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Car body shops provide a wide variety of services to vehicle owners. This includes maintenance and repairs for accidental damage, installing and fitting modifications or even respraying the entire vehicle to a different colour. Like any new business, it can be a big challenge when you’re just starting out. Although, if you’re passionate about cars, through perseverance and effort, you too can succeed in this industry.
Ensure your business is sufficiently insured
In this guide, we’ll go through the basics of what you need to know before starting your own car body shop business. The first thing to know is, if you’re handling a customer’s vehicle, you’ll need adequate motor trade insurance. You can easily find the right policy for your commercial needs at an online comparison site such as Utility Saving Expert. Simply enter a few details about the nature of your work and details about your business, and you’ll be presented with a list of quotes to choose from. These can be filtered by price and adjusted based on your specific needs. Let’s get back to maintaining those vehicles.
Before starting any new business, you need to ascertain if there is an actual demand for your proposed business. The car body and repair service sector is very competitive, and is available from the following sources:
- Independent businesses (including sole traders and large-scale industrial companies)
- Workshops owned by insurance companies
- Franchised motor dealers
- Mobile SMART repair (small to medium area repair techniques) businesses. This includes those that are part of a franchise network
- Car dealers that specifically target the used car market
- Other firms that provide panel and glass replacement services
Analyse your competition
Look at your competitors in your town/city to identify how many outlets are already available to customers. Check to see if the market is saturated or if there’s a potential business opportunity with an underserved customer base. You may find out that you’re only competing with a few of these types of businesses, or you’re offering a specialist service that is hard to find elsewhere. By looking at the range of services other businesses in your area already offer, you can get an insight into the following:
Do they offer a specialised service e.g. classic car restoration work?
Do they offer spray paint services?
Do any existing companies replace bumpers, glass or lights etc.
Are existing firms part of a quality standards scheme?
Do any companies offer other related services such as convertible roof replacement or upholstery repairs?
Does anyone provide a vehicle recovery service?
Are courtesy cars offered to customers?
What are the normal opening hours?
What prices are being charged for each individual service?
How knowledgeable are their employees? Are they qualified?
What sort of customers do they attract?
If there is a gap in the market, this is your chance to address this segment. Because competition is intense, it’s useful to find out what sort of services customers are actually interested in paying for. Rather than just asking individuals, you can also contact other local companies such as vehicle hire businesses, driving schools and taxi firms to see if you’re able to meet their specific needs.
Your car body shop business will need to convince potential customers on why they should choose you, instead of spending their money elsewhere. The majority of the jobs that you will undertake will be repairing accident-damaged vehicles. Typically, these repairs will be paid for by insurance providers. Although a number of motorists will opt to pay for minor repairs out of their own pocket rather than have their no-claims bonus affected. Some work will not even be accident-related. You may be repairing corroded panels for a vehicle that has failed its MOT test.
Classic restoration and spray painting are two other examples. Some car enthusiasts will look to alter the appearance of their vehicle. This can be done by completely replacing the body kit, adding a rear spoiler or even installing custom lights. Car modifications are popular and a lot of drivers are happy to spend big money on this hobby.
Know your ideal customer
Your customer profile will be the main source of your income. It may be worth pursuing an insurance company’s approved repairer scheme. This will provide continuous income if you’re able to reach a mutually beneficial agreement. Aside from targeting private motorists, working with other local businesses such as driving schools, motor traders and vehicle hire businesses will also provide further room for growth. Many larger firms will have a fleet of vehicles, so striking up contracts with these companies could really improve your finances and the amount of work you have. You may even decide to offer an extensive range of additional services. Before expanding into these areas, focus on your core offering before you’re ready to take on this extra work.
Here’s a list of services you may offer later down the road:
- Car valeting
- Interior trim repairs
- Providing an accident recovery service
- Providing a courtesy car
If you’re ready to make the leap, there are a number of business plan templates available online to help you plan your new car body shop business. To succeed, you’ll have to work hard and make effective use of digital and traditional marketing to attract customers. Ultimately, excellent customer service and a high standard of repair work will keep you in business for years to come.
