How to Start and Grow a Successful Auto Body Shop Business

With only 229,000 automotive body shops in the US, a body shop business is a good opportunity to make your mark and some money.

There is a lot that goes into starting your own auto body shop, but if you follow the tips in our article below, you’ll be well on your way to starting and growing a successful auto repair business.

Continue reading this article to learn what you need to know when starting your own body shop business.

Map Out Your Business Plan

Even if you’re an all-action type of person, you need to have a plan before you get started. If you work haphazardly, you may set yourself back and could even harm your reputation.

Your business plan needs to describe your business explaining exactly what your auto body shop will offer. If there are normal services that you will not offer, you should also put this in the business plan.

Having a business plan not only will keep you on track as you’re growing your business, but you’ll need money for any loans that you need to secure to get your business growing.

Determine Your Costs & Secure Financing

There are going to be expensed when you’re starting up your business from equipment to the building you will use. Even if you think of things that are very little, you should write them down.

Think not only about how much money you will need to get started with your projects like the Sullivan PDR Estimator and other important tools. Also, think about how much money you will need to keep your business going.

When you figure out how much money you will need to get your business going and keep it going, ask for that specific amount when speaking to lenders.

Having a concrete number and being able to explain why you need it will make it much easier for you to get the loan you need.

It’s All About the Location

When you’re looking at places to put your shop, this is one of the most important things you can think of.

Making sure you have the most convenient and easy to see location as possible will make a big difference in your auto body shop business.

If your business is hard to get to, people aren’t likely to bring their cars there when they need repair. If your business is hard to see, you’re missing out on advertisement attention by people just seeing your business as they are passing by.

Make sure the location you choose is affordable enough to fit in your budget but that it also hits the visibility and ease of access points.

Franchise or Self Started?

When you’re opening up your auto body business, you have the option of going with a franchise or starting your own shop.

While a franchise does take a lot of the guesswork out of things, you will have to come up with a good amount of money upfront to get started. Some franchises charge hundreds of thousands of dollars, while others only charge a few thousand.

Look at the cost of starting up with a franchise vs. a self-started shop, and how confident you are in operating on your own.

Do Market Research

Now that you have your business plan together, you need to do market research and figure out who you will serve. Knowing who your customers are is important when you’re marketing, selling, and when you’re serving your customers.

Don’t skimp on the market research as this is one key to success.

Identify Suppliers

Having a good relationship with suppliers is an important part of doing business. You need to know who will supply you with paint, car parts, and anything else you offer at your shop.

Put Your Marketing Strategy Together

Once you do your research and you know who you will service, it is time to put your marketing strategy together.

Figure out whether you will be doing more digital marketing or if you will go the offline marketing route.

Connect With Insurance Reps & Other Professionals

Insurance companies and other industry professionals can be great connections that bring in tens if not hundreds of customers throughout the time you’re doing business with them.

Hire Essential Personnel

Now it is almost time to get your show on the road, but you need a team to get going.

Determine how many team members you need to get started and don’t spend too much time on the hiring process. Make sure they know what they are doing and watch them to make sure they do good work, and you’re off to the races.

Business Registration & Permits

You don’t want to operate illegally, so make sure that your business registration and permits are up to standard for the area.

Your state or even county may have different laws about registration and permits, so check with your local authorities before you get started.

Growing Your Body Shop Business

Now you know how to start and grow a body shop business, so it’s time to put it into action.

Do you need more help with growing your business and beyond? Our site is full of business articles that can help you along the way as you’re starting and growing your new body shop.

Browse our site, find your favorite business-related articles, drop a bookmark or share with like-minded colleagues, then come back soon for more great reads.

About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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