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The Right Equipment and Premises to Start an Auto Repair Workshop

Ready to open an auto repair shop?

Starting your own automotive repair shop or automotive workshop is the dream of good mechanics everywhere. I have lived that dream.

If you are a highly skilled and versatile mechanic, you may find it to be very restricting working for someone else when you could be running your own business and making real money at the same time.

The right equipment is essential to opening an auto shop. It takes a good knowledge of workshop equipment to make all the right decisions and you also need to learn using and maintaining different equipment correctly.

A good automotive shop equipment company will ensure you have all owners and parts manuals as well as service directives for all the heavy equipment you purchase or lease.

The company should also be capable of providing any training necessary to operate each machine safely. Most will do so for free and on site.

People skills are paramount in this business and a caring helpful personality as well as a love for your job are prerequisites when starting an auto repair shop the right way.

If you care about your work, customers will care about using your workshop to do all their mechanical repairs and servicing, so you need the right tools and equipment to do a broad range of work.

If you love what you do and want to do it for yourself, I say go for it!

This type of clear-span lift or hoist requires over 14' ceiling.

This type of clear-span lift or hoist requires over 14' ceiling.

Quality hoist

how-to-start-an-auto-repair-business-the-right-way

You will need some cash for setting up the building lease, and painting your floor, signwriting etc and buying or leasing equipment, ( In western countries between $20,00 and $100,00 is the usual cost range for setting up a small shop to a larger operation with 4 lifts.

You will already have heaps of enthusiasm talent and skills to do the work, and have the patience to learn about setting up with the right premises machinery and equipment.

Having said that, I started my first workshop out of a leaning ricketty old shed at home that would hardly hold one car. I know of others that have done the same. Like most things, it depends on how badly you want it!

The more markets you can cover the better, so having a wide range of profit centres provides better turnover and more profit safety providing you do not spend more on machinery than you should for your market size.

Frankly, I always go after providing a wide range of services and free advice to keep them in my shop rather than having to send them elsewhere to have their air-conditioning recharged, their discs skimmed, or their wheels aligned etc.

Taking alignment work and then outsourcing it is time consuming, provides only small profit and takes time to deliver and pick up your customer's car from the alignment centre.

You can now do alignments without a 4 post hoist using up a lot of space. The best of this equipment is expensive, so I suggest leasing your equipment if you have a good credit history.

Workshop premises.

The building needs to have the following features.

Wide access.

  • Customer's cars need room to drive in straight then go out straight to get on and off hoists unless the building is very deep, there will be no room to align the vehicle with the hoist if access is too narrow.
  • If space is very limited, you can use rolling jacks that sit under the tire to maneuver the vehicle by hand. These are quick and easy to use. If your floor is in good condition the vehicle will roll sideways, back or forward with just a gentle push.

A high roof and solid 6" floor.

  • to accommodate the latest clear floor hoists you need close to 15' from floor to ceiling..
  • A 6" concrete steel reinforced floor is required to solidly mount the hoists to.

Enough space and facilities.

The workshop floor area needs to accommodate at least 2 hoists ( if specialising)

You may consider a 4-6 hoist businesses are the sweet spot for general mechanical repairs and servicing when you have become comfortable with finding quality mechanics to work for you.

Remember to ensure the building is deep enough so you can back each car off the hoist INSIDE the building.

Reception, office, toilets and lunch room need not be big, but should be neat and comfortable for workers and customers. A water fountain is a good idea in both reception and lunch room.

Natural light.

A good natural light source is a huge advantage to your mechanics, especially for examining stains on cylinder blocks left from fluid leaks and other hard to see indicators of underlying faults.

A tiny split or damage to a hose could, if left unnoticed result in engine or gearbox damage. Engineered components like wheel bearings, crankshafts etc. where metal surface condition is the first indicator of part failure. All these important visual signs require good natural light.

Good lighting is still one of the major factors missed in auto repair shops. I have insisted on good natural light in all my workshop buildings. The better informed and more experienced mechanics will insist on natural light. Take my word for it and thank me later, as far as I am concerned this is essential to good engineering, and I want the best for my customer!

All walls bright white and at least two coats. I prefer high quality gloss myself as it is brighter than other surfaces and easier to keep clean.

Permits, oil and fluid systems, drains etc.

In most countries, states and territories there are regulations and zones where you can put a workshop.

