Beginner’s Guide on Starting a Garage Business in the United Kingdom
Many individuals, who learned the skills from years of working as a mechanic on an auto body shop, eventually decide to start their own garage business. And so, with their saved-up money as capital, they find a space where they can do the business and advertise their services to the locals. But there’s more to starting a garage business in the United Kingdom than just buying tools and planning how to bring in clients. The least exciting part entails dealing with the legal, financial, and strategic details of the business.
If you are one of those who are at a loss on how to properly start a business, your remedy is to learn. And you don’t have to search hard. We outline here the basic information you need to see your garage business kick-off. Here is the guide to company registration, with supplemental explanations on the industry practices, licenses, and permits.
What Is a Garage Business?
A garage business is a service shop that offers facilities, various auto care services, as well as sells parts and accessories. Examples of garage services include oil filter change, brake work, engine tune-up, wheel alignment, and car wash. Auto care garage can be independent or a franchise. Services and other product offerings of independent garages are more affordable than that of a franchise and thus in-demand for a low-cost niche market.
Some garages are part of a network in the UK that’s recognized for adhering to the industry’s standards and code of practice. The independent garages under these networks receive the added credibility of their network’s reputation. Some other benefits of being a member are garage aids, advertising support, and Payment Assist capability. A few of the car garage networks in the UK are AutoCare, United Garage, and Auto Advisor.
Starting a garage business in the UK has a lot of advantages. The biggest benefit is that the business thrives in both strong and weak economic climates. When times are good, the business will be servicing plenty of new car owners. Meanwhile, if the times are tough, the garage will be handling plenty of car maintenance work because owners would rather fix their existing cars than buy a new one.
Further, a garage business has no risks of becoming digitally obsolete. Instead, the digital age is improving the customer experience in the industry. More importantly, the returns of starting a garage business are substantial. Just to give you an idea, a healthy garage business can earn around £45,000 in just the early year. Just imagine how much bigger you can earn once you already have a solid customer base and reputation.
What Do I Need to Start a Garage Business?
It is very important in starting a garage business to have a plan. This plan should include the type of garage you want to open. If you decide that it’s more advantageous to start an independent garage, think about what services you want to offer. You can choose general services and repairs or provide a niche service that will set you apart from your competitors.
Next, your plan should include a strategic location for your garage. Your location must be accessible to your target market, be it city center, industrial, or motorway. You should also plan to adapt to new practices and innovations in the industry. Keeping in pace with the industry changes ensures that you are offering top-quality services to your clients.
Additionally, your employees will be critical in the success of your garage. If you previously worked with another garage before, there’s a big chance you already have a good idea of the people you want to bring to your team. If not, you can look in nearby colleges with mechanic courses. However, it’s always good to hire both well-experienced and recent graduates to balance the competency and the opportunity for new ideas.
Finally, you have to prepare sufficient capital for startup activities. Some of the expenses you have to expect are business registration fees, license fees, insurance, rental, tools, and equipment. You may also want to get certifications to add to your credentials. Some of the training courses you can take are Automotive NVQ and BTEC National Certificate and Diploma in Engineering (Automotive).
How to Register a Garage Business?
To legally start a garage business, you need to first register it with the Companies House. Further, you would also need to acquire licenses for the different business activities you conduct, like automotive parts sales, auto bodywork, inspections, and others. To make the process more efficient, it is best to create a detailed checklist of all your services. This checklist will ensure that you miss nothing of the legal requirements you need to furnish.
You may register your business as a sole trader, partnership, or limited company. Each business structure has its individual advantages and disadvantages, so you have to decide based on your capacity, goal, and needs. As a sole trader, you will be personally liable for the business’s liabilities, but you also earn the profits in full. Partnerships are run by two or more individuals, so you are not alone in making decisions and running the operations. Limited companies create a fictitious entity that protects the owners from becoming personally liable for the business’s debts.
You can register your business online, via post, or through an agent. To register a limited company, you’ll have to declare at least three personal information of yourself, the co-owners, shareholders, or guarantors. During the process, you have to choose a unique name, appoint directors and secretaries, and submit documents, memorandum of association, and articles of association. Additionally, you’ll also have to register your official address.
Prepare all the information, details, and documents ahead of time before registering. Once you have everything ready, the process should not take too long to complete. The registration process costs £12 and completes within 24 hours. At the end of the process, you will be issued with a certificate of incorporation, which is proof that your company legally exists.
Licenses and Permits in Starting a Garage Business
There are various licenses you have to acquire to start a garage business in the United Kingdom. Different licenses are required for every service activity you conduct. For example, if you are a motor vehicles trader or dealer, whether new or used, you have to apply for a trade license. Garage businesses also need a Motor Vehicle Repair Business License to show that the business is legitimate.
Moreover, your business also needs to adhere to state regulations to avoid the revocation of your licenses and permits. For instance, you have to follow health and safety regulations to ensure that your premises and working policies are in line with relevant requirements. Additionally, the state also recommends that your employees have an Employer’s Liability Insurance. This will cover accidents and other unfortunate circumstances common in garage businesses.
Remember that you will need to renew your garage business licenses periodically. To be sure about what licenses and permits you need to acquire, you can directly contact your state department or local town clerk. Moreover, you may also get in touch with your corporate service provider in the UK regarding this matter. These professionals have been in this field for years and have successfully processed numerous registration, licenses, and permits processing, so you can trust them to do the same for you.
Professional Business Registration Assistance
Looking for cost-saving and efficient, professional assistance to start your garage business in the United Kingdom? Look no further and trust the top corporate service provider in the UK. 3E Accounting specializes in United Kingdom company incorporation services and already has a good record of successfully launching various businesses all over the globe. The firm is internationally recognized for providing efficient, effective, and economic corporate solutions for small and medium-sized companies.
Let professionals handle all the legal processing of your business and focus on planning your business strategies. Contact 3E Accounting today to start your garage business in the UK.