How to start a mobile mechanic business

Navigate your way through the ins and outs of opening your own mobile mechanic business.

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Setting up a mobile mechanic business can be a challenge. It'll take time, money, plenty of hard work and a particular set of skills. However, the results can be very rewarding.

If you think you've got what it takes, we've put together some key information on starting up. This includes how to get the right licence in your state and how to lock in the legal requirements that will get your venture up and running.

What is a mobile mechanic business?

A mobile mechanic business is usually an individual, or group of individuals, that travel wherever they are needed to provide vehicle repairs or services. With a travelling workshop in the back of their van, a mobile mechanic can perform everything from basic tyre repairs to complicated part replacements.

Set yourself up with the right skills

Aside from having the right mechanical skills, being business savvy is essential for a mobile mechanic. Our guide to setting up a small business will help you get the ball rolling.

Dealing with customers, suppliers and other employees daily requires strong communication and interpersonal skills. You'll also need to be highly organised to keep track of your customers and their requirements.

When it comes to running the back end of a business, it pays to be tech savvy. Mastering the art of effective marketing, tracking your finances and making a profit can be a delicate balance.

Mobile mechanic on the job

Level up with crucial industry qualifications

The first step in pursuing your dream to start a mobile mechanic business is becoming a certified mechanic.

The most common route to becoming qualified is by completing an apprenticeship along with some on-the-job training. Generally, this will take around four years. After completing an apprenticeship, many mechanics specialise with a qualification such as a Certificate III in Light Vehicle Mechanical Technology.

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    Apply for a licence

    Once you're qualified, you'll need a motor vehicle repairer licence to start running your own mobile mechanics business. You can apply for this after you've registered your company at your state's licensing office:

    Name your business

    Once you've qualified as a mechanic, the fun part starts – choosing a name for your business and building a brand. Take a look at these key components you will want in your name:

    Evergreen

    To get started, it's important to think about where you want your business to be in the future. Are you planning on providing local mobile mechanic services or hopefully expanding into a nationally recognised name? Make sure the name you choose will grow with your business.

    Memorable

    Another important element in choosing a name for your business is to make it catchy while staying relevant. After all, you want the name to reflect the services you offer and be memorable enough to stick in your customer's minds.

    SEO friendly

    Business names can do wonders for your marketing strategy, particularly if they're SEO-friendly. This means that they contain certain "buzzwords" that push them to the top of the search engine results. For example, if you live in Sydney and people are frequently searching for a "mobile mechanic in Sydney", you may want to consider a name that contains these keywords, and buy the domain name as well.

    Consider your business structure

    Deciding how to structure your business is the first step towards registering it as a legitimate entity. Different factors can affect which structure you choose, including how many people are involved, how much control you want to have over your business and your end goal.

    When it comes to opening a mobile mechanic business, you can choose from three different structures:

    • Sole Trader. When you register as a Sole Trader, this means you'll be operating the business as a one-man-band, having complete control of what goes on. You'll be taxed as you would if you were working for somebody else, but you'll be able to deduct any business-related expenses in your tax return.
    • Partnership. When you open up a mobile mechanics business with a friend or family member, you'll both share equal responsibility for the business, including how it's run, plus profits and losses.
    • Proprietary Company. If you register your business as a Company, it is seen as a separate legal entity from you, as the business director. Companies are generally more complex to set up compared to a Sole Trader or Partnership.

    Once you've decided on the ideal business structure, you'll have to register for an Australian Business Number (ABN). This is a unique number that allows you to run your business in Australia. It's used as a form of identification for the government and can be used to claim taxes, such as goods and services tax (GST).

    Create a business plan

    A well-written business plan will help you to understand your customer base, finances and goals for the future. It acts as a road map to guide you through each stage of starting and running your business.

    A business plan will be different depending on your needs, but here are some essential things to cover:

    • Company description. Write a detailed description of the services your mobile mechanic business will offer its customers.
    • Goals and objectives. Set realistic goals for the future of the business and where you'd like it to be in 1, 5 and 10 years' time.
    • Strength and weaknesses. Compare your business to competitors, picking out strengths and weaknesses to find out where you could improve.
    • Marketing plan. Discuss your marketing strategy and how you plan to build up your customer base.
    • Financial analysis. Carry out an in-depth analysis of your business's finances including your initial investment and financial projections.

    Purchase your equipment

    To start a mobile mechanic business successfully, you'll need to set yourself up with all of the right tools and equipment to take out with you on the road. As well as a suitable van to get you from job to job, here's a list of essential tools you'll need:

    • Screwdriver
    • Ratchet
    • Wrench
    • Drill
    • Wire cutter
    • Multimeter
    • Carjack and jack stand
    • Electrical tape
    • Portable jump starter
    • Headtorch
    • Air compressor
    • Brake bleeding kit
    • Variety of clips and leads

    As well as the tools to carry out the work, you'll need to keep an eye on the back end of your business too. For this, you'll need a completely different set of equipment and software, including:

    When you hold a business licence as a mobile mechanic, you'll need to make sure you adhere to Australian Consumer Law alongside other legal requirements. If you're not sure where to start, don't worry. There are plenty of legal services and professionals out there to give you a helping hand.

