Chicago, it seems, is the city of fender benders. In 2011, more than 280,000 accidents occurred in the state of Illinois, which breaks down to more than 770 accidents every single day.
While this might not be a good thing for drivers, it's not the worst news if you're interested in starting an auto body business.
If you like working on cars and are interested in opening your auto body shop, what do you need to get started in a city like Chicago? Follow these four steps.
1. Handle the Paperwork First
No matter where you're planning on opening your doors, you'll have to handle some paperwork before you can turn on your Open sign for the first time. In Chicago, this includes things like registering your business with county, state and federal agencies, finding a location, checking the zoning and obtaining business licenses and building permits for any renovations or construction you need to do.
It's always a good idea to get this paperwork out of the way first before you start purchasing equipment or spending money on marketing.
2. Secure Funding
Next, secure the funding you'll need to stock your shop, hire employees, pay for marketing and handle bills until your shop starts making money on its own. Be sure to overestimate your expenses for things like equipment. If you need $100,000 to stock your repair shop entirely, try to borrow $130,000 to cover any unexpected costs.
Consider seeking out a loan from the Small Business Association. While they don't provide funds directly, they have partnerships with lenders that allow them to offer low-interest loans with no down payment for small businesses that are just starting. SBA loans have a lower risk and are often easier to obtain than loans directly from your financial institution.
3. Stock Your Shop
The next step is probably the most expensive---stocking your shop with the equipment you'll need to repair everything from a minor fender bender to a full body rebuild.