Franchising in the automotive industry

A guide to franchising in the automotive industry

Walk around any franchise exhibition, or flick through one of the franchise industry magazines, and you’ll see any number of automotive franchises. After food and beverage, and web-based franchises, automotive franchises must be some of the most popular investment opportunities around.

And that’s because the marketplace is huge. At the end of 2012 there were 34.5 million registered vehicles on the UK roads. Just think of all those car owners prepared to pay out to keep their pride and joy in tip-top condition!

So, among the dozens of automotive franchises available in the UK today, you’ll quickly find tyre replacement specialists, alloy wheel detailers and the ubiquitous SMART repair operators (more about these later). But there are plenty of others that provide everything from vehicle cleaning products – or cleaning services – through to more specialist trades such as air conditioning, stainless steel exhaust pipes and even tow-bar installation.

Tool supply and tool-free automotive franchises

If you’ve always been drawn to the motor trade but don’t fancy getting involved with the technical side of automotive franchises, there are some vehicle hire and leasing franchises through which you can utilise your sales skills. And there are also online car sales franchises, vehicle finance franchises, and lots of other management and white-collar operations that don’t require any practical know how at all.

Two of the world’s most recognised tool manufacturers, Mac Tools and Snap-on Tools, both offer automotive franchises. These companies provide tools to garages, car dealerships and even the vehicle manufacturers themselves. As a franchisee you sell these tools within your own protected territory to a minimum number of trade customers.

Both Snap-on and Mac Tools make their money from the sale of the tools, so there aren’t any ongoing royalties. What’s more, like many mobile automotive franchises, the overheads are kept very low. And if you decide one of these franchises is right for you, you’ll be joining one of the most recognised names in automotive tools, and can share your passion for all things motor-related while you work.

SMART franchises

So what is SMART repair? S.M.A.R.T. is an acronym that stands for Small to Medium Area Repair Technique/Technology. It’s a low-cost and speedy alternative to full body repairs. And it’s probably the most well-served sector within the automotive franchises sector.

A SMART repair can usually be completed within the hour, and is up to 80% cheaper than a bodyshop alternative. This makes it popular with consumers and fleet managers alike. And, of course, insurers prefer to pay out for these lower cost SMART repairs.

SMART repairs are also something that prospective car sellers take advantage of. A repair that costs just £100 or so is easily recouped through the sale of the car. And, in all likelihood, that same repair improves the chances of the car being sold in the first place.

Most SMART repair franchises are mobile. This has a huge consumer benefit, as the technician can come to the customer’s home or place of work. So, instead of taking their car to a garage – and either waiting around for hours or leaving it there while sourcing alternative transport – the repair can be completed without any hassle or disruption.

The biggest name in this sector, by some distance, is Chips Away which, like many automotive franchises, offers both van-based and management opportunities. The investment level is close to £30,000, but there are other low-cost alternatives around.

SMART repair franchises aren’t seasonal; cars need repairing all year round. So, on one hand you know there won’t be peaks and troughs in your business. But, since most of the work is outdoors, you need to decide whether you want to be outside for five or six days a week (or more) plying your trade during the cold winter months.

Turn your petrol-head passion into profit

One of the greatest things about franchising is it enables you to start a business of your own in a totally new sector. And with hundreds of franchise opportunities available, you can easily find one that ticks your box. So if you’re sick of sitting at a desk all day, and have always dreamed of working within or around the motor trade, then just do it. Ditch your job and sign up for a future that you can really get excited about.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful to wake up every day looking forward to what’s ahead? No more miserable Sundays feeling depressed that the working week is about to start. No more staying up late putting off the inevitable – that once you go to sleep, the next thing you’ll have to face is your alarm clock going off and another day at the office.

That’s what you can achieve with any one of the automotive franchises listed on You really can turn your passion for cars into a profitable business of your own.

And, like most franchises, prior industry experience isn’t usually necessary. So, while you might need some basic practical skills to become a SMART repair technician, you don’t need to be a mechanic to join one of the many automotive franchises available right now.

Franchising in the automotive industry