How to open a car service?

Car service as a business is attractive for two reasons: first, during a crisis, people are less likely to buy new cars and often repair old cars. The second reason, repair is one of the most «opaque» niches of business. So, it can be made effective by completely changing the approach to business processes.

The easiest way to open a car service is to buy a Vilgood franchise .

But if you still want to do it yourself – we offer you step-by-step instructions from the expert of the company «Vilgood» Barno Tursunova.

At first glance, there are more than enough car-care centers in Russia. And nevertheless, this niche is not as competitive as, for example, a niche of finishing materials. There it is very difficult for small shops to compete with networks like Leroy Merlin with their aggressive price and advertising policies. In the field of auto repair, on the contrary, only 10% of autotechnical centers belong to official dealers, 90% are independent service stations.

We started work at a loss-making car-care center. Having studied all the pitfalls and reasons for the unprofitability of the service station, we developed the IT platform WILGOOD IS, which fully technological and automated the processes inside the service station, and worked with clients based on cloud technologies. So we were able to develop the only unprofitable service station in a fast-growing federal network.

Before you start to open a car service, you need to decide what cars you will be repairing. The network of car-care centers «Vilgud» works with foreign cars not older than 10 years. It’s all about statistics and the target audience of auto services.

As a rule, clients of independent (non-dealer) service stations are owners of cars of 2-10 years old or Russian cars. About 70% of them are middle-income men.

Beginners will also not be out of place to learn which brands of cars are most popular. In general, Russia is led by Toyota, Nissan, Chevrolet, Renault, Ford, Kia, Hyundai; in Moscow – Nissan, Hyundai, Kia, Ford, Toyota, Volkswagen, Lada. But in some other regions the situation may be different.

Having defined the portrait of a potential customer and the most popular cars, you need to understand what services you will provide. Our main services are metalwork repair and maintenance. At the same time, we do not deal with aggregate repair and installation of additional equipment. We came to the formation of such a concept after long experiments on attracting customers.

Often there are car-care centers that have a narrow specialization, for example, are engaged only in an electrician or perform only bodywork. Such a service, as a rule, gives a higher rate of profit. But you need to consider that the main thing in it is professionals

I  compare car service stations of narrow specialization with restaurants of high cuisine.

And in those, and in other skills – the main condition for success, it must be at the highest level. If you do not have high-quality masters, it is better to choose a broad specialization. The same way should be chosen if you do not intend to be limited to only one car service. At the start of our business, we immediately knew that we wanted to make a network, and therefore chose a more massive segment. Working in it, you can easily verify compliance with standards.

Investment size

It is believed that the car service can be opened directly in the garage, installing a lift and purchasing a basic set of tools. At the same time, the volume of investments will be ridiculous. However, such an enterprise is an institution of a completely different level in comparison with a professional car-care center, which brings stable income and customers, but also costs more at the start.

Barno Tursunova, Co-founder of the network «Vilgood»

In our first car service we invested 18 million rubles. Then we bought a ready business. The opening of the next two STOs cost us about 5 million rubles. For 1.5 years we had to invest another 4 million rubles in each technical center to test and implement the IT platform WILGOOD IS, as well as to purchase new equipment and attract customers.

Now the opening of each service station costs the company «Vilgood» and franchise partners in 5.5 million rubles without additional financial injections into the development of information and management systems, since the system has already been created and tested on the first three SRTs. Every 2 weeks, improvements are made, but it does not require global financial support.

What will be the initial costs?

In total, 5, 52 million rubles will go to the opening of a new car service for 6 lifts:

  • 2.35 million rubles – equipment and tools;
  • 800 thousand rubles – repair of the premises;
  • 800 thousand rubles – rent of a premise in 500 sq. M. (The first month and the deposit);
  • 350 thousand rubles – IT + telephony;
  • 250 thousand rubles – furniture and shelving;
  • 220 thousand rubles – spare parts for the warehouse;
  • 150 thousand rubles – a sign.

1 million rubles – a planned loss in the first months of work, until the business goes to the operating zero.

Do not forget to also take into account the costs of promoting your business at the initial stage. On average, STOs spend 40,000 rubles a month on outdoor advertising. All service stations of the network management company «Vilgood» provides centralized marketing and lidogeneratsiyu with the help of SEO, contextual advertising on the Internet and social networks.

Indicators of car-care center in Moscow

2-4 months. 6-8 months. 12-15 months. 16 months
Turnover, rub. 2,000,000 3,000,000 4000000 5,000,000
Number of employees per shift 7th 8 9 12
Marginal profit 65% 65% 65% 65%
FOT including taxes thirty% 25% 22% 20%
For rent 20% 14% 10% 8%
Payments to Vilgood UK 10% 10% 9% 8%
other expenses 5% 5% 4% 4%
Ebitda 0% eleven% 20% 25%

How to reduce costs?

