Thinking about opening an auto fleet maintenance business? We tell you what you need to know to get started.
Auto Paint Industry Overview
An auto paint business is a great way to carve out a niche in the auto repair market. Auto companies provide a vital service for consumers, auto mechanics, and vehicle restoration businesses.
Although the auto paint industry is a subset of the larger auto repair industry, painters don't compete directly with mechanics or repair companies. Most auto repair businesses don't handle paint themselves and are always looking for a good painter to return their customers' vehicles to pristine condition.
One of the reasons typical auto repair companies steer away from paint is because painting a car takes a great deal of skill and expertise. The simple act of blending the paint job to match the existing paint or factory coloring is tricky; custom paint jobs are even harder. It's recommended that auto paint business owners have at least five years experience under their belt before launching their own painting venture.
The auto painting industry has above average requirements in the area of chemicals and environmental hazards. The painting process produces no small amount of fumage as well as toxic material storage, so many municipalities have zoning requirements that restrict the location of car and truck painting companies to industrial neighborhoods.
To circumvent zoning issues, many auto painters partner with auto repair shops to perform their services onsite. Since most auto repair shops have already met zoning requirements, auto painters bypass the requirement and tap into a recurring stream of revenue by providing a complementary service.
Reputation management is extremely important for auto paint businesses. A single botched job can have a ripple effect throughout the local market, jeopardizing relationships between painters and auto repair shops. Auto paint business owners are advised to monitor their reputation on the street and online through social media networks.
Learn more about managing your business's reputation in our Online Repurtation Managment section!
How to Create a Winning Auto Fleet Maintenance Company Business Plan
By now, you're probably tired of hearing how important a good business plan is to your auto fleet maintenance business startup.
Although it might seem like an unnecessary formality, your auto fleet maintenance company's business plan is a document that will shape your goals and strategies on a go-forward basis.
Furthermore, a good business plan will help you avoid key startup mistakes. Lacking a solid business plan, many startups find themselves rudderless and incapable of executing consistent decision making processes, while committed business planners rely on their plans to guide all of their decision making and short-term planning efforts.
Check Out the Competition
Long before you open an auto fleet maintenance business within your community, it's a good idea to see how strong the competition is. Use the link below to generate a list of competitors nearby. After following the link, enter your city, state and zip code to get a list of auto fleet maintenance businesses in your area.
Is the local market large enough to support another auto fleet maintenance business? If not, you had better be sure that you are doing things much better than the competition.
Talk to People Who Are Already in the Business
As part of your due diligence on opening an auto fleet maintenance business, be sure to talk to somebody who is already in the business. If you think owners of nearby auto fleet maintenance businesses will give you advice, think again. Why would they want to educate a future competitor?
On the other hand, an individual who has an auto fleet maintenance business outside of your community can be a great learning resource for you, provided that you won't be directly competing with them. Many business owners are happy to give advice to new entrepreneurs. Our estimate is that you may have to contact many business owners to find one who is willing to share his wisdom with you.
Where do you find an auto fleet maintenance business founder outside of your area who is willing to talk?
Simple. Let your fingers do the walking by using the link below.
Acquisitions vs. Startups
Unfortunately, many inexperienced auto fleet maintenance business entrepreneurs approach ownership with the mistaken idea that a startup is their only option when they could also pursue a business acquisition.
Unless you have compelling reasons to launch a new business, buying an existing auto fleet maintenance business may be the better choice.
The good news is that an auto fleet maintenance business acquisition is a recognized name and usually comes with a loyal customer base. If you're diligent about finding the right acquisition prospect, you may be able to leverage a business buying strategy to rapidly propel yourself into a position of industry leadership.
Franchising May Be a Better Way to Go
If you want to tap into an existing brand name and a proven system, your best bet may be exploring becoming a franchisee.
If you planning on starting an auto fleet maintenance business, a smart move is to determine whether purchasing a franchise might make your life much easier.
The link below gives you access to our franchise directory so you can see if there's a franchise opportunity for you. You might even find something that points you in a completely different direction.
These additional resources regarding getting started as an entrepreneur may be of interest to you.
If you currently own an auto fleet maintenance business, try these useful resources:
If you sell to auto fleet maintenance businesses, you're in the wrong place. These resources are more appropriate for you:
If you are interested in starting a different kind of business, please browse our directory of guides below.