How to Separate Your Auto Repair Franchise Location from the Rest: A Guide to Social Media

Large cities have an auto repair shop on almost every block. That’s why it’s so hard to compete as a franchise owner. Fortunately, social media gives you the opportunity to market your business and separate yourself from the competition. Take a look at this guide to social media to help you get started on the path to success. Social media can really help your business thrive.

Choose the Right Social Media Site

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Firstly, you need to choose one or two social media sites to market your auto repair shop. If you choose too many, you won’t have the time to update all of them and effectively engage with customers. Plus, if you’re like most auto repair shops, you don’t have the money to hire a marketing manager to handle all of your social media accounts. So, focus on one or two social media sites, especially at the beginning.

There are dozens of social media sites you can choose from to promote your auto repair franchise location, but they won’t all bring you the same success. For instance, don’t use LinkedIn because that’s for individuals trying to promote themselves. Additionally, Pinterest wouldn’t be your best use of time unless you’re going to create tutorials or take lots of pictures that people will want to share. Of course, there are advantages and disadvantages to each social media site.

The best social media site for an auto repair shop to use is Facebook. This is mainly because Facebook has more users than any other social media website, which means you can reach the largest audience. Additionally, you can use Facebook ads to target users in your area instead of wasting your advertising dollars on people who don’t live close enough to your auto repair shop to become customers.

Attract New Customers and Build Loyalty with Giveaways and Promotions

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The point of getting your auto repair shop on social media is to attract new customers. However, that’s not easy unless you have a plan. One of the most successful ways to get more followers and convert them into customers is to run giveaways and promotions on your social media accounts. For instance, you could run a giveaway where new followers get a coupon for 50 percent off an oil change. Of course, you have to do giveaways and promotions for existing followers, too, or you won’t keep them as customers.

Here are some giveaway and promotion ideas:

  • 20 percent off any auto repair work
  • $20 off safety and emissions
  • $10 for every new customer referral
  • Buy three tires, get one free
  • Free oil change with any auto repair work

Attracting new customers is an important reason to use social media, but it isn’t the only one. Social media is also a way to build loyal customers. You do this by engaging with customers and creating a relationship they’ll remember. One example of a way to engage customers as an auto repair shop is to offer quotes through social media messages.

Use Advertising to Promote Your Business on Social Media

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Word of mouth is the best way to attract new followers, but you can’t only rely on that. Most social media sites also have advertising programs that help you reach more people. Facebook is great for auto repair shops because you can target users in your same geographical area. That means you won’t be wasting money on advertising that’ll never convert to new customers. Facebook ads are typically displayed on the side bar, but they are very effective in generating new followers.

You can also use other forms of advertising to attract more social media followers. For instance, Google AdSense campaigns can target people based on their geographic location, just like on Facebook. You can also find websites with similar services to your auto repair shop and ask if they’re willing to give you an ongoing ad space. Of course, this is typically more expensive than Facebook ads or Google AdSense. You’ll have to keep your budget in mind.

If you want your auto repair shop to stand out, don’t wait to get started with social media. It takes time to build followers and convert them into customers. Just make sure that you don’t spread yourself too thin by using too many social media sites. Choose one or two social media sites and then focus on engaging followers, building loyalty, and then converting those followers into regular customers.


Top 5 Questions to Answer Before Starting an Auto Repair Franchise

Starting an auto repair shop is a big decision in your life that can completely change and improve it. However, it’s important to understand the commitments you will be making so that you can make the best long-term decisions possible.

Starting a Franchise

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Starting a brand new shop from the ground is a lot of work for even the most qualified. It takes a long time to learn every small part of your new business and it can be overwhelming at times. However, when you open up a franchise, you aren’t on your own.

Most people think that the only benefit of owning a franchise is brand recognition. While you will get this and acquire customers easily because of it, another huge benefit is the guidance you will get along the way. There are five main questions that you should be able to answer before you start an auto repair franchise. This will help you get started on the right foot and ensure success.

1. Will the Franchise Offer Training?

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Before you do anything, you need to know the exact requirements you must fulfill to start a franchise — and if you can accomplish them on your own. Depending on the specific franchises you are interested in working with, you will have to meet varying requirements. Some are strict in their expectations and require experience in the auto repair industry, professional accreditation, or certification. Others are willing to work with you along the way and teach you the main skills you will need.