Most of the costs (about 40%) are the costs of purchasing spare parts. You can optimize these costs by negotiating with suppliers about discounts and about returning unused parts. Since «Vilgood» is a network of car-care centers, it has large volumes, which means that it receives significant discounts for spare parts and allows its car-care centers and car-care centers to buy parts at a reduced cost under a franchise.

To spend less on renting a room, «Vilgood» prefers to be located not on the «first line». Companies do not need high-traffic places, because customers are attracted through the Internet and they do not need to go past the service every time to remember the sign.

How to open a car service?

Step-by-step instruction

When opening a car-care center, first you need to decide on the target audience and the concept of your business. After that, you will become clear what kind of equipment for the work you need. By making a list of the necessary equipment and tools, one should not only start from the set of services that are planned to provide, but also take into account the necessary degree of process automation and productivity.

The minimum set of equipment and tools includes:

  • Hoisting equipment – lifts. They are practical and convenient to use. When installing them, you do not need to equip the inspection holes;
  • Equipment for camber-toe: stand, four-post lift;
  • Tire fitting equipment: balancing stand, tire changer, tire-to-disk rammer, tire inflation compressor, tire washer, mobile jack, a lot of consumables (rubber bands, nipples, greases, weights);
  • Diagnostic equipment: scanners to determine the malfunction of the car;
  • Washing equipment: high pressure washers, which are used to clean the body of dirt, as well as to clean parts that require repair;
  • Refueling equipment: various systems for oil change, air conditioning systems, pumps for pumping liquids;
  • Auto tools: tool trolleys with lodgmentals, including keys, heads, screwdrivers, pullers, etc.

The additional purchase of equipment is expected depending on the expansion of the range of services provided by the auto service center.

To the necessary consumables when opening a service station, you can include:

  • Engine oil;
  • Spare parts for maintenance: filters, candles;
  • Brake fluid;
  • Antifreeze;
  • Measuring capacities;
  • Car chemical goods: detergents, cleaners, lubricants, additives for the engine;
  • Autocosmetics;
  • Protective covers in the car;
  • Auto accessories: useful trivia, which can be useful in various situations.

How to choose a supplier?

When selecting potential suppliers, the following criteria should be followed:

  • Experience of the company in the market;
  • Cost and quality of products;
  • Geographical location of the supplier;
  • Well-established and flexible logistics;
  • Delivery time;
  • The breadth of the assortment;
  • Terms of payment;
  • Terms of guarantee, return and exchange of low-quality products.

When choosing a supplier of equipment, the main criterion for selection should be the warranty and post-warranty service on its part.

The supplier of spare parts in the first place should be in sufficient territorial proximity from you, have a wide range of parts and flexible delivery schedule (self-delivery). The selection according to these criteria will allow you to promptly deliver the necessary spare parts for car repairs, and also will support a minimal warehouse.

When choosing suppliers of technical fluids (engine oil, gear oil, antifreeze, etc.), it is better to give preference to distributors. Working with them guarantees the quality of the products delivered and protects against possible vehicle failures due to the use of substandard or counterfeit oils, which, alas, the market is oversaturated.

The beginning of cooperation should always be accompanied by the signing of a supply agreement, which prescribes all the conditions and agreements reached at the time of negotiations.

As soon as the issue of equipment and supplies, as well as the choice of supplier will be resolved, it is worth considering the issue of advertising. We promote our services through the Internet. A single marketing department, located in a management company in Moscow, provides lidogeneratsiyu for all service stations of the network, in whatever city they are located. We also use outdoor advertising.

Since the search for new employees is time-consuming and costly, Vilgood has developed its own personnel search system. At the first stage, it simply sifts out the wrong people.

To become a part of our team, the master must fill the web with a long form for several pages. If he fills it to the end, we see that a person is interested in working with us.
In addition, to fill this form, a person needs to follow clear instructions. So we see that the candidate can work within the given algorithm, and this criterion is one of the main ones for us. If the candidate completes the form to the end, following all the instructions, we invite him to an interview.

«Vilgood» does not hire car service managers from outside, but grows its own. The leader should be systemic, progressive, ready for learning, full of desire to develop and tuned to a long-term result.

Personnel is one of the main pillars of business. It is important not only to competently select employees, but also be able to control their work and give them motivation.

The lack of an effective accounting system allows unscrupulous employees to serve customers «past the checkout».

Employees of the service station often steal new details, install old ones, use poor-quality oil when replacing them and often do not observe the stated terms of repairing the car. At the same time, the client is not satisfied, and the owner loses profits.

Analyzing the situation, we realized that to put the case «on a new track» we will be helped by two main components: complete digitization and automation of all business processes and a new system of staff motivation.

On the basis of cloud technologies, the IT platform WILGOOD IS was specially developed, in which the algorithms for all actions of employees, as well as the system for responding to them, were prescribed. In other words, a point reward system was introduced that takes into account every action of the employee in the work process. For following the algorithm, employees receive points, for deviation from it – they lose.

