The Right Equipment and Premises to Start an Auto Repair Workshop

Ready to open an auto repair shop?

Starting your own automotive repair shop or automotive workshop is the dream of good mechanics everywhere. I have lived that dream.

If you are a highly skilled and versatile mechanic, you may find it to be very restricting working for someone else when you could be running your own business and making real money at the same time.

The right equipment is essential to opening an auto shop. It takes a good knowledge of workshop equipment to make all the right decisions and you also need to learn using and maintaining different equipment correctly.

A good automotive shop equipment company will ensure you have all owners and parts manuals as well as service directives for all the heavy equipment you purchase or lease.

The company should also be capable of providing any training necessary to operate each machine safely. Most will do so for free and on site.

People skills are paramount in this business and a caring helpful personality as well as a love for your job are prerequisites when starting an auto repair shop the right way.

If you care about your work, customers will care about using your workshop to do all their mechanical repairs and servicing, so you need the right tools and equipment to do a broad range of work.

If you love what you do and want to do it for yourself, I say go for it!

This type of clear-span lift or hoist requires over 14' ceiling.
This type of clear-span lift or hoist requires over 14' ceiling.

Quality hoist

You will need some cash for setting up the building lease, and painting your floor, signwriting etc and buying or leasing equipment, ( In western countries between $20,00 and $100,00 is the usual cost range for setting up a small shop to a larger operation with 4 lifts.

You will already have heaps of enthusiasm talent and skills to do the work, and have the patience to learn about setting up with the right premises machinery and equipment.

Having said that, I started my first workshop out of a leaning ricketty old shed at home that would hardly hold one car. I know of others that have done the same. Like most things, it depends on how badly you want it!

The more markets you can cover the better, so having a wide range of profit centres provides better turnover and more profit safety providing you do not spend more on machinery than you should for your market size.

Frankly, I always go after providing a wide range of services and free advice to keep them in my shop rather than having to send them elsewhere to have their air-conditioning recharged, their discs skimmed, or their wheels aligned etc.

Taking alignment work and then outsourcing it is time consuming, provides only small profit and takes time to deliver and pick up your customer's car from the alignment centre.

You can now do alignments without a 4 post hoist using up a lot of space. The best of this equipment is expensive, so I suggest leasing your equipment if you have a good credit history.

Workshop premises.

The building needs to have the following features.

Wide access.

  • Customer's cars need room to drive in straight then go out straight to get on and off hoists unless the building is very deep, there will be no room to align the vehicle with the hoist if access is too narrow.
  • If space is very limited, you can use rolling jacks that sit under the tire to maneuver the vehicle by hand. These are quick and easy to use. If your floor is in good condition the vehicle will roll sideways, back or forward with just a gentle push.

A high roof and solid 6" floor.

  • to accommodate the latest clear floor hoists you need close to 15' from floor to ceiling..
  • A 6" concrete steel reinforced floor is required to solidly mount the hoists to.

Enough space and facilities.

The workshop floor area needs to accommodate at least 2 hoists ( if specialising)

You may consider a 4-6 hoist businesses are the sweet spot for general mechanical repairs and servicing when you have become comfortable with finding quality mechanics to work for you.

Remember to ensure the building is deep enough so you can back each car off the hoist INSIDE the building.

Reception, office, toilets and lunch room need not be big, but should be neat and comfortable for workers and customers. A water fountain is a good idea in both reception and lunch room.

Natural light.

A good natural light source is a huge advantage to your mechanics, especially for examining stains on cylinder blocks left from fluid leaks and other hard to see indicators of underlying faults.

A tiny split or damage to a hose could, if left unnoticed result in engine or gearbox damage. Engineered components like wheel bearings, crankshafts etc. where metal surface condition is the first indicator of part failure. All these important visual signs require good natural light.

Good lighting is still one of the major factors missed in auto repair shops. I have insisted on good natural light in all my workshop buildings. The better informed and more experienced mechanics will insist on natural light. Take my word for it and thank me later, as far as I am concerned this is essential to good engineering, and I want the best for my customer!

All walls bright white and at least two coats. I prefer high quality gloss myself as it is brighter than other surfaces and easier to keep clean.

Permits, oil and fluid systems, drains etc.

In most countries, states and territories there are regulations and zones where you can put a workshop.

  1. Make sure of the zoning first on any property you consider leasing or buying.
  2. Ensure you have correct drainage installed in case of large oil spills.
  3. Ensure that you can store volatile chemicals associated with your trade.
  4. Ensure you are able to operate all your machinery legally.
  5. The electricity supply for much workshop equipment is 400 volt 3 phase, ensure it is connected and working properly. Often you will find 3 phase wiring with the polarity changed from plug to plug. This is a darn nuisance and confuses a lot of workshop equipment!
  6. Install air hoses overhead. You don't want air hoses running across the floor, in the old days grease was run this way to. If you are working on older cars with grease points install grease overhead too.
  7. Run an overhead waterline as well if you feel you need it for some special jobs you may do. Power points should be well above bench level so they do not get knocked, and you need plenty of them even for a basic workshop.
  8. Buy and maintain an emergency spill kit.
  9. Fit fire extinguishers to a well constructed plan, ensuring locations will be quick and easy to reach.

Painting the floor.

The workshop floor is very very important. More so than in most businesses as it must withstand stains from dirty thin and hot oil. It happens that spills do occur when doing oil changes, but more about how to stop that happening later.

BEFORE you move your hoists in, you need to know that the floor is level, thick and strong and most important, treated or painted so that the oil does not soak into the concrete and weaken it, especially around the hoist uprights.

Ensure the painted floor surface is skid-proof and smooth to roll equipment on.

Use a non skid paint. You can get one that can be rolled on or sprayed.

Four post hoist with jacking beam.

This four post vehicle hoist is a four ton with a sliding  jacking beam and wheel alignment pads.
This four post vehicle hoist is a four ton with a sliding jacking beam and wheel alignment pads.

Nice clean well setup workshop

These are high quality hoists on a good floor, and this sort of layout impresses your customer and makes your mechanics happy and safe as well!
These are high quality hoists on a good floor, and this sort of layout impresses your customer and makes your mechanics happy and safe as well!