The other aspect you must keep in mind is the additional parts of the business that aren’t directly related to repair skills. As the owner, you will have the final say on many big decisions involving hiring, purchasing, marketing and more. Find out if your potential franchise can train you in these regards if you lack experience. If it can, ask how much it will cost.

2. How Much Will I Make?

One of the benefits of starting an auto repair business is that people will always need service for their vehicles. Considering the franchise name recognition, too, you shouldn’t have a hard time hitting the ground running. At the same time, don’t expect to make massive profits right away. It usually takes a few years to start making a significant profit, however, factors like your experience level, work ethic, and skills can lead to much faster results.

3. How Can I Finance This?

Most people and potential franchise owners don’t have all the capital required upfront — that’s OK. In a situation like this you still usually have some options, but you need to figure them out first. The most common options are commercial leases and bank loans. However, you will likely have to put up some sort of collateral or guarantee if you decide to take a bank loan. Don’t do all this research alone; many franchises have extensive experience helping potential owners secure the best financing option.

4. What Are My Long-Term Options?

Starting a franchise isn’t a short-term venture, but that doesn’t mean you need to run it for the rest of your life. Selling the franchise is the most common thing to do if you decide you’ve had enough, but it isn’t always an easy option. Check with your franchise of interest and see if there are any limitations in your ownership. Sometimes you can get stuck on long-term lease agreements or supplier agreements that will make it more difficult. Most franchises will offer some assistance in stopping these agreements, but it’s best to be sure from the start.

5. What Kind of Marketing Will I Need?

When you first begin your shop, one of the most pressing concerns will be getting customers. Being part of a franchise will go a long way to acquiring customers, but it’s not always enough in all areas if there is tough competition and you want to stand out. To take your business to the next level, you may need to invest in a long-term marketing plan. This isn’t necessarily something you need to implement on opening day, but you should reserve a budget if needed once you’ve had the time to evaluate your success after the first few months.

Answering these five questions in detail will set the foundation of your success. Do the hard work now so that starting an auto repair franchise of your own will be easier and more profitable.


Top Ten Pieces of Advice for Starting an Auto Repair Franchise by Business Owners

According to research from the International Franchise Association, 2014 appears to be a profitable year for franchise owners, with the possibility of franchises outperforming non-franchise businesses. In light of this promising news, many people are looking for sound advice on how to start their own franchise. If you’re considering the lucrative possibilities of owning an auto repair franchise, here’s a list of the top ten pieces of advice from business owners for getting started.

10. Get Your Personal Finances in Order

Before you throw down a cause full cash on a venture, make sure your personal finances are in outstanding order. Most auto repair franchisees require an upfront investment for franchise fees and support. In addition, you’ll need cash in hand, capital, or a loan to purchase supplies, inventory, equipment, and a space to accommodate work space and customer and employee parking. With all these investments ahead of you, it’s best to have paid off most, if not all, of your personal debt.

9. Do Your Research

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When deciding which auto repair franchise to purchase, do your homework. Talk to franchise owners, customers, and employees who work for the franchises on your short list. You want to find out the positives and potential drawbacks of each operation so you can make an informed decision.

In addition, research the demand in your local market for auto repair services. Begin by evaluating competitors. Are there other auto repair franchises or just locally owned businesses? Call a few repair shops in your area to determine what the wait time is like for various services. Could you make headway with a nationally known brand that offers fast, quality service? If the answer is yes, you’re getting closer to raising the garage door on your own auto repair franchise.

8. Evaluate Business Models

Business owners know the franchiser and franchisee both need to make money to be successful. Scrutinize the profit-sharing terms of the franchises you’re considering. Find out the average percentage that owners of the top auto repair franchises have to send to the home office. Determine whether you can comply with the profit-sharing requirements of your agreement and still clear enough money to achieve what you feel is an acceptable profit margin.

7. Invest Your Time

Once you’ve done your research, selected an auto repair franchise with a sustainable business model, and signed the contract, plan to invest plenty of time getting things started. First, take advantage of all training opportunities your franchise offers. Some sessions are mandatory, but there will be optional training as well. Spend time doing all of it because you’ll learn time and money saving tips from the people who know how to make your franchise succeed.

6. Use Marketing Tools

Your auto marketing franchise has developed effective marketing materials to reinforce its brand. Use these materials to promote your new business in the local community. Consider placing branded advertisements in local newspapers, magazines, and even on local television stations.

