With the motor industry growing worldwide despite Brexit’s uncertainties, it is clear that if you have dreams of becoming an entrepreneur mechanic the time is now.
More cars on the road mean there is more need to have experts like you on hand to service, repair, and MOT them.
So what do you have to consider when making the leap from employee to business owner?
As an employee, you simply had to turn up and repair what was in front of you applying your skills that you have honed over time directly. Even at supervisor and management level you took care of your little part of the business and were perhaps offered glimpses into the bigger picture without being responsible for all of it.
Now, you’re an entrepreneurial business owner you are responsible for all aspects of the business. This includes accountancy, administration, compliance, marketing, supply chain management, and indeed doing the work that comes through the door.
Welcome to the world of the self-employed, where long hours are the new normal.
It is important that you do as much preparation before you make the leap to running your own workshop as possible. This will put you in a good place from day one, and you will have the business mindset needed to make your business a success. You will find that many of the early decisions you make will shape the business from the start.
As a mechanic, it is important that you have business insurance. This takes the form of public and professional liability for someone in your position. It is worth researching this in more detail, however, as you may find you need more insurances than this and there are insurance products specifically designed for your industry.
Given the nature of the equipment you use, it is important this complies with the appropriate regulations, and that other requirements such as servicing are met. With a little thought, you can use compliance as a form of marketing. Citing last inspection dates and kitemarks on literature and online helps to promote feelings of trust which is vital to building a solid reputation and successful business.
Now you’re running your own gig you’ll need to find reliable suppliers of spare parts both to conduct repairs and to replace worn out equipment and tools. It is a good idea to establish a few suppliers. This way when purchasing spark plugs and other parts, you will always be able to get components when you need them, ensuring that you can keep the work turning over and revenue flowing in.
If you’re in the business of buying a really cheap car and making it great again and selling it on for profit, having a good supply chain is even more important. Time is money in these instances and you can’t afford to wait a few days for essential parts.
In all instances, having a good reliable supply chain cannot be underestimated.
Pricing can be a tricky area to get right, and as a mechanic adopting a similar model to a dealership is not a bad place to start. Decide what your labour charge and minimum price are going to be in the first instance. Factor in how much you need to live and operate the business and how much cheaper you can go from a standard dealership. Do not do yourself an injustice here, however, you still deserve to live well.
Work out your bottom line. From here, you will know how many customers you will need to stay afloat.
All businesses need to establish who their customers are. Yours is no different. Do you specialise in certain makes and models or certain types of repair such as exhausts or panel beating? Do you offer general repairs and MOTs? Do you do it all?
Once you have reached some answers you will know who you need to market your business to, and then you can look at various marketing options to do that.
So, if you specialise in MOTs you can state this clearly in any literature, online ads, social media, and printed ads. If you do everything, on the other hand, you can state this too. Think about listing what you do in bullet point form together with your unique selling points (USPs).
Once your cogs start turning you’ll soon be thinking of deals to make your offering more enticing.
Working out your unique selling points, (USPs) is vital to the success of every business. What makes you different and why should people use your services?
Perhaps these apply to you:
Starting your own mechanic business is exciting. If you get the basics in place first you will be in a better position to make it a success.