Start an automotive business

Setting up your own business is a big step, and it pays to be prepared and organised before taking the leap. Below is a basic checklist, including useful links, to help you get on the right track to running a successful operation.

Research your market
Knowing who will buy your products or use your services, where that market is, and who you’ll be competing against is crucial to giving your new business the best chance of success. So, make sure you do your homework. Here’s a good start: How to research your market
Business Victoria: Choose a location and set up premises
Australian Bureau of Statistics: Small business
ACA Research: Driving the future (Automotive)

Make sure your finances are in order
How are you going to pay your staff, buy the required equipment and cover the rent while you’re building up your business? You’ll need to know before you take the plunge. Here are some prompting questions that will help: Prepare your finances
Business Victoria: Common costs when starting a business

Decide how you want to set up your business
Will your new business structure be a sole operator, a partnership or a company? You need to know now, but you can always change as your business grows. Here’s some important information you should read first:

Business Victoria: Choose the right business structure
Australian Securities & Investments Commission: Setting up a business structure

Choose and register your business name
Your business name identifies you and probably should indicate what you offer. It’s important to get this right. You don’t want to find out too late your name is similar to a competitor or that you can’t register a matching URL or social media handles. Once you’re ready, here’s how to register your business name: How to choose a business name
Business Registration Service: Register your business

Understand your tax requirements
We all hate paying it, but being tax compliant is super important. Find out now what your obligations are and build this into your budgets. You don’t want any nasty surprises later on. Here’s some info from your friends at the ATO to keep you on the straight and narrow:

Australian Taxation Office: Reporting and paying tax

Understand your legal rights and obligations as a business owner
Running a business isn’t easy. That’s why most people work for someone else. But it’s certainly possible once you know all your legal obligations. Believe it or not, the authorities want to help. Here’s a good start:

Australian Competition & Consumer Commission: Small business
Victorian Small Business Commission: Small business support

Do your research when it comes to choosing insurance

Insurance is another important thing you have to factor into your budgets. You need to cover your property, equipment, staff and third parties. Don’t just guess. Get the right information then seek out experts who can help. Begin here: Find the right insurance
WorkSafe Victoria: A guide for employers
OurAuto: Insurance for the automotive industry

Establish a network of trustworthy suppliers
Having trusted partners will not only help you reach your business goals; you can also develop some meaningful relationships along the way that could make all the difference. Do your due diligence and choose wisely. But read this first:

Business Victoria: Finding and choosing suppliers
Australian Securities & Investments Commission: Protecting your small business
Australian Financial Security Authority: Personal Property Securities Register
Small Business Victoria: How to purchase major equipment in 7 easy steps

Evaluate your need for staff and employ the right people
If your business is successful you’ll probably need staff. Having good employees can be incredibly rewarding but this will also raise issues for you. There’s hiring, contracts, correct wages and much more to consider. This really is a job for the experts, so get help. Here’s a good place to start:

Fair Work Ombudsman: Hiring employees Employment types and hiring options
WorkSafe Victoria: Create a safe workplace (Automotive)

Get your name out there and attract customers
It’s very easy these days to start to market your business without spending much money. You just need to know what to do. Identifying and servicing your core market is important, as is word-of-mouth and positive reviews. Give yourself an edge by doing your homework first: How to identify your target market
Business Victoria: Ways to advertise your business

Running a business can feel lonely – so it’s important to get the support and information you need. The long hours might mean less time with family and friends, at least for a while. But you’re not alone. A professional association can help in many practical ways and membership will probably pay off many times over, plus save you precious time.

Here’s just a few ways the auto experts at VACC can help: Industrial Relations tools and advice; Occupational Health & Safety guidance; industry specific business insurance and cutting edge technical services.

Find out how a VACC membership can drive your business forward. Join today!