Standard Equipment.


Never even consider buying a cheap hoist!

I spent two years rebuilding, installing and servicing hoists. The average life of a cheap hoist is around two years before downtime and major repairs. Despite what your equipment supplier says, cheap hoists are dangerous, and when they need rebuilding parts are often not available.

The type of hoists you choose is most important, as it depends on what work you will be doing most, but at least one hoist should be a clear span or clear floor design.

A clear span or clear floor hoist as it is also known, means simply that there is nothing on the floor connecting the two sides of the hoist together.

  • If you are removing and replacing components or even doing oil changes, having a clear floor to wheel your equipment around on is safer by a mile, and a lot easier to avoid spills or gearboxes falling of the gearbox hoist because it fell over when it hit the obstruction which is on all other types of hoist.
  • If you are doing suspension replacements and repairs, you will need a four post hoist with inbuilt hydraulic ram for lifting the wheels off the hoist.
  • The same hoist should be ordered with rotating wheel alignment plates built in, if doing wheel alignments as well.


I try to use as much wall space as I can for benches, but it does depend on where you decide to get your profit from, which I will discuss later in this hub.

Basic mechanic's Tools.

Hand tools, such as circlip pliers, bearing pullers, ring and open end spanners, depending on what you work on this will vary, but need to be in complete sets. A full range of inside and outside circlip pliers is essential.

Hand held mechanics lamps, air guns and lines, rolling oil pans, Cooling fluid pans etc. One set for each hoist.

Other special tools for different makes and models where required, a minimum of two good quality vices. There are many more items, so I will provide a list.

Simple pipe bender.

This type of pipe bender is handy when small fabrication jobs are called for, like making a special exhaust joiner.
This type of pipe bender is handy when small fabrication jobs are called for, like making a special exhaust joiner.

Pedestal drill

A pedestal drill like this one is very useful in a workshop.
A pedestal drill like this one is very useful in a workshop.

Air tools

Buy quality air tools with double attachment for "ears" silencing and recycling.
Buy quality air tools with double attachment for "ears" silencing and recycling.

Brake lathe

New Ammco 4000

Tyre changer with assist.

This type of unit will work on all run-flat and large wheels with ease and speed.
This type of unit will work on all run-flat and large wheels with ease and speed.

Wheel balancer.

Needs to take up to 22' wheels, and have facilities for all types of weights.
Needs to take up to 22' wheels, and have facilities for all types of weights.

Ammco brake lathe

These Ammco brake lathes run forever. This one is 40 years old!
These Ammco brake lathes run forever. This one is 40 years old!

Cooling system tester

Note this kit has a complete set of adapters to suit different radiators.
Note this kit has a complete set of adapters to suit different radiators.

Profit centres.


Tyre changer

Tire changer accessories

Tire pressure gauge

Air Pressure Regulator

Tire lever

Tire lever protector

Wheel balancer

Wheel balancer accessories

Wheel weight pliers

Brake lathe off car

Brake lathe on car

Brake lathe accessories

Wheel aligners

Wheel ramps

Engine analyser.

5 gas suitcase type if I had to choose. (I have another hub on these.)


1X 2 post symmetric hoist 4 ton capacity (SUV's, light trucks and vans)

1X 2 post asymmetric 4 ton capacity

1X 4 post standard hoist preferably with one jacking beam, or.....

1X 4 post alignment hoist with turntable inserts, cover plates, long approach ramp and 2X jacking beams if you want to include wheel alignment in your workshop.

belly lift quick, small, portable, fast where you want all four wheels of the ground in a hurry to change wheels, brakes, wheel bearings etc.

motorcycle lift if you do motorcycle engine rebuilds you need one of these.


Flywheel grinder


Metal lathe

Injector cleaner


Hose reel, Bench grinder, Compressor, Grease kit, Oil drainage pump, Oil extractor, Jacks

(Bottle, Vehicle positioning, Axle, Trolley, Racing, Long stroke, Transmission jack

Press, wheel stands, Axle Stands, Ratchet, sockets, Under hoist drainers, Parts washer

Pedestal drill, Pressure washer, Engine crane, Engine Trolley, Engine stand, Vacuum cleaner

Welding equipment, Wheel dolly, Work trolley, Work benches, mechanics work seat, angle grinder, Creeper, Oil drainer, Vice, Safety Light, Radiator drainer,Filter crusher.

Other handy machinery and tools..

Oscilloscope,Air tools, Impact wrench, Ratchet wrench, air cutter, hand drill, toolbox

Porta power, Car dolly, Oil/water separator


Body repair kit

Pipe bender

Pulling ram kit

Body straightening kit

Injector cleaner

Sand blasting cabinet

Spring compressor

Brake drum handler

Hydraulic gear puller

Hub tamer

Tyre spreader

Cooling system pressure tester

Fuel injection test kit

Pressure brake bleeder

Brake fluid tester




Measuring tools - callipers

- micrometer

- Dial gauge

- tachometer

tap & die set




Jump starter/ Tester/ Charger


Test light

Armature growler


Leak detector



Ear protection

First aid kit

Fire extinguisher

Spill kit


Oscillating fan

Exhaust extraction reel

Servicing and installations.

Hoist maintenance/ Electrician/ Installation

Lighting design

Electrical equipment testing & tagging

Machinery repair and maintenance.

4-5 gas analyser.

This is a modern portable 5 gas analyzer.
This is a modern portable 5 gas analyzer.

Other equipment.

To work on modern cars, you need a good scanner and a 5 gas analyser, along with many wiring harnesses interface cables for the different makes and models connections to the scanner.

None of this equipment is cheap, because quality is paramount . I have sold, repaired and serviced both cheap and well designed and built ones. The cheapies will save you a grand or so, but you will regret buying either a scanner or 5 gas analyser cheap!

There is an equipment list added to this if you are doing petroleum/gas conversions, but it is not usually extensive or expensive.

Brake measuring calliper

Headlight aimer.

I have found these Armstrong aimers to be good quality and reasonably priced.
I have found these Armstrong aimers to be good quality and reasonably priced.

Stand press.

This is a standard workshop press, high enough to push a bearing off an axle.
This is a standard workshop press, high enough to push a bearing off an axle.

