Panel beating business or car dent repair shop is an industry where there is a demand as long as there are cars on the road. A person who does this kind of work is referred to as a panel beater.
Panel beating is one of the best businesses that you can try especially when you have interest in automobiles and mechanics. The panel beating business is highly technical and the panel beater should have both the training and experience needed to run a successful panel beating business, as he is going to do most of the work himself at startup.
“Before and After”
Panel beating is the process of beating out the bodywork of vehicles. It requires manual labour and also a high level of physical strength with the use of hammer and other equipment or tools to smoothen dents on the body of a car.
He will ultimately manage other skilled people, and the best way to build a quality business is to know first-hand what needs to be done. This will stem from years of experience learning and working in a panel-beating workshop.
A panel beater must:
- Know the auto vehicle industry well;
- Be enthusiastic about cars and fixing them;
- Keep up with new techniques, equipment and paints;
- He will also have to Communicate well with staff, suppliers, and customers;
- Be customer-focused (to explain how a job is to be done and to justify the cost estimates to customers).
He must have a good head for figures, as he must be able to assess how much damage has been caused to a vehicle and what it will cost to repair. The quote will need to include the new parts, the materials and the amount of labour needed.
Training, Certification & Permits
Prior to establishing your shop, you need to gain experience in order to serve your clients properly. Enlisting and working in the other panel beating workshops is a way of getting the needed experience. Obtain the necessary certification before venturing into this business. Get the necessary permits from the local government.
Upon getting the right experience you need, you have to register your business. The requirements are based from the regulations of the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC). Comply with the requirements to make sure that you can legally operate the car dent repair shop that you have.
Location and Space
Location of any business is key and the panel beating or car dent repair is not an exception. The workshop must be within easy reach and clearly visible to a high concentration of vehicles, as much of his business will come from passers-by.
The property or premises must have adequate room to work, there must also be a place where all the tools, machinery, spare parts can be stored and the vehicles parked.
Panel beating business startups will have to do aggressive marketing or promotions to attract customers. The panel beater needs to promote his/her business directly to consumers, including corporate and insurance companies, government establishments, car companies and vehicle retailers.
He can also advertise using flyers, by radio, leave business cards with prospective customers and at servicing garages and spares shops.
Secure the necessary equipment. There are some things you need to purchase in order to provide the service you have for your clients. Make sure to look for the high quality equipment to ensure that the service you will render is of high quality.
The tools needed for this business are Automotive tools, Bearing puller, Car lift, Conversion kit, Hammer, Spray gum, Piston rod, Wheel hub, Acetylene welding tools to mention a few.
You surely need some employees for your business. When hiring staffs, you have to go for the ones with experience in the field of car dent repair. They should have mastery of all the services that your customers will require from you.
The biggest expense when setting up a panel beating shop is the premises and the equipment. The premises must be large enough for one or two vehicle bays.
Standard body shop equipment will include anything from vehicle lifts and jacks, to spray-painting equipment.
Ensure regular training on use of first aid, and how to use the fire extinguisher, etc. Protective equipment and clothing will be needed to make the workshop as safe as possible. This will include:
- respiratory masks,
- safety goggles,
- protective gloves,
- hard-capped boots,
- Face mask, etc.
Office equipment will include a computer and printer for estimating, invoicing, correspondence and generally keeping track of the accounts.
Some of this equipment are expensive can be costly to repair or replace when damaged.
Police periodic raids:
For the small time panel beaters the Police often raid their shops to ensure all vehicles have proper registration; this action most times results in unnecessary delays in completing jobs.
Unstable electricity supply:
Electricity powers the grinding machine that is used for smoothening the surface of the body of vehicles worked on.
Good Luck as you go into the Panel Beating or Car Dent repair business!