How to Start an Auto Parts Business – Resources Included

June 30, 2018 1462 views

A Quick Overview of the Auto Parts Business

To be successful in an auto parts business, you need to be able to provide quality parts to dealers and customers. With this type of business, you have a wide assortment of parts in the market for all the different vehicles available.

Unless you have a franchise, you may want to specialize in a niche — for example, you could cut down the variety by only dealing in imports. You may even minimize the type by only offering parts for a manufacturer or two. If you are in the European market, you may choose Mercedes and BMW.

This will allow you to carry more stock and ensure you have most of the parts when needed. Another issue is for parts that you don’t keep in stock — you need to find parts manufacturers that can do overnight shipping.

Your success depends on getting the right parts to your customers as soon as possible.

Skill Set and Traits:

Employee Considerations

Common staff positions needed to run some businesses

Hours of Operation:

Usually, the hours of a parts store are 9-5, but there may be more exceptions if service shops in the area have longer hours. This depends on the service shops.


  • Shelving
  • POS system
  • Warehouse
  • Storefront
  • Inventory system

Monthly Expenses and Operating Costs To Consider:

In addition to our list of common business expenses, your auto parts store will require a budget for maintaining your inventory.


See Our Page on Licenses and Permits

Marketing Ideas:

  • Offer something like “delivered in a half hour or it’s free.” When a garage is waiting on parts, it’s costing them downtime — because the vehicle is usually on the hoist — that they could be using to finish another job.
  • You could offer a “test it” price. For example, often, mechanics install a new part, but that doesn’t solve the problem. So, instead of charging the customer, they could return the original part and only pay a restocking fee, and you could sell the part less the restocking fee.
  • You could keep stock numbers for your customers to keep track of each warranty for your repair shops. Often, the mechanic doesn’t have accurate records, and the customer doesn’t either.

Pros and Cons:


  • If you’re an auto enthusiast, this is a clean way to stay connected in the industry.
  • Auto parts are like food — people need to buy them in any economy.


  • There are hundreds of thousands of different parts.
  • Keeping sufficient stock can be challenging and expensive.
  • With a vast amount of parts, your product knowledge can be challenging.

Profitability and Revenue:

Your profit and revenue depend on your location, your marketing, and your service. If you make 100% profit and have no sales, then that’s not a good business model.

If you get a loan for $500,000, in addition to monthly expenses, you also have high loan payments, which can make your profitability even tougher.

To have a profitable auto parts business, consider the following:

  • Make sure you have a suitable location.
  • Have excellent cash flow.
  • Keep your costs to a minimum.
  • Good marketing practices.
  • Provide excellent customer service.
  • Have the popular repair parts in stock
  • Provide overnight delivery for parts that are not hot sellers.

Start-up Cost Considerations:

Your start-up cost for an auto parts store depends on many factors. It depends on the following.

Your store location:

Leasing or buying a storefront in a high traffic area will cost a lot more compared to a less than prime area. This being said, you can locate in a less than prime area if you offer delivery services to local repair shops. But, you will miss out on walk-in traffic.

The amount of stock you keep:

Imagine having thousands of parts in stock and paying an average of $50 per part. You would be talking about thousands and thousands of dollars sitting on your shelves.

Your inventory will be one of your highest start-up costs to consider. On the other hand, if you keep your parts on consignment, your profit margin may be lower, but your start-up cost will be significantly reduced.

The Number of Employees You Hire:

If you are going to do all the work yourself versus hiring employees, it will make a big difference in your weekly expenses. Consider at least one person to make deliveries and one to be in the store at all times.

Full-Time or Part-Time Business:

This type of business needs to be full-time.

Home-Based Business:

This type of business is not suited to a home-based business.


Business Plans:

Free Car Parts Store Business Plan | The Finance Resource.com

Auto Parts Business Plan | Masterplans.com

A Day In The Life:

A Day in the Life of an Auto Parts Consultant | Auto Training Centre

NAPA AUTO PARTS Store Manager | Smart Recruiters


Executive Interview: Al Wheeler | Shop Owner Mag.com

Executive Interview: John Washbish | Shop Owner Mag.com

Aftermarket News Executive Interview With Automotive Parts Services Group | Counterman.com

Dan Freeman, Industry Veteran of 50 Years, Takes A Look Back And A Look Ahead | Shop Owner Mag.com

Market Research:

Auto Parts Stores in the US Market Research | IBISWorld

Auto Parts: Online Sales to Break $6 Billion in 2015 | Hedges & Company Blog

Auto Parts Stores – Industry Data, Trends, and Analysis | Valuation Resources.com

Market Trends & Analysis | Search Autoparts.com

Automotive After Market Business Overview & Trends – SBA SBDC Info

Automotive Parts Aftermarket Market in US 2014-2018: | Business Wire

Future of Automotive Aftermarket And Car Servicing | Forbes

Startup Tips:

How to Open an Auto Parts and Accessories Store | Startupbizhub.com

How to Start an Auto Parts Store | Chron.com

How to Start an Auto Parts Store | eHow

How to Start an Auto Parts Warehouses Business – Gaebler

Article Mix:

What auto parts stores do free diagnostic testing? | Reference.com

How To Buy Auto Parts Without Getting Screwed | Roadandtrack.com


Auto Parts Store Business Insurance | Nationwide

Federated Insurance | Auto Parts Stores

Essential Business Insurance for Auto Parts | Insureon.com

Auto Parts Store Insurance | Bolt Insurance

Auto Parts Businesses:


Auto Zone

Auto Parts Warehouse

JC Whitney

Auto Anything


Buy Auto Parts

Parts Geek



Search Auto parts

Aftermarket News

Shop Owner

Counter Man


Make Thousands of Dollars Monthly With eBay’s Untapped Niche


Alphabetical Glossary of Automotive Terms | Edmunds.com

Glossary of Aftermarket Terms | Tomorrows Technician.com


APS Association

Automotive Aftermarket Suppliers Association

Automotive Parts Remanufacturers Association

CAPA Certified Auto Parts

National PRONTO Association

Franchise Opportunities:

NAPA AUTO PARTS Store Ownership| MyNAPA.com

Mighty Auto Parts

Automotive Parts, Tools and Equipment Franchise Opportunities | The Franchise Mall.com

Businesses For Sale:

Auto Parts Retail and Distribution Businesses for Sale | BizQuest


Auto Parts Business

Auto Parts Store

Search Auto parts

Social Media:



Posts About Auto Parts


Auto Parts Business Groups


Auto Parts Business Facebook Pages


Auto Parts Business Facebook Videos


Auto Parts Tweets


Auto Parts Linkedin Groups


Auto Parts Business