Car Industry Franchises: Start Your Own Business

19/10/2018 18:00 | Start a business

car industry

The UK car industry is going through some seismic changes right now. Not only does the future of manufacturing hang in the balance as significant players examine the manufacturing landscape post-Brexit, but people are now starting to change the way they think about transport and its relationship to the environment. Green technology is pushing its way into what has been a historically environmentally-unfriendly business. To make money and to make sure jobs in the car manufacturing industry in the UK are safeguarded, automotive companies are going greener by the day.

For those who are interested in car industry franchises, these changes mean thinking outside the usual box, and looking at opportunities that are not just profit-orientated, but future-proofed too. What kind of businesses offer all that, and a solid return on your initial investment? Lets take a look at the car industry franchises on offer, and how to start your own business.

The trickle-down effect

Car industry growth went unchecked for decades, but in the last few years has experienced a significant slow-down in both investment and interest. Were not just talking about the big boys here, but those auxiliary businesses that service the automotive industry with everything from parts to valet services. What affects Honda, Ford, or Vauxhall has a trickle-down effect on small automotive business franchise selling parts or providing SMART auto technology for tracking and GPS devices.

What types of franchises are on offer?

You dont necessarily have to sell cars to run an automotive franchise. You can do just as well operating a car-related franchise thats more niche or specialist. For example, you can focus on only one aspect such as windscreen replacement, tyre services, valet services, or selling specialist tools or develop a service-based business such as a chauffeur hire company, motorhome and campervan hire, or a vehicle financing operation. The trick is to spot a gap in the market in your immediate area and choose a franchise that fills that gap.

Whats already around?

If you're close to a main town or city, then there's a good chance that the tyre replacement industry is already well represented, both through chain or franchise operations and independent businesses and garages.

However, how about garages that offer a specialist alloy wheel service? There are 152million alloy wheels on UK cars, and inevitably, they get damaged or end up looking less than their best after a few thousand miles. Alloy wheels are one of those bling items that car owners are passionate about, so a service that offers a bespoke alloy wheel refurbishment and polishing service is going to be popular. This way, youre not butting up against established tyre outlets but are appealing to the same large marketplace, just in a different way.

Dinks, dents, and scratches

Sometimes, a bottle of T-cut just won't buff out that scratch or bring that scuffed paint back to life. However, taking your car to a garage can work out to be very expensive. If the scuff is the result of a fender bender then claiming on the insurance can affect your premium. That means theres a gap in the market for a mobile, affordable repair service. Thats exactly what a franchise like Revive! offers, with the benefit of a solid brand identity thats already trusted by customers across the UK.

Setting up your own one-person business offering ding-and-dent repairs may be cheaper in the short term, but what you don't have is the market clout of an established brand like Revive!. Not only do you get a business, but you get that all-important aspect that can often make or break a fledgling business the power of advertising. You also get exclusive access to a territory of around 250,000 people and the guarantee that you wont be competing with another Revive! operator in your area.

What else do you need to consider to set up your own car business?

The car industry in the UK is incredibly competitive. Because the UK has always led the way in automotive innovation, we have a long history of SMEs that are directly or indirectly connected to the primary producers. However, the success of a car business in the UK will depend on what you specialise in, and how receptive your local market is to the products or services you offer.

You'll also need to think about what kind of premises you need (it's challenging to run a car business from home unless you're dealing in very small consumables like spark plugs), or whether you want to offer a mobile service. If that's the case, then part of your investment will have to go on a vehicle, which in turn will need to be sign-written and adequately insured for business use. You may need to invest heavily at the start of your enterprise in specialist tools or equipment.

You might also need to look for suitable premises where you have adequate footfall and passing trade, as well as good parking facilities for your customers. In small towns and inner-city areas, those kinds of properties can be in very high demand, and command a premium rental value. A franchisor who can help you find the right kind of premises could be just the advantage you need. Remember, one of the most successful aspects of a business is location, location, location. Choose badly, and you could end up damaging your business' potential.

Conclusion - Future-proofing your car industry business

The reign of the petrol and diesel engines is coming to a close. Today, motorists are looking at greener, cleaner transport, with a marked increase in the sale of hybrid and eco-friendly cars. The future of the car industry, and where the majority of car industry jobs could migrate to in the next few years, is the green car industry. If youre serious about a long-term business in the automotive trade, then perhaps its time to stop selling pistons and oil pumps, and start looking at selling or servicing batteries, or the various consumables that are unique to electric or hybrid cars.

As we move towards more environmentally friendly ways of getting from A to B, business entrepreneurs looking for a long-term business opportunity in the car industry should start to examine alternatives to the suck-squeeze-bang-blow method of propelling yourself down the road. Its also well worth looking at evergreen services such as mobile valet franchises (even hybrid cars need a good clean now and then).

Consumables like tyres will always be needed, and bling such as alloy wheels will always need a polish. Elite brands will always need specialist leather seat cleaning services, for example, and those car-park bumps and scratches will always need to be buffed out. With so many opportunities, its clear that the car industry in the UK is a solid and potentially very profitable area of investment thats open to all entrepreneurs with a passion for cars.

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