  1. Make sure of the zoning first on any property you consider leasing or buying.
  2. Ensure you have correct drainage installed in case of large oil spills.
  3. Ensure that you can store volatile chemicals associated with your trade.
  4. Ensure you are able to operate all your machinery legally.
  5. The electricity supply for much workshop equipment is 400 volt 3 phase, ensure it is connected and working properly. Often you will find 3 phase wiring with the polarity changed from plug to plug. This is a darn nuisance and confuses a lot of workshop equipment!
  6. Install air hoses overhead. You don't want air hoses running across the floor, in the old days grease was run this way to. If you are working on older cars with grease points install grease overhead too.
  7. Run an overhead waterline as well if you feel you need it for some special jobs you may do. Power points should be well above bench level so they do not get knocked, and you need plenty of them even for a basic workshop.
  8. Buy and maintain an emergency spill kit.
  9. Fit fire extinguishers to a well constructed plan, ensuring locations will be quick and easy to reach.
how-to-start-an-auto-repair-business-the-right-way

Painting the floor.

The workshop floor is very very important. More so than in most businesses as it must withstand stains from dirty thin and hot oil. It happens that spills do occur when doing oil changes, but more about how to stop that happening later.

BEFORE you move your hoists in, you need to know that the floor is level, thick and strong and most important, treated or painted so that the oil does not soak into the concrete and weaken it, especially around the hoist uprights.

Ensure the painted floor surface is skid-proof and smooth to roll equipment on.

Use a non skid paint. You can get one that can be rolled on or sprayed.

Four post hoist with jacking beam.

This four post vehicle hoist is a four ton with a sliding  jacking beam and wheel alignment pads.

This four post vehicle hoist is a four ton with a sliding jacking beam and wheel alignment pads.

Nice clean well setup workshop

These are high quality hoists on a good floor, and this sort of layout impresses your customer and makes your mechanics happy and safe as well!

These are high quality hoists on a good floor, and this sort of layout impresses your customer and makes your mechanics happy and safe as well!

Standard Equipment.

Hoists.

Never even consider buying a cheap hoist!

I spent two years rebuilding, installing and servicing hoists. The average life of a cheap hoist is around two years before downtime and major repairs. Despite what your equipment supplier says, cheap hoists are dangerous, and when they need rebuilding parts are often not available.

The type of hoists you choose is most important, as it depends on what work you will be doing most, but at least one hoist should be a clear span or clear floor design.

A clear span or clear floor hoist as it is also known, means simply that there is nothing on the floor connecting the two sides of the hoist together.

  • If you are removing and replacing components or even doing oil changes, having a clear floor to wheel your equipment around on is safer by a mile, and a lot easier to avoid spills or gearboxes falling of the gearbox hoist because it fell over when it hit the obstruction which is on all other types of hoist.
  • If you are doing suspension replacements and repairs, you will need a four post hoist with inbuilt hydraulic ram for lifting the wheels off the hoist.
  • The same hoist should be ordered with rotating wheel alignment plates built in, if doing wheel alignments as well.

benches.

I try to use as much wall space as I can for benches, but it does depend on where you decide to get your profit from, which I will discuss later in this hub.

Basic mechanic's Tools.

Hand tools, such as circlip pliers, bearing pullers, ring and open end spanners, depending on what you work on this will vary, but need to be in complete sets. A full range of inside and outside circlip pliers is essential.

Hand held mechanics lamps, air guns and lines, rolling oil pans, Cooling fluid pans etc. One set for each hoist.

Other special tools for different makes and models where required, a minimum of two good quality vices. There are many more items, so I will provide a list.

Simple pipe bender.

This type of pipe bender is handy when small fabrication jobs are called for, like making a special exhaust joiner.

This type of pipe bender is handy when small fabrication jobs are called for, like making a special exhaust joiner.

Pedestal drill

A pedestal drill like this one is very useful in a workshop.

A pedestal drill like this one is very useful in a workshop.

Air tools

Buy quality air tools with double attachment for "ears" silencing and recycling.

Buy quality air tools with double attachment for "ears" silencing and recycling.

Brake lathe

how-to-start-an-auto-repair-business-the-right-way

New Ammco 4000

how-to-start-an-auto-repair-business-the-right-way

Tyre changer with assist.

This type of unit will work on all run-flat and large wheels with ease and speed.

This type of unit will work on all run-flat and large wheels with ease and speed.

Wheel balancer.

Needs to take up to 22' wheels, and have facilities for all types of weights.

Needs to take up to 22' wheels, and have facilities for all types of weights.

Ammco brake lathe

These Ammco brake lathes run forever. This one is 40 years old!

These Ammco brake lathes run forever. This one is 40 years old!

Cooling system tester

Note this kit has a complete set of adapters to suit different radiators.

Note this kit has a complete set of adapters to suit different radiators.

Profit centres.

GENERAL WORKSHOP MACHINERY.

Tyre changer

Tire changer accessories

Tire pressure gauge

Air Pressure Regulator

Tire lever

Tire lever protector

Wheel balancer

Wheel balancer accessories

Wheel weight pliers

Brake lathe off car

Brake lathe on car

Brake lathe accessories

Wheel aligners

Wheel ramps

Engine analyser.

