Tag Archives: diy

So You Want to Start an Auto Repair Business: Six Things to Know First

If you’ve spent endless summers or weekends turning wrenches in your garage, it might seem like the next logical step to turn your hobby into a business where you can earn money. While this can be a worthwhile endeavor, here are six things you should be aware of before you sign the lease on your shop and turn on the lights.

1. Licensing and Regulations

Anytime you open a business, you will need to obtain a business license and a tax identification number (TIN). You also have to familiarize yourself with some regulations, from employee safety to the disposable of hazardous materials, before you can open your doors. Not dotting your I’s and crossing your T’s can lead to costly fines that may even shut down your business before you get it off the ground.

2. Certifications

While Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) certifications aren’t a requirement to open a shop or even work in one, customers feel a lot better about leaving their car in your hands if they see that blue gear logo on your wall or the lapel of your shop clothes. You can take a few different tests depending on your shop’s specialization, from general automobile repair to heavy engine repair on trucks or busses.

3. Start-Up Costs

In 2013, the start-up cost for an automotive repair shop was roughly $48,000. This includes things like renting a shop, purchasing equipment and paying for insurance, to name a few. It’s hard to repair cars with no tools and nowhere to do it, after all. Keep those start-up costs in mind, especially if you’re planning to secure a business loan to cover them.

4. Specializations

Are you planning to open your doors to all makes and models, or are you planning on specializing in a single brand of car, such as BMWs? You might lose out on some business opportunities if you choose the latter, but it can be lucrative depending on the types of vehicles people in your area own.

If you do want a specific brand to work on, make sure you look into any specializations you will need to acquire to become a certified specialist.

5. Contractors

They say that no man is an island — and no auto repair shop is either. You will need some help from outside contractors that might include but aren’t limited to:

· Lawyer: To help you dot all those I’s and cross all those T’s that we mentioned earlier

· Accountant: To help you keep track of the books

· Certified Garage Door Repair Technician: Because there’s no point in having a garage if the door won’t open — choose a certified technician to make sure that the job is done right the first time

· Equipment Repair Technician: Since you probably won’t have a hydraulic lift or compressor specialist on staff

The services these individuals provide will cost money, so make sure you include that in your initial calculations, so you’re not caught flat-footed.

6. Marketing

No one likes thinking about marketing, but word-of-mouth will only carry you so far when you’re opening a new business. If you don’t have any marketing skills, invest in the assistance of a professional to help customers can find you. Providing excellent service can encourage word of mouth, but you only get the chance to repair cars if drivers can find you in the first place.

Opening an auto repair shop isn’t as complicated as it sounds, but it does take some preparation to make sure everything is done right. Taking that time to prepare will mean the difference between a shop that is successful and one that closes it’s door before its first year is over.

How to Build the Perfect Garage for Your BMW

Owning a BMW is a fantastic experience, but it might be short-lived if you don’t have a garage to keep it in. If you’re like most of us, your garage is probably an overflow for all the stuff that doesn’t fit in your house — and cleaning it out is a huge hassle, so why not build another garage instead? If you’d like to create the perfect garage to store your BMW in and you’ve got plenty of spare property to build on, here are a few tips and tricks to get you started.

Step One Planning

Before you break ground or start buying supplies, your first step should be to plan your new garage. You’ll need to account for everything from the foundation up, including ventilation, electricity and insulation, among other things. If you’re not handy with architecture programs, consider hiring a pro to design a garage for you. Even if you’re planning on building it yourself, this can save you a lot of hassle in the long run.

Here is also the step when you’ll want to start researching building permits in your area. Find out what permits, if any, you’ll need to obtain to legally build a garage on your property.

Step Two Gathering

Step two involves collecting everything you’re going to need to build your garage — wood, concrete, electrical components and a garage door should all be on your list.

You don’t want to have to stop in the middle of your project to go pick up more lumber or drywall because you didn’t purchase enough to begin with. Make sure you gather all your supplies before you break ground.

Step Three Construction

Step three is to build your dream garage. Start with your foundation — you’ll want a solid place to park your car. Once the foundation is in place, you can build it from the ground up — literally.