5. Track Performance

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From the beginning, plan to track and analyze performance of your franchise by maintaining and reviewing monthly budget numbers. Besides keeping you informed on how well your business is doing, it also helps you evaluate which marketing strategies are working.Monitor how many cars your team services each month.

Take into account external factors that may influence your industry. For example, more people may visit your shop at the beginning of winter to winterize their car. Late spring and early summer may also show an increase in revenue as people get their cars tuned up before taking vacation.

4. Establish Security and Accounting Procedures


Your auto repair franchise may recommend best practices for accounting to increase the accuracy of your bookkeeping and security of your revenue. Protect your cash flow and other assets by implementing sound and secure processes for handling money.

3. Maintain Supplies


Create a schedule for ordering new supplies. Auto repair businesses need oil, other automotive fluids, nuts, bolts, and other basics. It would be disastrous to run out of these essentials and be unable to offer listed services.

2. Hire the Best People


Ensure your auto repair franchise gets off to a great start by hiring qualified workers with people skills. Select people who share your commitment to offering customers high quality, timely auto repair service. Savvy business owners know their staff can make or break their franchise.

1. Reinforce the Brand With Employees

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Help employees understand your franchise’s value proposition and what distinguishes your shop from others. Encourage them to communicate these messages to customers. Your employees should be embodiment of your company’s branding message, so ensure that they are what you want your company to represent.

What are your biggest concerns about starting your auto repair franchise?


Top 10 Tech Tools for Running an Auto Repair Franchise

So, you are thinking about taking your auto repair expertise to the next level and opening your own franchise. It’s an ambitious and challenging undertaking, but the reward makes the effort worthwhile. What are the top 10 tech tools that you will need in order to run your business?

Diagnostic Scanner

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Whether you call it a diagnostic scanner, a car code reader, or an OBD-II reader, the purpose is the same: to connect with a vehicle’s software and help you find issues that need repair. A scanner gives you a quick way to determine if that check engine light is no big deal or you have to deliver some unpleasant news to your customer.


Image via Flickr by tlwmdbt

A casual do-it-yourselfer might invest in a multimeter to keep tabs on the electrical systems in a vehicle. You, as someone who runs a professional auto repair service, should buy the best, most feature-laden multimeter you can find.

AAMCO Kwiktest PlusBox

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Every auto franchise is different, but AAMCO franchises use their Kwiktest PlusBox which, despite having a tongue-twisting name, is a handy diagnostic tool for transmissions. It helps a mechanic determine if an issue is “inside or outside of the transmission in the computer system,” as it says on the AAMCO TranScan and Diagnostic Services webpage.

Mini-Ducter II

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Some tools are not as much of a necessity as they are a luxury. The Mini-Ducter II, for example, makes it easier for mechanics to pull bearings and free axle nuts. Usually, when a rusted fastener is an issue, you need to bust out the old acetylene or propane torch to make it expand, which is tricky and sometimes dangerous. The Mini-Ducter uses induction heating to get the job done more quickly and efficiently.


Image via Flickr by Tim Gillin

Running a successful franchise means that you and your employees will at times face a high volume of work with little time in which to get it done. This makes efficiency a key, so your garage needs a tool that lets mechanics get a look at what is going on inside a vehicle without tearing it apart piece by piece. A good borescope lets you explore tight, dark corners, saving tons of time.

A good borescope is the iRis DVR X video borescope, which features a long battery life, a bright LCD screen, and text annotation capabilities.

Wireless Stethoscope

A borescope lets you see what is happening inside a vehicle, but maybe instead you need to hear what is happening. You can’t always identify a problem going off of a customer’s inaccurate (albeit humorous) imitation of a noise the car is making. A wireless stethoscope is one of the top auto mechanic tools. You clamp microphones near what you suspect is making the noise, go for a drive, and the system tells you which transmitter captured the culprit noise.


Image via Flickr by Joe Loong

Granted, lights are far from being outstanding technological marvels, but the right kind of lightning is essential in any auto repair franchise. Buying headlamps for your mechanics will spare them the trouble of holding a flashlight. Another option for under the hood repairs is a long fluorescent clip-on light.

Pressure Gauges

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Air pressure gauges, oil pressure gauges, and fuel pressure gauges are all important. You can buy basic versions or more refined digital tools. The more accurate your gauges are, the greater your ability to help customers and give them applicable advice on good driving habits to keep their vehicles in top shape.

