Do you want to start a car leather repair business? If YES, here is a complete guide to starting a car leather repair business with NO money and no experience.
Okay, so we have provided you an in-depth sample car leather repair business plan template. We also took it further by analyzing and drafting a sample car leather repair marketing plan backed up by actionable guerrilla marketing ideas for car leather repair businesses. In this article, we will be considering all the requirements for starting a car leather repair business. So put on your entrepreneurial hat and let’s proceed.
Why Start a Car Leather Repair Business?
In recent time, most cars usually come with leather seats and leather interiors and when these leather seats and interiors are exposed to sun or heat, there is a tendency for the leathers to rip off, tear, burn, leave heat marks, have holes, stains, drastic color loss, peel, get rough and crack, hence the need for the services of a car leather repair company.
The reality is that when it comes to starting a business, a lot of factors have to be put into consideration before investing into the business. Among the factors that need to be considered before starting a new business is the size/population of the city or town you intend starting the business, the level of competition you are likely going to face, and the availability of market for your services or products.
Opening a car leather repair shop is another money spinning business that an aspiring entrepreneur who is looking towards starting a business in the United States of America should consider starting. One good thing about this type of business is that you can learn the technical skills from someone who is already in the business or from a technical school.
All you need to do is to rent a shop in a good location and then setup your shop and advertise your car leather repair business. If you are lucky to be one of few car leather repair technicians in your community, you will sure make good money from this type of business.
Starting a car leather repair business requires low startup capital, but it is indeed a very lucrative and profitable venture if it is well positioned and you know how to deliver excellent jobs. The amount you can make per day is largely dependent on your ability to market your services to both commercial and private car owners.
If you want to start your own car leather repair business, all you need to do is read this article and you will be well informed and equipped. You can start your car leather repair shop from a small town in the United States and if you are consistent and creative, it won’t be long before your brand becomes a nationally recognized brand especially if you go into franchising.
Starting a Car Leather Repair Business – A Complete Guide
- Industry Overview
Car leather repair business is classified under the car body shop industry and players in this industry offers repair and customization work to the interior and body of passenger cars, trucks, vans and trailers. Some industry operators specialize in specific auto repairs; for example, paint shops specialize in post-collision paint jobs, while automotive glass shops replace, repair and tint windows. Restoration shops, which typically represent a niche market, restore classic and antique cars.
The car leather repair business is an open business so it has a low level of market share concentration. Even though large automobile companies operate in the industry, revenue is also spread among thousands of small car leather repair garages.
As a matter of fact, no single car leather repair company can account for more than 5.0 percent of the total revenue generated in the industry. This is the reason why smaller car leather repair garages account for a large percentage of the players in the car body shop industry.
The Car Body Shop industry of which car leather repair business is a part of is indeed a large industry which is active in a lot of countries. Statistics has it that in the United States of America alone, there are about 123,675 registered and licensed (accredited) car body shops (car leather repair shops inclusive) scattered all across the United States responsible for employing about 337,629 people and the industry rakes in a whooping sum of $42 billion annually. The industry is projected to grow at 2.0 percent annual growth within 2012 and 2017. It is important to state that there are no establishments with a lion market share in the industry.
The car body shop industry has grown steadily over the last five years and it is projected to continue to enjoy steady growth. Individuals and businesses have increased their demand for car leather repair services, as rising per capita disposable income and corporate profit encourage consumers to opt for car leather repair services over do-it-yourself repair. Going forward, disposable income levels are expected to continue to grow, encouraging some consumers to spend more on the maintenance and repair of their automobiles.
Some of the factors that inspire entrepreneurs to start their own car leather repair business could be that the business is easy to set up and they can easily run the business as a sole proprietorship and still generate good income.
Over and above, the car leather repair business is open to any aspiring entrepreneur who has acquired the required technical training, skills and perhaps professional certifications to start his or her own business.
Starting a Car Leather Repair Business – Market Research and Feasibility Studies
- Demographics and Psychographics
The demographic and psychographic composition of those who hire the services of a car leather repair business is not restricted to individual car owners. There is a wide range of both corporate and individual clients who need the services of car leather repair shops.
As a matter of fact, the target market for a car leather repair business should involve households, haulage companies, transport companies, auto sales garage/car dealership shops, corporate organizations, and schools amongst others.
List of Niche ideas Within the Car Leather Repair Business That You Can Specialize in
There is no known niche area when it comes to the car leather repair business. This is so because car leather repair is a niche area in the car body shops industry.
The Level of Competition in the Car Leather Repair Industry
No matter the line of business you decide to pitch your tent, you are still going to compete with others who are in the same line of business and leather car repair business is not an exemption.
