1) First as with any business you need to write a business plan:
Businesses that do not write a business plan usually fail you must know what you expect for the business. Where is it headed? Will you some day have a franchise or will you only have one location? What type of advertising should you do? How much will it cost for shop equipment employees tools lifts etc. You must write a plan to know where your business is headed. You would not plan a trip with out looking at a map would you? Make sure to map out your business to see future plans become a reality.
2) Register for a business license:
Call your local SBA they are the best place to start. They can tell you about loans, free publications and so much more. You must register your business with the local city hall. You should call the court house to find out what business licenses you will need as they vary from state to state. In my county you do not need a fictitious name if the business is in your name such as David’s Car Repair but if you want Elite Car Repair you must file with the state for a fictitious name which can be done online.
3) Open a business account:
This is very important you will need an account just for the business to pay for business expenses. This is where a lot of businesses fail they spend business profits on personal bills. In the first few years of business the business must keep 80% of income to sustain itself and grow. I know it is tempting but be careful. Contact your local bank and get a no fee checking account for your business.
4) Get insurance:
You must have garage insurance if you will have employees you will need worker comp insurance and you should check into what ever other liabilities there may be for your area fire, hurricanes,tornado etc. Insurance can make or break your growing business if you have insurance and the shop burns down insurance will pay to replace your shop. Or if you have disability insurance for just yourself if your a one man business. If you break your wrench hand you can sustain the business for months until you get well.
5) Pick a location:
The old adage location, location, location is true with auto repair shops. You should make sure to find a shop right by the interstate or the main highway. If you can put your shop in the middle of your busy town. If you can find a shop location by the highway it will be very lucrative for your business.
To me this is one of the most important things you can do for your shop. The old adage “when you do not advertise a funny thing happens” Nothing is true in the auto repair business. The first thing you do if your car needs repairs and you do not know any one to fix it for you. Most people would check the phone book go online check the newspaper. A good source of advertising is tow truck companies in you area. What do truck drivers see daily that is right broken down vehicles. Offer them a referral fee for every customer they send you. You could pick up 10 or more repair jobs a month from them alone. Marketing is very important in any business get creative have fun and always under promise and over deliver and you will be successful.