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Opening an auto repair shop in the $58 Billion auto shop industry is clearly an intriguing opportunity. In fact, the influx of entrepreneurs starting a mechanic shop has resulted in 1.4% growth every year over the past 5 years. The question is: should you be looking at buying an existing auto shop for sale, or starting an auto repair shop in a new steel building?

How Should You Be Opening Your Auto Repair Shop?

Here are a few pros and cons to help you evaluate buying an auto shop versus opening an auto repair shop in a new steel building:

Pros:

Purchasing Existing

Existing loyal customer base to build business upon
Can start operating the business immediately
Possibility of low price on a foreclosed business

Cons:

Purchasing Existing

Possible poor service record associated with current location
Auto shop is confined to the existing design and type of building
Many are sold “as is” which could mean unseen problems

Pros:

New Steel Building

You can tailor the design of the building to your business
Steel buildings are easy to expand when your business grows
Save on insurance costs because steel is non-combustible

Cons:

New Steel Building

You will need to purchase land or lease a property
Permitting process could delay opening your auto shop

For most, starting an auto repair business in a new steel building does outweigh the benefits of buying an existing auto repair business. So lets look at what you need to know about opening an auto shop in a metal building.

Design Considerations for Starting a Mechanic Shop

General Steel makes starting a mechanic shop simple with easy-to-install steel building kits that are both durable and less expensive than traditional construction. As you begin researching auto shop building plans, here are a few design considerations to keep in mind:

Doors Create Profitable Openings in an Auto Repair Shop

Auto Shop for Sale
Most auto buildings have a series of doors down one sidewall. These doors are typically 14 feet tall in order to accommodate semi trucks and these 14’ doors require a minimum 16’ tall building.

Expert Insight: If you don’t need to accommodate semis, you can opt to go shorter on the eave height and door size to save money.

Cross Bracing in an Auto ShopAbout Cross “X” Bracing in Auto Shops

Most steel building designs utilize x bracing in the sidewalls. If x bracing was used in the building above, the bracing would eliminate one of the access doors.

So when it comes to designing your auto shop, we recommend going with portal frames rather than x bracing to gain an access door into each bay. Contrary to x bracing, portal frames allow full-usage of every bay in the shop.

What Do You Gain with “X” Bracing?
Opening an Auto Shop with Portal Framing
Opening an Auto Repair Shop with Two Baysg

For example, in the 60 by 100 auto shop above, there is a door in each bay along the south wall, which tells us that this building has been portal framed. If you opt to save by going with x bracing one of the bays would lose its access door for auto service due to the x bracing. This cuts back on the efficiency of your shop as a whole.

Expert Insight: If you do choose to opt for x bracing instead of portal frames, you can use that space for additional storage, such as tools or small parts.

Again by replacing the rod bracing with a portal frame, you gain full access to every bay in the shop. A portal frame does however require one extra foot in width and height – but the cost-benefit of operating an extra bay in your shop easily makes up for the added expense.

What’s Consistent Across All Auto Shop Plans?

While opting for portal framing or x bracing can dramatically change the final design of your auto shop, there are some characteristics that are consistent across all auto shop buildings like bay sizing, door locations and door types.

Floor Plan for Starting a Mechanic Shop

The Size of Each Auto Shop Bay is Consistent

The bays in an auto shop never run smaller than 20 feet wide and never wider than 30′. This is one of the reasons why metal auto buildings are favored over wood buildings; metal framing eliminates the need for interior columns whereas wood buildings require a column every 7 to 8 feet.

Starting an Auto Repair Shop in ColoradoWhy Are the Doors Always Located on the Sidewall?

You may have also wondered why our auto shop plans contain doors in the sidewalls instead of the end walls? It’s simple – sidewall doors allow for easier expansion in the long-run. Should you need to add space to expand your business in the future, it’s easier and more cost-effective to expand longer rather than wider. Not to mention, sidewall doors help maximize the space of the shop by allowing for more vehicles.

What Are My Options When It Comes to Doors?

Finally, there are two types of doors you can order for your steel auto building. We recommend either roll up doors (which roll into a huge canister) or sectional doors, which are similar to residential garages that follow a track. While both are about equal in cost, the roll up doors require more room. This choice ultimately comes down to personal preference, but our representatives are happy to help you weigh the pros and cons of each.

Roll Up Doors
Roll Up Doors for Starting a Mechanic Shop
Sectional Doors
Sectional Doors for Starting an Auto Repair Shop
Contact General Steel When You Plan on Starting an Auto Repair Shop

We hope this helped you in your search for a new auto building. If you need additional information or are ready to get started on your steel auto-building project, your team at General Steel is ready to assist.