The level of competition in the car leather repair line of business to some extent depends on the location of the business, your strength and of course the capacity of your car leather repair company. If you can successfully create a unique niche for your car leather repair company, you are likely going to experience little or no competition. For instance, if you are the only car leather repair company in your location that is into repairing car antique and two – tone finishes, you can successfully monopolize the market for a long time before you start having competition.
List of Well – Known Brands in the Industry
It has become a norm that in every industry, there are always brands that perform better or are better regarded by customers and the general public than others. Some of these brands are those that have been in the industry for a long time, while others are best known for how they conduct their businesses and the results they have achieved over the years.
These are some of the leading car leather repair companies in the United States of America and in the globe;
- Furniture – Clinic – Leather Care & Repair Specialists
- Elite Auto & Marine Upholstery
- Ronnie Price Upholstery and Top Shop
- Bright Auto Upholstery
- Lindy’s Auto Upholstery
- John Carey Auto Upholstery
- Creative Color International
- Marietta Auto Trim
- #1 Vinyl & Leather Repair
- Pecca Leather, Inc.
- Sameday Auto Scratch and Dent Repair
- Bill Dunn’s Auto Upholstery
- Spikes and Leather
- Auto Interior Doctor
- Richmond Auto Upholstery
- Mobile Leather Repair, LLC
- Antonio’s Leather & Upholstery Experts
- Leather Clinic
- Earl’s Auto Upholstery
- Davis Seat Covers & Automotive Interiors
When starting a car leather repair business, you just have to get your costing cum economic analysis right if your intention of building the business is to generate profits, grow the business and perhaps expand the business and start competing at national level.
When conducting costing and economic analysis for your car leather repair business, you just have to critically examine these key factors; place, pricing and promotion. You would have to continue reviewing these factors while running your car leather repair business. As a car leather repair business owner, you just have to have a proper grasp of your competitive landscape if indeed you want to maximize profits and be in the frontline of the industry.
Starting Your Car Leather Repair Company from Scratch vs Buying a Franchise
When it comes to starting a business of this nature, it will pay you to start from the scratch as against buying a franchise.
Besides, it is easier to start and run a car leather repair company from scratch to profitability without leveraging on a known brand name. People will patronize your services based on your ability to fix their car leather problem, accessibility and pricing as against relying on a brand name.
Please note that most of the big and successful car leather repair companies around started from the scratch and they were able to build a solid business brand. It takes dedication, hard work and determination to achieve business success and you can build your own car leather repair company to become a successful company in your area of specialization.
Possible Threats and Challenges You Will Face When Starting a Car Leather Repair Business
If you decide to start your own car leather repair company today, one of the major challenges you are likely going to face is the presence of well – established car leather repair garages and standard auto mechanic repair companies that also offer car leather repair services in your target market location. The only way to avoid this challenge is to create your own market by concentrating on individual car owners and startup businesses that need the services of a mobile car leather repair company.
Some other threats and challenges that you are likely going to face when you start your car leather repair company are mature markets, bad economy (economy downturn), stiff competition and volatile costs, unfavorable government policies, seasonal fluctuations, demographic/social factors, and of course emergence of new competitors within the same location where yours is located. There is hardly anything you can do as regards these threats and challenges other than to be optimistic that things will continue to work for your good.
Starting a Car Leather Repair Business – Legal Matters
Best Legal Entity to use for this Type of Business
When considering starting a car leather repair company, the legal entity you choose will go a long way to determine how big the business can grow.
You have the option of either choosing a general partnership, limited liability Company, or a sole proprietorship for a car leather Repair Company. Ordinarily, sole proprietorship should have been the ideal business structure for a small scale car leather Repair Company especially if you are just starting out with moderate startup capital. But if your intention is to grow the business and operate all across the United States of America, then choosing sole proprietor is not an option for you. Limited Liability Company, LLC or even general partnership will cut it for you.
Setting up an LLC protects you from personal liability. If anything goes wrong in the business, it is only the money that you invested into the limited liability company that will be at risk. It is not so for sole proprietorships and general partnerships. Limited liability companies are simpler and more flexible to operate and you don’t need a board of directors, shareholder meetings and other managerial formalities.
These are some of the factors you should consider before choosing a legal entity for your car leather repair company; limitation of personal liability, ease of transferability, admission of new owners, investors’ expectation and of course taxes.
If you take your time to critically study the various legal entities to use for your car leather repair company, you will agree that limited liability company is most suitable. You can start this type of business as limited liability company (LLC) and in future convert it to a ‘C’ corporation or an ‘S’ corporation especially when you have the plans of going public.
Upgrading to a ‘C’ corporation or ‘S’ corporation will give you the opportunity to grow your car leather repair company and compete with major players in the industry. You will be able to generate capital from venture capital firms, you will enjoy separate tax structure, and you can easily transfer ownership of the company.
