Starting a car repair shop is usually a good idea, seeing as how it is a field in which the demand can virtually never surpass supply. Even if there is a huge car repair franchise in your area, chances that they’ll get all the work and leave nothing to the rest of the industry are really not that realistic. However, just because there’s work this doesn’t mean that everyone has what it takes to make it in this field. One of many challenges on this path is providing your shop with all the essential equipment and here is a quick guide on how to overcome this obstacle.
The first thing you need to do is ensure that your premises are just right for this kind of job. For starters, you need a place with wide enough access, which would allow you to easily install all the necessary equipment, as well as host vehicles of various sizes. Second, you need a high roof and a solid floor. Inside, you need great illumination, seeing as how any flaw in this department may be bad for your eyesight and limit your ability to do a quality job. Needless to say, having enough space inside (not just for the vehicles and tools but for maneuvering, as well) is more than crucial.
Other than this, you need to get necessary permits which are far from easy. First, you need to show your credentials, as well as get the zoning permit. Second, seeing as how this is an industry where you’re supposed to work with dangerous chemicals and pollutants (oil, anti-corrosives, etc.), you need to have a proper infrastructure to depose these fluids. Also, keep in mind that your tools will consume a lot more power that an average household. This means that you might need some further inspection on the electrical grid and whether it can actually take it. It is recommended that you aim for at least 400 volts 3 phase system.
The first step in any repair is figuring out the damage or the fault in the vehicle. Therefore, you need to start your inventory by acquiring adequate diagnostic tools. The majority of modern cars rely heavily on electronics, which is why you need to possess the main computer on which you can run necessary diagnostic programs. Proper engine analyzers and similar tools should be the backbone of your inventory, which is why you need to put them at the forefront of your shopping list.
The first thing everyone thinks of when it comes to car repair shop tools are things like wrenches, screwdrivers, drills, lathes, grinding machines, flame-cutting tools, pliers, jacks and hoists. Still, this is not enough and you also need to acquire a number of power tools like a pneumatic wrench. Needless to say, these tools are the minimum that you need in order to acquire basic tasks. Just keep in mind that this is not the time or place for you to save money. For instance, buying a cheap hoist is something that can backfire horribly and even put lives in danger.
One more thing you need to keep in mind is the fact that vehicles aren’t the only thing that you need to handle here. Other than this, you have so many tools and supplies that have to be transported from your storage area to the store. By being able to buy in bulk you will make massive savings, however, this also means that you have to A) expand your storage area and B) invest in materials handling equipment. For instance, you might want to consider getting a sturdy pallet jack. Getting a forklift may be a tad excessive for a small car repair shop, yet a pallet jack is more than handy to have.
Another way to organize the tools you need is to separate them into categories. For instance, one of the basic categories is tire changers which consist of pressure gauge, pressure regulator, tire lever, lever protector, etc. Then, you have general workshop equipment like welding equipment, hose reel and wheel stands. Finally, you have special equipment like a body repair kit, injector cleaner, sandblasting cabinet and more. Splitting these tools into different categories is one of the best ways to make an elaborate checklist and minimize the chance that you’ll miss out on anything.
The last thing you need to understand is the fact that there are numerous products that you’ll need in order to fix cars. For instance, while replacing your own car oil is a simple thing, there are a lot of those who prefer to leave this up to professionals to handle. Other than this, there is the refilling of the car’s air conditioning, fuel injection cleaning and much, much more. These items are used up quite quickly, which is why you’ll need to buy in bulks. Needless to say, some of these items should be kept in specific conditions.
As we’ve already said, starting a car repair shop is a complex business and you need licenses of all sorts in order to get access to these tools. The problem, however, lies in the fact that until you have this basic inventory, you can’t even begin to provide services to your clients. Moreover, these tools affect the productivity of your staff and even the quality of work that your team (or yourself) can perform. In other words, being too frugal can put you in a seriously disadvantageous position.