If you’re interested in cars, why not consider starting a car franchise? As a car repair specialist, you could enjoy a dynamic and profitable career, helping to solve customer problems and make crucial repairs each working day. Plus, as a franchisee, you’d be a business owner at a lower level of risk.
Running your own business can be difficult, but franchising makes it simple. In 2018, fewer than 1% of franchise units closed citing commercial failure [British Franchise Association] compared to a much higher percentage of start-ups, so can expect to enjoy plenty of job security.
And, when it comes to demand for garage repairs, the UK is a real hotbed for car repairs. With over 31.7 million cars owned across Great Britain [RAC], there is always demand for car repairs. In this article, you’ll discover exactly how to become a car repair expert in the world of franchising.
What does a car repair specialist do?
There are many different kinds of car repair contained under the sector umbrella. Some car repair franchise businesses offer a wide range of services, while some have specific specialisms. ChipsAway, for example, is a SMART repair service provider focused on paint and bodywork, while franchises like Optic-Kleer offer the perfect opportunity for you to become a windscreen repair specialist and work in that specific niche. Generally speaking, though, a car repair specialist is responsible for:
- Talking to/advising/negotiating with customers
- Finding and diagnosing faults
- Estimating times and costs
- Repairing and replacing faulty parts
- Road testing vehicles
- Carrying out scheduled servicing and maintenance
- Fitting accessories
- Checking stock levels and parts
- Updating service records
Some specialists operate out of a garage, while other repair technicians are van-based. If you’re interested in entering the industry, you should know that the key advantages of owning an auto repair franchise are:
- Strong and steady demand, resulting in a strong and steady source of income
- The ability to thrive in any economic climate
- The fact that your services are specialist and can’t be replaced by online alternatives
- The chance to benefit from expert franchisor training and ongoing support
- The chance to be your own boss and be flexible about your hours
How to start a car repair franchise
If, armed with a strong understanding of what a car specialist does each day, you’re preparing to make an investment, here are the three steps you’ll need to cover in order to set yourself up for success as the owner of a car repair franchise...
1. Review your skills and qualifications
Though you’re unlikely to need a qualification or much experience to succeed as a franchisee, you might feel better prepared if you’re able to enter the industry with a qualification.
If this is the case, consider a Level 2 Diploma in Light Vehicle Maintenance and Repair or a Level 3 Diploma in Vehicle Technology. Beyond this, consider your own skills. Ask yourself if you have the necessary transferable skills to succeed in the automotive repair industry. You will need skills like:
- Physical fitness
- Technical ability
- Customer service
- Problem-solving and initiative
- Attention to detail
2. Get to know the market and choose your specialism
Once you feel confident enough, it’ll be time to reach out to potential franchises. Start your market research on not just the franchise opportunities that appeal to you, but the entire automotive industry. What do you want the shape of your career to be? Do you want to be managerial or hands-on? Do you want to be repairing tires, or doing bodywork, or fixing chipped and cracked windscreens? Every specialism is different, so you should get to know them all to find your fit.
Don’t forget to assess every opportunity carefully based on your own needs, paying attention to available operational locations and total investment costs. The last thing you want to do is overinvest and saddle yourself with a responsibility you’re unable to adequately fulfill. Bear in mind that van-based repair franchises will tend to be a lower cost investment than starting a full repair garage franchise (with lower overheads, too).
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3. Do your due diligence prior to investing
Having found an opportunity that you think really suits you, it’ll be time to do your due diligence and ensure that you’re fully aware of the franchise you’re investing with, from its financial situation all the way to its reputation with current franchisees. Leave no stone unturned and ensure that your investment is a sound one by looking into:
- The franchise’s history and track record
- The franchisor’s history and track record
- The amount of time it will take you (at an estimate) to recoup your investment
- The level and kind of support and training you’ll be entitled to as a franchisee
Franchise opportunities in the car repair industry
If you’re wondering where to start your research as you begin your journey towards a career as a car repair specialist, here are a few franchise investment opportunities worth considering...
1. Screen Rescue
Screen Rescue was founded in 2012, is known for its outstanding customer service and high-quality repairs, and is the UK’s only windscreen and glass repair franchise operating exclusively in the automotive industry (within all commercial vehicle sectors).
- Becoming a Screen Rescue franchisee: You don’t need any specific experience with windscreen and glass repair to become a franchisee, but you should be friendly, ambitious and driven.
- How much you need to invest: You’ll need to make a minimum initial investment of £19,750, with a total investment cost of £35,000.
- What you get for your investment: You’ll receive 10 days of induction training, an assisted business launch, territory visits and business development support. You’ll also be entitled to ongoing coaching, NVQ assessments and accreditations.
2. Revive! Auto Innovations
Revive! Auto Innovations was founded in 1994 and has since become a nationwide franchise. The business’s team of technicians specialises in alloy wheel repair and repairing damage to car paintwork, including bumper scuffs and minor chips.
- Becoming a Revive! Auto Innovations franchisee: You don’t need any industry experience, but you will need to be commercially astute, organised and good at communicating, able to build a rapport and establish relationships with local dealers.
- How much you need to invest: You’ll need to make a minimum initial investment of £14,000, with a total investment cost of £32,000.
- What you get for your investment: You’ll receive a comprehensive package of initial training and ongoing support, including business management training, marketing and branding guidance and support with technician recruitment.
Become a car repair technician and build a successful franchise business
If you have a passion for cars and a desire to be your own boss, it’s likely that you would thrive in the automotive industry, particularly as a franchisee. But franchise business ownership comes in two parts: One part passion for the work, one part effort and dedication. Continue your research on what it takes to be a successful franchisee by discovering the five mistakes first-timers are prone to making, or the four most common habits of successful business owners.
Lily Sweeney, Point Franchise ©