The Ups and Downs of a Used Car Business

3 min to read
The Ups and Downs of a Used Car Business

Running a successful business in the used car industry requires many things. From the customers to your staff, there are many areas that need to be monitored and developed so you are profitable and successful selling or repairing cars. Here are a few things to consider when opening a repair shop.

Dealing with Staff

Lazy or poorly qualified staff can be very difficult to get rid of once you have hired them. Being a manager is one of the most stressful aspects of owning a repair shop. There is a fine line between being the boss and being a colleague – cross that line and your staff will lose respect.

Dealing with Customers

Never mind the people who don’t pay you – they are difficult enough to deal with. But there are the people who do pay and do pay on time, but they never have a good word to say about anything you do, no matter how hard you and your staff worked to repair that customer’s vehicle on time and within estimate.

There are abusive customers, who threaten you when they don’t like your invoice, there are unreliable customers who do not turn up for appointments and don’t telephone you either and there are the conniving little so-and-so’s who try to wriggle out of paying by any means possible – take your pick! In combination they are destined to make the life of any owner of a repair shop hell on earth.

Dealing with Suppliers

The best of the species will deliver on time at a reasonable price. The worst of the species will deliver faulty goods obtained by questionable means from shady sources.

When you’re experiencing cash flow problems the best of them will show understanding and agree on a date and an amount you can afford to pay. The worst type of supplier will give you seven days credit terms or none at all asking you for money upfront – and then they’ll take ages to deliver the spare parts you ordered to arrive for an important customer’s urgent job.

Specializing in repairing certain vehicles

If you are going it alone and you decide to run your independent repair shop, there are advantages in specializing in certain types of service rather than offering general repairs. If you get it right, great, you’ll be inundated with work as the only one in your area who offers this type of repair work. Also think about if you will be offering emission testing as you will have to register with the state and legalize all the formalities.

But if you don’t get your market research right and there are two or more firms in the area who have been trading for many years, you will have a serious problem on your hands as there’s unlikely to be enough business for all of you and as the new kid on the block you’ll not be getting a slice of the cake.

Dealing only with particular types of vehicle is also fraught with dangers, if customers who normally own this type of vehicle are suddenly moving away, because the multinational down the road decided to sell its fleet of cars and relocate to Singapore – overnight you’ve lost your main contract.

The legal Small Print

Owning a repair shop may also involve licences for selling warranty spare parts. Large companies take ages to authorise anything and you could be waiting for a long time before all the relevant licences are obtained. Meanwhile all you can do are minor repair jobs that won’t pay enough to keep your hamster fed let alone your kids.