5 gas suitcase type if I had to choose. (I have another hub on these.)

Hoists

1X 2 post symmetric hoist 4 ton capacity (SUV's, light trucks and vans)

1X 2 post asymmetric 4 ton capacity

1X 4 post standard hoist preferably with one jacking beam, or.....

1X 4 post alignment hoist with turntable inserts, cover plates, long approach ramp and 2X jacking beams if you want to include wheel alignment in your workshop.

belly lift quick, small, portable, fast where you want all four wheels of the ground in a hurry to change wheels, brakes, wheel bearings etc.

motorcycle lift if you do motorcycle engine rebuilds you need one of these.

SPECIALITY WORKSHOP MACHINERY

Flywheel grinder

dynamometer

Metal lathe

Injector cleaner

GENERAL WORKSHOP EQUIPMENT

Hose reel, Bench grinder, Compressor, Grease kit, Oil drainage pump, Oil extractor, Jacks

(Bottle, Vehicle positioning, Axle, Trolley, Racing, Long stroke, Transmission jack

Press, wheel stands, Axle Stands, Ratchet, sockets, Under hoist drainers, Parts washer

Pedestal drill, Pressure washer, Engine crane, Engine Trolley, Engine stand, Vacuum cleaner

Welding equipment, Wheel dolly, Work trolley, Work benches, mechanics work seat, angle grinder, Creeper, Oil drainer, Vice, Safety Light, Radiator drainer,Filter crusher.

Other handy machinery and tools..

Oscilloscope,Air tools, Impact wrench, Ratchet wrench, air cutter, hand drill, toolbox

Porta power, Car dolly, Oil/water separator

SPECIALITY EQUIPMENT

Body repair kit

Pipe bender

Pulling ram kit

Body straightening kit

Injector cleaner

Sand blasting cabinet

Spring compressor

Brake drum handler

Hydraulic gear puller

Hub tamer

Tyre spreader

Cooling system pressure tester

Fuel injection test kit

Pressure brake bleeder

Brake fluid tester

LVT

LPG

GENERAL HAND TOOLS

Measuring tools - callipers

- micrometer

- Dial gauge

- tachometer

tap & die set

SPECIALITY HAND TOOLS

ELECTRONIC TEST EQUIPMENT

Battery

Jump starter/ Tester/ Charger

Multi-meter

Test light

Armature growler

AIR CONDITIONING

Leak detector

SAFETY EQUIPMENT

Goggles

Ear protection

First aid kit

Fire extinguisher

Spill kit

Signage

Oscillating fan

Exhaust extraction reel

Servicing and installations.

Hoist maintenance/ Electrician/ Installation

Lighting design

Electrical equipment testing & tagging

Machinery repair and maintenance.

4-5 gas analyser.

This is a modern portable 5 gas analyzer.

This is a modern portable 5 gas analyzer.

Other equipment.

To work on modern cars, you need a good scanner and a 5 gas analyser, along with many wiring harnesses interface cables for the different makes and models connections to the scanner.

None of this equipment is cheap, because quality is paramount . I have sold, repaired and serviced both cheap and well designed and built ones. The cheapies will save you a grand or so, but you will regret buying either a scanner or 5 gas analyser cheap!

There is an equipment list added to this if you are doing petroleum/gas conversions, but it is not usually extensive or expensive.

Brake measuring calliper

how-to-start-an-auto-repair-business-the-right-way

Headlight aimer.

I have found these Armstrong aimers to be good quality and reasonably priced.

I have found these Armstrong aimers to be good quality and reasonably priced.

Stand press.

This is a standard workshop press, high enough to push a bearing off an axle.

This is a standard workshop press, high enough to push a bearing off an axle.

Brake drum calliper

For roadworthy check.

For roadworthy check.

More equipment.

If you intend to get a licence to test cars for road-worthiness. (This licence has different names in some countries) You will also need quite a bit more equipment.

Headlight aimer.

Large vernier calypers.

Compression tester.

Gas analyser.

The list varies from state to state. country to country.

Profit centres.

A workshop that can do everything in-house will attract more customers, and if you cannot do a job because you do not have the necessary equipment or machinery, you need to outsource it.

Never send your customer away, ALWAYS have a solution by using other specialists to do the work for you, then check it thoroughly when it is finished and then add value.

Here are some ways to make your workshop more profitable.

  • Buy a high quality brake lathe and learn how to use it. Your equipment supplier should be able to train you or your mechanic in using the equipment they sell.

Good disc machining is a matter of tooling up carefully and finishing the surfacing with a fine skim after the cut if needed.

  • Air-conditioning repairs.

Buy a multi unit that does the whole job.

  • Tyre changing, wheel balancing.

Combine with tire sales, or outsource tires. Buy a machine that will do new cars with large wheels.

