Build a Successful Vehicle Restoration Business: Strategies to Help Your Business Prosper
By TOI Team June 2, 2023 Update on : June 2, 2023
If you are considering opening a business restoring classic cars, now is the time to start preparing. Owning a business is more than a vision. It’s organization, management, and strategy. It’s understanding the difference between what you need to do and what you want to do. It’s getting to the shop first every morning and being the last to leave in the evening. In between, there are details. Have these items in place as you develop your business model.
If you have been restoring vehicles for yourself, your family, or your friends, you probably have a lot of equipment. Examine your equipment to see if the quality will hold up to the increased use of commercial work. In addition, you will need a Point-of-Sale system, like Powder Coat 360. A comprehensive POS helps you manage customers, store work orders, send progress updates, and manage multiple projects. These applications keep you organized as your business grows.
Find a Shop
Finding the perfect building is critical to your success. Look for a shop with enough bays to allow you to work on several cars at one time. If you are waiting for parts, you may need to leave a vehicle in the bay for several days. This allows you to work on other vehicles during your wait. In addition, you will need:
- Painting room
- Sandblasting area
- Private office
- Inventory storage
- Secured vehicle storage
Define Your Goals
Take the time to write down your goals or objectives for your business. If you want to specialize in specific vehicle systems, that is fine. Your customers want to know you have experience working on vehicles similar to their own. You can do complete restorations or focus on specific systems, like transmissions. You can specialize by vehicle type – passenger cars, farm equipment, or antique trucks. There is no one way to operate your business. The key is writing well-defined goals to keep you from getting distracted from your core competency.
Operating a shop comes with high expenses, especially heating and cooling, property insurance, and workers’ compensation insurance. Be sure to include those expenses in your pricing strategy. People wanting to restore a classic vehicle typically understand the costs involved in running a business.
Suppliers can make or break your business. Establish relationships with reputable parts suppliers. You can ask other restoration specialists for recommendations. Look for suppliers that provide detailed product descriptions and focus on fast service.
Target Your Customer
Take a moment to describe your target persona. Write down the features and demographics of the person likely to acquire your services. Draw a picture of them and give them a name. You use this information to build a comprehensive marketing strategy. Know your target audience better than you know yourself.
- Where do they live?
- What is their average annual income?
- Are they married?
- Where did they get the vehicle?
- How will they look for your service?
Boost Customer Service Skills
Your reputation is tied to every vehicle restoration you perform. Customers don’t just want someone to get their vehicle running. They want someone that respects the history and emotional significance of the vehicle. They want someone that will treat the car with the respect it deserves. At the same time, they can be picky. If they want their farm tractor painted British Racing Green, if you want the job, you will need to paint it that color.
Understand Legal Regulations
Every business owner must adhere to tax and legal regulations. Automotive service providers must learn this information. A commercial accountant can help you determine how to tax different products compared to services. You will also need to understand legal regulations regarding tire and waste disposal. Find reliable automotive waste recyclers or disposers to keep you in compliance with these regulations.
Work with your local community to help build awareness about your business. You establish a positive reputation with your neighbors and expand your potential customer base. People will often recommend your company to their friends and family. Some ways to make a positive impact on your community include:
- Post job openings at the community college in the automotive repair department
- Donate classic vehicles to be used as floats in local parades
- Offer free services to the winner of classic car shows
- Provide gift certificates for service to not-for-profit agency fundraising events
- Allow a local animal shelter to host an adoption event on your property
Remaining aware of these things will help you build a successful business.Read more: Build a Successful Vehicle Restoration Business: Strategies to Help Your Business Prosper