Heavy Lifters

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Some of the most important tools in any automotive repair garage are ones that get their power from the laws of physics. A professional garage needs a high-quality hydraulic lift to give easy and safe access to the undersides of vehicles. Since car engines weigh hundreds of pounds, a good engine hoist is also an absolute must-have tool.

CRM Software

Image via AAMCO

The last technology on this list doesn’t belong in the garage. It belongs in your computers. Customer relationship management software gives you a simple way to manage customer data, including contact information, vehicle information, and services provided. It helps you establish and keep good relations with customers. The software enables you to send out timely reminders when customers’ vehicles are due for their next oil change or transmission service.

The company you choose to franchise with will likely provide you with CRM software and training on how to use it. Since effective use of this type of software is so important in a business, don’t miss a minute of that training.

Ready to embark on your auto repair franchise adventure? Investing in the right technology and learning how to make good use of it is an important step on the road to success for your business.



The Ultimate Auto Repair Franchise Launch Checklist

Launching your own auto repair franchise can be an exciting opportunity to follow your automotive passions. However, just like the cars you and your staff will be servicing, there’s a lot of research to conduct before you find the one that’s right for you. It may seem like starting your own auto repair shop would be an insurmountable task, but luckily franchises have many benefits that make the process much less of a headache.

Here’s a list of things to keep in mind before you launch your own auto repair franchise.

Find the Right Company

There are hundreds of companies to choose from, so how do you know which one will be a fit for you and your vision? If you’re looking to open up your own auto repair location, chances are you’ve worked in the industry before or visited one to get your car serviced — at the very least. Think about the location where you had the most positive experience.

Was the staff friendly and efficient? Did you find the items you were looking for? Was the store clean and well-stocked?

These can all be attributed to good leadership at that location, but if someone else could do great things with that parent company, that means you can too.

Analyze Facts and Figures

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It’s been said that franchising is like wearing five seat belts while driving — the concept is already there, the brand identity is a household name, and you’ve got the support and guidance of a successful corporate team. However, there’s no number of seatbelts that’ll keep a poorly made car from breaking down on its driver. When you’re sitting down for talks with your ideal franchise owner, be sure to ask plenty of questions pertaining to the economic viability of the franchise’s location.

What are the average annual returns? What’s the bottom line in order to keep the lights on? What’s the average wage for workers? Understanding the economic nuances of your future location will be vital down the road when you’re raising money.

Get a Professional Second Opinion

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The devil’s in the details. Everything might seem right on paper, but it’d be a good idea to check the franchiser’s business model and reputation before you invest in your own location. Make copies of the paperwork from the franchiser and run them by certified accountants and lawyers. There may be a clause in the contract that would throw you under the bus in certain unfortunate circumstances, or spreadsheets of budgets and revenues may be misleading.

The Bureau of Consumer Protection suggests checking with the Better Business Bureau of the franchiser’s home city to see what sort of complaints and lawsuits — if any — have been filed against the company.

Raise Investment Capital

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If you already have hundreds of thousands of dollars to open a franchise location with no debt, then you can ignore this section. But if you’re like the rest of us, you’re going to need some help finding the investment capital necessary to open a location. Some franchisers will actually lease equipment to you and set up financing programs — after all, they’ve worked through situations with hundreds of other would-be owners before.

Banks are also another popular source of startup money, but you’ll need to be able to pitch your business and convince lenders that it’s an economically viable venture. Having those facts and figures from the previous step will come in handy here, especially if you can produce hard evidence that these kind of stores turn a profit every day.

Hire the Right Staff

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The success of your business relies in large part on the people who make it happen. Post up job listings in all the major local outlets, including unemployment offices, newspapers, community centers, and anywhere else you think the person with the right stuff might go. Find those who seem most qualified and explore what makes them tick. Be prepared to do background checks, as well.

Open Up Shop

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You’ve got the money, the crew, the location and the plan — congratulations! Your store is up and ready to go. Now that you’re a member of the local business community, start building that rapport with your local chamber of commerce and news outlets. If you charm them just right, they’ll be your biggest allies.

Opening an auto repair franchise store is a dream many motorheads share. Determination and vision are all you need to make it happen.


When is the Best Time to Buy an Auto Repair Franchise?

If you’ve always been intrigued by the auto repair industry and would love to turn your car fixing hobby into a profitable career, then buying an auto repair franchise is an excellent idea for your situation. With so many benefits of purchasing a franchise–your business begins with a well-established brand, you receive assistance with design and equipment, and you get access to marketing and advertising efforts–there’s no reason not to start a franchise when looking to build a business.