  • Wheel alignment.

Equipment is expensive to buy, you need an alignment machine and an alignment hoist like the 4 post listed above. The profit on wheel alignment is not great generally, but it does attract other sales very well.

  • LPG conversions.

If you have all the equipment needed such as a 5 gas analyser and a gas fitters licence there is good money in conversions. Take your time with the re-tuning and calibration.

To learn how I ran my workshops profitably read the next hub How to start an auto repair shop-workshop business 2

A good used Ammco 4000 will cut discs and drum brakes for many years without trouble.

A good used Ammco 4000 will cut discs and drum brakes for many years without trouble.

Air conditioner recharge.

This unit does the whole job automatically and even cleans, separates the oil from the refrigerant then stores it for future use.

This unit does the whole job automatically and even cleans, separates the oil from the refrigerant then stores it for future use.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.

Comments

Hassan on May 06, 2020:

Hi i need all the information of buying and fixing them in my car shop and if the equipment is available in lagos

Glory on April 02, 2020:

How much is the jack cost in Nigeria

NATIBE ETUBE SAMPSON on December 18, 2019:

I am so impressed with the settings. I think I a clue of the type of auto workshop I dream to start.

I need someone to partner with me to set up a good automobile repairs workshop. Automobile engineering workshop.

Makgathane747 on November 21, 2019:

Thanks this was informative and direction guider, it made me realise the things i need to start my dream car service centre

Robert Onen from Gulu-Uganda on September 10, 2019:

Wonderful.....I need prices for those tools and equipment

Abdul Nigeria on July 13, 2019:

Highly rewarding and educative. How and where can I easily buy this equipments?

Pai Linn Khant on April 18, 2019:

I think it is my dream & desire.

Mandy on March 22, 2019:

Really great info ... great job in putting in a systemic manner

okonkwo favour on March 10, 2019:

Thats great and interesting, what about their prices

garvinmwape@yahoo.ca on January 19, 2019:

nice information

Anderson Godwin on September 28, 2018:

thanks for the advise.am a well trained auto mechanic, i use diagnostic and programming machines, but still want to further my my studies.please can you help get an automotive workshop i can work with. +233248457263 is my whatsapp number

otienoUganda on September 15, 2018:

nice work kindly if you have a whatsap group add me up _256701393383

md rafi alam on June 30, 2018:

i am looking for expert mechanic of car operation for my workshop,please suggest me to get the mechanic soon so i can start my workshop.

Victor on May 11, 2018:

This is great. I am a novice in this area however, I am keen and very interested in starting and running a successful auto repair workshop, this is very useful but I wish to attend closed on-site class/executive seminars/workshop that details the entire processes, I think it will help.

Valeria Nguyen on May 02, 2018:

Thank you very much for such an informative and helpful article!

Rewell on April 01, 2018:

So helpful

Sivaprasad S on March 22, 2018:

sir, I am about to start a workshop in India , Please include computer diagonostic kit also

aiman on February 18, 2018:

I am plan to open for services only. just changing engine oil and other small job. how you can advise me

Inam Inam on February 07, 2018:

Dear,this is a great efforts from you to provide us a fruitful and meaningful opportunity to think thoroughly before taking further steps .This could be a weapon of success.

Gilot Chenet on January 12, 2018:

Hi Sir,

Could you help to find suppliers to provide the price these equipment. Could I have the price.

Laz on December 16, 2017:

Wow. Very interesting write up. Thank you very much.

Habeeb on November 21, 2017:

I am highly grateful with this brilliant advice,,,,,even not only for those planning to have an automobile workshop but also for those want to design it.......Thanks,,,that's what made me here....

Charles Dickheads on November 14, 2017:

This so goods. Fantastical. I am love it with, Thanks you.

karen on October 12, 2017:

hey , i so happy i got more information from this page i want to open a garage

vickey on September 12, 2017:

thank you its help full

oluseun on June 20, 2017:

i am automobile mechanical engineer, i need further information for establishment inbox oladimeji.oluseun@gmail.com

Zimi Gantsho on March 24, 2017:

i am currently studying motor mechanics and my goal behind is to open my own auto repair and maintanance business.The information will help me a lot

asif on December 16, 2016:

i will start to auto repair workshop. i need how much cost of the whole equipment.

aticoexportambala on May 22, 2015:

nice blog ! i was looking for blogs related of Technical Educational Equipment manufacturer, then i found this blog, this is really nice and interested to read. thanks to author for sharing this type of information.

