How to Start a Car Detailing Shop or Auto Repair
If you want to get into the automotive field without spending a lot of money, auto detailing is a great way to get started.
You can open a detailing shop. You can also start a service that is based on site, an express service
or a mobile business.
Mobile can be a faster way to get started. On the other hand, an express detailer who works ar a car
dealership or car wash generally benefits from a significant flow of customers.
Futhermore, auto detailers can make money working with a hotel's concierge or with RV dealers, limo
businesses, gas stations and more. And that's just cars and RVs. Don't forget the potential of boats and
planes.Car Detailing/Auto Repair Business Checklist:
1. Car mechanics typically receive ASE-Certified educational training
according to the National Institute of Automotive Service Excellence.
2. Register your business name with the county clerk. Apply for your
business license. Check with your local government office to find out
which licenses and permits you need for your automotive business and how to apply.
3. If you plan to operate your automotive business out of your home,
check with your local government office about zoning ordinances and possible
land use restrictions
4. Open up a business bank account. It is
important to keep your auto business and personal finances separate, and often your banker can help with small
business loans or financing. Accept credit cards with a low-cost merchant
account, bill customers with invoice software and if you plan to hire staff, get easy payroll software.
5. Stock up on the car detailing supplies you need, including
commercial cleaning products like car wash soap,
leather conditioner, tire shine, carpet cleaners, stainless steel cleaners and other car care products. Buy
in bulk to save money, and use natural cleaners when possible (you can advertise to a whole new group of
6. Arrange a meeting with an accountant to discuss tax strategies and ways to maximize your business tax deductions. You can get referrals from
other business owners you know or sometimes your banker.
7. Meet with an insurance agent to discuss insurance you may need for
your automotive business. The IIABA (Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America) is a good place to
start. You can also get free quotes online for business insurance.
8. Set up your business phone.
Whether you use a toll-free 800 phone number, a multi-line phone system, VoIP or simply add an additional phone
number to your existing service, you'll want a designated line to establish a professional business image.
9. Get a website. Save money by creating your own website with simple
online design programs, or outsource the job to an affordable
website designer. Whether you sell car products online - or
you use a website to display information about your auto service company, it's important to take advantage of
this low-cost marketing resource that can help you get more customers.
10. Submit Your Website to Search Engines: If your business has a
website, it's important to get listed in the search engines, because that is where most shoppers start looking
for products and services. There are several ways you can do this, and it doesn't have to cost a lot of money.
In fact, you can submit your website for free.
How to Start a Car Repair Business
Expert Paul Anderson put together a complete instructions on how to open and operate an auto repair company.
It includes everything from start-up procedures, management and bookkeeping, shop layout designs, what to
charge clients and how to find customers. Download the
Start-Up Guide here
Find Customers for Your Automotive Business
Order Business Cards.
Often overlooked, business cards can be a very efficient and low cost advertising method. See how you can
design your own professional business cards online.
Get Free Publicity
Besides advertising in your local yellow pages and placing ads in newspapers and neighborhood mailers, you can
save money by sending a press release or "letter" to your local paper announcing the grand opening of your new
If you can offer a special discount or hold an event and tie it in with your grand opening, publications
will find this more newsworthy and are more likely to publish news about your storage company. Your press
release can be short and simple, and you can use a press release sample to make
the job easier.
Offer CouponsGive Out Promotional Items
Send out coupons in neighborhood mailers or local newspapers to attract new customers to try out your service.
You can use mailing services or design your own coupons using online coupon
There are lots of cool items that you can customize with your logo - hand them out to prospective customers,
and they'll think you're cool too! This is an easy way to invite a client to do business with you.
Gimmicks like magnets, small calendars and pens are a inexpensive marketing tools - and useful to people who
receive them. You can find many of these "ads" around someone's house or office months - even years after
they've received them. Your business gets recognition again and again.
Design Your Promo Items (Like
keychains!).Automotive Business Associations
Automotive Recyclers Association (www.a-r-a.org)
Since 1943, this non-profit trade association has represented an industry dedicated to the efficient removal
and reuse of automotive parts, and the safe disposal of inoperable motor vehicles.
The Certified Automotive Parts Association (CAPA) is a non-profit organization established in 1987 to develop
and oversee a test program guaranteeing the suitability and quality of automotive parts.
International Carwash Association (www.carwash.org)
The International Car Wash Association is an industry-driven membership association that's primary mission is
to serve the needs of the car wash and detailing industry's professionals and to represent their interests.