Brake drum calliper

For roadworthy check.
For roadworthy check.

More equipment.

If you intend to get a licence to test cars for road-worthiness. (This licence has different names in some countries) You will also need quite a bit more equipment.

Headlight aimer.

Large vernier calypers.

Compression tester.

Gas analyser.

The list varies from state to state. country to country.

Profit centres.

A workshop that can do everything in-house will attract more customers, and if you cannot do a job because you do not have the necessary equipment or machinery, you need to outsource it.

Never send your customer away, ALWAYS have a solution by using other specialists to do the work for you, then check it thoroughly when it is finished and then add value.

Here are some ways to make your workshop more profitable.

  • Buy a high quality brake lathe and learn how to use it. Your equipment supplier should be able to train you or your mechanic in using the equipment they sell.

Good disc machining is a matter of tooling up carefully and finishing the surfacing with a fine skim after the cut if needed.

  • Air-conditioning repairs.

Buy a multi unit that does the whole job.

  • Tyre changing, wheel balancing.

Combine with tire sales, or outsource tires. Buy a machine that will do new cars with large wheels.

  • Wheel alignment.

Equipment is expensive to buy, you need an alignment machine and an alignment hoist like the 4 post listed above. The profit on wheel alignment is not great generally, but it does attract other sales very well.

  • LPG conversions.

If you have all the equipment needed such as a 5 gas analyser and a gas fitters licence there is good money in conversions. Take your time with the re-tuning and calibration.

To learn how I ran my workshops profitably read the next hub How to start an auto repair shop-workshop business 2

A good used Ammco 4000 will cut discs and drum brakes for many years without trouble.
A good used Ammco 4000 will cut discs and drum brakes for many years without trouble.

Air conditioner recharge.

This unit does the whole job automatically and even cleans, separates the oil from the refrigerant then stores it for future use.
This unit does the whole job automatically and even cleans, separates the oil from the refrigerant then stores it for future use.

Comments 132 comments

dkrainwater profile image

dkrainwater 6 years ago from Sheridan, Wyoming

Great hub. My friend started his own auto repair business and makes more money than I do as a teacher:)

SomewayOuttaHere profile image

SomewayOuttaHere 6 years ago from TheGreatGigInTheSky

Ernest - very informative...from a biz me ideas of writing some of my own biz sense, knowledge - rather dry however, but i get asked for info all of the time. you wrapped it up into a nice neat package and of course there's more to drill down to - but that's a good overall look.

Hey, where's that mbike hub? is it still a pup?

earnestshub profile image

earnestshub 6 years ago from Melbourne Australia Author

Thanks dkrainwater.

Glad to know your friend got it right.

It is possible to pull down a couple of hundred thousand a year with a well run auto repair shop

earnestshub profile image

earnestshub 6 years ago from Melbourne Australia Author

Hello SWOH, thanks for the comment. Like all my auto hubs, I publish then add to them as I go.

The motorcycle hub is near ready to publish. Very soon now.

I know they are a bit dry, but instructional business hubs do help people, so if I were you I would write one.

Hello, hello, profile image

Hello, hello, 6 years ago from London, UK

Thank you for a very comprehensive hub. It is definitely a goldmine.

earnestshub profile image

earnestshub 6 years ago from Melbourne Australia Author

Thank you Hello,hello. I aim to please!

Customer service is the key, as it always is in business.

Auto workshop customers will travel many miles to get good service.

SomewayOuttaHere profile image

SomewayOuttaHere 6 years ago from TheGreatGigInTheSky

LOL! i didn't mean yours are dry...i meant my biz topic is really dry, i'm an accountant by trade ...yawn....but oversee a charity.......sorry 'bout that...some people's eyes glaze over when i get into my topic...

earnestshub profile image

earnestshub 6 years ago from Melbourne Australia Author

Write them anyway. Accounting is a bit dry I guess, but some people will love it!

Denizee profile image

Denizee 6 years ago

Great Hub, excellent quality. With the economy on the decline I see more and more wanting to change how they earn income - and no, if they do it and do it right they won't have to sit waiting for a pink slip. Thank you for posting this.

earnestshub profile image

earnestshub 6 years ago from Melbourne Australia Author

Thanks Denizee. Passion. One needs to be doing something with passion!!!!

A good auto workshop is built on loving what you are doing, as are most successful businesses.

ELK9548 5 years ago

I am now employed at an auto dealership as a Service Manager. I have a 3 bay shop at my home that I built myself with 2-4 post bendpack lifts and working on autos on the side. Your hub has been very informative and I am considering taking the step and opening full time here at my shop. I already have more work than I can do by word of mouth. You are correct in the fact that customer service is what makes you successful, repeat business will get you through the tough times.

Thank You

earnestshub profile image

earnestshub 5 years ago from Melbourne Australia Author

Great comment ELK, if you are running 3 bays it is time to go pro. Service managers with lots of hands on experience usually make it in workshops especially if they have enough skills to gain a strong following. Good luck with your new business, and contact me anytime if you need any steerage along the way.

John 5 years ago

Great hub, i am a more than a full time truck driver, 12 hours a day, i am thinking going to school to be a auto-tech, then work weekends repairing cars, maybe one day open a shop of my own, i can't just quit my job, i have a big family to support, hope u see what i mean, what do you suggest, thank you.

earnestshub profile image

earnestshub 5 years ago from Melbourne Australia Author

Thank you John. It is tough when you are already committed to keeping your family with a 12 hour work day, you need to love it, otherwise like many other businesses it is just another slog. If you do love it then go for the course and start small.

earnestshub profile image

earnestshub 5 years ago from Melbourne Australia Author

I have no idea which country you are in, so you may want to give me some information if you need help.

Frankie 5 years ago

I have been approached to establish three Mercedes Benz (Truck) repair facilities in Afghanistan for use by the indigenous military force (ANA). We have already constructed various other Wksps’ for the US and UK military but they’ve always installed their own equipment (GFE).

This project has asked us to provide the entire Wksp, complete. Is there an inventory of what is required for a MB Truck Wksp?

