Truckers are the lifeblood of the country and are terribly unsung heroes. They are what moves the economy forward in the most literal sense of the word. Since trucking is so important, if you are looking for a startup that can be quite lucrative then this is a logical place to look.
The most obvious thing people decide to do is to start a trucking company and buy up a fleet of trucks. This is also a great idea but it can be very volatile. The best thing to do in a gold rush, after all, is to sell shovels. This means that opening a truck repair shop is the best way to make money off of the shipping industry without having to deal with all of the intricacies involved in it.
A service semi truck type of shop is a lot different than starting a regular mechanic shop for cars so you have to know what you are getting into. In this article, we will go over several of the things you need to know to be able to get started.
1 – Start small
There are two approaches to starting a truck servicing business. One is to open a traditional shop in which trucks are brought in for servicing or repairs. The other is to start a mobile truck repair business.
In some cases, you may start a mobile business to just break in and start making money without the upfront costs of opening a physical shop. They’ll start with doing mobile and then eventually open a regular service shop. Others might expand on that idea and only do mobile servicing.
Neither is right nor wrong, but it is a very good idea to go with starting out small and begin with a mobile truck repair service. This is very attractive to many truck drivers and fleet operators. Since towing a semi-truck can run into five figures in cost, many are looking for a mechanic to come to them and do the repairs to at least get the truck moving on its own again.
There is a smaller upfront investment in a situation like this that allows you to get started right away. Then as the business grows you can decide on whether to use your equity to open a physical shop or expand on the mobile truck service business. You’ll know what to do based on what the market is telling you. There will either be avenues to explore for growth either way so just follow what the experience is telling you to do.
2 – Pick the right location
It’s pretty much a cliche at this point that location is everything when it comes to real estate and business. However, location is a very fluid thing as there are going to be different reasons why one location is better than another when it comes to certain businesses.
For instance, the ideal location for a truck service and repair shop is going to be located right by a highway. A towed semi-truck is not going to do well on any back roads so the closer to the exit of a highway is going to work best from a logistical standpoint.
When you feel that you have found the perfect location for your barn, you’ll need to check out the local zoning laws. These laws determine what types of businesses will be allowed in certain areas. Usually, an industrial park type of area is going to be well suited for a business of this type.
There is also the matter of sorting out any environmental permits since there are going to be hazardous materials used in the shop. The location will need to be able to accommodate the types of servicing for the removal of these materials so it should be in an area with lots of clearance.
3 – Market the business
Once you have the other details of the business worked out, it is time to get things off the ground. This means that you have to have a solid marketing strategy so you can build things up very quickly. At a certain point, word of mouth will keep the shop busy with customers, but things pretty much start at zero.
Having a solid marketing plan will help you get your business going quickly since you will be able to find your target market and that they can also find you.
It starts with a good social media presence that will allow you to find people who need your services. Find out what platform that people like truckers or the managers of a fleet would be using. For instance, it is a good bet that the managers of a fleet will be found on Linkedin, whereas the truckers themselves will be using Facebook or Twitter.
Once you settle on the best platform, you will need to post helpful content that encourages engagement and shares. This will help you spread awareness about your brand and will increase your customer base over time.
In addition to social media, you should be using a website that not only gives the information that people will be looking for when they visit but also a way to book a service. It should also be a landing point for people that are finding you online.
There are local SEO platforms that will help you get noticed and improve your rankings for organic search. Angie’s List is an excellent resource for local search results, for instance.
Collaborating with other businesses will also help you build a customer base. An example would be to partner up with a local tow company that specializes in towing semi-trucks. Coming up with some kind of referral fee will make for a good motivation for them to send you customers.
There are a lot of different ways to position a business like this. However, no matter how you set things up you just need to keep in mind that you are there to serve others. This sense of service will be the thing that helps your business take off.