How to Start an Auto Body Repair Shop Resources Included

June 30, 2018 1764 views

How to Start a Body Shop – A Comprehensive Overview


This type of business consists of repairing cars that have been in a collision and vehicles that need repainting, are rusted or need a full restoration.

Most of the time, you’re dealing with people who have had an accident. People who have had an accident are usually upset or shaken up.

One of your traits as a business owner is to have the ability and the patience to listen to all the stories. Listening to the stories builds strong customer relationships, which is a good opportunity for you.

One thing you could keep in mind with this type of business is, you must stay on schedule. If you promise you’ll have the vehicle finished in two weeks, then it’s important that you follow through on that promise, because people are depending on that vehicle.

Skill Set and Traits:

  • Attention to detail.
  • Giving accurate estimates.
  • Good measuring and part aligning skills.
  • Metal fabrication.
  • Metal straightening.
  • Tearing down areas for repair.
  • Installing new parts and aligning them.
  • Sanding and body repair.
  • Body preparation.
  • Paint skills.
  • Frame straightening.
  • Reassembly skills
  • Common business skills

Employee Considerations:

Hours of Operation:

This is usually a nine to five business, although you’ll find yourself working overtime to get some jobs done on time when you are busy.


  • Air compressor with sufficient storage and enough power to keep you with your needs.
  • Air tools: air ratchet, air chisel, impact wrench, assorted air tools.
  • Frame and body straighteners.
  • Paint booth.
  • Spray guns and filters.
  • Dual-action sander.
  • Slide hammer.
  • Stud welder.
  • Dolly set.
  • A variety of clamps.
  • Specialty hammer set for auto body repair.
  • Suction cup dent pullers.
  • MIG or TIG welders.
  • Gas Torch.
  • Metal shaping tools.
  • Vehicle hoist.
  • Engine hoists.
  • Transmission jack, jack stands, floor jacks.
  • Diagnostic scanners.
  • Fender covers.
  • Air conditioning tools.
  • Battery chargers/jump starters.
  • Car dollies.
  • Creepers.
  • Headlight aimers.
  • Gear pullers.
  • Parts washers, pressure washers, parts handlers/stands, vacuums, floor fan.
  • Sandblasters.
  • Shop Presses.
  • Bench grinders, work tables, and benches, storage shelving, and bins.
  • Feeler gauges, assorted calipers, micrometers.
  • Assorted wrenches.
  • Assorted sockets.
  • A complete set of regular tools e.g., hacksaw, hammers, screwdrivers, pliers, vise grips, Allen wrenches, chisels, measuring tapes, rulers, files, troubleshooting lights, extension cords, etc.
  • A wide variety of assorted specialty tools that you will purchase over time and as needed.

Expenses and Operating Costs:

  • In addition to our list of common business expenses, your Bodyshop will require a budget for the ongoing cost of acquiring supplies, like paint, body filler, oxygen, acetylene, sandpaper grinding discs, drill bits, rivets, etc.


Marketing Ideas:

  • Offer a loaner for your customers, whether you make a deal with the car rental or you invest in some low-cost vehicles.
  • Offer free towing for customers who get their cars serviced at your shop.
  • Make a deal with local businesses — give them fliers or business cards and offer them a percentage of the repair for each referral they sent to you. On the card, offer the customer a discount on services
  • Approach local tow truck business owners and offer them a percentage or a referral fee for every customer they bring you.
  • Make a brochure for vehicle maintenance such as auto detailing. These types of packages are good for keeping the car looking like new and protecting it from rust. You can contact local businesses and work out a deal where they refer your services, and in return, you refer customers to them.

Pros and Cons:

The Pros:

  • Can be a profitable business.
  • Can gain repeat customers by doing great work at a reasonable price.
  • Stable business model.

The Cons:

  • Deadlines are hard to keep.
  • Working with a lot of problems.
  • Dirty work with a lot of dust, especially when sanding.
  • Painting gives off toxic fumes.
  • Most repairs are time-consuming.
  • Season affects business — For example, cold, snowy winter will result in more collisions, compared to summer, which will have fewer collisions due to weather.


  • Start-up costs — If you started off with buying a building, top-of-the-line equipment, and have a lot of employees then you will have high monthly loan payments and expenses, which will cut into your profits.
  • If you can’t give accurate estimates, you’ll lose money or lose customers.
  • You have to balance and make enough money to pay expenses and grow while giving your customers a good deal. You need to have a strong customer base in order to keep up with expenses and payments.
  • When times are slow, you need to work as if you are behind, because if you get bad weather conditions resulting in streams of collisions you will be overwhelmed with repairs and may have to turn business away.


