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Setting Up an Auto Paint Shop – What You Need to Know

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Auto paint shops are always in demand. Whether customers want a paint job for aesthetic reasons or they have been in an accident and would like their vehicle returned to its previous state without dealing with an insurance company, an auto paint shop is there to help. 

If your passion is painting vehicles, an auto paint shop is a great business opportunity. You can either open an independent auto paint shop or buy into a franchise chain. Both represent viable business models, depending on the level of competition in your local area. 

Read on for some handy tips if opening an auto paint shop ticks your boxes.

Independent Business Vs. Franchise Opportunity

Your first decision is whether a franchise is a better bet than starting from scratch with an independent shop. At first glance, franchises are often a good choice, especially if you lack relevant business experience. However, bear in mind that it will cost you more to buy into a franchise. In addition, the franchisor will take a percentage of your profits for an agreed-upon term. 

Opening an independent auto paint shop is better if you are happy to start small. You are free to choose the location, branding, and type of jobs you take on. But if you have zero experience and this is your first venture, make sure you find a mentor before you dive in. 

Secure Business Funding

You will need funding in place to open an auto paint shop. A business plan is needed to secure a business loan or make a successful application to an investor. Lenders and potential investors will want to see a credible strategy for attracting customers and growing the business. Take your time when creating a business plan. Use this opportunity to think through every aspect of the business, from marketing ideas to the equipment you’ll need and the premises where you set up your shop.

Check Whether Permits are Required

Before you start trading, check whether you need any special permits. The US Small Business Administration has a database that specifies which permits and licenses are required in the various cities and states. Do not skip this step, or you could end up in trouble!

Find a Suitable Premises

Auto paint shops benefit from a lot of passing trade. Look for premises close to busy roads, other auto shops, and car dealers. That will ensure you enjoy plenty of passing trade. Make sure any premises you rent has sufficient space; it’s pointless setting up shop, only to have to move again in a year’s time.

Invest in Equipment

Research what equipment you need. Look for second-hand equipment in good condition if you can’t afford to buy new. Don’t forget to factor in the cost of protective equipment, such as a good ventilation system. You will also need specialist drying tools, such as desiccant air dryers, for paint guns.

Finally, spend time promoting your new venture on social media. This will ensure you have customers eager to pay for your skills. Post photos of your paint jobs and encourage happy customers to leave positive reviews. These days, social media can make or break a business, so don’t dismiss it as a waste of time!

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