Jun 4, 2020

How to set up a small car repair shop? Five useful tips

How to set up a small auto repair shop

The demand for auto services is increasing the same fast as the number of cars on the roads. Trading used cars is a feature of automotive markets in the majority of countries. It is a common fact that the older the car, the higher costs its maintenance requires.

Let’s consider how to set up a small car repair shop and enjoy both: work of life and comfortable income. 

1. Choose focused specialization

When you are on a tight budget which is usually the case, it is better to decide from the beginning what kind of work you want to do. It is important as the workshop internal layout, selection of repair tools, and equipment, as well as a lot of other things, will directly depend on the decision.

Most common fields for niche auto workshop:

  • diagnostics, maintenance, and repair of vehicle air conditioners;
  • diagnostics and repair of steering racks and HPS pumps;
  • diagnostics and repair of brake calipers and electromechanical drives of parking brakes;
  • diagnostics and repair of starters and alternators;
  • diagnostics and repair of chassis, transmission, engine, suspension, and wheel alignment;
  • engine overhaul, gearbox repair;
  • diagnostics and repair of car electronics;
  • body repair, vehicle crash recovery, body paint job.

2. Choose vehicle brands for servicing

To make an easy start, choose several vehicle brands you will provide services for on a daily basis. You should understand that servicing a large number of car makes will require a great variety of special repair tools and equipment. If you are on a tight budget it is better not to overspend. 

The best way to decide which brands to choose is to analyze the range of the most common car makes serviced by competitor workshops. This will help you to understand what the most frequently diagnosed and serviced car makes are. It also would be wise to get information on the most common breakdowns before starting your own business. This will give you a clear idea of the spare parts you are going to need and the anticipated costs.    

3. Hire both: specialists and unqualified staff

Hire several specialists who will be responsible for diagnosing cars and units and some unqualified staff to perform simple tasks with a view to training them in the future.

You can also provide special training courses for several employees beforehand. For example, MSG Equipment Training Center offers staff training programs in diagnostic and repair of:

      • starters and alternators;
      • EPS and EHPS units;
      • HPS racks and pumps;
      • air conditioner compressors;
      • brake calipers;
      • shock absorbers and struts of all types.

It's important to develop practical skills during training that can be successfully used in daily work.

4. Use professional diagnostic equipment and genuine (quality) auto parts in your work

When you start a business it is crucially important to make standing customers who would return again and again and recommend you to others. So, it is better to buy all the necessary equipment right away to be able to do a quality and quick job. Besides, a well-equipped workshop will raise your business profile and will be easily promoted.   

The information about reliable test benches and testers used in a car service business can be found on specialized forums and in numerous articles. Please note that individual manufacturing of the test benches is a good idea only when you have a solid manufacturing company that has enough resources, both physical and manpower. 

Budget-friendly testers, test benches, and special repair tools convenient for use in small workshops are represented in the MSG Equipment product line. Apart from the sale of special diagnostic and repair tools, MSG Equipment offers its assistance in the starting of auto service business from scratch. We provide out-of-the-box solutions for particular fields of car system diagnostics and repair. 

5. High quality and efficiency of employees’ work and of the enterprise as a whole is a priority of any business

When a start-up plan is ready, take another look at it. Bring specialists to bear appropriate expertise. They will help you to make a proper layout, select the right equipment, and make your workshop comfortable for staff and customers.

Launch a promotional campaign to acquire clients: radio and Internet advertisement, road billboards, and etc.

Don’t count on a good profit from the beginning – it takes time to develop a customer base. Focus on the high quality of your services rather than at low prices.   

Summarizing the above

The crisis made a lot of car service centers to cut down the number of rendered services and staff and thus, some niches appeared in this business.  

If handled properly, setting up a new car repair shop is definitely profitable today.

A well-trained staff and special equipment, as well as the proper management of all business processes, will ensure the successful operation of the workshop.  

Aleksandr Levitas, a famous business coach said: “A well-motivated and strictly controlled employee, being properly instructed and supplied with a good tool, always does a great job. Quality work of the company as a whole can be achieved by bringing these people together in a well-organized process” (“Business processes” by Levitas A.)



This is things I was looking for. Thank you for information, I need some explaining about step 2 "choose vehicle brands". How I can use the competitor workshops to decide which brands to choose?
Hi, Mr Abdalla. Thank you for the nice feedback! There are three ways to monitor your competitors 1. Check the sites of your local competitors, pay special attention to the services they render and the car brands they repair. 2. You can email car repair shop managers and ask for information about the most often serviced car brands. 3. You can hire a person, or you can visit local car repair shops yourself and ask what cars they service the most often. After you have collected information from car dealerships, you would understand which brands of cars are the most relevant and which are not.

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