A well-running Auto Repair shop requires a team of highly trained and experienced mechanics. It also needs a good management team to oversee operations, sales, marketing and finance. The right combination of skills and experience can make this a profitable business, but the wrong people or lack of management can ruin the whole operation.
Start by determining the legal structure of your business. There are several options, including sole proprietorship, partnership and corporation. Depending on your state’s laws and tax regulations, each option has its own advantages and disadvantages. The legal structure also affects how you register your shop with local and state agencies.
Set up a website and social media accounts to promote your business and engage with customers. Then create a business plan detailing the type of work you plan to perform and how much it will cost. Include your marketing and scheduling plans, too.
You can find many free templates online, or ask a consultant for advice on writing one. Once you have a complete plan, obtain all necessary business licenses for your state and region. Also get commercial property insurance and general liability coverage. This will protect your business from natural disasters and incidents involving employees and customers.
Most states require shops to provide a written estimate before starting any repairs. The estimate must identify the condition of your vehicle and clearly describe the parts and labor needed to fix it. The price of each part must be included, and whether it’s new or used. If you authorize a repair over the phone, write down all important information, including the date and time of your call, the name of the person you spoke with, and the estimated price. Shops cannot charge you more than the amount of the estimate unless you give your consent.
If you disagree with a repair decision, ask the manager to explain the reasoning. Many misunderstandings can be resolved with an honest and respectful conversation. Also, you have the right to inspect your car before paying for repairs or driving it away from the shop.
Some states require Auto Repair shop to use only original equipment parts, while others allow a choice of non-original, remanufactured or rebuilt, or salvage parts. Used parts are generally cheaper but may have different quality standards. Reputable shops will tell you if they’re using salvage or used parts, and will offer a warranty on the labor for any replaced parts.
If your complaint isn’t resolved, file a formal complaint with the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). The DMV will investigate and determine if the shop violated its repair shop act or regulations. If the DMV finds a violation, it may send the shop a warning letter or schedule a hearing. It may also suspend or revoke the shop’s registration and impose fines.
Encourage happy customers to leave reviews on your website and social media pages. You can even offer a small discount on their next service to thank them for a glowing review. This is a great way to stand out from the competition when customers are scrolling through reviews in their area.