If you are interested in the automotive world, opening an alignment and balancing shop is a great option for you.
Today, in households fortunate enough to have access to a car, they treat it as part of the family nucleus. They take care of it, pamper it and, in some cases, even have a name for it.
That is why setting up a workshop of this type to offer essential services for the care of these spoiled ones at home, can generate very profitable income.
So if you want to learn about alignment and balancing, why this is a good business idea, and what the basics you need to be able to have your own workshop, read on.
An alignment and balancing shop offers two basic automotive services:
The initial configuration of the tires wears out over time. Fresh out of a dealership, the manufacturer has stipulated an optimal configuration for each car model taking into account three different types of angles:
The lean angle that directly affects the steering ability of the vehicle. Depending on the purpose and safety needs of the car, this angle will either be positive or negative (that is, the tires will be slanted outward or inward).
The steering angle responds to how the wheels are relative to the steering axis of the steering wheel. This is the one that provides the return effect that causes the steering to return to its original position after a turn.
The tip angle is the easiest to identify of all. Just stand in front of the vehicle and see if the tips of the tires are pointing in or out. This angle is directly responsible for the stability in a straight line that the car has. Likewise, it influences the steering response sensitivity.
So alignment consists of readjusting the tires to these initial angles at which they were initially set.
This has two implications: first, we have to know what the optimal angles are for each car model that we are going to service. Second, we will need a machine to be able to perform the alignment in the most optimal way possible.
How to identify the problem?
Typically, the symptoms of when a car needs alignment service are as follows:
Going at more than 40 km / h, the vehicle goes to the right or to the left by itself if, for a short period of time, we release the steering wheel while being straight.
When driving in a straight line, the steering wheel is not centered.
The edges of the tread are worn.
What happens if a regular wheel alignment is not performed?
Performing a car’s alignment periodically is very important to reduce tire wear, maintain straight-line roll stability, maintain steering return capability, and optimize cornering performance.
If this maintenance is not carried out periodically, the owner of the vehicle runs the risk of, in addition to causing damage to the tires, affecting the steering system and other important mechanisms of the car.
Car tires, like their initial configuration, suffer wear over time. Tires are especially sensitive elements since they are in constant friction with the terrain on which they are driven. Then, due to uneven tire wear, the weight of each one is losing its integrity, causing the balance that must exist between the tire and the rim to be lost.
Balancing consists of restoring that harmony that must exist between the weight of the tire and the respective wheel.
How to identify the problem?
Typically, the symptoms of when a car needs balancing service are as follows:
Going over 60 km / h the steering wheel starts to vibrate.
The wheels are damaged or beaten.
At certain speeds, the vehicle makes strange noises.
What happens if the periodic wheel balancing is not performed?
In addition to being uncomfortable to ride with vibrations, balancing is an essential service to increase tire life and avoid unnecessary suspension wear.
Why are alignment and balancing essential services for a car?
These two services are vital car maintenance exercises . That is, it is not necessary for the vehicle to suffer damage to require them, but they have a constant demand for people who own a car and want to keep it in good condition.
Also, it is especially necessary for people who live in cities. Here they face hundreds of streets in poor condition with cracks and speed bumps that affect their tires every day.
It is also worth noting that this activity has a very cyclical market, having greater demand during the weeks prior to long holidays such as Christmas, summer, national holidays, etc.
Thus, balancing and alignment allow a reliable handling, a longer life of the tires avoiding premature wear, facilitates the movement of the car and reduces the consumption of gasoline.
Each driver is recommended to perform these procedures every 6 months or 10,000 kilometers.
What other services to offer?
The basic services that you can offer are alignment and balancing, for which it is necessary that you be permanently updated on new techniques and technologies to offer the best service to clients. However, it is also a good idea that if you have a workshop of this type, you offer a revision service .
This is very timely and helps to retain the client, since, by having a closer follow-up of each case, you will strengthen ties with the client and this will then make them recommend you to their friends.
Offering vehicle consulting services is also a great plus. Your customers will be more than happy to receive guidance on how to best use their vehicle for high performance.
What you need to open a balancing and alignment workshop
The place to carry out this type of business has to have a considerable space . Keep in mind that you will need to bring at least two cars into your business at a time, so a project of this size cannot be built in a small area. It is also necessary that you get a spacious place so that the provision of services to the vehicles is comfortable, because remember that maintenance activities require a lot of movement on the part of the staff and the last thing you want is for them to collide with each other or not be able perform your tasks in the best way.
Do not forget that this space should also include a service office and a bathroom.
The machines used in an alignment and balancing shop are as follows:
General maintenance tools
Balancing machines (stationary and portable)
Alignment Machines (Wheel Alignment Plate)
Computer, telephone, and other office elements necessary for internal and external communications.
Due to the specialized equipment that is required, you must bear in mind that the investment to be made is not low at all, since in addition to the physical structure, furniture and equipment, it is necessary to invest in the opening of the company and the dissemination of its services.
Workforce and employees
Whoever takes their vehicles to a workshop wants to be well cared for and wants to realize that the place is full of qualified professionals. Therefore, in setting up a balancing and alignment shop you need to invest in good staff.
Offering a high quality service is essential in a business whose main form of sales is directly related to customer service . For this reason, you need all the people involved in your work team to have the best disposition and attitude to deal with clients. From the doorman to the mechanic to the cashier they must have a service attitude.
It is also necessary that the mechanics you hire have experience in the area. Do not forget that you are going to mess with one of the most precious and expensive assets that its owners can have. So you have to make sure that no one is going to experiment with them and cause any havoc, or you will be the one to pay for it.
In addition to these professionals, you need a person responsible for the administrative area to help you keep the accounts, general data and the necessary procedures of your business.
On the other hand, depending on where the workshop is located and the services performed, you should consider hiring a safety team, as many cars will be at your expense and it is important that you can guarantee their safety.
Despite this, to get started you could start with a team of three: a manager and two charismatic auto mechanics. Do not forget that what makes the difference in businesses where a service is provided is customer service.
Steps to open an alignment and balancing workshop
As for all entrepreneurship, you must follow a series of basic steps if you want to open your own alignment and balancing workshop:
1. Conduct a strategic analysis
Before starting to open the business, you have to analyze in great detail where you are going to locate it, the possible competition you are going to have, the type of business you will open, what services and / or products you will offer and what are the possible opportunities and difficulties that could be presented.
2. Make a business plan
First describe your business on paper. Make it clear what your mission is, what you aspire to achieve and what are the values that will identify you. It also establishes how the internal dynamics of your company will work and makes a projection of expenses for each of the items in which you will have to invest (space, equipment, personnel, etc.). Develop a marketing plan in which you include the dissemination and inauguration strategy and also include this in the projection of expenses. Finally, establish the financial plan in which you will support yourself in order to make the initial investment.
3. Define an execution schedule
Find out what are the legal requirements in your country to be able to have your own alignment and balancing workshop. Keep in mind that this type of activity that offers automotive services has very specific requirements in each country, and you should find out about them before any other step in the execution of your business.
Based on the information you obtain regarding the legal requirements, draw up a schedule with estimated dates for the execution of the first steps of the project. Include a tentative opening date.
So, now you know what alignment and balancing consist of, why this is a good business idea and what is the basic thing you need to be able to have your own workshop.
Now that you are aware that people prefer to keep their cars in very good condition rather than having to buy a new one, it is up to you to offer them the service they are looking for.