How to Start an Auto Repair Shop With No Money
Auto repair shops are profitable businesses, but require quite a but of start-up money. This makes such a venture cost-prohibitive to younger mechanics and those who are not able to save the thousands of dollars needed to open a shop. However, if you already know how to perform auto repair services and have the tools needed to work on cars, starting an auto repair shop is possible with virtually no money.
Pick an alternative business model. Since you will not have the money to buy or lease a shop space, you can go to customers to work on their cars instead, operating as a mobile auto shop.
Gather testimonials from former employers and customers to use for advertisements. This is especially important if you have no auto technician certification, or you have never owned an auto shop before.
Get the permits needed in your area to operate as a sole proprietor. This may include an assumed name certificate (DBA) or state tax identification number. Though a DBA typically costs between $20 and $40, it is usually required and should be the one thing you spend money on. Contact your local Small Business Administration office to see if you are required to get a DBA.
Develop a low or no-cost marketing plan for your mobile auto repair business. This may include launching a promotional blog or website using a free blogging platform, printing out your own business cards and fliers, making a promotional sign and sticking it on the back window of your vehicle, listing your business in a directory such as Service Magic or posting on classified-ads sites such as Craigslist.
Write or type out your own service invoices instead of buying templates, making sure to include the following information: your name and address, customer's name and address, date of service, list of services performed and your phone number, email address and website, if applicable; also include signature lines for you and the customer.
Organize your auto repair tools and supplies in your vehicle so they will be easily accessible when on the job.
Automotive service technicians and mechanics earned a median annual salary of $38,470 in 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. On the low end, automotive service technicians and mechanics earned a 25th percentile salary of $28,140, meaning 75 percent earned more than this amount. The 75th percentile salary is $52,120, meaning 25 percent earn more. In 2016, 749,900 people were employed in the U.S. as automotive service technicians and mechanics.