Small engine repair shops are the heart and soul of the small vehicle market in the U.S.A., and indeed in much of the rest of the world. They’re also home to many family owned businesses that specialize in small engine repair for cars and trucks of all makes and models. The seemingly simple, casual meeting of two old buddies at an obscure, out-of-the-ways repair shop quickly masks a deeper, more significant relationship fueled by a rich, new yuppie couple’s imminent birth. These guys know each other well enough to know when the timing is right to slip in a ‘just a friendly chat’ when their mechanic has finished work on one of their cars; but they never take the time to get to know the people running the shop.
When most small engine repair businesses first start up they usually choose a name and stick with it. This is a mistake. Most successful small engine repair businesses start out with a catchy, friendly name that evokes a feeling of community among the members of the repair shop. Once the shop acquires some experience and reputation they may choose to change the name to something more unique or reflective of their personality. If this happens, the business name should reflect those personal aspects, rather than some corporate image created by an enterprising marketing firm.
Once the brand name has been decided the next step is to select a target market. While any small engine repair business can probably work in almost any area of the country and with any make and model of vehicle, narrowing down the target market can be an important first step. For instance, are the owners of small fleet vehicles likely to be found in a specific city or town? Or do they tend to drive from state to state, or across the country in search of greener pastures? Knowing where the target market lives can help a mechanic narrow his search for parts and services once the business has been established.
Once the target market has been identified the next step is to look at obtaining a small business credit card with a good interest rate and reward program. These cards often come with rewards programs like gas credits, air miles and free oil changes. A business credit card with these features has a much higher value then an individual credit card and can be used as cash at a service station, local grocery store or other local business for necessary maintenance. If a service station doesn’t provide a service to the customer on a regular basis the customer may not use the station very often and the small engine repair business credit card can help cover unexpected repairs that the business won’t be able to do on its own.
Once the small engine repair shop has a good name and a steady flow of customers the owner can look into investing in advertising on various media. Many small engine repair shops find that getting a newspaper ad or two is enough to generate business. Off-Broadway shows are also a great option, but they can be costly depending on how specific the advertisement is. For example, a small engine repair shop may find that a television commercial with their mechanic performing a service on the set of a popular television show works best. Film adaptations of local businesses can be successful if a service that is shown in the movie will be required regularly by local citizens.
When a small engine repair shop invests in advertising and marketing it can be quite successful in the future. Just like any business, a business that thrives depends on the amount of knowledge the owner has and the dedication of the employees. For some small engine repair shops the success of the business will depend on how well the owner maintains quality work and follows up with customers. If a service is rendered improperly it can have disastrous results, such as causing a fire. The owner of a small engine repair shop can also invest in hiring professional actors to perform in commercials or perform on stage if they feel they have the talent to make a successful film adaptation.