Streamlining the delivery process so that both trucks and drones can work together is the obvious way forward for truck rental and shipping services. This will save time and money and get things to customers faster. It also means that drivers won’t need to go into driveways and be a hassle for other vehicles coming in and out, and they can have contactless delivery to the door. Which is something a lot of companies are now working on during the covid-19 pandemic.
There are already multiple companies with the ability to launch delivery drones from their trucks, including Amazon, UPS and Workhorse. But there are some stumbling blocks blocking the path forward for this technology to be in regular use worldwide.
Benefits of Truck – Drone Partnerships:
- Contactless delivery. This is a big one at the moment, with the public sector and govt calling for it and delivery companies already starting to work on more contactless delivery options during this pandemic and to prepare for any future needs. Having a drone leave the truck to drop a parcel at the door means there is no need for human contact. This then significantly limits the risk of a virus spreading from either the driver or the customer, protecting both. There are two pilot programs currently underway for contactless delivery by Gatik’s autonomous middle mile vans and Wing’s global drone delivery operation, both sound promising.
- Faster in Rural Areas. The truck not needing to go up a long winding driveway and being able to drone fly across fields, with truck parked at the end of the drive will save time. Some driveways are also hard for a large truck to maneuver in and out of.
- Avoiding Traffic. When there is traffic stopping a truck from getting into a street, or turning into a driveway from a busy road, the drone can be used. The truck would be able to park in a less busy road or potentially stay in traffic (if truck is autonomous) and direct the drone to the property from an easier location.
- Driver Ease. Being a delivery driver requires a good level of fitness, as they often have to climb stairs and carry heavy packages down a driveway. With a drone able to carry the parcel to the door, and up steep stairs or to an apartment, it would ease the driver’s burden. This could mean fewer back injuries and strains for drivers too.
What are the Roadblocks?
There are regulatory issues in the way of progress for delivery drones, that the industry has not yet been able to move past, as well as a few other considerations.
- Federal Aviation Administration Regulations. In the US trucks with drones are not permitted to be used in urban areas. They have allowed for use in areas that are not densely populated (like rural areas) but not within towns and cities. This is a huge barricade in the way of progress, and laws are likely similar in other developed countries as well. Private companies are in talks with the govt in regard to this regulation, and working on ways to work around it until restrictions are lifted.
- Safety Regulations. They simply don’t exist yet as it is a new technology. There are some regulations around drones, which could prove problematic. However, not really regulations around the use of trucks with drones for delivery purposes. These regulations would need to be agreed on and understood in a collaborative effort between government, local transport agencies and private companies.
- Privacy Concerns. Some members of the public are not comfortable with a drone flying up to their house, and would like to have the option of a human delivery system. Drones have sadly been used wrongly in the past, in private use. This puts an expectation on companies that they will need to prove privacy is respected.
- Driver Distraction. For both the truck driver and other drivers on the road nearby a drone flying around close to them is a distraction. This is a safety concern that will need to be addressed. Autonomous trucks which are already in production through Tesla and a few other companies around the world, would help with this. But in order to not distract other drivers regulations would need to be put in place as to where the drones can fly and how high they can go, closeness to vehicles etc.
- Energy Efficiency. Drones are comparable to diesel trucks, if not worse, as far as energy efficiency goes. They’re not particularly environmentally friendly. This is something that delivery companies will also need to consider and look at reducing, as they have new targets for low or zero emissions to meet.
- Uncertain Cost Savings. There are multiple trials underway, but it is not yet certain how much money would be saved. It’s more efficient but if it ends up costing more very few companies would want to go ahead with the change. With autonomous trucks there would be clear savings, but they are not yet readily available.
Realistically we are looking at somewhere around a 10 year time frame, before this technology hits majority and mainstream use. There are still some companies using the technology and work being done towards getting it up and running. We expect that we will start to see growth in the use of delivery drones, and the collaboration of trucks and drones from now onwards. The future of drones to the door is definitely on the way.
Before you can take any heavy goods vehicle or lorry on the road, you’re legally required to have insurance. This ensures that third parties, yourself and others are covered. So if you’re looking for an HGV policy, you’re going to need to provide details on the nature of your business, how many drivers and even the size of your fleet.
