Starting a business of any kind requires an investment, and not just of money. Entrepreneurs and their financial backers also invest time, energy, reputation — also referred to as blood, sweat, and tears — into everything they do.
What if you are determined to set up a business like an auto repair shop but you don’t have the pile of savings in the bank or the multi-millionaire venture capitalist behind you? Is it possible to start an auto repair shop with no money?
Starting with absolutely zero is unlikely, but it might require less than you think. In today’s blog post, we’re exploring how you can start a small auto repair shop with little to no money of your own. We will assume through our article that you are a mechanic of some experience and skill and that you already have the essential knowledge you need to affect auto repairs.
When you consider that the auto repair industry has been valued in recent years at $180 billion each year, it’s not hard to see why some people want to get into this industry themselves.
There are 276 million vehicles on America’s roads, all of the old and new in constant need of care and automotive repair. If even you only get to service a tiny percentage of that total, you could earn you and your family a pretty decent living.
The question, however, is what you need to get started. Money is just part of the equation, and we’ll look at that further below. Let’s begin by thinking about tools, and different types of small auto repair shop set up you could create.
A workman gets nowhere without their tools and equipment. If you’ve been in any auto repair shop before, you’ll notice it’s a treasure trove of machines, tools, and spare parts. How much of that would be necessary for a small auto repair shop?
There are 8 items that you simply cannot do without, these include:
There are, of course, many more items you could use to start an auto repair shop, but when you’re establishing a startup, there will always be some limitations. The above equipment will make you competitive without excessive financing.
Type of Setup
Next, we look at what kind of automotive repair setup you want to establish. There are three main avenues that you could pursue.
First, you could use your own home space to set up a shop. If you have a large unused garage or other workspaces that could accommodate at least 1-2 cars and the equipment you’d need, then setting up at home can be very advantageous.
To start an auto repair shop with no money is easy when you cut out one of the biggest overheads: commercial rent. It is critical however that you check that you would be allowed to do this within your current city/county. You should also check that your home location can be a safe, well-lit, and well-ventilated environment.
Another great way to save on overheads is to take your business mobile. This means that customers will contact you and you will head out to their location and do work on-site. The main expense for mobile auto repair is the van you use as the main transport for you and your equipment.
Setting up a mobile auto repair shop will mean some limitations on the services you can provide, but the low setup costs allow you to get working for very little investment. As you build a reputation and grow income, you can then look to expand your service range.
This is the more traditional approach, but will certainly cost the most of the three. You’ll need to find premises with sufficient space and scope, in a good location, that’s also within your financial budget. That’s a big ask.
The advantage of renting garage space, however, is that there’s almost no limit to how many services you can offer to your customers. You will have more room for equipment, and space will be purpose-built already to suit your plans. It gives great scope for future expansion and development.
Finally, we come to financing. The fact is that you don’t need to have a lot of your own money to get started. With additional support from one of the following three sources, you can start an auto repair shop with no money.
If you put together a clear business plan with credible market research, realistic earnings projections, and a roadmap to success, then you’ll have banks and finance companies lining up to offer you the money to get going.
The average interest rate on a small business loan is between 3 and 7 percent, so far lower than you’d be paying on credit cards. It’s a tried-and-tested method of getting a new business financed and off the ground.
Business loans come in many forms, too, from the typical bank loan to a more specialized loan for commercial equipment. You could also look into a federally supported Small Business Administration (SBA) loan that often gives entrepreneurs more favorable terms.
A small business line of credit is another affordable and flexible financing option. What this does is essentially give you a credit limit, but unlike a business loan, you only pay for what you actually borrow from that limit.
It’s a bit like a credit card. Let’s say you’ve taken a line of credit of $50,000. If you don’t use it, then you pay nothing for it, but it’s always there if you do need it. If you draw $5,000 on that line of credit, then the interest might be 6.25 percent, but you only pay for the money you’ve drawn.
Finally, we come to the bank of family and friends. It shouldn’t surprise you that the people who love you and believe in you the most are invariably willing to do what they can to help you succeed.
When you have a well-planned enterprise, and customers already lining up, but you’re short on capital, look to family and friends to get the fast investment you need on good terms.
Starting any type of business requires a leap of faith to get started. Doing your research before jumping in is extremely important if you want your auto repair business to be successful. Pro Rev Tech offers a variety of courses that teach auto enthusiasts and mechanics how to start and open their own repair shops.
From General Automotive & Repair to 30-Minute Tune-Ups, there is a course for you to teach you the ins and outs of the automotive service industry. You have the technical know-how, now let us teach you how to build and run an actual business!