Professional transformation isn’t always easy, but if making a career change is something you’re ready to do, franchising in the car repair industry is an extremely viable and exciting option. Here’s everything you need to know about navigating a smooth transition between your current job and an investment in a car repair franchise.
Over 31.7 million cars are owned across Great Britain [RAC], and this fact alone should speak to how solid an investment in the car repair industry is. There will never be a lack of demand, and your business will be largely recession-proof. Whether you definitely want to become a car repair specialist or you’re weighing up your options, keep reading. This article is a great place to get informed.
Why start a car repair franchise?
The motor vehicle maintenance and repair industry is worth £27 billion, and employs over 200,000 [IBISWorld]. If you’re looking for hands-on work in a lucrative area that enjoys steady demand, look no further than a car garage franchise. Even beyond the biggest benefit of ongoing demand, there are other advantages to running a repair franchise. Advantages like:
- Lots of variety in terms of day-to-day work
- The chance to help new people each day and work directly with customers
- A great work-life balance
- Access to an existing customer base and a proven business model
- Access to plenty of franchisor training and support
Fixing [cars] requires special expertise that most people no longer have. This is where the long-term value of owning an auto repair business comes in. As technology continues to advance, the demand for auto repair will only continue to increase, along with the value of your “expert” designation.
- Barb Moran, Small Biz Club
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Making a career change with a car repair franchise
There are many different profitable automotive franchises in the UK, and many of these in the specific sector of car repair. You’ll find, as you deepen your research, that there’s no shortage of franchise networks for you to join. But that doesn’t mean you should rush into anything.
Before you sign on the dotted line and make a legal commitment to any of these franchises, it’s important (for your own financial and professional future) that you cover the following three bases...
1. Assess the suitability of your skills (and consider getting qualifications)
Step one of making a career change with a car repair franchise and ensuring that the career change is successful in the long term is as follows: Ensure that you would be a good fit for the industry, based on your existing qualifications, skills, strengths and weaknesses. If you wouldn’t be, you’ll have a much harder time finding success and building a profitable franchise business from the ground up.
Though you generally won’t need any industry experience to invest, you might find that if you don’t have any, you want to prepare for your role by completing a qualification. If that’s the case, look into a Level 2 Diploma in Light Vehicle Maintenance and Repair, or a Level 3 Diploma in Vehicle Technology.
If not, do still take the time to assess your transferable skills. To become a car repair specialist and build a successful career in the automotive industry, you’ll need the following skills and abilities:
- Customer service
- Problem-solving and initiative
- Attention to detail
- Technical ability
- Physical fitness
2. Do your research (on the industry and the available opportunities)
Having determined that opening a car repair garage would suit you well, it’s time to get to know the industry via some extensive and deep research. You might, for instance, collate information from a range of franchise opportunity descriptions to discover the kinds of common daily tasks you’ll be expected to complete as a franchisee. To get you started, here are some of those:
- Communicating and negotiating with customers
- Estimating times and costs
- Finding and diagnosing vehicle faults
- Repairing and replacing faulty parts
- Road testing vehicles
- Carrying out scheduled servicing and maintenance
- Fitting accessories
- Checking stock levels and parts
- Updating service records
- Managing a team of engineers
You should be looking into not just the opportunities available to you, but the wider automotive world. What does it look like? How is it doing in 2021? What can you expect your role to look like as a result?
Also, ask yourself whether you’d like to operate more broadly in car repair, or find a sub-sector - like windscreen repair - in which to thrive. Becoming a windscreen repair specialist is similar to becoming a car repair specialist in many ways, but as windscreen repair companies are more niche, it might offer you a better chance of cornering the market in your local area.
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3. Consider costs (and not just that initial investment)
The cost of starting a franchise will be a huge determining factor here, and as you’re narrowing down your pool of potential investment options, it’s something you should be paying very close attention to. Not just to the initial investment amount, either, but to the other costs you’ll need to cover, like ongoing operating, royalty and marketing fees (charged in some combination by many franchisors).
If you can’t afford an investment (or you’ll be extremely financially stretched by it), it probably isn’t the ideal option for you. Keep looking, and only sign a franchise agreement with a company that’s a true financial fit. As of 2018, the average cost of starting a franchise was £42,200 [British Franchise Association], but as you can imagine, this figure varies widely. Here are some examples from the car repair industry:
- ChipsAway - To become a ChipsAway franchisee, you’ll need to make a minimum initial investment of £15,000, with a total investment cost of £29,995.
- Revive! Auto Innovations - To become a Revive! Auto Innovations franchisee, you’ll need to make a minimum initial investment of £14,000, with a total investment cost of £32,000.
- Screen Rescue - To become a Screen Rescue franchisee, you’ll need to make a minimum initial investment of £19,750, with a total investment cost of £35,000 and a management fee charged at 10%.
- Etyres - To become an Etyres franchisee, you’ll need to make a minimum initial investment of £24,000.
Enter the booming automotive industry and start running your own business today
Hopefully, this article has shown you exactly how to smoothly move into the car repair industry. But if you’re curious about the wider automotive world, don’t stop your research here. There are plenty of automotive investment opportunities out there, from waterless car cleaning business No-H2O, to valeting product provider Autoglym.
Cara Squires, Point Franchise ©