In the case of a lorry, sometimes sticky situations come up and so it’s always a good idea to keep your insurance providers number on hand. They will be able to easily assist with the type of coverage that you will need. When it comes to insurance, there are three main types which can cover these vehicles as well.
These include the following:
This is usually the minimum and it covers injury and liability to others and damage to third party property. However, for your insurance to be valid, you must obtain the Driver Certificate of Professional Competence.
There is also a policy that covers truck insurance and fires. This form of third party insurance simply covers everything like your regular third party insurance with the addition of damages sustained during theft and fire.
Comprehensive – provides drives with a more in-depth coverage plan. It covers everything that the third party does including both theft and fire as well as the following:
- Medical expenses
- Loss or lorry damage
- Accidental damages
- Personal effects
- Windscreen coverage
Additionally, depending on the number of HGV’s owned, there is also fleet insurance. In some cases, this form of insurance is cheaper and convenient instead of individually covering them. However, each insurer is differing and you’ll need to find out about the different criteria that they have.
If you’re looking for something different, there is also commercial insurance. Most HGV drivers don’t use their vehicles commercially and specially designed HGV insurance is designed to target these customers. There are also special policies for drivers that are constantly on the road for long distances.
Haulage insurance tends to encompass courier work as well. However, insurance can’t be taken out for dealing with hazardous locations and goods. So no matter what type of items you transfer, you’ll be doing so at your own risk. However, there are a few firms here and there that cover hazardous material but most won’t.
So before you take a policy out, be sure that it covers everything that you’ll likely face. If ever you’re doubtful of things, contact your provider for more information. Policies tend to vary from one provider to another but they generally cover a common set of standardized things along with additional protection.
As we conclude, we have just looked at truck and lorry insurance. When you’re considering your options, look out for public liability coverage, legal cover, income protection, employers’ liability, goods in transit, breakdown cover, uninsured loss, personal loss and sickness coverage, commercial property cover, and other forms of coverage that suit your needs. Remember, if you go step out on the road and you’re not covered you can run into serious problems.
There are many innovations happening in-car technology. There are many people who are feeling relaxed and efficient with the right car gadgets, which can make sure that you have the right place to get yourself involved. They have some of the best assortment of accessories which will make your experience much more enjoyable and can enhance your experience.
Anker Quick Charge 3.0 USB Car Charger
Anker is one of the top brands for electronics which has some of the most enjoyable experiences. This is one of the easier options which can charge your battery in half an hour. Anker allows one to be the proof at the pudding as it allows you to have an 18-month warranty which will make you feel confident can be compatible with any phones both Android and iOS.
Automatic Pro Realtime Car Tracker
Automatic Pro Realtime is a car tracker which is one of the most helpful gadgets on the market. This is a one which will allow you to connect to your car and allows you to access the engines which will allow you to track in case of theft. Try to make sure that you are aware of the crash alert, which is a safe way to get yourself the simplest set and forget style system.
iOttie Easy One Touch Dashboard Phone Mount
It is illegal to have a phone conversation when you are driving. It does not matter if it is an emergency. iOttie Easy One Touch Dashboard Phone Mount beats all the garages and will allow you to maintain your phone to be at high speed and can allow you to have the rubber rings which will keep everything high powered.
Backtrack Professional Breathalyser
Backtrack professional Breathalyser is one which prevents yourself to make a terrible mistake of driving when drunk. This is one way to prevent yourself and your friends from making a terrible mistake of keeping in the moment. It is clear that it is FDA provided, and quality is accurate, which can make smart decisions. Also, make sure that you have single button operations which will allow you to send yourself the right gadget.
YI Mirror Dash Cam
YI Mirror Dash Cam is one which allows you to record the cabin facing. It is one of the LCD touch screens which can help coordinate your recordings. This is 21.5 feet which one can connect through your phone and app. It is extremely expensive and offers peace of mind while being a very secure option. It has a lower monthly insurance premium. This is one of the best car gadgets which can be the best gift for all car lovers.