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How to Select an Auto Repair Shop

With the average age of cars in the US at 11 years, there are a lot of them in need of repairs. Starting an Auto Repair shop can be a rewarding experience, but it’s important to consider several things before you launch your business. You need to decide on your scope of operations, the services you will provide and whether or not you will sell auto parts or products to supplement your income. You will also need to understand and follow the relevant legal regulations for your area.

A repair shop is an establishment where automobiles are repaired by auto mechanics and technicians. Some shops specialize in specific car makes and models, while others focus on general maintenance services. Shops may also offer a wide variety of additional services, including oil changes, battery replacement, and tire and wheel alignment. The primary customer interface at a repair shop is typically a service advisor, who is usually called a service writer.

Before you have any work done at an auto repair shop, ask for a written estimate. This will list all the charges, including labor and parts, and describe the types of parts used — whether new, rebuilt, remanufactured or salvage. In some states, repair shops must also state if the parts are original or non-original quality. Compare the estimates with the final invoice when picking up your car, to make sure all the information matches up.

Ask for the name and phone number of a manager or owner. If you have a problem with a repair, try to resolve it with the shop’s management first. Many misunderstandings can be cleared up with a calm and honest discussion. If you cannot reach an agreement, file a complaint with the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). A DMV inspector will investigate your claim. If your complaint proves that the shop violated repair shop laws, DMV can suspend or revoke the shop’s registration and impose fines.

Check with your local consumer protection or attorney general’s office to see if your state or city requires repair shops to be licensed or registered. Also, ask friends, family and neighbors about their experiences with local auto repair shops. If you can find a reputable shop that specializes in your type of car, you will probably be satisfied with their work and will likely return to them for future auto services.

When you’re selecting a repair shop, look for a clean, well-lit location with plenty of space for parking vehicles and customers. It should be located in a busy area where customers can easily access it. You will also need a lobby, waiting area and space for displaying products or services. It’s a good idea to have a garage door with an easy-to-read sign that says “Auto Repair”. A commercial building with an overhead crane is ideal. It will help you accommodate large vehicles like trucks and buses. You will also need to get a sales tax permit and comply with building regulation, zoning, and planning commission requirements.

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