    You may not need to spend thousands of dollars on a lawyer to help you set up all of the legal stuff for your business, but you're likely to need to spend some money to make sure it's all done correctly.

    Let's take a look at some of the more important legal documents you'll typically need for your business:

    • Client Agreement. It's best practice to write up a Client Agreement for every job to protect yourself and your customers.
    • Partnership Agreement. If you register your business as a Partnership, you may want to implement a Partnership Agreement. This will ensure that both you and your partner are safeguarded while keeping the business's best interests at heart.
    • Tax Invoices. Keeping a record of your tax invoices throughout the year will make submitting that tax return at the end of the year much more manageable.
    • Employment Agreement. When your business grows and you decide to take on extra staff, you'll need to make sure you have an Employment Agreement in place for each new employee.
    Name Product What's offered? Starting price to become a member Annual Fee from Free legal documents available?
    Lawpath
    Legal documents and templates, Access to lawyers, Legal guides, Legal advice
    $79 per month
    Essentials: $288, legal advice: $828
    You can view samples for free and you can create your first document for free.
    Choose an annual plan from just $288 and get unlimited revisions to your legal or business documents. Plus, unlock exclusive partner offers.
    LawDepot
    Legal documents and templates, Legal guides
    $4.99 per month
    $59.88
    Free one week trial available which gives access to hundreds of documents.
    Customise and download legal documents in as little as five minutes. Plus, LawDepot offers peace of mind with two service guarantees.
    Legal123
    Legal documents and templates, Legal guides
    Varies per template
    N/A
    No
    Legal123 offers a range of individual templates or document packages for consultants, app developers, personal trainers and more.
    LegalVision
    Legal documents and templates, Legal guides, Legal advice
    $49 + GST per week
    $2,548 + GST
    No
    Your business can take advantage of unlimited lawyer consultations, fast turnaround times and free legal templates with LegalVision.
    Law Central
    Legal documents and templates, Legal guides
    Free for the Silver membership
    Gold: $99
    You can view samples and create your own document for free with the Silver membership.
    Law Central offers a large number of legal templates for super, trusts, estate planning, employment and commercial uses.
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    Price your services

    Mobile mechanics often charge by the hour and add a standardised call-out fee onto the price. On average, mobile mechanics charge between about $70 and $100 per hour. This doesn't include the cost of any additional parts that they need to buy for a repair or to complete a job.

    Both your location and your experience can impact how you price your services. To make sure you don't price yourself out of the market, carry out some research into other mobile mechanics in your area. Find out what they charge for certain services and price your services accordingly.

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    Accept payments from your customers in person and online with Square's card readers, payment terminals, digital invoicing and e-commerce tools.

    Start marketing your business

    Thanks to digital advances, it's now easier than ever to build up your customer base using the Internet. It's always worth creating a website and utilising the powers of social media profiles and advertising.

    A new wave of online marketplaces is also making it simple enough to secure jobs from customers in your nearby area. Using these websites, you can create a profile to advertise your services or respond to jobs posted by people in your local area.

    A few popular platforms include:

    • hipages. Provide quotes for local people looking for a mobile mechanic.
    • Airtasker. Advertise your skills with a detailed post or respond to locals looking for a tradesperson.
    • Oneflare. Connect with local individuals and companies looking to outsource a job.

    Frequently asked questions

    How do I market my mobile mechanic business?

    Marketing is all about getting your name out there and it's crucial to the success of a business. Apart from the traditional marketing route of putting up ads in your local area, it's essential to utilise online marketing. This can be done by creating a website and using social media channels to connect with a broader local audience.

    How much does it cost to start a mobile mechanic business?

    To start your own mobile mechanic business, you'll need to invest a significant amount of money into purchasing a van or ute and getting stocked up with all of the necessary equipment. This could cost anywhere from $5,000 to $20,000, depending on the type of vehicle you choose to buy. If you need help financing your new business venture, you can read about your options in our funding guide for small businesses.

    What does a mobile mechanic do?

    A mobile mechanic does exactly the same job as your traditional mechanic. That is, they fix, repair and maintain automobiles. The difference between a traditional mechanic and a mobile mechanic is that you have to call a mobile mechanic to come to you for a repair or service.

    Is owning a mobile mechanics business profitable?

    It can be, yes. If you're willing to invest the time and effort into your business, and you price your services correctly, you may be well on your way to a profitable mobile mechanic business.

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