Catchy Business Name ideas Suitable for a Car Leather Repair Company
Normally when it comes to choosing a name for your business, you should be creative because whatever name you choose for your business will go a long way to create a perception of what the business represents. It is the norm for people to follow the trend in the industry they intend operating from when naming their business.
If you are considering starting your own car leather repair business, here are some catchy names that you can choose from;
- Allington Friends® Car Leather Repair Shop, LLC
- Davies Hobe & Sons® Car Leather Repair Company, Inc.
- Cross Country Mobile Mechanic Company
- Shinny Starlets® Car Leather Repair Ltd.
- Brownie & Black™ Car Leather Repair Company
- Sixth Avenue® Car Leather Repair Company
- Figo Boss® Car Leather Repair Shop, Inc.
- Top Class® Car Leather Repair Company
- Bob Mason® Car Leather Repair Shop, Inc.
In the United States and in most countries of the world, you can’t operate a business without having some of the basic insurance policy covers that are required by the industry you want to operate from. Thus, it is imperative to create a budget for insurance policy cover and perhaps consult an insurance broker to guide you in choosing the best and most appropriate insurance policies for your car leather repair business.
Here are some of the basic insurance policy covers that you should consider purchasing if you want to start your own car leather repair business in the United States of America;
- General insurance
- Health insurance
- Liability insurance
- Equipment and Auto Insurance
- Risk Insurance
- Workers compensation
- Overhead expense disability insurance
- Business owner’s policy group insurance
- Payment protection insurance
Intellectual Property Protection/Trademark
If you are considering starting your own car leather repair company, usually you may not have any need to file for intellectual property protection/trademark. This is because the nature of the business makes it possible for you to successfully run it without having any cause to challenge anybody in court for illegally making use of your company’s intellectual properties.
On the other hand, if you just want to protect your company’s logo and other documents or software that are unique to you or even operation concepts, then you can go ahead to file for intellectual property protection. If you want to register your trademark, you are expected to begin the process by filing an application with the USPTO. The final approval of your trademark is subjected to the review of attorneys as required by USPTO.
Is Professional Certification Needed to Run a Car Leather Repair Business?
When it comes to car leather repair business, you do not need any special certification before you can be allowed to start a car leather repair business. All you need is informal or formal technical training that will expose you to the in and out of repairing and fixing car leather seats and other leather interiors in cars, and how to effectively run the business
On the other hand, if you come across any form of certification that can aid you to effectively manage and grow your car leather repair business, then by all mean try and pursue such certification.
List of Legal Documents You Need to Run a Car Leather Repair Company
The essence of having the necessary documentation in place before launching a business in the United States of America cannot be overemphasized. It is a fact that you can successfully run any business in the United States without the proper documentations. If you do, it won’t be too long before the long hands of the law catch up with you.
These are some of the basic legal documents that you are expected to have in place if you want to legally run your own car leather repair company in the United States of America;
- Business and liability insurance
- Commercial Vehicle Operator’s Registration for trucks
- Appropriate driver’s licenses for drivers (Commercial driver’s license (CDL)
- Proof of ownership, proper identification and vehicle license
- Federal Tax Payer’s ID
- Fire certificate
- Certificate of Incorporation
- Business License
- Business Plan
- Employment Agreement (offer letters)
- Employee’s Handbook
- Operating Agreement for LLCs
- Insurance Policy
Financing Your Car Leather Repair Business
Starting a standard car leather repair business is not capital intensive if you choose to launch the business on a small scale and you are the only full-time employee on your payroll. Purchasing a tool box and other equipment are part of what will consume a large chunk of your startup capital, so in essence, if you choose to start the business on a small scale, you may not have to source for fund to finance the business.
When it comes to financing a business, one of the first things you should consider is to write a good business plan. If you have a good and workable business plan document in place, you may not have to labor yourself before convincing your bank, investors and your friends to invest in your business. Here are some of the options you can explore when sourcing for startup capital for your car leather repair business;
- Raising money from personal savings and sale of personal stocks and properties
- Raising money from investors and business partners
- Sell of shares to interested investors
- Applying for loan from your bank
- Pitching your business idea and applying for business grants and seed funding from government, donor organizations and angel investors
- Source for soft loans from your family members and your friends
Choosing a Suitable Location for your Car Leather Repair Business
A car leather Repair business can be started in any location as long as there are people and organizations that own automobiles with leather seats and interiors. As a matter of fact, you can start your car leather repair business in your house and still grow the business to profitability.
It cannot be overemphasized that the location you chose to start your business is key to the success of the business, hence entrepreneurs are willing to rent or lease a facility in a visible location; a location where the demography consists of people and businesses who own automobiles with leather car seats and leather interiors and with the require purchasing power and lifestyle.
Before choosing a location for your car leather repair company, ensure that you first conduct thorough feasibility studies and market survey as the possibility of you coming across similar business that just closed shop in the location you want to start yours can’t be ruled out. This is the reason why it is very important to gather as much facts and figures before choosing a location to setup your own car leather repair company.
