very neat and discreet, you should be able to perform your auto repair work in a portable way or from your own driveway. Then, once you’ve proven your concept and proven you enjoy doing the business, then you can buckle down and invest in things like:

  • Licenses
  • Professional associations
  • Renting a shop
  • Incorporation
  • Insurance
  • Diagnostic Machines
  • Mechanic’s Lift
  • Specialty tools
  • Advertising
  • And, buying supplies in bulk (to save time and money)

All of the “upgraded” features are where the tens of thousands of dollars can be spent over time, but it’s necessary to continue investing in the business in order to continue building and growing.

I think it’s always best to “test the water”, then commit once you’ve decided taking the business seriously is worth it for you.

What are the steps involved in starting an Auto Repair business?

how to start an auto repair business

I recommend you set up your Minimum Viable Funnel first, then once you’ve got sales and confidence you can do this, then you get into the other steps later. The steps to create a minimum viable version for your auto repair shop includes:

1. Validate your Idea

The auto repair business has many different niches, methods of monetization, and revenue possibilities. You’d want to decide which is the best fit for you and master the core skills you’d need to get started. Validating your idea is going to be crucial because you’ll verify the market demand, polish your plan, and become confident to commit to building out the business.

2. Prioritize Your Business

Most entrepreneurs start with a life. They may have kids, animals, jobs, and other responsibilities. When you decide you want to start a business, then it’s time to carve out the time, replace current things you’re doing with business tasks, and start working on your business.

3. Build Your Brand

Your brand is how others perceive your business. Often times in the beginning of the business, people are skeptical or hesitant. With consistency, the “stigmas” can be broken and you’ll start to build a reputation based on your work.

In addition to building your brand thru your networking and consistency, you’ll also need things to represent your brand well in your marketing. If you market offline, you’ll likely need business cards. If you market online, you’ll need a website, logo, and some strategies to connect with people and attract them to your set.

4. Start Getting Leads and Traffic

Once you have your basic branding setup, then you want to get it where your phone is ringing, you’re getting emails, or your website is getting new inquiries–this is a sign that you’ve found where you’re service is in demand.

You can set up your WordPress website for free here, then you can transfer it to a premium domain (for example: at Wealthy Affiliate whenever you’re ready. Try the website builder out here…

Get the training, support, and tools to your business online here. Get started for free. No billing info required.

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5. Convert the Traffic into Customers

Once you’re getting a regular flow of interest in your auto repair business, it’s going to be important that you learn and improve how you manage to take a customer from awareness to a paying buyer, an email signup, or another optimal metric for your auto repair business.

6. Form Your Business Legally

Once you’re getting customers and making money, you want to make sure you’re protecting yourself, protecting the customers, and only taking on the tax liability that’s necessary. Incorporating your business can save you in tax money, make sure that your personal property is protected from lawsuits and damages connected with your business operations.

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7. Organize Your Books

how to start an auto repair business

It’s also important to organize your finances. Your finances often serve as a GPS in the business–telling you what is working, what is not, and how to improve. Your finances are also important to the government, and you want to keep them organized to stay in compliance. The “old school” method of writing everything in a notepad may not be your ideal. I recommend taking a look at Quickbooks, so you can categorize your expenses, see accurately how much profit and loss you’re having, and make your decision based on real-time.

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8. Get Your Office Supplies

Even if you start your auto repair shop as a home based business, you’ll need office supplies. Things like pens, notepads, invoices, receipts, a dedicated phone line, and other things are going to help you maintain a professional image and make life easier for you at the same time.

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8. Systemize Your Process

how to start an auto repair businessOnce you’ve chosen your services, made some sales, and you’re starting to “get your groove”, then it’s important to put systems in place to do the same processes consistently. By doing things the same way every time, you’ll have predictable costs and quality, and people will trust you as a result. Even when you decide to grow the business and hire, it’s important to stabilize the systems by creating training manuals, so you’re able to maintain your efficiency and quality standards.

9. Reinvest and Scale

It can be tempting to take your revenue and spend it on personal things. Maybe you want a better car, better house, or tastier food. Often times, entrepreneurs give into the temptation to upgrade things and splurge too early, and it stunts the business growth. Instead, it’s important to reinvest in marketing and advertising, your education, hiring new people, improving efficiency by leveraging technology, and improve the quality of your services. Reinvesting into your auto repair business will ensure you’re able to serve more people, give more jobs, and offer higher quality all around.

Recommended Reading:

Ready to Start Your Auto Repair Business?

The goal of this article was to help you decide if starting an auto repair business is the right fit for you. Hopefully, you’ve gotten alot of your questions answered about how to start an auto repair business.

Many of the concepts I explained here, I explain in much more detail in my free Business Growth Blueprint E-course and my full video course on creating your full minimum viable business plan at Wealthy Affliate.  You can get access to my e-course and all of my free bonuses by signing up here. You’ll also get 7 free days of coaching with me, 10 lessons of internet marketing training, and two free websites you can try out for free. Let’s get started building your Auto Repair business today! 

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4 thoughts on “How to Start an Auto Repair Business (Without Tons of Overhead Costs)”

  1. Tiffany Domena

    Hi Tiffany, I must say that this article is very helpful and informative. I was thinking about starting auto repair business as I am a professional mechanic but like you know it can be very expensive to start with it. I will definitely start thinking seriously about that as it is very profitable and you always achieve new contacts which is great. Thanks a lot for sharing such great info about this awesome “niche”

  2. Tiffany Domena

    Hi, Tiffany. I commend the thorough discussion about how to start an auto repair business in a modern way. Why modern? When we think of an auto repair shop, we immediately have in mind the need of a garage, clients, and of course, cars to repair. What you did is to upgrade or leverage the existing cliche in this industry.

    You added the affiliate networks, partnerships, and websites, which for me, are vital in today’s businesses. Without these, you couldn’t standout, especially the websites. A business has to be existent on the web to gather many clients and to let them know their business exists. Otherwise, they will be invisible in comparison to those who could arrange online appointments like those of the hotels. 

    Hence, I commend the way you discuss this topic. Keep it up.

    1. Tiffany Domena

      Thanks Mecyll! I agree the modern times require us to operate a bit differently. In my opinion, the more recent technology like websites and affiliate programs gives business like auto repair shops so much more potential to reach people and earn income. Thanks for the compliments!

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