Johne720 on April 01, 2015:

I'm extremely impressed with your writing skills and also with the layout on your weblog. Is this a paid theme or did you modify it yourself? Either way keep up the excellent quality writing, it is rare to see a great blog like this one nowadays.. fkegefgfedaa

Ifeanyi on April 27, 2014:

This hub is wonderful and very helpful. I reside in Nigeria has an engineering background in my first degree. I had done a few workshop thing but in electronics. Currently I am a banker but my passion is much on opening a garage for wheels and tires (brake systems). I really need your advice. I am not getting the desired job satisfaction in what I currently do (banking). I also do not have the required finance to start up. Thanks

francis on April 10, 2014:

can i get a donor to help me start a garage for the street kids so that they acquire practical skills to help them earn a living.am a ugandan

Nida on March 25, 2014:

I have been asked to search for supplier of brake skim machine in the Philippines. Wonder If you could recommend one selling a good quality product? We are new to this auto repair business and don't have much connections yet. Thanks for any assistance..

Bill on December 11, 2013:

Mr. Rodney Reel seems like no body is home , no comment from any body. Hi every body, holidays are coming. From Bill HAPPY HOLIDAYS & Merry Xmas & Happy New Year, to every body & all my Friends & Mechanic Bro & all the readers, love you all, GOD BLESS YOU.

Rodney Reel on August 10, 2013:

I enjoyed the article, and thought it was very helpful and informative. it should be very helpful for someone starting, or even running a business. my job is safety coordinator, in a concrete batching plant.it doesn't really matter what type of work you do, the same basic rules apply. there is an organization of retireed business executives that will offer free advice on everything to do with the business you wish to start. they met with me face to face, one on one for free. they were very helpful. second, in the U.S. go to the OSHA web site and do some reseach on the safety side of it. it could save you hassles later or even fines for violations. the biggest violations i see are machine guarding.electrical cords without proper grounding, or frayed ends.a bench grinder is one of the first things they look for. they should have a safety shield, and the stop no more than 1/4inch from the wheel. transfering chemical from one container to another requires you post the safety data on the new container. ALL of it.

do yourself a favor, make up or copy a safety check list, and take a few minutes once a week to go thru it.the accident you save could be your own. last, it only takes one accident to involve OSHA. when they come they can go anywhere and look at anything.check your fire ext /exit signs monthly. you may get a break on your insurance by putting a safety program in place. your insurance compamy may also offer tranning courses for you and your employees for free. take the time and do your research. it will only benefit you and help you make a more informed decision. good luck with what you decide to do, and may you have a lomg productive run.

bill on April 22, 2013:

This is for the guy who want to buy hoist. Buy china made if they are certified by the ministry ,most of they are not certified.Or buy north american made second hand used like Rotery hoist. Iam using from 14 years. Second for the guy who want to open a garage without an knowledge.This is the same idea as if you want to jump in the river without knowing how to swim. You going to get dround. If your dad is millioner then you can try. Best of luck both of you. THANKS.

Thangrijoy Baite on March 23, 2013:

Sir! i am a students of computer science (MCA), but my interest is on setting up a cars repairing workshop for my own and run by myself, but i don't have much knowledge about necessary tools, equipments, and even i don't know how to repair my own car. what i want to know from you is...... is that possible to run workshop without any knowledge. thanks

Dalton on December 28, 2012:

I don't know who you are or why you would take the time to go so in depth and detail about starting a workshop. but i am glad you did. I am a 17 year old going to a tech school straight out of high school. once i have a little more expirence i will go and get a business degree. i have taken notes of everything you just posted on this hub.

Mahamood on December 17, 2012:

please i wanna setup my own workshop, enlight me sir

martellawintek on December 02, 2012:

yous ok jamie i got it from a friend so i think this is the link

filling address , just give them a call ,tell them martells give you there number

steven Downs on November 08, 2012:

I would like to open my own mechanic shop soon thank you

Bello-Imam Abusali on August 04, 2012:

It's good one. I would like to open a workshop.

mmekeme umosen on July 12, 2012:

Reference 9 months ago, I asked about apprenticeship. I am in Nigeria. Thank u

prakash on June 13, 2012:

thanks

Bill on May 31, 2012:

Hi i think all the mechanics & readers are on vacation or sleeping. No body make any comment from 5 weeks. Wake up every body.

bill on April 24, 2012:

James if you have full time job & you have little gravy on the side keep going same way. I am in the trade from 32 years but still it is tough for us to maintain the flow. The business is slow out there. If you can fight first 2 or 3 years then you be ok.First 2 or 3 years you have to work like Horse. Any way that what i think, may be i am wrong. Just think twice before you jump. GOOD LUCK.

Bill on April 23, 2012:

Young boy you are only 23 you need more experience by my thinking to open a new garage. But running show is easy to carry on,if you buy out your boss. But still it depend upon how much money he is asking & how much stock he has & how old is your equipment,is it worth to buy or buy new equipment. First find in your area if any other garage for sale. How much money the want & compare both side by side. If you can do 80% jobs without your boss,s help i think you can run the show.Best of luck make up your mind. GOOD LUCK.

