Our guide to opening a car garage

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The first question to decide if you want to open your garage is therefore whether you want to open a franchise or be completely independent .

The franchise makes it possible to take advantage of the notoriety of the brand and facilitates a smooth start with the certainty of quickly acquiring a clientele. Profitability is almost always there.

However, it should not be forgotten that to open a franchise, you will have to pay entry fees into the franchise and a monthly fee to the franchisor. Moreover, you will not be totally free in your management and will have to be accountable.

Step 2: conduct market research

With a turnover of almost 18 billion euros in 2019 according to INSEE, we can say that the car repair market is doing well.

Little affected by the coronavirus crisis, garages have also seen their role strengthened due to the increase in vehicle technical inspection checkpoints . The growing technicality of cars (more electronics, electric cars, etc.) also obliges individuals, even handymen, to turn to a mechanic to have their mechanical work done.

The market study will shed light on all the trends and developments in the automotive market in recent years. It will also endeavor to shed light on two essential points for the success of your project:

The request: who are your future customers?

The offer: who are your competitors? What do they offer? What are their rates?

To gather as much information as possible, turn to the INSEE databases, specialized journals, federations ( National Automobile Federation , etc.), unions ( National Council for Automotive Professions, etc.) , Internet, etc

The feedback from your relatives is also a good way to understand what your future customers can expect from a garage: relationship of trust, speed of service, proximity to home, moderate prices…

Step 3: specify your garage business

For most garages, the repair activity is predominant (90% of turnover on average). But in reality, the activity of a mechanic can be multiple. He can :

Sell ​​auto products and accessories (lubricant, windshield washer…);

Sell ​​used cars.

Beyond the services you are going to offer, other elements must be clearly defined:

The range of prices charged;

Garage opening hours;

The communication strategy to make you known ;

Customer loyalty actions;

Relationships with suppliers …

Step 4: the investments needed to open your car garage

To open a car garage, you need a large commercial space. This room must include a workshop part to carry out repairs and a small part dedicated to the reception of the public. If you plan to sell auto parts and accessories, consider acquiring a larger area. The cost of the premises depends on your choices: right to lease , takeover of a business, but also the surface area and location of the garage.

The location of the garage is important to attract customers. In general, garages are located near main roads. The most important thing is to consider the extent of the local’s catchment area (that is to say the area from which your potential customers will come).

In addition to the premises, the other major investments to be made are:

The purchase of a stock of car parts : even if garages often work on order, it is advisable to still have basic parts;

The purchase of the various materials, tools and equipment necessary for the activity (lift, jack, electronic balancer, etc.);

A possible replacement vehicle to lend to customers;

💰 Some figures: according to a study by the BPI , a car garage achieves an average turnover of € 200,000 excluding tax. The minimum budget to get started is around €100,000 to €400,000.

Step 5: choose the legal status of your garage

The legal status of your garage defines the taxation of your profits, the manager’s social regime, your liability, etc. This is therefore a key point!


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