But the question isn’t about whether you should start a franchise or not. The real question comes in when deciding if you’re ready. With a bit of risk involved in buying a franchise–although not as much as starting from the ground up, which is one of the great benefits of purchasing a franchise–you want to be sure you’re buying at the right time to ensure your business’s survival.

There’s no clear-cut answer to the question about when the right time to buy an auto repair franchise is, such as “in the summer.” The answer is based on your situation, so use this guide to determine if you’re at the proper point in your life to ensure your franchise’s success.

Have You Given Yourself Time to Let the Idea Sink In?

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Buying a franchise is a huge step. Don’t jump on the idea immediately without letting it sink in. Give yourself enough time that your initial jitters have settled down so you can make a rational decision. Talk the idea over with family or friends. What do they think about the situation? Do they encourage you, or do they feel it’s a bad idea? Take their advice to heart as they may understand better than you if you’re capable of running a business.

Have You Done Your Research?

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There’s a lot of work that goes into purchasing a franchise, so if you haven’t researched how to start a franchise and you’re still wondering what to do, you know you’re not ready. Start here to learn the basics of buying a franchise.

But learning how to open a franchise and what legal hoops you have to jump through isn’t the only research you have to do. You also have to spend the time deciding which type of franchise to buy, researching the company and their policies, determining where you’re going to acquire equipment, learning how to market your business, and understanding how to hire and train employees. The list goes on. If you haven’t spent the time researching each aspect of your business, you’re far from ready to buy an auto repair franchise.

Have You Outlined a Business Plan?

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Not surprisingly, most businesses without a business plan are doomed to fail. In fact, 80 percent of small businesses without a business plan will fail within the first five years. You clearly want your business to last longer than that, which means before you go ahead and buy your auto repair franchise, you need to create a business plan.

But it’s not just the fact that you want to succeed. Many franchisers will want to see that you have a business plan before they sign a contract since they want to see your franchise succeed, too.

Start with’s Business Plan Guide to help you create an effective business plan. To make this step easy, you can also download apps like Enloop and Business Plan Premier.

Do You Have the Money?

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Clearly you can’t start a business without enough capital to invest in it. You might have enough money to buy the franchise, but if you don’t have enough capital to fund the rest of your costs, you need to give yourself more time before you’re ready to buy your auto repair franchise. lists in their article, “How Much Does a Franchise Cost?,” several costs to consider, including:

  • Franchise fee
  • Legal fees
  • Build-out costs
  • Inventory
  • Supplies
  • Working Capital

Do You Understand the Scope of Work Required?

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On the surface, starting a franchise sounds easy, but if you’re heading into it without a clear understanding of your job duties, you’ll quickly get burnt out. The “business owner” titles comes with many responsibilities including:

  • Interviewing and training employees
  • Advertising your grand opening
  • Representing your business
  • Raising money to open the business
  • Taking training programs
  • Ordering equipment

Getting worn out or underestimating the time required is the fourth top management mistake in start-up businesses. Don’t let yourself fall into this trap.

Once you have all these aspects figured out–you’ve done your homework, raised the capital, and created a business plan–you’re ready to buy your auto repair franchise.


Top 5 Misconceptions About Owning an Auto Repair Franchise

Franchising is an appealing option for automobile enthusiasts and business investors alike. Many consider the option and even begin to do a bit of research only to stop short before taking the last step. Several misconceptions exist – both with the auto repair industry and with franchising in general – that halt entrepreneurs in their tracks. These misleading ideas often dissipate, however, as soon as the investor begins a professional relationship with the right auto repair franchise.

“A Business Venture this Large Runs a Great Personal Risk”

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Although operating a business is a common dream for ambitious people, the uncertainty and startup costs stop many from taking the first step. It is not unusual for potential investors to have similar opinions when they consider joining a franchise. The truth, however, is that the structured nature of a franchise dampens the likelihood of personal risk. Rather than opening “Sandra’s Auto Repair” from nothing and hoping for the best, a franchisee begins a relationship with experienced support who stay with each branch of the franchise throughout the entire process. Statistical research consistently proves that franchises are far more successful than business start-ups.

