Starting a muffler shop business can be an excellent entrepreneurial activity. With muffler installation experience, you will be able to parlay your background into a profitable business. Compared to working for someone else, you should be able to increase your earnings through mark-ups on parts, increased marketing efforts and close control of costs. Your reputation for providing quality work will also reap financial rewards.
Secure your ASE certification to enhance your credibility in the field. While this step is optional, it will pay you back many times over through the enhanced training and professionalism(See References). Customers, especially new ones, look for signs of your expertise, and a national certification program is one of the best ways to present third-party legitimacy.
Ensure that your business location meets all necessary licensing and zoning requirements. Get your local business license, sometimes called an occupational license. Your business license enables you to do business legally. In addition, research the requirements from your state or province for operating a business related to motor vehicles. For instance, in New York State, all automotive businesses must be approved by the Department of Motor Vehicles.
Create a list of potential customers and develop ways to reach them. Offer coupons through other local businesses, such as tire shops and parts stores. Advertise in mailers or your community newspaper. Launch your own website with informative articles on mufflers and discount coupons for your customers. These coupons are a great way to promote expanded services—those outside of muffler repair and service. For instance, does your shop offer oil changes, tire rotation, new windshield wipers or even car washes?
Develop a smooth process for customer service to make your muffler shop stand out from the competition. Ensure that each customer is greeted within a minimum amount of time. Discuss the situation with her. Invite the customer to have a seat in your clean and comfortable waiting area, or find out when he will return. Provide muffler education reading material, as well as interesting magazines. Many times, muffler manufacturers will provide you with marketing material.
Pass the job order to the next available technician, or do the work yourself. Complete the quality check. Contact the customer to discuss the work. Accept payment, and thank the customer for visiting your business.
Review key processes on a quarterly basis. Evaluate the customer service, staffing, expense control and marketing processes to seek constant improvement. Ask for help from outside sources, such as the Small Business Development Center or SCORE counselors, if you have questions. The sales representatives from your suppliers are a hidden source of information. It is your success that makes him successful, so take the time to have a cup of coffee and ask questions the next time your supplier visits your shop.
Spread the word about your new muffler shop business. Give your business card to related, non-competing businesses, and ask them to pass your information to their customers.
Set up a website with information about safety, maintenance tips and particularly exhaust and emission systems.
Do not attempt to set up shop at home. A legitimate place of business will give you a more credible appearance. In addition, many homes do not meet zoning ordinances for this type of business.
- Spread the word about your new muffler shop business. Give your business card to related, non-competing businesses, and ask them to pass your information to their customers.
- Set up a website with information about safety, maintenance tips and particularly exhaust and emission systems.
- Do not attempt to set up shop at home. A legitimate place of business will give you a more credible appearance. In addition, many homes do not meet zoning ordinances for this type of business.
Kathryn Christ is a business consultant and copywriter in Jacksonville, Fla. Christ has been a writer for 20 years with work appearing in publications such as SMPS' "Marketer," the "Business Journal of Jacksonville," the "Florida Times-Union" and numerous corporate magazines. She holds a bachelor's degree in English from Siena College.