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Do you know your way around a car like the back of your hand? If you enjoy working with vehicles and have some experience as a car mechanic, a car inspection business could be your next move towards financial freedom.
Read on for your step-by-step guide on the essentials of setting up a car inspection business.
A car inspector examines all kinds of vehicles either before purchase – in the case of second-hand vehicles – at the end of warranty, or after a road accident or mechanical problem to ensure they are safe enough to return to the road.
Essentially, a car inspector is authorised to undertake a thorough examination of the vehicle and issue a certificate of inspection once it's deemed roadworthy.
As an inspector, you and your team will be regularly checking vehicles to ensure they are roadworthy, so you'll need to know your way around a car. Ideally, you'll have extensive experience or training as a motor mechanic so you can gain the required authorisation to inspect vehicles. A background working with a large range of motor vehicles will increase the services you can offer to customers.
Inspection techniques, understanding vehicle components and supplier specifications, writing reports and completing documentation as well as meeting occupational health and safety requirements are all necessary skills.
To ensure your car inspection business gets off on the right track, you'll want to have a sound business plan in place. Marketing your business effectively will also help you establish a solid brand and reach a broad customer base.
Before you can be authorised to inspect cars, you'll have to meet certain training or experience requirements for each type of vehicle you want to inspect. These requirements will vary state to state, so you'll need to check your state government legislation for the necessary approved examiner qualifications.
Whether you plan to inspect motorcycles, light vehicles or heavy vehicles, in most cases a Certificate III in Automotive Mechanical Technology or a Certificate III in Light Vehicle Mechanical Technology will be required.
Fees for the Certificate III in Light Vehicle Mechanical Technology typically range from around $12,000 to $15,000. You may be eligible for a government subsidy if you are receiving benefits or could undertake the training as part of an apprenticeship.
First and foremost, you'll need to gain the necessary authorisation to examine and test vehicles for your state. This is required by the Roads and Maritime Service and is known as the Authorised Inspection Scheme (AIS). It's a good idea to get this sorted out first up because heavy penalties apply if you conduct examinations without the authority to do so. Special training in vehicle inspection beforehand is often also necessary to gain your AIS certification.
As well as your qualification, you may also need to provide evidence of at least 12 months' experience in repairing and maintaining the vehicles you want to get examiner approval for.
If you plan to run your business as a mobile safety check provider, you'll naturally need a good size vehicle or van to carry all your equipment and easily get from job to job. The tools of the trade will be a key aspect of running your car inspection business successfully.
There are a range of diagnostic inspection tools you'll need, which you can find in outlets like Supercheap Auto.
Some of the equipment you might like to add to your toolkit include as follows:
When it comes to filling out reports and documentation, there's a range of apps and inspection software available to make your life easier. You can cut out the need for paper with apps such as iAuditor by Safety Culture, which has over 100,000 templates or lets you create your own. This kind of app helps you conduct your inspection all from the palm of your hand with your mobile phone.
Other apps to consider are Fleetio, which has a free trial and video tutorials, and Australian app VIRA.
Your first step in setting up your business as a legitimate entity will be deciding on a business structure. Take some time to think about your long-term vision and whether or not you want to run your venture by yourself or work as a partnership.
Below are some of the most common business structures that you may choose for your car inspection business:
It's a good idea to start your business on a solid legal footing by getting all your legal documents in order. You may want to seek out some legal advice to help you through this process.
For a car inspection business, you'll typically want to look into the following essential documents:
If you're going to be operating your company as a mobile car inspection business, keep in mind that you'll need to make sure you comply with Fair Trading requirements for operating a mobile workshop in your state.
To get the ball rolling with your business, you can quickly find customers through online marketplaces such as Airtasker. These are one-stop platforms where you can register your business and pick jobs that suit your schedule. These sites are a straightforward way to get started and can save you on advertising costs while you build a customer base.
Here are some popular sites to look into:
To ramp your business up to the next level, some other ways of reaching customers include:
There are a few different types of car inspections you may offer and your pricing will vary accordingly. Car inspection businesses in Australia typically charge between $130 and $300 for a pre-purchase or end of warranty inspection. You can often charge higher fees for specialist vehicles and those over 10 years old.
For re-inspections, the fees are often a little lower and range from $117 to $130 according to figures from NRMA.
How long does a car inspection take?
A standard car inspection usually takes between 60 and 90 minutes to complete.
Is running a car inspection business profitable?
It certainly can be, yes. If you market your business well and offer a high-quality service, you're sure to make a profit as you grow your enterprise.
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