Business Plans:

Automotive Repair Service Business Plan | Reference for business.com

A Sample Auto Repair Shop Business Plan Template | ProfitableVenture.com

Progressive Marketing Plan for an Auto Body Shop | Amazon.com


A Day In The Life:

A Day in the Life of a Body Shop in 2035 | Autobody-review.com

A Day in the Life of an Auto Body Repair Technician | Auto Training Centre.com


Interview With Auto Body Shop Owner, Patrick Sampoll | Collision Blast

Market Research:

Paint & Body Shop | Sbdcnet.org

Car Body Shops in the US Market Research | IBISWorld

Collision Industry Continues to Transform – CCC

Automotive Collision Repair Market | Industry Report, 2024

2016 Automotive Body | Trends, & Outlook | Anythingresearch.com

Startup Tips:

Opening an Auto Repair Shop: 6 Things You Should Know | Advanced Technology Institute

How To Start A Body Shop Business | Startup Jungle

Body Shop Business | Body Shop Bbusiness.com

Opening a New Collision Repair Shop | Body Shop Business

How to Start an Auto Body Repair & Painting Business | Gaebler.com

Article Mix:

5 Tips for Choosing the Right Auto Body Shop | Edmunds.com

Choosing The Right Body Shop | Crash Repair Info.com

Body Shop Profit Tips – Body Shop Business

How To Tell if Your Body Shop Did the Job Correctly | Edmunds.com

7 Things Auto Body Shops Won’t Tell You | Consumerism Commentary.com

What Your Auto Body Shop Fails to Tell You | Diminished Value

The Auto Body Shop of the Future | Prnewswire.com

Marketing Tips:

5 Brilliant Auto Body Marketing Ideas That Boost Curb Appeal | Upserve

5 Marketing Ideas to Heat Up Your Business | Body Shop Business

Marketing Machine | FenderBender

Digital Marketing for Collision Repair Shops – CCC

5 Marketing Ideas for Auto Repair Shops to Increase Word of Mouth | Outboundengine.com

Auto Body Shop Marketing: What Works and What Doesn’t – Digital Dealer

Marketing Ideas for Auto Body Shops | azcentral.com

Training Tips:

Auto Body Training Program from Newgate School is Tuition Free | Newgate School

Professional Tips for Painting A Car | Autotraining.edu

Auto Body School Guide | Collision Repair Training

Auto Collision Repair & Refinishing Technology

Collision Repair Technician | UTI

Collision Repair Training | Lincoln Tech

Auto Body Schools | Matchcollege.com

Shop Equipment:

Auto Body Repair Tools |Eastwood

Auto Body Tools & Shop Supplies | Auto Body Toolmart

Auto Body Repair | Northern Tool + Equipment

Auto Body Tools | Harbor Freight Tools

Autobody Tools & Equipment | Steckmfg.com

#1 Auto body supplies & Auto body tools – Autobodynow.com


Products for Automotive Collision Repair | 3MCollision.com

Auto Paint Supplies & Auto Body Equipment Supplies – ReStockIt.com

Auto Body Repair Tools | Eastwood.com

Automotive Paint | Paint for Cars.com


4 Things To Consider While Insuring Your Auto Body Shop | Repairer Driven News

Body Shop Insurance | Business Insurance Usa.com

Auto Repair Shop Insurance: Coverage & Quotes | Farmers

Automotive Services and Repair Insurance | Nationwide Insurance

Garage Insurance | Progressive Commercial

Business Insurance for Auto Repair Shops | Netquote.com

Established Businesses:

Service King

Juanita Collision Center

Absolute Autobody

The Man Cave

Nylund’s Collision Center

Hampden Autobody

Auto Body Shop In Hendersonville


Body Shop Business

Fender Bender

Autobody News


BodyShop News Magazines

Collision Repair Mag

Auto Body Association & Collision Repair Industry News


Refinish Network


The Complete Guide to Auto Body Repair, 2nd Edition

Auto Body Repair Technology: James E. Duffy

The Complete Guide to Auto Body Repair

Chilton’s Auto Body Repair

How to Paint Your Car

Paint & Body Handbook

Collision Repair and Refinishing


Glossary of Autobody Terms | Rondex Autobody Shop Supplies and Equipment

Collision Repair Glossary | Crash Repair Info.com

Body Shop Glossary


ASA National

Trade Associations | Body Shop Business


Best Auto Body Software | Capterra.com

Collision Repair Software | CCCIS.com

Nexsyis Collision Software | Nexsyis Collision.com

Auto Body Shop Repair Estimating Software | Mitchell

Franchise Opportunities:

AutoBody Express Franchising




Automotive Painting and Body Repair Franchise Opportunities | The Franchise Mall.com

Businesses For Sale:

Auto Body Shop For Sale in California | Bizben.com

Auto Body and Repair Businesses for Sale | BizQuest

Auto Paint, Body Repair and Wash Franchises for Sale | BizBuySell.com

Auto Body Shops For Sale | MergerNetwork.com


Auto Body Repair Business

Auto Body Repair Tools

Auto Body Repair Techniques


Auto Body 101

Auto Body Store


Social Media:



Auto Body Shop Posts


Auto Body Shop Groups


Auto Body Shop Facebook Pages


Auto Body Shop Facebook Videos


Auto Body Tweets


Auto Body Shop Linkedin Groups


Auto Body Shop Business

Body Shop


Auto Body Repair Shops