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Starting a small business from the comfort of your home is a perfect way to secure some extra cash or begin a new career. Car hobbyists are perfect examples of individuals who are able to turn their lifelong hobby into a new venture. What may seem like just a hobby to you may be a necessary service for someone else. If you’ve gotten involved with car repair, it may be time to consider opening your own auto shop at home. These tips for starting an at-home auto shop will get you started.

Fill Out the Paperwork and Allocate Space

The first step for opening any kind of business always starts with paperwork. You will need to be a licensed automotive mechanic with enough space on your property for car repair. If you need designated space, you may need a permit to build a garage tailored to your business. Make sure you have enough parking space to keep cars off residential roads. Once the state approves your business, you have your tax ID, and you have a space for auto repair, you will need to get a reseller license so you can get parts at wholesale prices. You may also want to make room for an office dedicated to your business.

If you can’t get your business approved, consider instead applying to become a mobile auto mechanic with a home base at your house. Customers will appreciate a mechanic that provides house calls, especially in more rural areas.

Supply Yourself With Mechanic-Grade Tools

Now that you’re taking your mechanic skills from a hobby to a service, you will need to make sure you have all the right tools for your business. Start with the basic auto shop hand tools, then look for power tools or diagnostic tools that you can afford on your budget. Since you’re saving money that you would otherwise be spending on renting a building for your business, you may have a little extra cash for equipment.

You may also want to get a hydraulic lift for your garage, but remember that because you are in a residential area, you may need to watch your noise pollution. You will also need to be careful where you dispose of your chemical and car part waste. Check your state’s environmental regulations to ensure you practice safe waste disposal.

Find a Niche

With an at-home business, you need to find a way to draw customers to your business instead of a commercial mechanic. One of the tips for starting an at-home auto shop that you should consider is to find a specialty or niche. If you work on only vintage muscle cars, you will draw in business from car collectors or lovers of that era of car. You can also specialize in a specific service, such as glass repair or oil changes. Once you are more established, you can branch out into a larger variety of services or even consider renting out a shop away from home.

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Denise Lockwood has an extensive background in traditional and non-traditional media. She has written for Patch.com, the Milwaukee Business Journal, Milwaukee Magazine and the Kenosha News.