Are you a car lover? Do you love to drive, have a passion for the craftsmanship of cars and are curious about the engineering that goes into each vehicle? Well, what if you could turn your enthusiasm into a career?
Today, we explore the topics surrounding starting an automotive business, including the qualifications that are required. But before we get started, let’s examine the current state of the industry and the leading manufacturing companies.
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Automotive manufacturing companies
The automotive industry is an essential part of the UK economy, turning over more than £82 billion and adding £20.2 billion of value to the UK economy.
Automotive companies up and down the country employ more than 856,000 people, with 186,000 employed directly in manufacturing. More than 30 manufacturers build over 70 different models of vehicle in the UK, supported by 2,500 component providers and some of the world’s most skilled engineers.
Largest automotive companies
Over 2.5 million cars were registered in the UK during 2017 according to the SMMT (Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders). Of these, the top five best-selling cars were Ford with 287,396, Volkswagen with 208,462, Vauxhall with 195,137, Mercedes-Benz with 180,970 and BMW with 176,101.
Ford continues to be the best-selling car brand in the UK, even though sales decreased by 10 percent in 2017. Despite losing half a percentage point of market share, Ford maintained its standing as the favourite car for Brits.
Volkswagen became the second best-selling car brand in the UK for the first time in 2017. Volkswagen improved from third position, thanks to Vauxhall’s miserable performance with sales decreasing by a massive 22 percent.
Starting an automotive business
Why is starting an automotive business a good idea?
Well, we’ve already established that the automotive industry is booming and presents scope for numerous lucrative business opportunities. But why else is starting an automotive business a good idea? Well, at the moment there are around 31.3 million cars on our roads in the UK, which are bound to need some sort of service at some point or another.
Also, starting your own automotive business allows you to make your dreams a reality. Maybe you’ve worked as a mechanic for years and know the trade in and out, but you’re now looking for a career progression? Or maybe you’ve always worked in a completely different sector and want to try something new? Starting your own automotive business can allow you to do something that you love every day, whilst benefiting from all the perks of being your own boss.
You have flexibility over your hours, which should help promote a healthier work/life balance. Also, you don’t have a boss to answer to and you are in control how the business is run.
As they say, ‘with great power comes great responsibility’. While you may not have someone higher up the hierarchy telling you what to do, you need to be motivated enough to put the required hours in to make the business a success. On top of this, you will need to motivate a whole team of employees. Running your own business isn’t an easy ride, especially in the early stages, so be prepared to work hard.
What type of career can I have in the automotive industry?
The good news is, there is a vast range of career options to choose from. Each will require a different skillset and qualifications, of course. You might want to focus on tyre repair, car washing, fixing engines or even car rental. There are numerous routes you can take to these roles, so let’s now take a closer look at the different qualifications you need to start an automotive business.
What qualifications do you need to start an automotive business?
As the automotive industry is so varied, we’ll focus this section on the qualifications you would need to start an automobile repair business. It should be noted that some automotive business owners will have entered the industry with no previous experience in mechanics. However, for added credibility, it might be best to have experience or qualifications in the sector. If you don’t already have these but want to go straight to business ownership, see our article about buying into an existing automotive franchise.
To become a motor mechanic, you can take a college course or an apprenticeship. You can study a Level 2 Diploma in Light Vehicle Maintenance and Repair or Level 3 Diploma in Vehicle Technology and then apply to work as a trainee with a garage. Or, you can complete an intermediate or advanced apprenticeship as a motor vehicle service and maintenance technician. This will include training on the job and spending time with a training provider or college.
Automotive franchise opportunities
A great way to turn your passion into a career is to invest in a franchise. There are plenty of automotive companies that offer franchise opportunities to suit all interests and budgets. Here are just some of the automotive companies that you could become part of.
Hometyre is a mobile tyre service brand that continually strives to make innovative developments in the industry. Offering a convenient tyre replacement service, Hometyre attends callouts at their clients’ homes and places of work. This is a tremendous van-based opportunity.
If you choose to become a franchisee, you’ll attend a three-step training programme. The first week is focused on teaching you all about the technical aspects of the Hometyre franchise. The following week, you’ll get to put all of your learning into practice as you go on the road with an existing franchisee. The final week of training gives you the opportunity to ask any remaining questions or air any concerns that you may have.
Now that you know everything needed to operate your new franchise, you can concentrate on getting it off to the best possible start while Hometyre handles your sales enquiries and restocking. This allows you to be committed to providing exceptional customer service to your client base.
If you’re great with people, can build a strong client base and you’re willing to work in all winds and weathers, this could be the franchise for you. The cost of setting up your Hometyre franchise will be around £40,000, depending on the van you purchase.
With over 50 years of experience, Autoglym is a reputable brand that started developing and distributing car cleaning products to professional valeters, garages and workshops in 1965. Following frequent requests from non-professionals for similar products, the range was increased in 1986 to cater to the domestic car cleaning market.
To become an Autoglym franchisee, you’ll need to be relatively knowledgeable about car parts and accessories so that you can provide a professional and expert service to your clients. From an investment perspective, you’ll need to afford the £50,000 franchise fee to get your business up and running. Once accepted, you’ll be granted an exclusive territory with enough earning potential to ensure that you achieve the maximum possible income.
You’ll also be given training on all the main aspects of your business. The comprehensive training programme covers topics such as product information, sales, marketing, customer support and IT systems. If you feel you need additional coaching or support once your business has started, the Autoglym team of professional trainers will be on hand to help.
Statista states that a record 37.9 million tourists visited the UK in 2018; this is excellent news for the car rental market.
One of the most well-known car rental franchises is Sixt. Martin Sixt started the company in Germany in 1912. Martin’s family still run the business today, which has evolved over the past century with it now boasting more than 5,000 locations in more than 110 countries. This expansion has been made possible thanks to the franchise opportunities, which were introduced to the company in 1998.
Unsurprisingly, a franchise such as Sixt with its size and reputation requires a significant investment. The cost of becoming a franchisee is in the region of £440,000 and, in return, you'll receive a world-class training and support package.
You’ll also get help to find the perfect mix of fleet vehicles, as well as all the coaching you need to own and operate a profitable franchise. Training sessions and workshops are held in the UK and the state-of-the-art training academy at Head Office in Munich.
Unfortunately, Sixt is no longer looking to expand its UK franchise network with us. But keep checking back to see if the opportunity opens again.
Becky Martin, Point Franchise ©