JAMES on April 23, 2012:

What advise would you offer to the mechanic scared of taking the self employed jump who doesn't have a big bank account. Good credit, owns a home and has 3 kids and a wife. Scared of making the move and not seeing the business. I do lots of side work now in my driveway and bring lots of people into my dealership now for work but they will follow me surely. Very nervous

jim on April 10, 2012:

Great place to buy OEM parts and tire repair products online:

www.ribetautoparts.com

dtdavid85 on April 03, 2012:

If I wantes to open a motorcycle repair shop do I need to be a certified motorcycle mechanic before I can get the permits to open the shop?

Joganta Chakraborty on March 31, 2012:

Please send qutation of Bajaj Auto three wheeler repairing machineries on my E Mail ID.

Joganta chakraborty

C/O Sri Ashok Chakraborty

Barmantilla ,P.O. A.D.Nagar ,Agartala ,West Tripura.

Pin 799003.

Mobile No 09774389456.

E Mail ID Jogantachakraborty@yahooMail.com

thomson UK on March 23, 2012:

Hi and thanks for your advice, wondering if you know a company that can supply me with an up to date complete mechanic workshop equipment starting from the building to all the equipments needed,reside in london UK but looking to invest in Mechanic workshop in Lagos/Nigeria. Please help me with the companies contact infos. Thank you.

Alex on March 21, 2012:

electic cars

Olanrewuj on March 19, 2012:

I am very glad the way you ex plane it to me thanks .But to have a just little work shop cost how much

Victor james on March 16, 2012:

Well truly would want to have an auto shop and don't know how to go about it.

los on March 05, 2012:

its 20,000 not 20,00

toddfmarketing on March 04, 2012:

Well written and to the point. I only wish some of the shops I've worked at knew some of this, especially the parts about natural light and enough room. Working in a cramped, dimly lit shop is not fun!

Bouvat on February 28, 2012:

Thank you, your article helps i am 23 and daily dreaming about buying out my bosses or starting my own. Your article reminds me there is plenty I am not ready for.

Bill on February 21, 2012:

I think no body got answer for my tire balancer & alignment machine. I am wating from 8 days. Any body knows difference between both type of machines. Wating for answer. THANKS.

Rick on February 13, 2012:

Great article. I plan on reading the rest of yours. I am an ASE certified master tech and am planning on starting my own shop soon but don't have a huge budget to work with initially. I am planning on buying tools and special equipment as I go because I can't afford it all at once I have invested in a good scan tool already because now days with all the computers there isn't much you can do without one do you have any other advice for me. I am young only 23 but have a lot of ambition and really want to make this shop work.

Bill on February 13, 2012:

I like to buy tire balancer & alignment machine. Can you help me to deside what to buy. I have two in my mind Geoliner 780 John bean & Hunter Hawk eye elite.Balancer Hunter road force & Hofman Diagnostic Geodyna Optima. Thanks.

startmybusiness81 on February 05, 2012:

I also thought your hub is very informative, i have a question though,what type of business classes do you think would be benificial or necessary to run the business?

Levison on January 24, 2012:

i read this article 3 months ago and only juicced out a few information from it, i still have the paper i wrote the points i needed. Me and my father are running a domestic auto repair shop putting close to 3thousand dolls a month already. not bad for me, i never earned anything before.

Great article Ernest!

indian_bs12 on January 22, 2012:

hii sir!!!!!!!!

namstye

i want to start a bussiness like u.....i m from india ..and i m from middel class family ..i was completed my mechanical engineering from india...than what i can do for achive my goal can u give me advise about it ...plzzzzz

Karim on January 16, 2012:

Hi, I'm intersted in starting an auto repair shop business, I was graduated as a mechanical engineer outside the US and couldn't get a job here in the US so I went to school and get an AS degree in heavy equipment diesel mechanic I have been working for years for a company with a fleet of hundreds of trucks doing the maintenance and repair, although I don't work on cars but I know every bit about them as I service my cars by myself, I'm in my early 40's and I don't have any experience in dealing with business, should I take some classes for that?

whiplash71 on January 15, 2012:

hello, i work for my brother in his auto repair shop.it only has 3 hoists so its not very big. He has a hard time bringing in money, i was wondering if you could give me some advice. he is a very caring and honest person, he has alot of costomers that count on him and trust him that has known him for years. He doesn't over charge anybody and he doesn't try scamming people, his labor rates is 65 an hour. he sometimes quotes out a job and in the end it turns out to be more than what he quotes it to be but he still charges them the amount he quoted it for, so he then looses out on money. He has alot of jobs most of the time but has trouble making good money on it and mostly every good job takes longer or something else goes wrong so he looses out on it. He works 6 days a week between 10-15 hours a day, dealing with the costomers taking calls and working on the cars, he works his butt off, has nothing to show for it and makes nothing in the end, barly enough to pay his bills. thanks for your time, hope you can help

