While truck repair shops operate more or less like a regular automobile shop, due to a truck’s size and power, the equipment and procedures used in repairing it are slightly different than what is used for automobile repair. If you are knowledgeable about trucks and truck engines, you should consider opening a truck repair shop, and given below are six tips that will help you in your journey:
Create a thorough business plan
If you are somewhat of an expert on trucks, you may think you wouldn’t need a business plan to start your repair shop. However, this idea couldn’t be further from the truth. Irrespective of how much of an expert you may be in your field, if you plan to start a business you need a thorough business plan.
Your business plan would include the type of vehicles your shop would be willing to serve, the budget you would allocate for initial operations, and the cash flow you would need to manage expenses in the first few months till your shop takes off. You would need financial projections and ideas as to how you will be funding your repair shop, the building structure, the land required, and the needed equipment.
Get ASE certification
While an ASE certification isn’t a necessity to run your truck repair shop, it sure can greatly help you get more business. An Automotive Service Excellence certification in a way guarantees your skills and helps you build trust in the eyes of the general public. Repair shops that feature ASE-certified employees tend to look more reliable for a first-time customer, and the customer is also likely to give you business.
An ASE certification also comes in handy when you are looking to get a loan for your business or attaining insurance policies. Banks tend to evaluate your repair shop business less strictly as you already have your skills proven thanks to the certification, and you would also incur a smaller premium than what would be charged from a repair shop without an ASE certification.
Hire trained and qualified employees
If you are opening a truck repair shop for the first time in your life, it is important that you only hire trained and qualified employees. This is because, in the initial months, you cannot bother with training your staff and would need employees that are already on top of things when it comes to repairing work. When your business eventually grows you can hire employees with little to no experience as you would have staff that would help you train them.
Your technicians should have at least vocational training in truck mechanics and automotive. They should understand how the electrical system, motors, suspensions, and breaks in a truck work, in addition to all of the other intricacies. You should also hold regular training sessions with automotive manufacturers for your employees to attend, and maintain a log of service manuals in your shop that they can consult. These service manuals should be detailed and comprehensive such as this Ford F-250 Repair Manual.
Purchase all necessary equipment and insurance
You need to ensure you have a complete inventory of all the tools and equipment you need to perform basic repair works on trucks of all sizes. You would need manual tools such as sockets and wrenches in plenty. In addition to that, you would need brake lathes, pipe benders, and diagnostic tools to perform repairs. You would also need hoists, lifts, and storage equipment to carefully store and organize all your tools.
Once you have all the essential equipment, you need to make sure you have property insurance to protect your repair shop in addition to the expensive equipment it houses. Property insurance would have you covered in case of a natural disaster, fire, or theft that harms your repair shop or causes damage to any of your related assets.
Location is key and so is convenience
You need to set up your repair shop in a location that is convenient for your target audience. While setting up a repair shop, think about where large trucks stop by the most or where they are the most in number in the vicinity. Your building should also be truck-friendly and feature tall ceilings to allow trucks to enter easily. Your shop could also feature a resting station for truckers to relax or take a quick nap while their truck is being serviced.
You should also take into consideration an arrive-on-demand service for truckers in emergencies. If a truck breaks down on the highway close to your shop, the trucker should be able to call your shop and ask a technician to attend to their vehicle on the road. Not only would this service greatly increase your service area and customer base, but it would also equal a lot of profits.
Focus on customer service and experience
If your customers are satisfied with you, they are likely to spread positive word-of-mouth and send more people your way. They are likely to be a source or repeat business and be unpaid brand ambassadors for you. Hence, you should focus on providing your customers with a positive experience and pay attention to improving your customer service. For this purpose, you may have to train your staff and take several measures.
One of the first things you can do is offer pick-and-drop services for all your customers. You could charge them a minimal fee to meet your expenses, but they would gladly pay it due to the added convenience. You could also send personalized reminders to your customers who have an appointment booked with you. Your waiting area should be comfortable and feature water and snacks for customers who are waiting for their vehicles.
Running your own business is going to give you the financial freedom you have always wanted. A truck repair shop is going to be a profitable business, especially with the growth of the trucking industry in the United States. The above-mentioned tips and tricks are likely to help you set up your truck repair shop for success.