You can make a lot of money in the automotive performance business if you are a certified mechanic, or if you hire a certified mechanic. Lots of people like to make their daily drivers have a little bit of oomph to them—and there are many performance parts that help with gas mileage.

This article will explain how to start an automotive performance business.

Things You Will Need
  • Ability to secure financing

  • Office equipment and supplies

  • Sign

  • Location

Starting an Automotive Performance Business

Secure financing. If you do not have the money to get yourself going, you will need to find financing for a shop, unless you are renting the equipment.

Contact tool distributors such as Matco and Snap-On if you do not have tools. Tools are going to be an integral part of your business. Mechanics are expected to supply their own tools, with the exception of computers and dynos.

Contact equipment distributors. You will need, at the very minimum, two lifts, a tire machine, a tire balancer, an air conditioning recovery machine and a brake lathe. This equipment can run you some money, but you may also be able to find used equipment. Your local tool distributor is a good person to ask about used equipment, because he visits many shops on his weekly runs.

Buy office equipment and supplies. You will need a cash register, cash register supplies, a credit card machine, credit card machine supplies, a computer and a diagnostic program such as AllData or Mitchell. These programs will provide you with the information needed to fix anything on a car, and also come with wiring diagrams. Wiring diagrams are essential in this business.

Look for signage. You will need to have your signs made. If the new property does not have signs, you will have to apply to the zoning board to have a roadside sign put up. You will also want a sign on the building. If you have ASE certified techs, or if you are ASE certified, you should have ASE signage on the shop and in the shop.

Contact the local oil disposal company. They will be able to provide you with a tank to dispose of old oil. They will also pick up the old oil when the tank is full.

Buy or create a customer database. Do not rely on the database that comes with Mitchell or AllData. These databases only hold so many records. You will want to be able to provide your customers with records of what they had done to their cars.

Check with your city, county and state for any licenses you will need. Procure the proper licensing and display it in the office as required by the licensing agency.

Procure garage-keepers insurance. This will protect you from any liability should a customer or employee get hurt on the premises and will also protect you in the event you get into an accident while test driving a customer’s car.


You will also need smaller equipment such as engine stands, engine hoists, floor jacks, transmission stands, transmission jacks, a toolbox for all of your tools, a roll-around tool cart, rolling stools and various pulley pullers.