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A mechanic may typically perform the following tasks:

  • Change brake pads and discs
  • Amend wheel alignment
  • Carry out an MOT
  • Carry out a full vehicle service

The benefits of becoming a self employed mechanic

If you decide to become a self employed mechanic there are a number of benefits compared to being employed directly by a garage and paid on a PAYE basis. These include:

  • Flexible working when it comes to your hours and how far you will travel
  • Being able to set your own rates and choose which jobs you take on
  • Having the opportunity to increase earnings through tax planning

Our easy to use freelancer take home pay calculator can give you a rough estimate of how much you could take home as a self employed worker.

Where will you work?

As a self employed mechanic, one of the first things you need to consider is where you are going to work. Not every mechanic works out of a garage, some choose to be more mobile by going to where their clients are, bringing their tools and equipment with them and completing repairs or maintenance onsite.

There are advantages and disadvantages to both: working out of a garage means that you have a permanent place of work where your customers can come to but it can be quite expensive to maintain a physical workplace; conversely being a mobile mechanic means that you can dramatically reduce your overheads by not having to maintain a permanent workplace but you may also be limited in the work you can carry out if you cannot store and transport certain pieces of equipment.

Qualifications for a Mechanic

One of the most popular ways for mechanics to learn their trade is through an apprenticeship. Some schemes require participants to have GCSEs in Maths, English and Science, but it can vary from firm to firm so it’s always worth checking the individual requirements to see if you qualify.

Another popular way of starting on the road to becoming a mechanic is to undertake a course at college. Courses are quite popular so you can find one which fits around any existing commitments and study whilst you are working if need be. There are a number of different providers who offer a range of training options, including some car manufacturers and dealers who offer on-the-job training, but a Level 1 Certificate/Diploma in Vehicle Maintenance could be a good place to start.

In addition to having an interest in the workings of the internal combustion engine, strong communication and customer service skills can be invaluable when working as a self employed mechanic. Customers will need to feel confident about your skills and understand exactly what work you are carrying out on their vehicle.

Finding work as a mechanic

One of the most common ways of finding work as a self employed mechanic is through word of mouth recommendations. Of course it takes time to build up a strong reputation and loyal client base who will recommend you, but this is essentially free marketing and as long as you provide a good service people should be happy to recommend you to their friends.

Another good way of generating awareness of your services is to do a leaflet drop in the local area. If there is a new housing development nearby this is a great place to start as the residents could be new to the area and may not have necessarily found a good mechanic yet. It’s best to knock on the doors before you drop the leaflet in, just so people can see your face and talk through your services. You never know, someone may book you in there and then, just don’t take the door to door hard sell approach. You can get a few hundred leaflets designed and printed quite inexpensively, so this activity wont break the bank. Be sure to include a list of your services and contact details on your leaflets so that people will know exactly what you do and how they can get in contact.

A professional website that appears in search engines for local mechanic search terms can be a fantastic way of getting your name out there. Websites don’t have to cost the earth, there are a number of free tools you can use online to build your site or you can find an affordable web designer to put together something a little more creative.

If you have access to a garage, you could hold a seminar. It is important that you prove you have their best interests at heart and you’re not just trying to sell something to them. One idea is that you could run a ladies night crash course, which covers topics such as:

  • Is your car ready for winter?
  • How to check your oil?
  • How to put air in your tyres?

As you will probably find there will me a mixture of existing and new clients, it is important that you make a good impression and build rapport with the people that attend. At the end of the presentation you could hand out a small booklet on the points covered as well as what to do if you are in an accident, which they can leave in their car. Make sure all marketing communication handed to them has your full name, address and telephone numbers on.

When business gets a bit quiet or you need a some extra money and you have your own van, you could also offer services as a man with a van. Just make sure you don’t take on too much work as a man with a van or you could end up neglecting the mechanic side of your business.

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