Becoming a Mobile Mechanic
Career Path : Automotive
Vehicles that can take you from A to B sure are convenient, but they also have a habit of breaking down in some of the most inconvenient places. Certain enterprising auto mechanics have found a rewarding niche while forgoing the tremendous overhead costs of maintaining a garage by going mobile. In order to become a mobile mechanic, the first step should be to become a licensed auto mechanic. It may require an extra permit, depending on where you live, but some have started successful businesses with little more than a pickup truck and a few basic tools.
Being a mobile mechanic is an opportunity to play the hero for drivers stranded on the side of a highway or stuck in their driveways with no way of reaching a proper garage besides the complications of a tow truck. Coming to where the customers are is an appreciated convenience in these busy times and the inherent flexibility of not needing employees or heavy equipment can make for a satisfying and gratifying career. To make it in this market you’ll need the expertise and experience to make as quick a diagnosis and fix as possible, and the analytical abilities to prioritize your time accordingly. Word of mouth is gold in building contacts but anyone with wheels can be targeted as potential clients.
Definitely look into the legal situation in your area before embarking on this type of business. Some areas will require a permit to operate a mobile business on public roads, while others may require tax or work permits and special operator’s licensing. The typical service vehicle used to become a mechanic of this type is a modified van or utility truck with sufficient storage compartments and bins. Any mobile service unit will need a minimum of insurance on the business and vehicle, which can be discussed with a local broker experienced in small business.
Make yourself a home office large enough to store repair equipment such as tools, tire jacks, ramps, cloths and safety equipment as well as customer files and invoices. A good set of mechanic’s tools, a multimeter and a diagnostic scanner will all prove useful to have in the truck.
Some mobile mechanics suggest paying attention to whether a potential new client is a good fit for your business. Before spending your valuable time and resources driving to remote locations its always wise to clarify your policy, rates and expectations. A promising revenue stream for the aspiring mobile mechanic is emissions testing. Some U.S. states have recently deregulated their testing to allow for mobile testing units to come to the car owner, a largely untapped market provided the applicable equipment is available. For those still in mechanic school, it is never too early to start thinking entrepreneurially about your career.
Visit Canadian Automotive & Trucking Institute (CATI) for more information about mechanic or dispatcher training.