Tips for Starting an Auto Repair Shop

If you have had the dream of starting your own auto repair shop, we’re here to help. We’ve put together this list of tips to keep in mind as you’re getting your business off the ground. Of course, no auto repair shop is complete without an automotive lift. ADVANTAGE LIFTS has the car lifts you can rely on. Call us today to learn more.


-Specialized or General

The first thing you need to decide is what type of shop you’ll be. If you’re planning on just focusing on general repairs, there’s not much you need to worry about. However, if you want to choose a specialty service area, you may need specific certifications depending on that specialization. Whether you’re focusing on a specific type of vehicle or a specific brand, the requirements may change, so it’s important to make this decision early.

-Startup Costs

As with any type of business, it’s vital that you research the amount of capital you’ll need to get off the ground. Experts say that you can expect to shell out around $47,000 to get the basics up and running before doors open, and an estimated $100,000 or more over the course of your first year of operation. This will include but is not limited to, building rental, payroll, equipment, and insurance. Whether you go through a bank to secure a business loan or receive support from investors, you’ll need a detailed business plan in hand before you get started.

-Franchise Options

Another big decision you need to make is whether or not you want to pursue a franchise opportunity. When you go with a franchise location, you get a bit of a jumpstart on your business, as franchises carry name recognition and built-in marketing, which makes it a bit easier to get going. However, a franchise will require you to give up a not-insignificant portion of your profits in exchange for this head start. If this is your first attempt at running your own business, starting off with a franchise might be your best bet, as it will give you a chance to learn the ropes while taking a smaller risk. Then, once you feel like you have your bearings, you can branch out on your own after establishing your own customer base.


Unless you’re planning on running a one-person operation, you’re going to need employees you can depend on. This covers everyone from the person working the front desk greeting customers to the mechanics and specialists working in the garage. Start interviewing early to find workers with the credentials you’re looking for to ensure you have the foundation your shop needs to be successful. After all, any business is only as good as the people who are operating it. Subpar work will push customers away and cause your business to struggle to survive. On the flip side, excellent work will create loyalty and customers will be excited to tell others about their experience.

-Marketing Plan

Regardless of if you choose to franchise or build your own business, you’ll need to have a plan for how to market your auto repair services. While a franchise will carry its own built-in marketing from name recognition and other avenues such as TV or radio commercials, you’ll still need to make your own mark as a way to reach out to your community specifically. Mix together a blend of traditional marketing (TV, radio, newspaper, etc.) and modern methods (Google Adwords, strong website, social media, etc.) to reach your audience. Study up on how to utilize SEO (Search Engine Optimization) to bring eyes to your shop and services. It’s also a good idea to plan a loyalty program early on to establish
a customer base that returns to you when they need repairs or services.

-ASE Certification

While it may not be a requirement to run your own auto repair shop, something that can instill trust in potential customers is with an Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) Certification hanging on your wall. Not only will that show you’re trustworthy, it will also help you secure financing from a bank or private investor because they’ll see you aren’t a fly-by-night operation. ASE testing requires a combination of two years of education and work experience, along with a minimum of one year experience working in automotive repair. There are also multiple specializations offered for certification that can further bolster your
credentials which are worth considering.

With so many people relying on their vehicles to take care of their daily tasks, there will always be a need for dependable auto repair services. Keep these tips in mind as you set out to start your own auto repair shop and call ADVANTAGE LIFTS when you need to get your auto lifts for your shop. When your lift needs a lift, we’ve got you covered!