“I Need to be a Certified Auto Mechanic to Run a Repair Franchise”

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Having experience in the industry is certainly an advantage, but it is not a prerequisite. It is the franchisee’s job to recruit and hire skilled repair experts, but only those certified mechanics will be the ones working on vehicles. The franchisee’s responsibility is to manage the administrative and business end of the business. The franchise provides training, support, and the all-important Franchise Operations Manual. The manager can keep operations running smoothly while the mechanics take care of the engines.

“Investing in a Franchise Means Taking Out a Costly Loan”

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Several potential managers do decide to take out a loan to cover their start-up costs. Increasingly, however, investors are deciding to use their 401K funds for their initial income. Using a 401K to invest in a franchise is completely legal provided the franchisee follows the legal framework. This is where the franchise owners will prove a valuable resource; auto repair franchises such as AAMCO offer support and assistance to those interested in 401K rollovers.

There are several benefits for taking this route. Unlike loans, there is no interest to pay back under strict regulation. Managers who use retirement funds are using their own money and, as such, have complete control over their financing decisions. They are free to reinvest their profits right back into the franchise. With increasing suspicion in the U.S. over economic crises and retirement scandals, businesspeople are beginning to take comfort in controlling their assets on their own terms.

“Modern Technology Will Render Auto Repair Shops Obsolete”

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It is difficult not to be impressed by the portable self-diagnosing tools available at auto supply shops. As the car’s internal computer becomes ever more complex, it seems that the majority of problems can be assessed with a simple digital analysis. A certified auto technician has the ability and skills to serve customers with the knowing eye a self-diagnostic cannot possibly learn. Aside from that, the equipment an auto repair franchise provides its branches will be of the highest quality and far more perceptive and specific than a standard-issue household tool.

“Working With a Franchise Will Stifle My Sense of Autonomy”

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The romanticism of owning a business is easy to follow: “be your own boss.” Many worry that managing a franchise will leave no room for creativity or innovation. It is true that standardization helps franchises where it counts: development, advertising, and purchasing all benefit from the same “economies of scale” approach that allow franchise managers to purchase goods at low wholesale costs.

Personal autonomy will differ from franchise to franchise, and it is up to potential investors to do their research in order to find a business relationship that aligns everybody’s goals and interests. Leading researchers have found that franchise chains which engage in open relationships with their managers (including regular communication, training, and long-term support) are more likely to encourage independent initiative and problem-solving on the management end.

Whether potential managers are automobile enthusiasts or motivated entrepreneurs, there is always help along the way for those who hope to get into franchising. There will always be rumors and misconceptions surrounding auto shops and franchise investment on the whole, but these examples show that the right amount of research, hard work, and open communication can yield success for both the franchise manager as well as the entire chain.




The Top 5 Roadblocks in Your First Year of Owning an Auto Repair Franchise – and How to Solve Them

Owning an auto repair franchise is a rewarding career that will satisfy your financial and entrepreneurial needs for years down the road, but it also comes with some unforeseen roadblocks, especially in the first year of ownership. Luckily, there are ways to drive around many of the barricades that come with franchise ownership before they become a problem. Here are 5 potential roadblocks in your first year of auto repair franchise ownership as well as some solutions to get you back on track.

1. The Customers Aren’t Coming

Image via AAMCO

As with any business, finding customers is a top priority that inherently takes some time. Although many auto repair franchises come with a recognizable brand and trademark, it’s still your job as the owner to get customers in the door. This boils down to how effective you are with your customer outreach strategy.

The franchiser is usually a great help when it comes to concrete advice on obtaining customers, but you’re the one who has to do the digging. Social media outlets are a great way to gather attention, so get social with your marketing. With that said, the most effective form of customer outreach that specifically has to do with the first year of franchise ownership is having a grand opening event to gain attention.

2. Employee Turnover

Image via AMMCO

Great employees like the one above aren’t hard to find, but it does take time to find the right mechanics and sales associates for your auto repair franchise. One roadblock you might come across during your first year of business is employee turnover. Regular turnovers happen early on because finding the right fit is a trial and error process for both you and the employee.

A great way to overcome employee turnover is by taking advantage of your franchiser’s recruiting support. Many franchiser’s have programs in place that help you succeed when it comes to finding the right mechanics, sales associates, and sales managers for your franchise. In addition, following up with references and going with your instincts when it comes to the hiring process is another effective way to avoid poor choices.

3. The Learning Curve

Image via AAMCO

Whether you know your way around an auto repair shop or you’re learning your way through the franchise ownership process, the learning curve can get confusing at times. Why? Well, not only do you need to run the business, but you also have to know the ins and outs of the business’s computer system for both you and staff’s sake.

