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How to start Small Engine Repair business with little investment guide for individuals want to quit their jobs and start their careers as an entrepreneur are as follows:
Description of Job
• Repair small engines on lawn mowers, all-terrain vehicles, chainsaws, and
generators.
• Provide scheduled maintenance including installation of filters, oil changes,
and tune-ups on small engines.
The Need
We love our power tools and toys: lawn mowers, riding tractors, weed whackers,
chainsaws, snowblowers, go-carts, and many other devices that use small gasoline
engines. Though these engines are essentially similar to highly reliable automobile
engines, they are by necessity much smaller, lighter, and constructed of
much less expensive components.
The compromises that come from small size and low cost usually mean that
these engines require regular attention and adjustment, and parts may wear out
quickly.
A small engine repair business can be done at your workshop, which allows
you to keep all of your tools and spare parts right at hand. However, another
attractive opportunity exists for mobile repair service, where the workshop travels
to the customer and work is done on-site. The advantage to the client is that a
cumbersome lawn mower or snowblower does not have to be carted away to a
shop for repair.
Challenges
Set the boundaries for the types and sizes of engines you will work on. The simplest
and most common are air-cooled, one-cylinder, two- or four-cycle gasoline
engines. More complex engines are (like most automobile engines) multicylinder,
water-cooled plants.
Complexity of repair and inventory of parts goes up dramatically when you
come to engines with belts, generators, and power takeoffs. You’ll need some
special expertise to take on outboard motors and mission-critical systems such as
emergency electrical generators.
Be aware of local ordinances that might limit your ability to work in residential
neighborhoods, and many jurisdictions have strict regulations regarding the
disposal of engine oil and other chemicals.
Know the Territory
You’ll need a strong background in engine repair and the ability to quickly
research techniques and parts for unusual jobs.
When a customer calls for repair or maintenance, obtain full information
about the device: manufacturer, model number, and serial number. Note that half
a dozen or so companies manufacture the majority of small engines, and those
engines are used to power dozens of other brand-name devices. For example,
power units from companies like Tecumseh engines and Briggs & Stratton are
used in a wide variety of equipment.
You should be able to stock a basic collection of engine parts and lubricants
for a wide variety of engines; have a list of sources from whom you can specialorder
unusual components, as needed.
Some jobs are more complex than others, and in some cases you may need to
order replacement parts from a supplier before work can be completed.
How to Get Started
Advertise your availability through sporting goods, home and garden, and other
retail stores. Post ads and flyers on community bulletin boards and in schools.
Your mobile van, if you have one, will become a portable billboard for your
services. Be sure to keep a supply of flyers and business cards at hand while doing
repairs in someone’s driveway or garage; the neighbors may come knocking.
Ask satisfied customers to recommend your services to friends and neighbors,
and offer them a discount or bonus for new business they bring you.
Up-front Expenses
You’ll need to invest in a library of technical manuals for the most common
engines. You’ll need a set of small engine tools and you’ll need basic parts and
supplies, including spark plugs, engine oil, filters, and gaskets. Based on your
customer’s description of the type of engine and its model number, you may be
able to purchase parts as needed.
If you will be operating a mobile repair service, you’ll need a vehicle large
116 HOME SERVICES (SPECIALTY)
enough to carry your tools and supplies. You should be able to work with a small
van or a station wagon; you can add a trailer hitch and a small trailer if you need
to transport an engine or an entire machine back to your workshop.
Other expenses include advertising and promotion.
How Much to Charge
Charge by the hour, plus the cost of parts (marked up from wholesale) for standard
repairs. For basic maintenance, you can set a flat fee for particular classes
of engines—for example, for a tuneup of a lawn mower or chainsaw.

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