Beginner’s Guide on Starting a Car Repair Business in the United Kingdom
Starting a car repair business in the United Kingdom is worth considering because of the high demand. In the UK, there are about 27 million motorists seeking car repair, representing your market. Indeed, cultivating a robust customer base for a car repair business can help you churn out some profits—which is your ultimate goal, after all.
Because the demand for car repair services is out there, you have to watch out for your competitors. Like in any business, you have to stand out so customers will choose you over other players in the industry. Let us guide you to United Kingdom company registration and be your partner in making your dreams into reality.
Learning About the Car Repair Business
The experts will always tell you to do your research before realizing your corporate ventures, such as starting a car repair business. It is a must so you are equipped with the proper information, allowing you to set your expectations moving forward. As such, it is important for you to know the two categories for car repair franchises:<
- mobile repair work
- traditional workshop
Mobile repair work focuses on fixing mechanical problems or more exterior damages in a vehicle. These include repair services involving paintwork, plastic bumpers, windscreens, alloy wheels, and even interiors. In addition, there are also mobile repair and assessment services, including engine tuning, servicing, and general repairs.
A traditional workshop involves clutch repair. Other services repair for brakes, gear, and other related car parts. When starting a car repair business, you also need to know how the market is operating. Car repair services are being provided by the following as well
- independent businesses
- authorized repair service providers, such as sole traders working in small garages
- franchised new and used motor dealers
- quick-fit centers offering replacements for tires, exhausts, brakes, and others
- second-hand car traders
- exclusively mobile businesses
Apart from looking for a corporate service provider in the United Kingdom, it is important to know your competition as well. As such, choosing your location is a priority as you would not like to set up shop in a vicinity saturated with car repair service providers.
Crafting Your Services Menu
When starting a car repair business, the following are the type of services you can offer:
- common types of mechanical work such as clutch replacement or engine tuning
- accident repairs
- welding work
- MOT testing
- repairs from failed tests
- general servicing
Many car repair shops offer all these repairs and servicing jobs for whatever vehicles their customers are driving. But it may be advantageous for you to specialize in certain services. Focusing on specific types of work may be a smart move to separate your business from other car repair establishments, allowing you to have a competitive edge in the market. As a new entrant, you should research first to identify the gap in the market you can address, taking into consideration the following:
- location of the car repair shop
- potential customer base
Remember that specializing in certain services will be put to waste if there is no demand for such in your area. In addition, however, if you are the only car repair shop in your vicinity, you can take advantage of the opportunity to offer a wide range of services instead. This will allow you to cater to more customers, translating to more profits. The other services you can also consider when starting a car rental business are the following:
- installation of electrical accessories such as alarms, hands-free phone kits, navigation systems, alarms, and in-car entertainment systems
- fitting tow bars
- breakdown recovery service
- providing a courtesy car for customers while their vehicles undergo repair and servicing
These are the kinds of services you have to study first before you start looking for UK company incorporation services. As they say, you must keep your ducks in a row.
Building Good Reputation for Your Business
Like in any business, you have to make sure that your car repair shop has a good reputation. This translates to customer loyalty and even the attraction of new clients. With this, it is necessary that you adhere to quality standards to retain customers. You can join these trade associations that implement quality assurance schemes and enforce standards:
- Independent Garage Association, which is a division of the Retail Motor Industry Federation (RMI)
- National Body Repair Association (NBRA)
- Institute of the Motor Industry (IMI)
To be part of these associations, you may have to undergo training first. In addition, your premises should meet the quality standards set by the organizations. After completing these prerequisites, you will be allowed to display the NBRA sign in your establishment and be granted an IMI certification.
At the same time, having these recognitions will allow your business to build a better profile. As a result, more customers are likely to engage with your business as these certifications prove that you provide high-quality services.
Business Registration and Licenses
When starting a car repair business, you also have to take into consideration the legal aspects. You would not want your business to be shut down because you do not have the necessary permits. Worse, a legal suit might be lodged against you if you are not following the law.
Keep in mind that you have to register your business with the authorities. You register with the UK Companies House when setting up your limited company. A limited company refers to a business structure where the entity is separate from the owners.
Take note of the following when registering your limited company:
- choosing a unique business name
- registering the name as a trademark
- company location should be in the UK
- appointment of at least one director
Based on pollution control legislation, you may have to secure a permit to operate from environment regulators. Your permits will be approved only if your equipment and procedures in your car repair services are qualified under the legislation. You can look into the Gov.UK website to know more. But such information is also available through your local authority environmental health department.
For MOT testing, you will have to secure authorization from the DVSA. Again, a qualified MOT tester with premises and equipment meeting the minimum standards will be granted authorization. After applying to the DVSA, its officers will conduct site monitoring to check the test equipment.
There are other permits that you are required to secure as well, depending on the range of services you are offering. With this, it is important to always check in with the local regulators to be in the know.
Realizing the Potential of Your Business
Starting a car repair business means doing many things—from crafting a business plan to making things happen in reality. To realize the potential of your business, allow us to help you. We are a corporate services provider that offers accounting services, taxation, and business advisory. Contact 3E Accounting today.