Not to worry, because there are tons of resources for auto repair franchise owners to rely on when they become lost. For starters, nationally recognized franchises offer development and training programs for franchise owners. These include general operations training and corporate training. Likewise, other sister franchises in the area are usually more than happy to help with any immediate questions regarding running the auto repair facility.

4. Too Much Competition

Image via Flickr by Richard Masoner

There are ton of cars on the road, which is exactly why there’s so much competition in the world of auto repair shops. In your first year as a franchise owner, competition from other auto repair shops in the area can sometimes make it hard to find new customers. Whether it’s customer loyalty or location, one of your main objectives as a franchise owner is to put your shop in the spotlight.

As mentioned before, a grand opening event goes a long way, but if you’re already months into your opening, then there are other approaches to take. For example, holding a sidewalk sales event is a great way to draw business in and form relationships that will lead to loyal customers as time goes on. Likewise, offering better deals than the competition is another effective approach.

5. The Work Involved

Image via AAMCO

Nothing worthwhile is ever easy, but the first year of running your franchise can create a roadblock in the form of exhaustion. From managing employees to handling the financing, it’s quite common for franchise owners to feel burned out while getting their auto repair shop up and running.

Luckily, there are a number of things you can do to overcome that overwhelming feeling. Practicing better time management is a great way to balance different aspects of work as well as work life and home life. In addition, using the spare time you have to relax and forget about work responsibilities will make you more prepared for the times when roadblocks do appear.

By keeping in mind the first year tips above, you’ll find the best way around any barricade that blocks your way to franchise success.

The Auto Repair Franchise Owner’s Guide to Managing Multiple Locations

Last year there were 247.9 million cars and light trucks on American roads, the highest level since 2008. All these vehicles are likely to need regular servicing and major repairs over their lifetimes. This steady stream of work offers plenty of potential for auto repair franchise owners looking to grow. But how do you manage multiple locations? It isn’t easy, but if you do it right you can turn your franchises into a successful business empire.

Make Sure Your First Location is Stable First

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One of the biggest mistakes franchise owners can make is expanding too quickly. Some franchisees commit to multiple locations at once, but this strategy is risky. Many experts agree franchise owners need a stable base to build their business empire on, or the whole thing will come tumbling down.

Your first auto repair shop needs to be that stable base. It should have a consistent stream of customers and, perhaps most importantly, a strong management team that you can trust.

Change Your Management Mindset

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Successfully transitioning from owning a single auto repair franchise to multiple locations takes a real change in your mindset.

When you have just one auto repair shop, you’re likely to have a very hands-on approach to running this business. However, this isn’t practical when you expand to two or more businesses. If you attempt to be as involved in your first shop, you won’t have the time or energy to devote to building up your next location. You simply can’t be in two or more places at once, so you need to feel confident your employees can take care of your investment in your absence.

As the owner of multiple auto franchise locations, you must focus on managing the overall business and the people who work under you. It’s their job to take care of day-to-day operations, not yours. A good multi-unit franchisee learns to delegate and focus on the big picture rather than the miniscule details.

Assemble a Good Team

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Assembling a strong management team is important, but some multi-unit franchisees argue that they’re no more important than any other members of staff. Look to employ people who are passionate about your business and want to make it better. They might start out doing menial work on the shop floor but in time, if you cultivate their talents, they could manage the next shop you open or step up when senior employees retire.

It’s also important to consider your own strengths and weaknesses when putting together your personnel. If you don’t know the first thing about marketing, it’s smart to employ someone else to take care of this side of the business. If you’ve been trained as an accountant, you might want to manage your books. Just make sure you don’t take too much on though, as this can make your businesses suffer.

Keep an Eye on the Money

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Many franchisees only see dollar signs when they start to expand into multiple locations. However, they don’t realize that the number one reason multi-unit franchises fail is a lack of capital. There is the potential for multiple locations to increase profits significantly, but managing multiple shops still carries an element of risk. And according to Darrell Lamb, the co-owner of 28 Express Oil Change and Service Centers in Alabama, it’s likely to get worse before it gets better.

“You have to understand that multi-unit ownership is for the long-term,” he told Entrepreneur. “It’s not going to impact your life in a positive way for the next year. You will take one step back financially and in terms of time before you take three steps forward in the following three years.”

To ensure your auto repair chain doesn’t fail, always keep some reserve capital and a contingency plan in case of emergencies.

