How to Start a Mobile Mechanic Business

If you’re thinking about becoming an auto mechanic or opening your own repair shop, there are a few reasons why having a mobile shop, as opposed to a traditional brick-and-mortar garage, could be a better option. Here are some reasons why you should have a mobile mechanic shop:

  • Lower overhead costs: Mobile repair shops require relatively low start-up costs since they do not need to acquire suitable space or costly equipment, such as vehicle lifts and engine hoists. This means that starting a mobile repair shop is a much more viable option for many would-be entrepreneurs.
  • Flexible work times: An additional perk is that you can set your own work hours. Many auto repair shops have regular 9-5 hours, but a mobile mechanic is available anywhere, which can be convenient if you have an unexpected problem outside normal business hours. If you’re not someone who likes to stick to a strict schedule, a mobile shop might be a great option for you.
  • Independence: Mobile service shops are much easier to start than most businesses, and usually only require one person to run them, meaning they can offer a lot of autonomy. However, there’s always the option to hire other employees, which makes it the best of both worlds for the company and the employee.
  • Potential for less competition: Even though there is typically an auto repair garage nearby, mobile mechanics may still be somewhat uncommon where you live. Because of this, you may tap into a previously unserved market.

In addition, if you are planning to open a garage in the future, starting a mobile repair shop can be a great first step. This will help you save money and begin to establish your brand.

What should I know before deciding to open an independent repair shop?

There’s still a lot of responsibility involved in opening your own mobile mechanic service. A few key tasks include the following:

  • Managing your own finances, including inventory and taxes
  • Providing top-notch customer service
  • Administrative work, such as scheduling and payment processing
  • Handling the marketing of your business

Before opening a mobile mechanic shop, you should be prepared to handle these tasks yourself or hire a specialist to help you. Purchasing specialised software for budgeting and accounting, such as the kind offered by Workshop Software, can also be a great cost-efficient way to help you manage your business.

Step-by-step guide to starting a mobile mechanic service shop

Acquire the necessary training

If you haven’t already, you’ll need to look into completing the necessary training to become qualified in the classes of auto repair you want to provide. This usually involves completing an apprenticeship and applying for a licence through your local Bureau of Industry.

Decide what auto repair services you’ll offer

What services you can offer as a mobile mechanic depends on a handful of factors, such as what types of certifications you already have, what types of tools you can acquire, and what prices you can reasonably charge.

You’ll also want to think about your surrounding market and what niches you want to focus on. As a mobile mechanic, you may want to leave heavy-duty, long-term jobs to the surrounding garages and focus on delivering quick, efficient services to your customers.

This is why some of the best services to provide as a mobile mechanic require relatively few tools and a fast turnover time.

Common car emergencies like dead batteries and flat tires are perfect for mobile mechanics, as you can save drivers the necessity of calling a tow truck by arriving straight to their location. Routine maintenance procedures like oil changes, brake pad replacements, and tire rotations and alignment are also good options that are always in demand.

Some other types of service to consider are as follows:

  • Under-hood part replacement: Many car parts in the engine area are simple and quick to replace, including spark plugs, belts, and alternators.
  • Agricultural equipment repair: This is a great speciality if you live in a rural area, particularly since many land-owners prefer not to drive their equipment on major roads to reach an auto shop if they can avoid it.
  • Construction equipment repair: While working on construction equipment can sometimes require more resources than you might have as a mobile mechanic, basic check-ups and maintenance can be a steady service option.
  • Car inspections and safety checks: Both car inspections and safety checks are quick, common, and require few tools, making them another perfect service niche.
  • Electric vehicle (EV) repair: Considering electric and hybrid vehicles are becoming increasingly popular, you may also want to consider tailoring your services to meet the increased demand for EV mechanics.

As a mobile mechanic, you’ll also have to decide what areas you’ll serve. The distance you’re willing to go for a job is up to you, but it’s a good idea to have set parameters to offer your customers from the start. A common setup is for mobile mechanics to have a specified range that they serve, then charge an additional fee for work done outside that range.