If you’re not confident in your handyman skills, or you’re worried about being able to build your garage up to code, it might be smart to bring in a professional to do the work for you. It might cost you a bit more, but you won’t have to worry about your garage roof falling onto your BMW, or your new garage burning down in the middle of the night because you incorrectly installed the electrical panels.

Once you have the garage built, it’s time for the fun part.

Step Four Features

Now that you’ve got four walls and a roof, it’s time to trick out your garage with shelves, cabinets and other storage for your tools, toys and other car accessories.

Cabinets make an excellent addition to any garage, and you can build them yourself at home as long as you have the proper tools. These can be a great weekend project if you’re handy with a saw — and don’t forget to invest in high-quality saw blades to ensure you get clean cuts and smooth edges to build the perfect cabinet.

Step Five Enjoy!

Once you have your garage built and tricked out, all that’s left is to park your BMW and enjoy all your hard work!

Constructing a garage can be an ambitious project, but if you’ve got a BMW or other luxury car and nowhere to park it, building a new garage is a great option — and it can add value to your property as well!

How to Improve Your Bimmer’s Gas Mileage

We all love our BMWs — they’re fantastic and powerful cars, but they don’t always have the best gas mileage due to their large engines and heavy frames.

If you’ve got a favorite Bimmer in your garage but aren’t driving it because of the rising price of gas, what can you do to improve your car’s gas mileage? Here are four tips.

  1. Drive Smart

Believe it or not, a lot of your car’s gas mileage depends on how you drive it. Having a lead foot on your gas pedal can both reduce your car’s overall fuel efficiency. Keeping it to the speed limit might annoy the other speed junkies on the road, but it can help improve your car’s gas mileage.

Leaving your windows down can also reduce your car’s gas mileage. Your Bimmer is designed to be aerodynamic, and that includes closed windows — messing with your car’s aerodynamics can cost you. If your air conditioner is broken, that’s a different story — no one expects you to lock yourself in a sweltering car — but if it works and you’re trying to improve your gas mileage, keep the windows up.

  1. Air Up Your Tires

Keeping your tires at the proper pressure is vital for more than one reason, but it can also help you improve your car’s fuel efficiency. If your tires are a little flat, it makes your engine work harder to push the car forward. A harder working engine burns more fuel.

Also, adequately inflated tires wear out quicker and might have trouble gripping the road. If your Bimmer’s tires are nine psi below the manufacturer recommended specs, it can cost you nearly $250 a year in fuel, depending on fuel costs at the time.

  1. Schedule a Tune Up

You should be keeping up with the maintenance on your car anyway, but if you haven’t scheduled a tune-up in a while, it could be costing you extra dollars at the pump.

A set of old spark plugs can cost you more than $500 a year in wasted fuel. Replacing a dirty air filter can save you upwards of $350. Changing your fluids regularly and making sure that they’re topped off before you drive can also help save you some money by allowing your engine to run more efficiently.

If you’re a little overdue on your tune-up, it’s time to schedule one or get to work. Not only will it make your car run better, but it can also help you save a bit of money at the pump.

  1. Go Extreme

Hypermiling, or extreme driving techniques, can help you save quite a bit. According to the MythBusters, you can increase your cars gas mileage by a whopping 70 percent by employing some or all of these techniques — though they’re not always practical.

Hypermiling includes:

  • Never driving faster than 45 miles per hour
  • Removing your side view mirrors to improve car aerodynamics
  • Shutting off your A/C but keeping the windows rolled up
  • Turning your engine off at red lights
  • Drafting, or driving as close to the back of a tractor-trailer as safely possible

While you might not be able to do all of these safely — no one wants to try to drive 45 miles an hour on the interstate, after all — a few extreme measures could save you quite a bit of money on your next trip to the gas station.

Even if you’re not drafting behind a big rig, there are plenty of ways to help you save a little bit of money while you’re filling your tank. Just remember, no savings are worth your life. Be safe no matter what you choose to do to increase your Bimmer’s fuel efficiency.