Any help in this matter would be greatly appreciated.

earnestshub profile image

earnestshub 5 years ago from Melbourne Australia Author

Hi Frankie. I don't know of any inventory for MB truck workshops, but Stenhoj the big hoist manufacturers have a lot of cutting edge lifting equipment for high end makers, so I would give them a call. Suppliers in the workshop equipment business often have a broad range of contacts in their industry and will also have a broad knowledge of equipment needs. Some MB tooling will be required, and if you are lifting big rigs, you should be talking to Stenhoj anyway, they have the heavy lifting well covered.

Alia Ibrahimo 5 years ago

Dear Sir, the information is excellent and complete. I am leaving in Africa - Mozambique(speak portuguese). My husband bought most of the above equipment in Dubai. But we are not getting a big profit because we are renting the place so expensive from his parents. Know we want to build our own place. Can you please help us how to get a nice modern plans where we can get a nice idea how to organize all our equipment and work properly. Thank you very much. All the best.

earnestshub profile image

earnestshub 5 years ago from Melbourne Australia Author

I would suggest buying some auto shop floorplans online. A Google search will turn up plenty of them

I do suggest you read all of my workshop articles, as you will see extra tricks of the trade for setting up, marketing and primary needs. Feel free to contact me if you need further suggestions. Please let me know how many bays you are putting in and what you wish to offer your customers in the way of services.

NicoleSmith profile image

NicoleSmith 5 years ago


Thanks for your suggestion I will visit and read your articles.

earnestshub profile image

earnestshub 5 years ago from Melbourne Australia Author

Thank you Nicole, I hope you find some fresh information in them, it is all based on real experience in the trade.

John Sarkis profile image

John Sarkis 5 years ago from Los Angeles, CA

Very thorough hub - thanks

earnestshub profile image

earnestshub 5 years ago from Melbourne Australia Author

Thanks John. Nice of you to say so.

Business Model 5 years ago

A well thought out hub. Keep in mind that getting customers is the hard part. Doing the work only matters if you have a customer.

earnestshub profile image

earnestshub 5 years ago from Melbourne Australia Author

I agree. Getting customers is the essential ingredient. In fact I have devoted a large article on another hub to customer acquisition and loyalty.

Tom 5 years ago

Hello sir, I was wondering what kind of licenses one would need to open a shop.

earnestshub profile image

earnestshub 5 years ago from Melbourne Australia Author

Tom, that would depend on where you wanted to open a repair shop and what equipment you would be using.

The usual requirement is a light industrial zoning for the premises with a means of disposing of waste oils, a registered business and a qualified mechanic to do the repairs.

Joe Breen 5 years ago

I lost my machinist job here in Michigan USA.(The top state for unemployment)I decided to go back to college for auto tech,i been a backyard mechanic for over 20 years.I have learned a lot from my education,and wish to open an auto shop,however after reading your hub on the amount of equipment i will need ,i am feeling a little intimadated,the banks here have become reluctant on loaning money to someone on unemployment,i have some money saved to get started but not nearly enough for all the equipment ,any suggestions?thanks for your time.

earnestshub profile image

earnestshub 5 years ago from Melbourne Australia Author

Hello Joe, thanks for reading. I have another article on opening on a budget, and I would be looking to buy what you need most secondhand from a business that is closing, then building on it from your profit.

If you have good people skills you can still grow from scratch.

james (USA) 5 years ago

Do you suggest a non-machanic open a shop? Here is USA we are in recession and I can see my auto shop is making a lot of businesses as people are keep their old cars and not buying new. My background are in IT and I have some business, customer service knowledge and experience. I know something about fixing cars on simple matters but never taken any course.

earnestshub profile image

earnestshub 5 years ago from Melbourne Australia Author

James it is a tricky business to get right. The biggest asset you can have apart from business skill, is a top class motor engineer who can do the lot. I have been in the business a long time and have met a lot of people who were able to get started but could not make a profit.

I won't say it can't be done without real experience, I will say you need to be totally focussed on your customer to do it, and you will need expertise to succeed even if you are smart enough to work out the basics for yourself.

Getting the assessment right when the vehicle comes in and thereby your quote right can take a helluva lot of experience and skill.

Roi 5 years ago

Hey earnestshub,

I just read your article and I think it's great. My father and I are planning to start one up, but I don't have much Auto Mechanic experience except on helping him do oil, tire, and break changes.

My question is what are the possible roles I could contribute to a auto repair shop AND/OR What roles and or positions are needed to run a auto repair shop?

From Hawaii,


earnestshub profile image

earnestshub 5 years ago from Melbourne Australia Author

Hello Roi. Customer relations requires a good working knowledge of vehicles in general, administration requires some mechanical knowledge (enough to understand parts names)

I assume your father will be doing the technical repairs and checking the cars in to the workshop.

Whatever role you decide to play in the business you will need to study constantly to keep up with modern car repairs, even part names and have the capacity to see the customer's best interests are served to ensure repeat business.

kosta 5 years ago

hello sir, thank you for this. now i have a question. im about to go to a trade school for auto mechanics and the programs about a year long. when im done the program do i have to work three years as an aprentice like electricians..and what's the average starting.salary working ian a garag. (i live in canada)

earnestshub profile image

earnestshub 5 years ago from Melbourne Australia Author

I would think that Canada would be similar to Australia with a 3 year apprenticeship during which time you would go to trade school.

As to the salary an apprentice receives, in most countries I know about the first year salary is very low, and increases as you gain knowledge.

You will need a keen interest in learning to get the best jobs and the right apprenticeship.

When you finish your apprenticeship the salary for a motor mechanic is always pretty much lower than other trades.

Unless you have better than average ability, have studied hard and work efficiently you can get stuck in a lousy workshop on minimum wages.

Rob H 5 years ago

Great post. Was wondering if you could help a bit further- how would you scale the amount of equipment required, as you've outlined here, to accommodate maintenance facilities of up to 20 individual service bays. Perhaps a multiplier based upon number of bays?

Thanks for the help, great information.

earnestshub profile image

earnestshub 5 years ago from Melbourne Australia Author

Assuming the bays are working on maintenance of a fleet, I have to say it will have to be worked out to suit the type of vehicles maintained, but I have no fixed formula I can give you, although some accountant somewhere will have one!

