If you’re passionate about cars then a career owning and operating an automotive mechanic business may be right for you. Perhaps you have been in the business for years and have always thought about having your own shop, but were concerned about the nitty-gritty details of getting started – the logistics, the legality, the organization, and the marketing. A lot goes into building a business, but if it’s something you’re truly invested in, there are some basics that all business owners should be aware of before getting started.
Automotive mechanics need to be able to diagnose mechanical problems, fix them in a short space of time, and be able to communicate effectively with customers. It is also imperative that you have strong technical skills, are experienced working with tools and heavy machinery, and are somewhat comfortable with fundamental aspects of business ownership such as hiring, rosters, and scheduling.
You do not technically need any formal qualification to be a business owner, but a minimum qualification of an automotive technician certificate or diploma from TAFE (for apprenticeships) would be highly advantageous. It would also help to have extensive experience working as a mechanic in an automotive workshop, for both your service and your reputation. This can be combined with studying to gain the appropriate business qualifications and experience if you feel you need it.
If you are running a mechanic business, you will need to hire mechanics. In this case, you will definitely need to ensure that you hire employees who hold specific qualifications which are relevant for their roles and that they are skilled enough to provide the quality of service you expect. There are many types of automotive mechanics, so you need to figure out what your shop needs, and hire accordingly.
The automotive mechanic industry is worth around two billion dollars per year, with over twenty thousand businesses operating in Australia alone. Because it is such a saturated business, there are many competitors out there offering similar services at similar prices. If you want to start an automotive mechanic business, it is important that you do your research into how much competition exists in the area that you plan on operating from before setting up shop, how close other businesses like yours are to your business, what your point of difference is, and how to convey that to your clients.
Before setting up your shop, you need to research the market and how best to compete with other businesses in your area. You can do this by checking out the competition’s website or doing walk-throughs and seeing what their prices and standards are like. This will allow you to make an informed decision about whether or not it would be a good idea for you to offer certain services at your premises, such as car detailing or window tinting, for example.
You also need to provide a point of difference between your company and the others and make your business as streamlined and easy to use as possible. This can be done by offering roadside assistance or access to your business through local mechanic directories like Enji to get maximum reach of local clients. Whatever it is, you need to figure out a way to stand out from the competition, because they will be working to stand out from you.
Marketing is a billion-dollar business for a reason. It works. This is especially true for small businesses, which may not have the same resources as larger enterprises. When it comes to marketing an automotive mechanic business, there are a few things to keep in mind. Think about your target market and how best to reach them. If this isn’t a way of thinking that you feel comfortable with, maybe hire a marketing specialist.
A business plan is essential to the success of your business. It helps you prioritize, gives you control over your business and its direction, and is part of the required documentation when applying for loans from banks or investors. You need to learn how to develop your business plan, and then make sure you cross the T’s and dot the I’s before moving ahead.
There are stringent laws, rules, and regulations in Australia regarding the operation, licensing, and regulation of businesses. This is for good reason: to ensure equality and high standards for you, your employees, your customers, and the taxpayers. This will be the most frustrating part of setting up your business, but it is vital to have your ducks in a row so you don’t face bigger problems down the track.
You are required by law to register your business name if you intend to trade under a business name that is different from your own personal name. To do so, you must register your business name with ASIC (Australian Securities & Investments Commission) as an automotive mechanic business. You can do this online or by post. You need to provide information including how much money you intend to invest into starting up, how long you expect it to take before making a profit and how much staff will cost. It is also important that you consider how many people will be working on the premises at any given time.
When starting an automotive mechanic business, it is important to be aware of the insurance requirements. In particular, you will need public liability insurance in order to protect yourself against any claims made by customers or members of the public. You may also need to consider how much cover you need for your tools and equipment, which can be expensive if they are damaged or stolen.
The most important thing to remember is that you need to have a solid business plan in place. This should include a detailed budget and forecast, as well as information on how you will finance your business. This is especially important if you intend to take out a loan, as all lenders and investors will require a business plan prior to getting involved.
When setting up a business, you must register with the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) as either a sole trader, partnership, or company. Your application must include your name and address; details regarding business operation, and your marketing strategy, products, offers, and services. You will also need to register for GST if you are going to make over $75,000 per year in turnover.