Get Support from Your Franchiser

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Franchisees have an advantage over most entrepreneurs because they are part of a larger business structure. Franchisers oversee different franchises in their region, so they’re a vital source of information and support.

Franchisers often have human resources processes in place to help franchisees transition from single to multi-unit ownership, and skills development training programs to hone management skills. They can also assess your businesses against others in the franchise, and suggest whether you should take on more locations. Franchisers also tend to know important information, like the average length of time staff members stay on, which can help you prepare for the future.

Your franchiser might also be able to put you in touch with other multi-unit franchisees within your auto repair business network. Learning their tactics, including what worked and what didn’t, can help you put tested strategies in place in your own auto repair locations.

Managing multiple locations isn’t easy, but the potential financial rewards for auto repair franchise owners make it worth the effort.


Entrepreneur’s Guide for Choosing the Perfect Auto Repair Franchise

If you’re looking to steer your entrepreneurial spirit toward the ownership of an auto repair franchise, then there are some important things to consider before turning the first wrench. Franchise ownership is a truckload of hard work, but it’s also an extremely rewarding endeavor that provides years of satisfaction. Here are just a few things to consider when deciding which franchise to go with so you can get your auto repair franchise started off on the fast track to success.

The Advantages of Ownership

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There are numerous advantages to buying an auto repair franchise rather than starting your own repair shop. For starters, a franchise is a proven business idea with its own built-in success rate. With a franchise, you’re also getting a trusted brand name and all the recognizable trademarks that go along with it. This type of recognition doesn’t come easy when starting from scratch.

In addition, one of the biggest benefits of ownership is that the franchiser gives your franchise continuous support. Because franchisers want to see the business grow just as much as you do, they generally provide everything from training to business advice and initial setup help. Likewise, because a franchise is less of a risk in the eyes of banking institutions, obtaining finances is an easier process.

The Difference Between an Auto Repair Franchise and a Local Shop

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Although a local repair shop might seem like a more affordable option when it comes to owning an auto repair business, there are major differences between a local shop and a franchise. Along with forgoing the benefits mentioned above, a local repair shop probably isn’t equipped with the same expert tools as a national franchise.

This includes multiple repair bays with fully equipped hand and power tools as well as hydraulic vehicle lifts. If you’re considering a local shop over a nationally recognized auto repair franchise, then you’ll have to equip it accordingly in order to support an efficient, ongoing workload, which is usually more trouble than it’s worth in the long run.

Deciding if a Franchise is Right for You

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Buying an auto repair franchise doesn’t mean you’re purchasing guaranteed success. In other words, you have to prepare yourself for the work ahead as well as finding and satisfying customers. Whether you love automobiles or you simply think that the auto repair business model is particularly attractive, choosing a nationally recognized franchise is one of the first steps toward owning a successful auto repair business.

From there, you’ll want to consider the work environment itself. There are plenty of benefits when it comes to being your own boss, but with that power comes the responsibility of finding employees, running a business, and meeting profit goals. Likewise, you’ll need to know the basics behind automobile repair so you can easily explain costs to customers and talk shop with your mechanics.

Franchise Costs

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There’s no doubt that buying an auto repair franchise is a wise investment, but it’s important to know what costs are involved before you secure the necessary funding. For auto repair businesses, the most significant franchise costs involved are the equipment and signage fees. Professional auto repair shops require a range of tools and heavy-duty equipment, but this is all part of the overall investment.

Other fees include — but aren’t limited to — licensing fees, certified training, improvements and upgrades on the shop, and equipment within, as well as the initial working capital to run the business. Some fees are also recurring, so it’s important to set budget parameters with this in mind. Franchises often provide financial assistance in the form of government loans and private party loan assistance to make franchise ownership a real possibility.

Ask the Right Questions

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It doesn’t matter if you’re a franchise veteran or a first-time owner; it’s your responsibility as an entrepreneur to ask the right questions when it comes to franchise ownership. This includes everything covered on the franchise agreement, from the terms and conditions to the business plan and franchise restrictions, as well as any of the potential fees that go along with ownership.

Once you’ve asked the preliminary franchise ownership questions, it’s perfectly fine to ask additional questions regarding the franchiser’s advice on ownership. Again, because the franchisers want to see the business succeed too, they’re usually open to answering any and all concerns that have to do with ownership.

By using the pointers above, you’ll have an easier time choosing the best route to auto repair franchise ownership.