How to Start a Diesel Repair Shop

by David Stewart; Updated September 26, 2017

According to United States Department of Labor, diesel engines are preferred for heavy-duty trucks, buses and other heavy transportation because of their fuel efficiency and durability features. Diesel engines are also lower on maintenance as they use compression and not spark method for fuel ignition. There is an increase in freight shipping across the country; the need for more heavy-duty transports and thus more diesel repair technicians is also increasing. Starting a diesel repair shop can be a lucrative venture.

Step 1

Prepare a business plan. Include such details as how you are going to finance your diesel repair shop and what are the services you are going to offer your clients. You can self-finance your shop, apply for a bank loan or approach venture capital firms for finance. You can offer a range of services, including repair and maintenance of diesel engines powering transportation or mobile equipment. You may want to include diesel-dependent light trucks, passenger automobiles and boats in your service list. Research other diesel repair shops in your area and see what they are offering. Ideally, include in your portfolio services that your competition is not offering.

Step 2

Apply for commercial driver’s licenses, as you will need one from your state to test-drive buses and trucks on public roads. Contact your state DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles) for information. Approach your municipality to know about the license and permits required to start the business in the area.

Step 3

Choose a proper location for your diesel repair shop. You would need a large area to include your office and diesel storage. Hire a commercial real-estate agent to locate the ideal location. Hire a specialist to design your workplace. Provide enough ventilation and lighting. Provide for lockers and shower facilities. Technicians may have to deal with heavy equipment, dirty components, and perform repairs in awkward positions. Follow workplace safety regulations to prevent serious accidents. Visit the U.S. Department of Labor official website for details.

Step 4

Furnish equipment for your shop. You need to provide a variety of tools, including power tools such as pneumatic wrenches and machine tools such as lathes. Include flame-cutting and welding equipment as well as hoists and jacks to handle huge parts. You also need computerized testing equipment to analyze and locate breakdowns in engines. Provide common hand tools such as pliers, screwdrivers and wrenches, too.

Step 5

Hire diesel engine mechanics and technicians. Candidates with formal training can move to the journey level of diesel service quickly while technicians with on-the-job training require 3 to 4 years to reach this level.

Step 6

Promote your business actively. Advertise in local newspapers and create brochures aimed at fleet owners.

2016 Salary Information for Diesel Service Technicians and Mechanics

Diesel service technicians and mechanics earned a median annual salary of $45,170 in 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. On the low end, diesel service technicians and mechanics earned a 25th percentile salary of $35,750, meaning 75 percent earned more than this amount. The 75th percentile salary is $56,660, meaning 25 percent earn more. In 2016, 278,800 people were employed in the U.S. as diesel service technicians and mechanics.

About the Author

Hailing out of Pittsburgh, Pa., David Stewart has been writing articles since 2004, specializing in consumer-oriented pieces. He holds an associate degree in specialized technology from the Pittsburgh Technical Institute.