How to Start a Collision Repair Shop in 10 Steps

There’s certainly something to be said about being your own boss. If you’ve got that entrepreneurial itch and want to open your own collision repair shop, good for you for chasing that dream! But before that dream can become a reality, there are a few things you should know. Follow these tips and you’ll be well on your way to starting your business off strong. 

Are You Ready to Start Your Own Collision Repair Shop? 

Auto body shops will always be needed, so starting a collision repair shop is a solid, sustainable idea as well as a lucrative business opportunity. However, before you take the plunge, you need to ask yourself if you’re really ready. 

To start and run your own collision repair shop, you need more than just a love for cars and a great work ethic. You need to have a significant background in collision repair and should be ASE certified. You should also have some reliable resources for supplies and parts. 

Also, it’s good to remember that starting your own business is a risk. You need to be financially prepared and have a realistic plan for funding before you begin. 

10 Steps for Opening a Collision Repair Shop

Feeling ready? Then let’s make this dream come true! Here’s how:

#1 Create a Business Plan

After doing some research and gathering tips from your contacts in the industry, take all that you’ve learned and use it to develop a business plan. This is basically stating your goal and creating a map of how to get there. 

Your plan should include things like the services you plan to provide as well as your projected operating costs and expected revenue. It should also contain a list for everything you need to start your shop, and what you need to do to get it. 

#2 Secure Finances

Once you have your business plan, bring it to a commercial lender and/or investors to get the funding you’ll need for all your start-up costs. Remember, it’s better to overestimate how much you need to cover any unexpected costs that may pop up as you get your collision repair shop up and running.

#3 Find a Location

It can take some time to find a prime spot for your shop, but where you are located is essential to the success of your new business. Your location has to serve your needs as well as the needs of your customers, so look for something spacious — possibly a warehouse-type structure — that is in an accessible, safe, and high-traffic area. 

#4 Register Your Business

Once you find the perfect place to set up shop, It’s time to take care of all the legalities. Apply for your business license and register your business as a limited liability company or corporation. 

#5 Purchase Insurance

Get yourself an insurance policy that provides general liability protection, property insurance, and workers’ compensation.  

#6 Set Yourself Up with Software

Consider utilizing software to help your business run smoothly. From accounting to invoicing to payroll and payment transactions, investing in software will not only make your life easier when you’re starting out, but will also pay off in the long run.

#7 Invest in Equipment

Collision repair shops have to rely heavily on their equipment and tools, so this is not a place to cut costs. Paying a little more up front for advanced equipment will save dividends in the long run. Make a list of all you need and then prioritize your expenses to cover the most important equipment first, then look into leasing the rest until you can comfortably afford it.  

Invest in Reliable Towing Equipment

One important thing to remember is that auto shops specializing in collision repair need to make an extra consideration for moving vehicles around. While a tow truck can get the vehicle to your lot, how will you move a damaged car once it’s there? Without the right equipment, this pretty much everyday task can be expensive, dangerous, and time-consuming. 

A Forklift Wrecker can prove to be a wise long-term investment, with its affordable upfront cost and ability to quickly, safely, and easily move damaged vehicles, saving you time and money. And as a new collision repair shop owner, saving time and money is huge! 

#8 Be Selective with Your Staff

You may be able to manage your collision repair shop on your own in the early days, but soon you won’t be able to run it solo in order to grow your business. You’re going to need qualified, efficient staff if you want to succeed. 

Hire experienced employees with strong references and expertise, and make sure they’re on board with your business and customer service plan. Have clear onboarding training in place as well as defined roles and benefits to make attracting and retaining the right people effortless.

#9 Build Relationships

Customer service is king for building strong relationships that bring customers back and prompt them to refer others, but don’t forget to build relationships with your suppliers, too! A good rapport with your parts dealers can result in good deals and the ability for you to pass savings on to your customers, making them even more likely to tell others about your business.

#10 Get the Word Out

Finally, make sure to market your new business so people know you’re out there. Before your grand opening, consider creating a website, social media accounts, and claim your business local listings. Look into advertising online and in local media outlets, as well as possibly sending newsletters or direct mail pieces to keep your business top of mind.  

How to Start a Collision Repair Shop and Succeed

Use these guidelines to get your business off to a great start, and hit the ground running by learning more about how a Forklift Wrecker can help your new collision repair shop succeed. Contact our team online or call 877-593-6959. You can make the dream of being your own boss a reality by following the steps above, working hard, and contacting our expert team today!

Legal Disclaimer: The material and information contained on this website is for general information purposes only. You should not rely upon the material or information on the website as a basis for making business, legal or other decisions.

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