For some of us, cars are so much more than vehicles that allow us to “get from A to B.” They are true works of art that reflect the time in which they were designed and can almost feel like parts of the family. That’s why car restoration remains such a valuable and sought after trade.
Car restoration can be a profitable business to start if you have a genuine love and passion for cars and decent experience as a mechanic. But it’s not a career to step into lightly as it can be rather demanding. Here, we’ll hold your hand through the entire process and help you decide whether it’s the right move for you.
It can be expensive to start such a business as you will need to invest not only in renting workshop space but multiple car parts as well as all the equipment (more on that next). If you don’t have much existing business experience, you may want to get advice from a business development professional and consider whether you will have to take out a loan or apply for funding.
It is important to first ensure that there will be demand for your services in your area and find out what people want. Car restoration is a local business and while people might be willing to travel an hour or so for your services, it’s not exactly a national business. So, scout your area and see what the general consensus is.
Are people more interested in classic car restoration than modern cars? If so, perhaps consider specialising your trade? Also, who else is operating in your area that provides a similar service and how can you set your business apart from theirs?
Register your business
As well as registering your business so you can pay taxes and be a general upstanding member of society, you may also have to apply for certain licenses and permits, such as environmental permits, pollution prevention permits and control permits. Neglecting to do so could land you in serious hot water legally and tarnish the good name of your business before it has even had a chance to get off the ground.
The right tools for the job
Like a magician without a wand, a mechanic would be nothing without his tools. Restoration is incredibly involved work that requires a full toolkit with everything from screwdrivers, drills and floor jacks to the more specialised tools required for car restoration such as angle grinders, engine cranes and jack stands.
It’s also worth perhaps spending a little more on the items that you’re going to use more often and the items that will set you apart as a professional. For example, a cordless angle grinder would be useful to get the rust off the older cars before giving them a paint makeover.
Promote your business
Finally, use both online and offline tools to promote your car restoration business. Social media can be a powerful tool here but you don’t want to neglect local promotional opportunities as that’s where the bulk of your custom will be coming from. You may want to get an ad in the most popular auto publications as well, though they could charge a pretty penny and might not be worthwhile until you expand.