Oil or coolant disposal, parts bins, benches all need to be readily accessible to all bays, some can be placed between benches. The number of transmission jacks, and other equipment should be reflected in the turn around time required by your fleet, number of staff etc.

earnestshub profile image

earnestshub 5 years ago from Melbourne Australia Author

California has some of the strictest requirements for workshops. You would need to ask your local chamber of commerce for all the current fees and procedures.

cobbs 5 years ago have no idea how encouraging this is..I am a full time aerospace engineer with an insatiable love for cars.they institute intrigue me plus I love to get my hands dirty with them...I am thinking seriously of taking classes and then starting my shop- but in Africa ( am African)..where service-oriented business generally thrive.Do you have any advise given my circumstance?

earnestshub profile image

earnestshub 5 years ago from Melbourne Australia Author

Hello cobb. Yes, I think your background and love of cars are big assets when considering owning a workshop.

I have never failed doing what I love to do, as one remembers every nuance when discovering more information about the subjects we love.

It is so much easier with an engineering background for some very good reasons. You are already meticulous in your work, as it is essential to keeping planes in the air. The same approach works for all vehicles.

I suggest you begin by reading all my hubs on the machinery, and choose equipment with growth in mind. If money is tight, buy big brand name equipment second-hand to get started.

Provide a free service that costs you time and money. This works better than other forms of advertising in a market that appreciates service.

I have several hubs on marketing and selling your services that will help you see how to do this.

Good luck comes with honest work.

Mmekeme Umosen 5 years ago

Sir, ur articles and in depth question solutions, are so appealing to me.

I would like to open an auto medics shop, and I need you to advise me on the apprenticeship program.

Thank you

earnestshub profile image

earnestshub 5 years ago from Melbourne Australia Author

Mmekeme Umosen, which country are you in?

Addict Muaz De'curiosity 5 years ago

Dear Hub,

I am planning to start one which as estimated customers will be Weekly 15 to 20 cars and bikes. What will be the man capacity I will need??



earnestshub profile image

earnestshub 5 years ago from Melbourne Australia Author

Hard to know with so little information.

marianne 5 years ago

hi.. i am planning to start a car shop business, someone help me to do a business plan and how will it cost.. thanks..

earnestshub profile image

earnestshub 5 years ago from Melbourne Australia Author

marianne you will need to do your own business plan, as costings and returns will vary enormously from one location to another. It's a big world.

The best way to make a business plan may be for you to get a pre-formed business plan online (some are free) and start filling out the spaces provided.

ChiaPet 5 years ago

What does the owner of a typical small auto repair shop make? Can you offer a range of what a person can expect to make after a year or two? I want to make sure if it's worth it, before I take the plunge. I read one of your articles and it mentions that a shop's profits are typically 3-4% of gross, is that right? I assume that takes in to account the owners salary. What should a shop of say two bays gross? Can I assume 1,000,000 dollars, with the owners salary 100,000 and the net profit of 30,000 - 40,000. I am in the Northwest US, but you can use some Aussie examples :) Thanks!!

rball1 5 years ago

Very good post. It was very useful for my english paper im doing on car customs and opening an auto repair shop.. What is the real name of the author??

earnestshub profile image

earnestshub 5 years ago from Melbourne Australia Author

Yes the figures are accurate. Let me put it this way, if you are not offering exceptional service and quality you will never get ahead in an auto repair shop, and it is the rare individual who succeeds to any degree in my experience here and abroad.

For most it is the source of an income and self regulation, ie working for themselves.

Over here turnover is likely to be between 400k and 1.5 million, and no 100k a year on start-up unless you use capital you already have.

The road to success is to offer more and make less until you have a good solid customer base that are loyal. That takes a couple of years of low profit or even loss.

earnestshub profile image

earnestshub 5 years ago from Melbourne Australia Author

rball1 The author is earnestshub, I don't promote myself otherwise, and that will suffice as I a have over 140 articles published under this name.

Glad it was useful for you.

Dabrow 5 years ago

What those it take to set up a standard car workshop. Talking about space, personnel, tools etc.

earnestshub profile image

earnestshub 5 years ago from Melbourne Australia Author

Dabro, I have provided all the information you need in my other auto shop hubs, and there is other data there you need to see as well, because it all depends on what profit centres you want to incorporate, and what your market is.

Angel Gocah 5 years ago

i am an HND holder in auto. engineering whose greater desire is to have a workshop of my own. but i have less expirience what should i do to achieve this?

earnestshub profile image

earnestshub 5 years ago from Melbourne Australia Author

It is not only experience that is needed Angel, it is the willingness to learn every day that is important.

If you are a good automotive engineer, working with an experienced mechanic for a couple of years will bring you up to speed with knowledge of idiosycracies in the different models and enhance your speed and efficiency when using tools.

The business model is the interesting bit. You can choose what you love to do and specialise.

I hope this helps, feel free to ask any questions and I will do my best to help.

zubair 5 years ago

what are the likely equipment can one start an auto repair shop with, been going to work on any brand of modern cars.

earnestshub profile image

earnestshub 5 years ago from Melbourne Australia Author

Well you need hand tools and a hoist at a minimum, and past that you can read how to set up an auto repair shop on my hubs.

lerato Mafa 5 years ago

how does the power circuit and control circuit of a car lift look like?

earnestshub profile image

earnestshub 5 years ago from Melbourne Australia Author

There are several different types of lift and several control systems.

Some hoists are purely electrical and have a belt driven worm drive , others have hydraulic over electrical where the hydraulic pump is attached to the motor directly and operates by pumping oil into the ram or rams.

The power circuit is almost exclusively 3 phase 400 volts AC. The control panel is mounted where it can be reached by an adult with switching and overload circuits.

arksys profile image

arksys 5 years ago from Adelaide, Australia

Great hub earnest. I was wondering about how long it took you to break even? I did start-up in Pakistan 3 years ago and the projections didn't look good at all, which is why i quit after 2.5 years. (although i had good loyal customers who even came from different cities). Most mechanics used to cheat the customers and made much more than i did with a lot less equipment. Tough market.

earnestshub profile image

earnestshub 5 years ago from Melbourne Australia Author

Sorry to here how tough it was in Pakistan, it's not easy anywhere.

