Starting your own garage business in Kenya is an excellent business idea if you have the necessary skills. You will have the privilege of owning and managing your own business. It is a profitable venture if you know how to run one. Also, with the increase in the number of vehicles on roads, there has been high demand for car repair services. Many people in Kenya can now afford automobiles, making it necessary for mechanics to set up garage businesses. The automotive repair sector in Kenya is currently making huge profits for those in it.
How to Start a Car Service Business in Kenya
This is how to start and run a garage in Kenya.
Prepare an Automotive Garage Business Plan
Like any other business, you will need to write a business plan. A business plan should list startup costs, opportunities, and how many customers you expect to serve in a day. It should also state the services the business will offering (specialized services such as tire repairs, or oil change service or car repair services).
Come Up with a Garage Business Name
It is important to choose a good business name for your car repair business. There are probably many vehicle repair services around you, and so it is important that you choose a unique name. The name should be simple, easy to remember, catchy and give a hint about the services you are offering. You may also need to register your garage business. You can visit the eCitizen portal for online business registration.
Model and Scope of the Garage Business
It is essential to define the model of your business when starting a car repair business. State whether your business is a sole proprietorship or partnership.
You can decide whether to start a new venture or buy an already operating garage business. This should be stated in your business plan. If it is starting a new business, then you need a list of items and tools you need. Some tools you need in a garage include spanners, tool box, tire changer are important when starting.
Identify a Garage Business Location and Target Market
You will need to identify a suitable location for your car repair business. Locations with access to main roads or highways are excellent since they have a very high potential to attract customers. If your business is in a hidden location, customers might not spot it.
If you have a strained budget, you can start your car repair business from home and your initial customers can be your neighbors. With time, you can hire a place for your garage as the business grows.
Car Repair Equipment and their Costs
Every business requires unique business equipment. You will need to include the equipment necessary to run the garage business and the respective costs in your business plan. State whether you will rent or buy new equipment. Other costs include rental costs, employees' salaries, business license, registration costs, and business insurance.
Identify Sources of Business Finance
You will need money to start and run your car repair business. You can get funding form a SACCO, bank, friends or relatives. List your sources of business funding in your business plan. If your business funding is through a loan, you also need to find ways to repay it.
Obtain Necessary Car Repair Business Licenses and Permits
For smooth running of a garage business, you need to obtain auto repair business license and permit from the relevant authorities. It is one of the legal requirements for opening a garage business in Kenya.
You can obtain them from County Government offices or City Council offices. The cost of business licenses and permits depend on the size of the business. Alternatively, you can visit the Kenya Business Licensing Portal for online services.
Apply for Business Insurance
Getting insurance for your car repair business is essential. In case of an eventuality, you can get compensated for the losses. With a business insurance, you will be protected against damages to your property and clients' vehicles parked in your garage. An insurance can cover you against losses due to theft, fire, or flooding.
How Much Does it Cost to Open a Garage Business in Kenya?
To start an average car repair business in Kenya, you need a capital investment of between Ksh 150,000 to Ksh 250,000. However, you can start small and grow your business with time. Alternatively, you can start by getting employed as a mechanic before starting your own garage. However, starting your own car repair business is better than working as an employee.
Tips on How to Run a Garage Business in Kenya
The success of your auto repair business depends mainly on how best you will market it and your relationship with your customers. This is how you can run a successful car repair business.
1. Get Training and Experience
If you are working on your own business, you need first to acquire the necessary car repair and servicing skills. Many schools and especially Tvets in Kenya are offering Motor Vehicle Mechanic courses at pocket friendly prices. For a full mechanic course, charges are between Ksh 100,000 and 200,000.
On the other hand, if you intend to employ mechanics in your auto repair business, ensure to hire qualified and honest staff. No client wants to take his vehicle to an quack mechanic. You need to know that technology keeps on changing and automobiles are being designed differently from earlier models.
Also read: How to start a car dealership business.
2. Offer Excellent Customer Service
Clients get to stick where they get the best customer service. This starts from how you address your customers. For instance, you need to explain to your clients the problem with their car and how you will fix it. It is good, to be honest to your customers.
3. Make Your Brand Known
Marketing your business is a sure way to get more customers. You can print eye-catching flyers and distribute them to potential clients or place them where they are can be seen by customers like in car parking lots.
4. Consider Offering Mobile Car Repair Services
You can visiting your customers' homes for minor car repairs like tire change. Sometimes vehicles breakdown and they need to be repaired beside the road. In such cases, a mechanic needs to go to where the car is. If you can offer mobile car repair services, it will be convenient for your customers. This way, they can stick to your garage repair business.
You do not have to charge your customers for each service you offer. For instance, if a customer comes for an engine repair, you can offer him or her free oil change. This is a great way to offer after sales service.
Is Garage Business Profitable in Kenya?
Yes. With a good business location, excellent customer service and proper marketing strategies, a garage business is a profitable business to start in Kenya. In a month, it is easy to make over Ksh 100,000 profit from an auto repair business.
Summary of How to Start a Garage Business in Kenya
Starting a garage business in Kenya is a profitable business. Apart from car repairs, you can offer other services like car wash services to make an extra income and tap get more customers. Finally, the success of your car repair business will depend on your relationship with your customers, and your marketing strategies. Ultimately, running a garage business requires hard work and persistence.