Operating an auto shop has some similarities to operating other kinds of businesses, but there are also unique aspects to owning an auto shop. Effectively managing an auto shop requires not just an understanding of effectively managing people and running a business but also knowledge of what car owners want and need from the auto shops they patronize. Competent small business management is crucial to local economies, and a well-run auto shop can illustrate the importance of entrepreneurship in society.
Auto Repair Shop Organization
One of the most important aspects of auto repair shop organization is a tidy mechanic garage setup. Mechanics should never have to look for tools. They should always know where they are and where to put them back.
Similarly, desk employees should know the processes for scheduling services and managing tasks related to providing these services. Every employee should know exactly where to find information when he does not know the answer to a customer’s question or how to handle a specific task. Auto repair shop organization is not just a neatly organized mechanic garage setup. It is also effectively organizing people, which means creating an environment where employees can excel at their jobs independently.
Another aspect of educating employees to perform their jobs well is making sure they know exactly how to handle hazardous substances and how to dispose of them properly. In an organized mechanic garage setup, hazardous waste disposal areas are clearly marked and properly maintained.
Read More: How to Open an Auto Repair Shop
Prioritize Smart Budgeting
One of the cornerstones of entrepreneurship is creating and managing budgets with the goal of keeping the business profitable. One part of the importance of entrepreneurship in society is that it illustrates how to balance a budget and allocate spending responsibly while serving the population’s needs. Budgeting, spending and balancing the books are other components of effective auto repair shop organization.
Give Employees What They Need
Employees need a safe, healthy work environment. As an auto shop owner, you are required to comply with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s workplace safety requirements for automotive shops. This set of requirements include guidelines for handling hazardous materials, protective gear requirements and regulations for machinery.
You are also required to comply with the Fair Labor Standards Act, the federal law that enforces workers’ rights, like a minimum wage of $7.25 per hour, restrictions on child labor and overtime pay for employees who work more than 40 hours per week. Depending on your state, your shop may be subject to additional requirements, like a higher minimum wage. Depending on the size of your workforce, you may also be subject to the Family and Medical Leave Act. You are also most likely required to purchase workers’ compensation insurance to cover employees’ needs if they are injured in workplace accidents.
Many employers choose to provide additional employee perks, like paid time off and meal breaks. These perks can improve employees’ physical and mental health, making a company more productive.
Market to Your Niche
Generic marketing is not enough for an auto shop to be successful. To connect with your target audience and make sales, your marketing efforts need to be tailored to them. This means reaching clients where they spend time, both online and offline, and offering them products and services that provide value.
For example, if you are running a body shop that specializes in custom body work for souped-up cars, you should be marketing at local racetracks and other places where owners of such vehicles spend time.
An auto shop that repairs a specific make of vehicles, like a Volkswagen specialist, should similarly target her marketing toward people who own Volkswagens. She might do this by emphasizing her knowledge of Volkswagen's diesel engines or by her connection to an aftermarket Volkswagen parts supplier.
Lindsay Kramer has been a full-time writer since 2014. In that time, she's experienced the ups, downs and crazy twists life tends to take when you're launching, building and leading a small business. As a small business owner, her favorite aspect about writing in this field is helping other small business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs become more fluent in the terminology and concepts they face in this role. Previously, she's written on entrepreneurship for 99designs and covered business law topics for law firms.