When I started there were many people going broke on the usual 3-4% net margin most workshops make.

I was profitable from day one, as I had very little in the way of outgoings.

My first well built workshop was comfortably in good profit within a year from scratch. I have always been service driven and a lot of the mechanics here were average in my opinion.

My engineering background was a huge asset, as I could not only make new parts, but modify and correct design faults. I was also young energetic and hard working.

mohammed 5 years ago

I would like to do automotive work shop

could i know supplier to supply all equipment at europe



earnestshub profile image

earnestshub 5 years ago from Melbourne Australia Author

Hello Mohammed.

If I were you I would contact allstates in America and ask them about equipment. They will be able to put you in touch with a supplier, or ship equipment from America.

earnestshub profile image

earnestshub 5 years ago from Melbourne Australia Author

I don't reply by email Marty, I don't have the time to answer the many queries I get by email, so reply directly from my articles as soon as I am able.

I would be doing the masters in Mech Engineering if I were you, while gaining some practical experience in a repair business to get a handle on tool and equipment use.

The mobile market is good where I am, but I do not know enough about the automotive trade in Nigeria to make an honest estimate of the market there.

An MBA or at least a good understanding of business is most helpful as well.

Mobile or not, you will need good people skills to be successful in the automotive repair market.

Trust is paramount in this business.

Lerato Mafa 5 years ago

Thank you for giving me the answer but I would like to see the block or schematic control and power circuit of a 4 post car lift.

earnestshub profile image

earnestshub 5 years ago from Melbourne Australia Author

I see Lerato. I may be able to find one around here. Which country are you in?

Linda 5 years ago

Thank you so much for the information. My husband and I are looking into opening a repair shop at the beginning of the year. He is an excellent mechanic with over 20 yrs experience. He has managed shops in the past and is tired of making money for someone else and wants to make it for himself now. We plan on opening in a small town in Texas. His childhood hometown that only has 2 shops at the present time. We are really excited and your hub just put us on cloud nine. Thank you.

AndrewO 5 years ago

We are considering setting up a 12-bay (possibly increasing to 24-bay)auto service center, covering a variety of vehicle models in Nigeria. We are looking to engage a company to build a turnkey workshop and provide the core mechanical expertise to run the workshop for an initial period of 24 months. Would you have any recommedations of such companieshere in the USA.

earnestshub profile image

earnestshub 5 years ago from Melbourne Australia Author

Thank you very much for reading my hub Linda. I wish you every success in your new venture.

pancho 4 years ago

Great post Earnestshub,

I'm also from Melbourne, currently in the process of putting together a business plan to establish a new workshop in the west suburbs.

The plan is to establish the new shop in partnership with my Brother who is a motor mechanic with approx 7 years’ experience (really knows his stuff and has managed the last two garages his worked at) has also worked in both dealerships and private garages. I'm a computer engineer with a business degree, so I’m hoping these skills will work well together to ensure our success.

We are both pretty young (I think) I’m 31 and my brother is 26, so we are both pretty driven and enthusiastic.

We already own a fair amount of equipment that will hopefully help keep our start-up costs down.

I plan to continue working in my field and have more of a background involvement with the garage.

Apart from the excellent advice you have already given any further tips?

earnestshub profile image

earnestshub 4 years ago from Melbourne Australia Author

Hello Pancho, I wish you and your brother well in your new business.

A couple of things comes to mind. Conserve capital for quiet times, and manage the business financially so that it can reinvest in stock and allow for growth.

Be clever with advertising, ensuring that you have a unique angle that makes your business stand out.

Choose a top location with high visibility if you can. If you are hidden away you will have to promote more and be more innovative, but it can be done successfully if you get strong referrals.

I hope this helps, but do feel free to ask any questions you may have.

Harry 4 years ago

Hi Earnest!

How do you feel about an auto repair


I want to get into auto repair, but because

of lack of management skills, I'm contemplating

buying a franchise.

Cathy 4 years ago

Hi, Im very much interested in putting up an auto repair shop here in the Philippines. the only problem is that i dont have any knowledge about it. and im only 22. could you please give me a site where I could download or read some business plan in relation to this kind of business. thanks :)

CD 4 years ago

hi earnest, that was really informative. I am planning to start a hot rod - restoration workshop rather than a regular conventional one. how different would the setup be ?

Stewart J 4 years ago

This article is so helpful. Thanks!!! I am thinking, seriously thinking, about opening my own auto shop. This is what I've been doing for years.. but didn't know where or how to start...

Robert Nyirenda - South Africa 4 years ago

Thanks for this hub, I just want to start a tyre only workshop and I think I now have an idea of machinery required.

jessicatools profile image

jessicatools 4 years ago from Atlanta, GA

Nice Hub Earnest, this is a valuable service to small communities or neighborhoods in larger cities. Thanks for posting this.

eugenemike 4 years ago

thanx for the good article,i intend to own a repair shop one day,i have a background in mechanical engineering and have worked in an auto shop but currently working as a rig mechanic

tj 4 years ago

hi. Am a car enthusiast and been working on cars for years in africa, zimbabwe. I want to start an auto shop in 2012. The info i got from u is priceless, bless you.

Harry 4 years ago

Hello there, I don't have a high ceiling in my new tire change shop. I need some advice as to how to go about this for wheel alignment and balancing. Some people recommend me to dig in a ditch like old times. Please advise of there any equipment out there that doesn't need the car to be lifted up high

Kim Ponce 4 years ago

Looking to buy some equipment for a new shop. Any particular brands I should stay clear off? or any brands you would suggest? Looking at tire changers and balancers now. Too many out there!! LOL

htodd profile image

htodd 4 years ago from United States

That's really useful information those who are looking to open garage repair business

KrazyTurk 4 years ago

very useful guide mate thanks for your time on writing this down & helping us out with setting up a mechanical business.

koolsnoop 4 years ago

thanks hub, the info was amazing, im a graduate of engineering in Africa, and i had big plans to open up my own garage,i was writing up a proposal for the shop when i saw ur column, really helpful, scared me a little , but im still determined as ever, i might need a little specifications on machine names so i can make orders from the US, most of those i see here are quite...just ok...pls reply

kens precision auto care glendale az 4 years ago

i just found your site and must say , great job. i have been a tech for 40 years and fix what most dont take the effort too. i opened my own shop in glendale a year ago and it took off good, with customers that know me and people who heard about us. we have really low prices and i find runnings adds do not help with bringing in new customers and costs are to high for big adds to compete with the multi chain stores. now with the holidays here it has been really up and down , what would you suggest for bringing in new clients and how would you get the word out. i am a master certified tech , ase and asa and federal emissions , along with michigan certs in 16 areas , i take great pride in my work and not a big comeback rate, your information is great and all the equipment list you had we had when i opened, we do it all in house including valve grinding , tires , wheels , engine rebuilds and transmissions . any input on how to make better would be thankfull . thank you

Rai 4 years ago


Thanks for the HUB which is very important.