FutureMechanic on January 12, 2012:

Nice hub. I'm thinking bout opening my own shop once I'm out of school. I have a few more years though

CIDO on January 08, 2012:

Where can I get most of the equipment especially the hoist?

mike on January 03, 2012:

Lor of good stuff in this article but there is no way you can do 1 million a year out of 2 working bays. I have been working on cars for 28 years and there is not enough time in the day to turn that over unless you are 4 or 500 an hour. Please tell me that was a dream he was having. USA Thanks Mike

Ldrjr from Alabama on December 31, 2011:

That shop is very nice. The concrete advise is soooooo true you might not understand it but take his advise if your starting

Emeka Tochukwu on December 28, 2011:

please how can i get the used equipments to buy at very cheaper amount.

contact me @ ballack4real@yahoo.com

Godsent Osuji on December 27, 2011:

Hi, i am so delighted over the article of yours on net concerning on how to start up an auto repair shop.Hope tat one day i will unfailingly my own work shop.I have no idea on auto mobile repairs but i so much have passion on automobile repairs that i want to start up my own,but i know i will make it huge when i start.I am from Nigeria,south-east of Nigeria precisely.My e-mail is godsbest2all@yahoo.com.Pllease write to me more on how to start up my Biz.

Rai on December 11, 2011:

Hi

Thanks for the HUB which is very important.

kens precision auto care glendale az on December 01, 2011:

i just found your site and must say , great job. i have been a tech for 40 years and fix what most dont take the effort too. i opened my own shop in glendale a year ago and it took off good, with customers that know me and people who heard about us. we have really low prices and i find runnings adds do not help with bringing in new customers and costs are to high for big adds to compete with the multi chain stores. now with the holidays here it has been really up and down , what would you suggest for bringing in new clients and how would you get the word out. i am a master certified tech , ase and asa and federal emissions , along with michigan certs in 16 areas , i take great pride in my work and not a big comeback rate, your information is great and all the equipment list you had we had when i opened, we do it all in house including valve grinding , tires , wheels , engine rebuilds and transmissions . any input on how to make better would be thankfull . thank you

koolsnoop on November 28, 2011:

thanks hub, the info was amazing, im a graduate of engineering in Africa, and i had big plans to open up my own garage,i was writing up a proposal for the shop when i saw ur column, really helpful, scared me a little , but im still determined as ever, i might need a little specifications on machine names so i can make orders from the US, most of those i see here are quite...just ok...pls reply

KrazyTurk on November 28, 2011:

very useful guide mate thanks for your time on writing this down & helping us out with setting up a mechanical business.

htodd from United States on November 26, 2011:

That's really useful information those who are looking to open garage repair business

Kim Ponce on November 25, 2011:

Looking to buy some equipment for a new shop. Any particular brands I should stay clear off? or any brands you would suggest? Looking at tire changers and balancers now. Too many out there!! LOL

Harry on November 25, 2011:

Hello there, I don't have a high ceiling in my new tire change shop. I need some advice as to how to go about this for wheel alignment and balancing. Some people recommend me to dig in a ditch like old times. Please advise of there any equipment out there that doesn't need the car to be lifted up high

tj on November 24, 2011:

hi. Am a car enthusiast and been working on cars for years in africa, zimbabwe. I want to start an auto shop in 2012. The info i got from u is priceless, bless you.

eugenemike on November 23, 2011:

thanx for the good article,i intend to own a repair shop one day,i have a background in mechanical engineering and have worked in an auto shop but currently working as a rig mechanic

jessicatools from Atlanta, GA on November 17, 2011:

Nice Hub Earnest, this is a valuable service to small communities or neighborhoods in larger cities. Thanks for posting this.

Robert Nyirenda - South Africa on November 17, 2011:

Thanks for this hub, I just want to start a tyre only workshop and I think I now have an idea of machinery required.

Stewart J on November 03, 2011:

This article is so helpful. Thanks!!! I am thinking, seriously thinking, about opening my own auto shop. This is what I've been doing for years.. but didn't know where or how to start...

CD on November 03, 2011:

hi earnest, that was really informative. I am planning to start a hot rod - restoration workshop rather than a regular conventional one. how different would the setup be ?

Cathy on October 30, 2011:

Hi, Im very much interested in putting up an auto repair shop here in the Philippines. the only problem is that i dont have any knowledge about it. and im only 22. could you please give me a site where I could download or read some business plan in relation to this kind of business. thanks :)

Harry on October 28, 2011:

Hi Earnest!

How do you feel about an auto repair

franchise.

