Some businesses fade away because the product or service they offered is no longer used or wanted by the general public. There is no such concern for a body shop business, however. People will always need ways to move themselves around, and they will always want to look good doing it. Even as automobile technology changes, there will always be a need to make those vehicles look great.
Cars will also always get into accidents, unfortunately. Even with self-driving vehicles, there is always a human factor that can lead to mistakes. Plus, the weather, vandalism, and other harmful factors can cause damage to the appearance or structure of a car, no matter what technology is involved. If you think that an auto body business is right for you, then here is a quick list of what you need to know to start one.
Education and Experience
Just having a love of cars is not enough to start a body shop. You need to give yourself extensive experience and education to do it right. It’s usually a good idea to go through some mechanics training to get a solid background on the overall function of cars. Then, get work at an auto body shop to learn the ropes of the business.
You will soon learn about parts, paints, supplies, and how they all work together. You need to know where to quickly source all of them if a client wants a rush job, and be able to do excellent work under stressful conditions. People love their cars, and one mistake can destroy a customer relationship and show up on social media reviews. Learn and practice as much as you can to provide excellent workmanship on every job.
There are several reasons that a body shop business should have the right insurance coverage. For one, all businesses need at least basic coverage. It should provide protection for liability and commercial property. If you have a tow truck or other vehicles that you use for your business, then you will need commercial auto insurance as well.
The other thing is that you will be working on very expensive pieces of machinery, and potentially using heavy equipment to do so. You could inadvertently cause additional damage to the car, or cause it to malfunction in some way. Choosing an auto service insurance package will ensure that you are protected against the most common perils that auto body shops face.
Location, Location, Location
The location of your auto body shop is incredibly important. This is true for any business, but auto body shops can be especially susceptible to location issues. The fact is that car owners are trusting you to repair and refurbish their cars and make sure they are protected while they are there. If you are in a bad neighborhood, then clients will not feel comfortable leaving their cars overnight. Not only that, but if your location does not have a lot of vehicular traffic going by the door, then you will have less exposure to those drivers.
You will also need a spot that has a lot of room for bays and parking. Make sure that there is also office space. Even if you don’t spend a lot of time in an office, you will need a place for paperwork, filing, and invoices. Choose your location with care to make sure that it’s not costing you business.
Unless you are independently wealthy, you will need to find some sources of investments to start your business. You can do this by pitching to investors, or working to secure a loan. You need to have all of your equipment in place before you start taking customers. Nowadays, doing the best work means having the appropriate equipment to do it. If you don’t, then your customers will see the difference, and take their business elsewhere the next time.
Find Suppliers You Can Trust
Some of the most valuable relationships you can have as a body shop owner are with your suppliers. They can help you in more ways that you might realize. For one, a trusted supplier will work hard to get you things quickly if you need it, and go the extra mile to find rare items. They can also offer you discounts if you are a preferred customer. On top of that, suppliers often have contacts from all over the industry, and can help you make connections with other businesses while also providing advice. Find some excellent suppliers and you will be ahead of the game already.
Find the Right Staff
Your employees are going to make or break your business. Being a sole proprietorship is an option if you don’t trust others to provide the workmanship that you do. However, if you are the only one at your business, you will cap your growth potential. Good employees are exceptionally valuable. They are the ones who will make sure that your customers are satisfied. They can do the work and be the front-facing part of your company. If they do not do their jobs well, then your customers will quickly go to the competition.
Make Yourself Legal
You must obtain licenses and registrations that are required for your business. Having a legal business license and being amember of your local chamber of commerce will provide your business with an air of legitimacy. You and your employees will need certifications, and you may have to pay for those as well. Your customers are entrusting you with their prized possessions to get them back as good as new. Make sure that you help them feel confident in that choice.
Opening a body shop can be an exciting and rewarding venture. You can work with your hands and have the satisfaction of being creative and helping people have the cars of their dreams. However, to start an auto body business, there are some steps you will need to take. By following this guide you can make sure that your body shop hits the ground running and brings you the success and satisfaction that you are looking for.
Author & Publisher | Emily Forbes
An Entrepreneur, Mother & A passionate tech writer in the technology industry!