Starting a Car Leather Repair Business – Technical and Manpower Details
When it comes to starting a standard car leather repair company, you will need a complete car leather repair tool box and supplies such as leather polish, gums and cleaning chemicals et al that will aid you in carrying out your job. It is important to state that your tools can be purchased as fairly used if you are operating on a low budget.
When it comes to choosing between renting and leasing a facility for your car leather repair company, the size of the car leather repair company you want to own, and your entire budget for the business should influence your choice.
As regards the number of employees that you are expected to kick start the business with, you would need to consider your finance before making the decision. When it comes to starting a standard car leather repair business on a large scale, you would need the services of the following professionals; Chief Operating Officer (you can occupy this position), Admin and HR Manager, Marketing and Sales Executive (Business Developer), Accountant, Upholstery Technicians and Customer Services Executive. Please note that if you are operating this business as a one man show, then you must be ready to occupy all of the above positions and also outsource some key functions like bookkeeping and accounting to professionals when the need arises.
The Service Delivery Process of a Car Leather Repair Company
The operation process of a car leather repair company depends on the nature of the repair work to be carried out. Basically, when a customer brings their car for repair (it could be a rip, tear, cut, scuff/ scratch, burns/heat marks, holes, stains, drastic color loss, peeling, rough and cracked leather), the repair is carried out as requested by the client. The total cost of executing the job will be given to the client and once an agreement is reached, the job will be carried out and the car leather repair technicians will be paid as agreed.
Starting a Car Leather Repair Business – The Marketing Plan
- Marketing ideas and Strategies
The fact that the entry barrier for starting a small scale car leather repair business is low means that there is bound to be more players in the industry no matter the location you choose to start yours. In essence, you must come up with creativity and innovations if you must carve out a market for yourself within the available market in your community, city, state or country.
So, when you are drafting your marketing plans and strategies for your car leather repair company, make sure that you create a compelling personal and company profile. Aside from your qualifications and experience, it is important to clearly state in practical terms what you have been able to achieve in time past as it relates to the car leather repair industry. This will help boost your chances in the market place when marketing your services.
Here are some of the platforms you can utilize to market your car leather repair company;
- Introduce your business by sending introductory letters alongside your brochure to households, haulage companies, transport companies, auto sales garage/car dealership shops and corporate organizations amongst others
- Open your car leather repair company with a party so as to capture the attention of residents who are your first targets
- Engage in roadshows in targeted communities from time to time to market your services
- Advertise your services in community based newspapers, local TV and radio stations
- List your business and products on yellow pages ads (local directories)
- Leverage on the internet to promote your car leather repair company
- Engage in direct marketing and sales
- Encourage the use of word of mouth marketing (referrals)
- Leverage on the internet to promote your business
- Join local chambers of commerce and industries around you with the main aim of networking and marketing your services; you are likely going to get referrals from such networks.
- Engage the services of marketing executives and business developers to carry out direct marketing for you.
Factors That Will Help You Get the Right Product Pricing
One key factor that will help you offer your car leather repair services at a price that is highly attractive is to ensure that you source your startup capital from sources that won’t put pressure on you or give you high interest rates.
Another strategy that will help you offer your car leather repair services at the right price is to ensure that you cut operational cost to the barest minimum and channel your efforts towards marketing and promoting your brand name. Aside from the fact that this strategy will help you save cost, it will also help you get the right pricing for your services.
Strategies to Boost Your Car Leather Repair Business Brand Awareness and Create Your Corporate Identity
If you are in business and you are not conscious about boosting you brand awareness and communicating your corporate identity, then you should be ready to take on whatever the society portray your business to be. One of the secrets of larger corporations is that they spend fortunes boost their brand awareness and to continue to communicate their corporate identity the way they want people to perceive them.
If your intention of starting a car leather repair business is to grow the business beyond the city where you are going to be operating from to become a national brand, then you must be ready to spend money on promotion and advertisement of your brand.
No matter the industry you belong to, the truth is that the market is dynamic and it requires consistent brand awareness and boosting cum promotion to continue to appeal to your target market. Here are the platforms you can leverage on to boost your brand awareness and create a corporate identity for your car leather repair company;
- Place adverts on both print (newspapers and auto magazines) and electronic media platforms
- Sponsor relevant community based events
- Leverage on the internet and social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google + et al to promote your business
- Install your billboards in strategic locations all around your city or state
- Engage in roadshows from time to time in targeted neighborhoods
- Distribute your fliers and handbills in target areas
- List your car leather repair company in local directories/yellow pages
- Advertise your car leather repair company in your official website and employ strategies that will help you pull traffic to the site.
- Ensure that all your staff members wear your branded shirts and all your vehicles and trucks are well branded with your company logo