Fast cars are synonymous with the often-fast life in the UAE, and many car aficionados would love the chance to be at the heart of it by starting up their automotive centre.
Cars are a top commodity in the UAE, as anyone who has walked the streets can attest to – many families have multiple vehicles. Alongside this, these machines of great pride and beauty need a suite of services to ensure it is well maintained and in pristine condition. UAE car owners demand high standards, and this can mean a lot of pressure when setting up and running an automotive centre.
Many in the UAE enjoy going on long road trips or off-roading; all of which can lead to extra automotive services. There is an excellent opportunity to start your automotive centre in the UAE, but what does it take?
What skills are required to open an automotive centre?
UAE residents are passionate about their cars, and maintaining them is a priority for many. What you need to get a foothold in the UAE market is to build a solid reputation.
Your reputation will turn on several vital factors. First of all, you must be able to offer quality services and products that are in line with or even exceed your customer’s expectation. These require you to have some expertise in car maintenance and, preferably a good understanding of the workings of a car. Even though you are not carrying out a car repair, it is essential to have good knowledge, so you can hire the right staff, connect with the right product manufacturers, and give your marketing campaign the right direction.
Consumer safety should be at the heart of what you do. It is a big responsibility to undertake the care and maintenance of machines that travel at high speeds, which people place their lives daily. These are something that must take exceptionally & seriously, and corners cannot cut in the interests of saving money or time.
As an entrepreneur, you will need to have creativity and flair to set your business apart from the others, but you will also need to be a great leader and team manager to motivate your staff. Understanding what makes people energised will help, so think about what might give your staff the highest satisfaction, be it training and upskilling or the chance to work with luxury cars.
Future-proof your business
To ensure long-term success, you need to have a clear idea of where you want to go. A business plan is crucial before you look to launch.
- What are your business goals?
- Who are your target customers?
- What already exists in the market? If there were gaps?
- Consider also where the market is going;
- Driverless cars are something that is on the horizon, and the UAE is always ahead of the curve when it comes to new technologies.
- What market may you be able to capture as you keep one eye on the future?
- Think also about incoming and outgoing expenses. What is the turnover you need on a weekly, monthly and annual basis?
- How many customers does this amount to, and how will you draw them into your business?
- Research is crucial, but once you know how you will differentiate yourself in a competitive market, you need the right marketing strategy to convince your customers of what you already know.
- Make sure you have a sound financial and operational plan to ensure you can deliver on your promises.
Read the market
Many automotive centres are tied to particular car makes. Where does the most competition currently exist? Where might there be gaps, which car brands are presently under-served in the UAE market and could you find a way to make strategic partnerships with those looking to break into the market further?
You should understand the numbers; how many car owners are there, how many are there likely to be? Compare this with the number of centres currently existing and the quality of those centres. There is the place you will begin to see opportunities; where is there a chance to offer more?
Answering these questions will also inform you of what your potential pathway might be. What is your best-case scenario? Develop goals and targets in the short-, mid- and long-term and analyse whether these goals are realistic, and will take you where you want to go. All of these steps must happen before you launch as once you begin, you will need to invest a lot of money and time before you start to see returns. A serious commitment that could change your life, but you need to stay the course.
Dress to impress
We are all aware we live in a visual society, and it is an adage that you should present yourself for success – in the way you dress and carry yourself. The same is equally valid for businesses.
How you arrange and furnish your business will tell the potential customer a lot about what kind of quality service you can offer. Do you have an eye for detail, are all the finishings adequately taken care of, are there any shortcuts in your store, does it have a logical flow? As cars are all about mechanics and quality, these are very reasonable considerations for a customer.
Generate the right atmosphere, and you will instil your customers with confidence and assurance; chaotic or disorganised workplaces will leave them feeling unsteady and uncertain about your ability to perform the work needed on one of their most prized possessions. Spend time working out the visual aesthetic you wish to represent you and make that your brand; be consistent and maintain your standards and this will send subliminal messages to the customer base that this is the way you operate across the board.
The organisation is at heart.
Rome we’re not built in a day; it took many small, minute details to build up this vast empire and the same is true when moving towards realizing your vision. The devil is in the detail. It means you need to know what tools and equipment are necessary for your centre well in advance of opening. Scour the market to ensure you are getting the best deals, understand how much it takes to maintain and look after this equipment and how frequently this equipment should be replaced. Not only is it a matter of safety, but well-maintained equipment will send important messages to your customers.
Know how many staff you are likely to need and ensure they have the requisite skills and training to perform the tasks you require of them; will you continue to provide training and skills sessions for them?
Have an operational budget that factors in all possibilities, know your timelines and make sticking to schedules an important function – customers need to trust they can leave their prized vehicles with you to complete the job within the committed time you or your team quotes at the outset. It is a matter of holding true to your word, and you will generate a relationship of trust that is crucial to building the reputation by which you will live or die.
Generate a loyal customer base
Treat your customers with respect and include them in the process about the work you are doing to their vehicles. For many people, dealing with automotive repairs can feel like a bewildering experience – most people don’t know their pistons from their power-steering. However, using a simple language, you can keep the customer informed and help make them feel like they are a part of the process with you. You will get a reward with happy and loyal customers as a result.
Offer free tips to your customers about best practices for car maintenance, and they will begin to trust your service and feel assured you are working with them and not against them. Be open and transparent about how problems occur and how they can be minimized. In the short term, you may have less small jobs, but in the long-term, you will have repeat customers and a reputation that towers above your competitors. There will always be more work for you to do!
For More Details & Inquiries; visit our website www.beyondlimits.ae