Find the right workshop

Since you’ll be working out of your vehicle, choosing the right one is important. Here are some factors you may want to consider as a mobile auto mechanic:

  • Reliability: Because your profits depend on how easily you can get around, reliability is a must for mobile mechanic vehicles. The less time and energy you spend on your own vehicle maintenance, the more you can spend on other people’s.
  • Storage: It’s important to consider how much cargo space you will need for your repair business and weigh this against start-up costs and fuel efficiency. The more you carry around with you, the lower your gas mileage will be. This may be a worthy trade-off if you can perform a wider variety of services.
  • Fuel economy: Good fuel economy is also essential, and a small difference can add up over time. Paying for fuel will likely be one of your major regular expenses, so it’s worth prioritising.
  • Special features: Will you need your vehicle to tow around equipment, power your tools, or store items in drawers? Think about what elements will be important to you, including factors such as comfort and accessibility.

You may also want to consider whether your vehicle can carry your entire inventory or whether you should consider additional storage space. This may be useful if you plan to frequently sell replacement auto parts to your customers.

It’s important to note that your vehicle will also constitute the premises of your business under the law of most Australian states, so you’ll need your vehicle approved to begin operating your auto repair shop.

Invest in your equipment

You’ll need to ensure that you can afford to invest in the right tools for the job. Exactly what you’ll need will vary depending on what services you decide to offer as an auto mechanic, but you’ll definitely need the basics, such as a good drill, a carjack, a jump-starter, wrenches and screwdrivers.

You’ll also need to acquire some non-mechanical equipment, such as a card reader for processing payments, a computer, and business software.

Choose a name and register your business

Choosing a name and trademarking your mechanic business

Choosing a name is an important part of branding your mobile mechanic business. You want your business name to be memorable and descriptive, so it can easily become recognisable.

If you plan to trademark your auto mechanic shop name, you’ll also want to make sure it’s unique to you and that no one else has trademarked it. Otherwise, you risk being confused with another business or not being able to register your products and services under your business name.

Auto repair business licence and registration

It’s also necessary to register your repair business with your state government and acquire a licence to operate it. Requirements will vary depending on your state’s specifications, but you’ll usually have to have at least an auto mechanic certification, a strong business plan, and adequate premises to be approved.

You can also take the new business owner quiz provided by the Australian Business Licence and Information Service (ABLIS) to find out exactly what’s required.

What business structure is right for you?

You’ll also have to decide what type of auto mechanic business to register as. You can choose between being a sole trader, being in a partnership, or starting a proprietary company.

Each structure has pros and cons, and which one is right for you depends on how you want to run your mobile mechanic business and what you see for the future. Do you want to grow your business to a regional or national scale? How many employees do you plan to hire, if any?

As a sole trader, you are responsible for your company. This is a great option if you want a small repair business that you have full ownership of. Both partnerships and proprietary companies offer more potential for growth but may result in less control on your part.

Market your business wisely

Marketing can make or break a business; it doesn’t matter how good your services are if no one knows about them.

To get your auto mechanic business out there, look into potential advertising options, research your target market, and consider designing a logo. Focus on what you offer your clients and what you want to emphasise about your business, whether convenience, friendliness, or know-how.

Online advertising is particularly important, and even more so for mobile mechanics. If someone breaks down on the side of their road and searches for an auto mechanic, you’ll definitely want to appear in the results. Consider strategies like search engine optimisation (SEO) and targeted advertising to help you get there.

If you have the resources available, you may even want to hire a marketing professional or graphic designer to help you.

Being a Mobile Mechanic

One option for those with a background in mechanics is to start a mobile repair business, which can be profitable, and provide the freedom and flexibility that comes with being your own boss. Mobile mechanics are a growing profession due to the number of people who own cars and the number of people who do not have the time to take their car to a mechanic. I hope this article has given you the necessary information to help you join the ranks of successful entrepreneurs.

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