I want to get into auto repair, but because

of lack of management skills, I'm contemplating

buying a franchise.

earnestshub (author) from Melbourne Australia on October 25, 2011:

Hello Pancho, I wish you and your brother well in your new business.

A couple of things comes to mind. Conserve capital for quiet times, and manage the business financially so that it can reinvest in stock and allow for growth.

Be clever with advertising, ensuring that you have a unique angle that makes your business stand out.

Choose a top location with high visibility if you can. If you are hidden away you will have to promote more and be more innovative, but it can be done successfully if you get strong referrals.

I hope this helps, but do feel free to ask any questions you may have.

pancho on October 25, 2011:

Great post Earnestshub,

I'm also from Melbourne, currently in the process of putting together a business plan to establish a new workshop in the west suburbs.

The plan is to establish the new shop in partnership with my Brother who is a motor mechanic with approx 7 years’ experience (really knows his stuff and has managed the last two garages his worked at) has also worked in both dealerships and private garages. I'm a computer engineer with a business degree, so I’m hoping these skills will work well together to ensure our success.

We are both pretty young (I think) I’m 31 and my brother is 26, so we are both pretty driven and enthusiastic.

We already own a fair amount of equipment that will hopefully help keep our start-up costs down.

I plan to continue working in my field and have more of a background involvement with the garage.

Apart from the excellent advice you have already given any further tips?

earnestshub (author) from Melbourne Australia on October 20, 2011:

Thank you very much for reading my hub Linda. I wish you every success in your new venture.

AndrewO on October 20, 2011:

We are considering setting up a 12-bay (possibly increasing to 24-bay)auto service center, covering a variety of vehicle models in Nigeria. We are looking to engage a company to build a turnkey workshop and provide the core mechanical expertise to run the workshop for an initial period of 24 months. Would you have any recommedations of such companieshere in the USA.

Linda on October 20, 2011:

Thank you so much for the information. My husband and I are looking into opening a repair shop at the beginning of the year. He is an excellent mechanic with over 20 yrs experience. He has managed shops in the past and is tired of making money for someone else and wants to make it for himself now. We plan on opening in a small town in Texas. His childhood hometown that only has 2 shops at the present time. We are really excited and your hub just put us on cloud nine. Thank you.

earnestshub (author) from Melbourne Australia on October 19, 2011:

I see Lerato. I may be able to find one around here. Which country are you in?

Lerato Mafa on October 19, 2011:

Thank you for giving me the answer but I would like to see the block or schematic control and power circuit of a 4 post car lift.

earnestshub (author) from Melbourne Australia on October 18, 2011:

I don't reply by email Marty, I don't have the time to answer the many queries I get by email, so reply directly from my articles as soon as I am able.

I would be doing the masters in Mech Engineering if I were you, while gaining some practical experience in a repair business to get a handle on tool and equipment use.

The mobile market is good where I am, but I do not know enough about the automotive trade in Nigeria to make an honest estimate of the market there.

An MBA or at least a good understanding of business is most helpful as well.

Mobile or not, you will need good people skills to be successful in the automotive repair market.

Trust is paramount in this business.

earnestshub (author) from Melbourne Australia on October 16, 2011:

Hello Mohammed.

If I were you I would contact allstates in America and ask them about equipment. They will be able to put you in touch with a supplier, or ship equipment from America.

mohammed on October 16, 2011:

I would like to do automotive work shop

could i know supplier to supply all equipment at europe

B.RGDS

mohammed

muhammedhabbas@yahoo.com

earnestshub (author) from Melbourne Australia on October 14, 2011:

Sorry to here how tough it was in Pakistan, it's not easy anywhere.

When I started there were many people going broke on the usual 3-4% net margin most workshops make.

I was profitable from day one, as I had very little in the way of outgoings.

My first well built workshop was comfortably in good profit within a year from scratch. I have always been service driven and a lot of the mechanics here were average in my opinion.

My engineering background was a huge asset, as I could not only make new parts, but modify and correct design faults. I was also young energetic and hard working.

Irfan from Adelaide, Australia on October 14, 2011:

Great hub earnest. I was wondering about how long it took you to break even? I did start-up in Pakistan 3 years ago and the projections didn't look good at all, which is why i quit after 2.5 years. (although i had good loyal customers who even came from different cities). Most mechanics used to cheat the customers and made much more than i did with a lot less equipment. Tough market.

earnestshub (author) from Melbourne Australia on October 13, 2011:

There are several different types of lift and several control systems.

Some hoists are purely electrical and have a belt driven worm drive , others have hydraulic over electrical where the hydraulic pump is attached to the motor directly and operates by pumping oil into the ram or rams.

The power circuit is almost exclusively 3 phase 400 volts AC. The control panel is mounted where it can be reached by an adult with switching and overload circuits.