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My Guide to Auto Tune-Up Shops

May 25, 2008
This business idea is one of those recession-proof opportunities that can put you on 'easy street'. When the economy heats up and inflation increases the cost of living, people become 'do-it-yourself' conscious, looking for ways to save money. Whenever the economy falters, people again are searching for methods of saving money and making what they already own last longer.

There are several reasons for the demise of the local 'do-it-all' auto mechanic: First, there are very few auto mechanics running service stations anymore. A good journey man auto mechanic can earn much more, without the responsibility, by hiring out to big-time auto dealerships. Most service stations today are simply gas and tire selling outlets operated by the major oil companies who advise you to take your mechanical problems elsewhere for repair. When you do find one with a mechanic on duty, the prices are such that only the very rich can afford them.

There's also the problem of unethical operators. Although many state legislatures have enacted licensing and consumer protection safety measures, the rip-offs continue. The crux of the problem is that most auto owners do not realize they've been taken until after the fact, and then it's too late. After being taken once or twice, many consumers turn to 'do-it-yourself' auto repair until they run into the technology and advanced electronics of the ignition system on today's cars. That's when they'll need your help.

It really doesn't take any special education or training to set up an independent auto tune-up shop. Any automotive repair experience you may have will help, but a simple knowledge of basic tune-up procedures is all that's really necessary. In fact, the important prerequisites will be a strong business sense and an old fashioned "down-home" ability to get along with people.

Remember this fact: In starting and operating this business, it's not mandatory that you be a qualified auto mechanic; but your success will depend upon your ability to "serve others," and upon having a genuine desire and ability to do a good job.

This means remembering faces and names; addressing customers by first names as you get to know them; and listening to them; interacting with their problems achievements. The best way to explain the kind of "people empathy" you need for success in any kind of service business is to think of all your customers as close friends.

You can start this business in your garage - and even on a part-time basis. Run an ad in your local paper:

Quick In & Out Auto Tune-Ups... Low cost, guaranteed...
We pick up and deliver... Call Jim at 123-4567

Place a similar ad or notice on all the bulletin boards in your area. To drum up business and get the ball rolling, you could even elicit customers via telephone. Simply start calling people out of the phone book. Tell them that your shop is offering a change-of-season special on auto tune-ups - in and out in less than an hour for $5, plus parts, which usually run less than $10, and then ask them if they'd like for you to pick up and deliver their car this afternoon or evening.

Another way of managing, building, and promoting your business is via the service stations and auto parts stores in your area. Have posters or signs painted, advertising your "quick in-and-out" tune-up service. Take them around to all the service stations that don't handle auto repairs, and to the auto parts stores, and ask them to put your signs in their windows.

Remember, fast, efficient service and low prices, coupled with a personality that makes the customer feel you're his friend, are the keys to your success. Organize yourself; start slowly and build your customer loyalty; instil these principles in your employees, and you'll be on your way.
About the Author
Uchenna Ani-Okoye is an internet marketing advisor.

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