How to start an auto body shop business

Updated April 17, 2017

People rely on automotive bodyworks garages to repair vehicle damage from accidents and everyday wear and tear. Auto bodyworks garages also provide regular maintenance services, such as paint touch-ups and tire rotations. A career in the automotive service industry can be challenging and rewarding. According to a 2008 National Public Radio article, a privately owned auto bodyworks garage in Texas makes about £0.8 million a year. If you are knowledgeable in auto repairs and want to own a business, consider opening an auto bodyworks garage.

Create a list of repair services your auto bodyworks garage will perform, such as paint jobs, dent repair, collision damage, interior maintenance, oil changes, tire replacement and brake work. Make a general pricing chart for each automotive repair service.

Write a detailed business plan for the auto bodyworks garage that states your goals, a marketing strategy, management plans and estimated income and expenses. Include the cost of automotive repair tools and equipment you need to purchase to open the auto bodyworks garage. Present your business plan to potential investors or banks to secure a grant or loan.

Hire employees with a strong background in automotive repairs who can demonstrate skills in car repair, painting and maintenance work. Require every automotive technician you employ to become certified through the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence to increase your bodyworks garage's credibility to consumers.

Find a vacant garage or warehouse to rent or purchase for your auto body business. Look for a business space near a highway or high traffic street that provides an easily accessible location for vehicle breakdowns and emergency flat tires.

Purchase bodyworks garage supplies and equipment from wholesale suppliers, such as car lifts, power tools, lamp lighting, paint spray guns and air compressors.

Advertise your auto bodyworks garage through radio commercials and flyers posted at local businesses, grocery stores, college campuses and coffee shops. Get permission from owners or managers to place business cards for your auto bodyworks garage in car parts stores to reach customers directly.

Set up meetings with potential clients and examine vehicles to determine the severity of repair or maintenance work that needs to be done. Provide a cost estimate for clients and make an appointment date and time for repair.


Offer a percentage discount for first-time clients and referrals to improve the chances of repeat customers and new clients for your auto bodyworks garage.

Things You'll Need

  • List of repair services
  • Pricing chart
  • Business plan
  • Bodyworks garage space
  • Bodyworks garage equipment
  • Flyers
  • Business cards
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About the Author

Based in New Jersey, Kristy King has been writing since 1999. Her work has been published in "Stockpot" magazine and "Nibble" magazine. King holds a Bachelor of Arts in literature and creative writing from the Richard Stockton College of New Jersey.