Godsent Osuji 4 years ago

Hi, i am so delighted over the article of yours on net concerning on how to start up an auto repair shop.Hope tat one day i will unfailingly my own work shop.I have no idea on auto mobile repairs but i so much have passion on automobile repairs that i want to start up my own,but i know i will make it huge when i start.I am from Nigeria,south-east of Nigeria precisely.My e-mail is write to me more on how to start up my Biz.

Emeka Tochukwu 4 years ago

please how can i get the used equipments to buy at very cheaper amount.

contact me @

Ldrjr profile image

Ldrjr 4 years ago from Alabama

That shop is very nice. The concrete advise is soooooo true you might not understand it but take his advise if your starting

mike 4 years ago

Lor of good stuff in this article but there is no way you can do 1 million a year out of 2 working bays. I have been working on cars for 28 years and there is not enough time in the day to turn that over unless you are 4 or 500 an hour. Please tell me that was a dream he was having. USA Thanks Mike

CIDO 4 years ago

Where can I get most of the equipment especially the hoist?

FutureMechanic 4 years ago

Nice hub. I'm thinking bout opening my own shop once I'm out of school. I have a few more years though

whiplash71 4 years ago

hello, i work for my brother in his auto repair only has 3 hoists so its not very big. He has a hard time bringing in money, i was wondering if you could give me some advice. he is a very caring and honest person, he has alot of costomers that count on him and trust him that has known him for years. He doesn't over charge anybody and he doesn't try scamming people, his labor rates is 65 an hour. he sometimes quotes out a job and in the end it turns out to be more than what he quotes it to be but he still charges them the amount he quoted it for, so he then looses out on money. He has alot of jobs most of the time but has trouble making good money on it and mostly every good job takes longer or something else goes wrong so he looses out on it. He works 6 days a week between 10-15 hours a day, dealing with the costomers taking calls and working on the cars, he works his butt off, has nothing to show for it and makes nothing in the end, barly enough to pay his bills. thanks for your time, hope you can help

Karim 4 years ago

Hi, I'm intersted in starting an auto repair shop business, I was graduated as a mechanical engineer outside the US and couldn't get a job here in the US so I went to school and get an AS degree in heavy equipment diesel mechanic I have been working for years for a company with a fleet of hundreds of trucks doing the maintenance and repair, although I don't work on cars but I know every bit about them as I service my cars by myself, I'm in my early 40's and I don't have any experience in dealing with business, should I take some classes for that?

indian_bs12 4 years ago

hii sir!!!!!!!!


i want to start a bussiness like u.....i m from india ..and i m from middel class family ..i was completed my mechanical engineering from india...than what i can do for achive my goal can u give me advise about it ...plzzzzz

Levison 4 years ago

i read this article 3 months ago and only juicced out a few information from it, i still have the paper i wrote the points i needed. Me and my father are running a domestic auto repair shop putting close to 3thousand dolls a month already. not bad for me, i never earned anything before.

Great article Ernest!

startmybusiness81 4 years ago

I also thought your hub is very informative, i have a question though,what type of business classes do you think would be benificial or necessary to run the business?

Bill 4 years ago

I like to buy tire balancer & alignment machine. Can you help me to deside what to buy. I have two in my mind Geoliner 780 John bean & Hunter Hawk eye elite.Balancer Hunter road force & Hofman Diagnostic Geodyna Optima. Thanks.

Rick 4 years ago

Great article. I plan on reading the rest of yours. I am an ASE certified master tech and am planning on starting my own shop soon but don't have a huge budget to work with initially. I am planning on buying tools and special equipment as I go because I can't afford it all at once I have invested in a good scan tool already because now days with all the computers there isn't much you can do without one do you have any other advice for me. I am young only 23 but have a lot of ambition and really want to make this shop work.

Bill 4 years ago

I think no body got answer for my tire balancer & alignment machine. I am wating from 8 days. Any body knows difference between both type of machines. Wating for answer. THANKS.

Bouvat 4 years ago

Thank you, your article helps i am 23 and daily dreaming about buying out my bosses or starting my own. Your article reminds me there is plenty I am not ready for.

toddfmarketing profile image

toddfmarketing 4 years ago

Well written and to the point. I only wish some of the shops I've worked at knew some of this, especially the parts about natural light and enough room. Working in a cramped, dimly lit shop is not fun!

los 4 years ago

its 20,000 not 20,00

Victor james 4 years ago

Well truly would want to have an auto shop and don't know how to go about it.

Olanrewuj 4 years ago

I am very glad the way you ex plane it to me thanks .But to have a just little work shop cost how much

Alex 4 years ago

electic cars

thomson UK 4 years ago

Hi and thanks for your advice, wondering if you know a company that can supply me with an up to date complete mechanic workshop equipment starting from the building to all the equipments needed,reside in london UK but looking to invest in Mechanic workshop in Lagos/Nigeria. Please help me with the companies contact infos. Thank you.

Joganta Chakraborty 4 years ago

Please send qutation of Bajaj Auto three wheeler repairing machineries on my E Mail ID.

Joganta chakraborty

C/O Sri Ashok Chakraborty

Barmantilla ,P.O. A.D.Nagar ,Agartala ,West Tripura.

Pin 799003.

Mobile No 09774389456.

