Automotive industry is one of the most exciting fields nowadays, due to exciting new technologies which are being implemented. We are not just talking about all the bells and whistles, as well as different electronic systems you might find on a car, but also about stuff like hybrid or electric engines and self-driving vehicles. This makes companies like Tesla one of the most exciting businesses around, but it also introduces both new challenges and advantages.
Yet, despite all this hi-tech stuff, automotive retail businesses have remained largely unchanged, unlike most other brick-and-mortar business. And it’s probably going to stay that way, because of the physical nature of the business. Customers still need to drive their cars to their mechanic of choice. There are over 228,000 auto body shops in the US alone which aren’t going away anytime soon, since the number of vehicles on the road is constantly growing.
However, you can still benefit a lot by treating your automotive business much like you would a startup by relying on new technologies and tools. Let’s take a look at what you need to do to jumpstart it, no pun intended.
- Earn Relevant Certificates
One of the best things you can do for your automotive retail business is to obtain one or more certificates issued by the ASE, which is short for National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence. These certificates hold a great deal of weight in the industry, and they also aid you in establishing your business as a place of authority for customers. Apart from that, you will also need different certificates in order to save money, because having non-certified mechanics on staff will lead to more expensive insurance.
Last, but not least, ASE certificates enable you to become familiar with all the latest developments in the automotive industry, and adopt new knowledge which will help you become more competent, whether we are talking about better diagnosis or superior customer service. According to UK Assignment Holic manager, Tim Hudson, their revenue has gone up by 20%, simply due to their staffers obtaining relevant industry certifications.
- Decide Between Specialized or General Repairs
This is something that you will have to decide before doing anything else really. As in the case of any business, you will need to know who your target audience is, whether you are running an auto shop or an essay writer service. However, since automotive is not your typical industry, there are some considerations you need to keep in mind. First of all, deciding between being general and specialized repairs depending on the skills and experience of your and your staff.
Second, you will need to take a look at whether or not there is a need for your type of automotive retail business in the area. Third, you will have to look into your competition. For instance, if you want to open up a shop which repairs Ford vehicles, keep in mind that there are plenty of those around, which makes location an important factor. On the other hand, if you are planning on focusing on restoring classic cars, your market may be small, but it’s not uncommon for owners of these cars to ship their vehicles to remote shops. Of course, you can only do that by building a stellar reputation first. Whatever your decision may be, rest assured that there will be plenty of work waiting for you, since about 6.9 million cars were sold in the US alone in 2016.
- Calculate the Costs
Starting an automotive retail business is more expensive that starting most other types of business. Why? Well, not only do you have to provide space for your shop, but you also need to buy tools, supplies, equipment, insurance, as well as play your staff. You also need to think about marketing your business, but we will get to that in one of the following paragraphs. Renting, as opposed to buying, is cheaper, but then it becomes more difficult to expand and make changes.
Also, one of the most common problems for startups is cash flow, according to Best Essay CFO Matthew Donner, so you need to make sure that you are directing your cash to where it’s really needed, as well as to check out if your automotive business is able to get a loan or a line of credit from a bank or an online lender in case there are some unforeseen expenses, or if you want to hire more staff.
- Beef Up Your Marketing
While making sure that the quality of your service is impeccable is essential, spreading the word about your automotive business and getting it in front of the eyes of your target audience is nearly as important. For this, you will have to roll up your sleeves and reach out to your customers using several different channels and methods. For starters, creating an official website and blog, as well as accounts on all relevant social networks goes without saying. Then, you need to start doing SEO, which is crucial for high ranking. High-quality content can help do that, as well as building backlinks, and targeting relevant keywords in your niche.
In addition to running social media campaigns and engaging your followers, you should think about customer loyalty programs, special offers, and discounts, especially for your repeat customers. Organizing an official opening event and inviting local media representatives can also help you get your foot in the door.
- It Is All about How Good Your Staff Is
Running your own business is great, but one of the more challenging aspects is hiring other people that will help your business thrive. Seeing as you are unlikely to be the only employee working there, you will have to select the right people for other positions, as well as to reward them fairly for their skills and hard work. If you are not paying them enough and/or if they are under constant pressure, you risk them leaving and finding a job with one of your competitors.
Also, you need to make sure that they know how to work with customers, because that can make or break your business. Most people form their impression about a particular business, especially retail, based on interactions they have had with the staff, and not just the quality of their service or skills. You need to build trust between you and your customers, and having great people on your staff is just the way to do it.
Running your own automotive business certainly comes with its own set of challenges, but if you decide to implement these tips, you will have no trouble turning your company into a success story. One thing is for sure: you will not run out of customers anytime soon. Good luck!
Michael Gorman is a blogger at paperwritingpro.com and a part-time content creator at the Best Essays agency. He is a digital marketing expert, but as a passionate driver, Michael loves to write about the automotive industry as well. Michael is a father of two lovely kids and an amateur long-distance runner. Feel free to contact Michael on Twitter and Facebook.