Points are a kind of home currency, «Vilgood», and the workflow in the company resembles an exciting business game, where each turn brings the player a profit or loss that stimulates him to play better. Points are awarded immediately in real time, and the employee can easily monitor the effectiveness of their own actions. By the results of the month, the points form a significant bonus. Also on their basis, staff performance ratings are compiled.

A place

Many are trying to open a service station in a conspicuous place to secure traffic for themselves by passing motorists who pay attention to a bright sign and sooner or later call in for repairs. But practice shows that the location in the first line near the highway is an optional condition. If you make an emphasis on promoting on the Internet, only «ready» customers will come to you, and you will not need to be located in a prominent place. This will also save on costs.

If the requirements for the location may not be so strict, then with the car service room itself, things are different. Remember that placing such objects in residential buildings is strictly prohibited, so you’ll have to find a detached building. It must be modern and well-maintained.

An important requirement  is the height of the repair area, which should be at least 4.5 meters. This makes it possible to install from 3 to 6 lifts.

The area depends on the type of work performed and the dimensions of vehicles that will be repaired. In general, the standard is – at least 5 square meters per employee without taking into account the equipment.

By standards, the premises must necessarily be equipped with ventilation, heated in winter and have a natural light source. Walls should be finished with moisture and oil-and-oil resistant materials.

In the car-care center there is also a mandatory presence of a client zone where motorists can calmly solve their problems with the administrator, issue documents, etc. The area of ​​such a zone is not less than 10 sq.m. In addition, there must be parking for at least three cars.

From the documents the owner of the car-care center must have a contract for renting a room with seals from the SES and fire supervision.


In order to open a car service, no licenses are needed, although you can find other information on the Internet. But in accordance with the current Federal Law «On licensing of certain types of activities» car repairs are not subject to licensing. Therefore, you only need to register your business.

You can register your business both as an IP and as an LLC. Which option to choose depends on the personal preferences of the owner.

As a taxation type, it is better to use the USOS if you are going to open in Moscow. For other cities, a great fit UTII. According to OKVED, car service is carried out as «Repair and maintenance of vehicles» (50.2).

Check-list of opening

  • Analysis of demand,
  • The choice of the concept of car-care center,
  • Search for a room,
  • Conclusion of the lease agreement,
  • Registration of IP or LLC, registration with the tax inspection,
  • Credit arrangement,
  • Search for equipment suppliers,
  • Ordering equipment,
  • Installation of equipment,
  • Search for suppliers of consumables,
  • Drawing up an estimate of construction (list of necessary furniture, building materials),
  • Search for a construction team,
  • Buying building materials,
  • Ordering furniture and interior items,
  • Repair work,
  • Development of an advertising campaign for the opening,
  • Development and coordination of the signboard, its installation,
  • Search masters for repair,
  • Search of administrative personnel,
  • Interviewing, selection of candidates,
  • Scheduling shifts,
  • Festive opening.

Is it profitable to open

With a competent organization of the workflow, car service is a fairly profitable business. It can give from 10-25% of net profit to turnover.

In the service centers of the network and the franchisee, a uniform pricing policy is implemented, adapted to the specifics of the regions. In general, we try to keep prices lower by 30% than from official dealers.

«Vilgood» has developed its own technology to expand the average check. This is achieved through transparency of business processes and competent work with clients.
In an ordinary car service there is no automated accounting system, business is not transparent, which allows unscrupulous employees to serve customers «past the checkout». The income goes to the employee, but the owner loses the proceeds.

Due to the fact that there can not be unrecorded cars on the territory of «Vilgood», the work can not be performed, if not registered in the system, the average check grows.
Also, the marketing technology «Vilgood» helps to increase the average check. Each customer is diagnosed with 41 parameters. It helps to identify all the problems, determine which ones are critical, and which ones can be repaired. When the customer learns about the condition of his car, he prefers to immediately repair the breakdown.

If our first car service was operational only after 18 months, then after we implemented the IT platform WILGOOD IS and established all the processes inside the system, the new service stations of the network go for an operational payback period of 2-4 months (depending on the region) .

The payback period is about 15 months. In our service stations, the average number of clients per month is 485 people, which provides an average monthly turnover of 4 million rubles.
It should be taken into account that seasonality is characteristic for a car-care center as a business. With minimal profit, the service operates in January and February. In addition, the business has a number of risks: unchanged business processes, inefficient technologies to attract customers and work with them, and opacity of business for the owner.

It is difficult for an independent SRT to simultaneously repair cars and optimize business processes.

As I have already said, in many frequent car-care centers employees steal from the owner, carry out operations past the official cash desk, violate the terms. To avoid this, we were helped by the complete digitization of business processes and the creation of algorithms for the work of employees, from which they can not evade.

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