E Mail ID

dtdavid85 4 years ago

If I wantes to open a motorcycle repair shop do I need to be a certified motorcycle mechanic before I can get the permits to open the shop?

jim 4 years ago

Great place to buy OEM parts and tire repair products online:

JAMES 4 years ago

What advise would you offer to the mechanic scared of taking the self employed jump who doesn't have a big bank account. Good credit, owns a home and has 3 kids and a wife. Scared of making the move and not seeing the business. I do lots of side work now in my driveway and bring lots of people into my dealership now for work but they will follow me surely. Very nervous

Bill 4 years ago

Young boy you are only 23 you need more experience by my thinking to open a new garage. But running show is easy to carry on,if you buy out your boss. But still it depend upon how much money he is asking & how much stock he has & how old is your equipment,is it worth to buy or buy new equipment. First find in your area if any other garage for sale. How much money the want & compare both side by side. If you can do 80% jobs without your boss,s help i think you can run the show.Best of luck make up your mind. GOOD LUCK.

bill 4 years ago

James if you have full time job & you have little gravy on the side keep going same way. I am in the trade from 32 years but still it is tough for us to maintain the flow. The business is slow out there. If you can fight first 2 or 3 years then you be ok.First 2 or 3 years you have to work like Horse. Any way that what i think, may be i am wrong. Just think twice before you jump. GOOD LUCK.

Bill 4 years ago

Hi i think all the mechanics & readers are on vacation or sleeping. No body make any comment from 5 weeks. Wake up every body.

prakash 4 years ago


mmekeme umosen 4 years ago

Reference 9 months ago, I asked about apprenticeship. I am in Nigeria. Thank u

Bello-Imam Abusali 4 years ago

It's good one. I would like to open a workshop.

steven Downs 3 years ago

I would like to open my own mechanic shop soon thank you

martellawintek 3 years ago

yous ok jamie i got it from a friend so i think this is the link

filling address , just give them a call ,tell them martells give you there number

Mahamood 3 years ago

please i wanna setup my own workshop, enlight me sir

Dalton 3 years ago

I don't know who you are or why you would take the time to go so in depth and detail about starting a workshop. but i am glad you did. I am a 17 year old going to a tech school straight out of high school. once i have a little more expirence i will go and get a business degree. i have taken notes of everything you just posted on this hub.

Thangrijoy Baite 3 years ago

Sir! i am a students of computer science (MCA), but my interest is on setting up a cars repairing workshop for my own and run by myself, but i don't have much knowledge about necessary tools, equipments, and even i don't know how to repair my own car. what i want to know from you is...... is that possible to run workshop without any knowledge. thanks

bill 3 years ago

This is for the guy who want to buy hoist. Buy china made if they are certified by the ministry ,most of they are not certified.Or buy north american made second hand used like Rotery hoist. Iam using from 14 years. Second for the guy who want to open a garage without an knowledge.This is the same idea as if you want to jump in the river without knowing how to swim. You going to get dround. If your dad is millioner then you can try. Best of luck both of you. THANKS.

Rodney Reel 3 years ago

I enjoyed the article, and thought it was very helpful and informative. it should be very helpful for someone starting, or even running a business. my job is safety coordinator, in a concrete batching doesn't really matter what type of work you do, the same basic rules apply. there is an organization of retireed business executives that will offer free advice on everything to do with the business you wish to start. they met with me face to face, one on one for free. they were very helpful. second, in the U.S. go to the OSHA web site and do some reseach on the safety side of it. it could save you hassles later or even fines for violations. the biggest violations i see are machine guarding.electrical cords without proper grounding, or frayed ends.a bench grinder is one of the first things they look for. they should have a safety shield, and the stop no more than 1/4inch from the wheel. transfering chemical from one container to another requires you post the safety data on the new container. ALL of it.

do yourself a favor, make up or copy a safety check list, and take a few minutes once a week to go thru it.the accident you save could be your own. last, it only takes one accident to involve OSHA. when they come they can go anywhere and look at anything.check your fire ext /exit signs monthly. you may get a break on your insurance by putting a safety program in place. your insurance compamy may also offer tranning courses for you and your employees for free. take the time and do your research. it will only benefit you and help you make a more informed decision. good luck with what you decide to do, and may you have a lomg productive run.

Bill 2 years ago

Mr. Rodney Reel seems like no body is home , no comment from any body. Hi every body, holidays are coming. From Bill HAPPY HOLIDAYS & Merry Xmas & Happy New Year, to every body & all my Friends & Mechanic Bro & all the readers, love you all, GOD BLESS YOU.

Nida 2 years ago

I have been asked to search for supplier of brake skim machine in the Philippines. Wonder If you could recommend one selling a good quality product? We are new to this auto repair business and don't have much connections yet. Thanks for any assistance..

francis 2 years ago

can i get a donor to help me start a garage for the street kids so that they acquire practical skills to help them earn a a ugandan

Ifeanyi 2 years ago

This hub is wonderful and very helpful. I reside in Nigeria has an engineering background in my first degree. I had done a few workshop thing but in electronics. Currently I am a banker but my passion is much on opening a garage for wheels and tires (brake systems). I really need your advice. I am not getting the desired job satisfaction in what I currently do (banking). I also do not have the required finance to start up. Thanks

Johne720 19 months ago

I'm extremely impressed with your writing skills and also with the layout on your weblog. Is this a paid theme or did you modify it yourself? Either way keep up the excellent quality writing, it is rare to see a great blog like this one nowadays.. fkegefgfedaa

aticoexportambala 17 months ago

nice blog ! i was looking for blogs related of Technical Educational Equipment manufacturer, then i found this blog, this is really nice and interested to read. thanks to author for sharing this type of information.

Richard 2 months ago

Dear Custamer

hong kong Perfomance car parts LTD , is spelialized in manufacturer high quality cnc milling machine components.

let our engineer work whit you . to get you the best quality product or components.we also do injection molding

press tank.and casting .you can save money and be competitive. please send 2D or 3D drawing for coating

yours sincerely


onesmus 13 days ago

Please link up with me, some business to do with u

Ramil 9 days ago



Please if you could quote me. i get 1 unit if in case.

    Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.

    Click to Rate This Article