If you are already employed as a mechanic and have been considering working for yourself, you need to think about a number of things before making the leap. If you’re passionate about car engines and want to know how to start your own mechanic business, we hope to provide guidance.

Ensure you have suitable motor trade insurance

Before getting started, anyone who is working with cars, regardless of on a part-time or full-time basis, will need a suitable traders policy. This provides cover when a customer’s vehicle is in your care. To find the best deals, use an online comparison site such as Utility Saving Expert. You’ll be able to compare motor trade insurance from a number of industry leading providers, helping you save both time and money. Let’s get back to fixing vehicles, shall we?

Why should I become a self-employed car mechanic?

There are a number of advantages to becoming a self-employed car mechanic. Firstly, you’ll be able to work on a whole range of vehicles, helping take care of all the basic maintenance that most customers won’t be able to do themselves. You’ll undertake a number of tasks such as fixing electrical faults, conducting MOTs, replacing tyres, changing brake pads and even carrying out a full car service. The everyday person will not have the knowledge and skills to do this themselves, or if they do, many won’t want to spend the time to do it. If you’re passionate about cars, vans, trucks or motorbikes, you’ll be getting paid for something you love to do.

Another major benefit of being a self-employed vehicle mechanic is that you’ll be your own boss, allowing you to choose your own schedule including the days and hours you work. You will have the flexibility to decide how much work you want to take on at any given moment. Furthermore, many people who work for themselves will have an opportunity to make more money than a typical employee who’s on an hourly wage or salary. In addition to this, you will also be able to claim back tax on the tools and clothing you need for the job. You can set your own rates, and through efficient tax planning, you will earn more than you would if someone hired you as an employee.

How do I become a self-employed vehicle mechanic?

First and foremost, you will need extensive knowledge and the right skills for a whole range of vehicles. Mechanics also need their own clothing and tools to get the job done. A dedicated garage space and a large vehicle of your own to transport your tools to another location to carry out work will also be helpful.

In addition to this, you will likely also need a number of other basics that many small businesses require. For example, a computer, mobile phone and a way to organise your paperwork and manage your accounts.

Business structure is another aspect you’ll need to think about. For example, do you want to set up your own limited company and be the director, or would you prefer to carry out contract work for others. Both options have their own benefits and drawbacks. If you decide to set up your own limited company, you will likely have to do some additional paperwork but it may offer you much greater rewards.

What qualifications do I need?

When working as a self-employed mechanic, there are a few qualifications that you will require. A number of colleges offer courses to give prospective mechanics the fundamental knowledge they need to legally trade within the industry. If you don’t have the time to commit to a full-time course, a number of flexible part-time courses are also available, but these will take longer to complete. A great beginning point would be a course that takes you from a basic interest and understanding of engines to a Level 1 Certificate/Diploma in Vehicle Maintenance.

An apprenticeship is also a really practical way to get the necessary skills and experience you need. You will have the opportunity to learn and work at the same time, and even receive some payment. Many apprenticeships will also require some basic GCSEs – normally English and Maths.

Where will I be working?

Most self-employed mechanics won’t always work from a garage and will often start as a mobile business as funds may be limited. If you’re meeting your clients at their location, you’re providing further convenience that other mechanics may not be able to. Although your fuel costs may be slightly higher, you’ll save money on not having to cover the costs of a business premises.

Note, if you are operating as a mobile mechanic, you’ll be on the road a lot more and will be required to transport all of your tools. Garages do offer prospective customers a level of reassurance. There isn’t a right answer, and you can always transition to a garage as your business grows.

In summary, being a self-employed vehicle mechanic offers a lot of opportunity for those that have the right knowledge and experience. As with any business, you’ll have to work hard to become successful.