How to Start a Home Auto Repair Business

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A home-auto-repair shop allows you to work your own schedule.
A home-auto-repair shop allows you to work your own schedule. (Image: garage image by Gerd Reiber from Fotolia.com)

If you are well-experienced with vehicles and enjoy working on them as a hobby, you might consider starting a home-based auto repair business. This is a perfect option if you want to work according to your own schedule and not by that of a large commercial business. After a few legal hurdles, you can have your own auto-repair business up and running in no time.

Things You'll Need

  • zoning approval permit
  • business license
  • garage or shed with shelter
  • tools
  • car parts
  • safety equipment
  • phone number

Contact your city or county zoning and planning office to ensure your desired location for an auto shop can be approved. If you live in a neighborhood, the area might not be suitable for a commercial auto-repair shop, even if it is small and on your property. Not doing this might result in fines from your locality and a closure of your business. If the department approves the zoning request, you can register your business and obtain your business license. The Internal Revenue Service needs this documentation for tax identification purposes.

Construct a garage or prepare an area that will be used as a backyard auto-repair location. You can easily convert your home’s garage into an auto repair hub by cleaning out any personal storage and making space for tools and vehicles. Have adequate shelter over the area so water or snow does not damage the vehicles or repair equipment.

Purchase or gather the equipment you will need for car repairs. This includes all regular tools such as wrenches, sockets, air pressure tanks, vehicle fluids and much more. Contact specialty auto part suppliers to get discounts off of parts you need. This might include oil filters, belts and spark plugs. Be sure to buy safety equipment as well, such as mechanic gloves and safety glasses. Obtain a welding mask if you plan on welding axles or frames together.

Advertise your business in local newspapers or the yellow pages if desired. If you live in a populated area, advertising can attract quite a few customers. Make sure you are ready for an influx of people to visit your garage. Include a phone number on the advertisement for easy contact. Also consider talking to local towing companies and insurance agents so your garage can be placed on their list of referrals.

Tips & Warnings

  • Be a responsible and trustworthy mechanic. This will help better your reputation and customers might possibly refer their friends to you.
  • Keep in contact with customers. If their car is in the garage for multiple days, give them an update on the repair progress. Never ignore a customer or "forget" about them.
  • Ensure your garage has a window or proper ventilation to allow gas fumes to escape. An ill-ventilated space might cause breathing difficulties or carbon monoxide inhalation for anyone inside.

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