This will be a single-location firm providing a service to a local market. It will be a combination of a coin-operated car wash and an attached facility to allow DIY auto mechanics to rent repair bays with similar equipment and working conditions that professional mechanics enjoy. These repair bays would include hydraulic lifts, compressed air tools, individual lighting systems and specialty tools used only for specialized tasks.
The coin-operated car wash service is a long-standing service industry that is growing at 3% a year. The after-market auto parts market is also a long-standing industry, growing at 4% a year. There is overlap in the customer base of these two industries, but until now no one has linked the two and added customer value in the process.
This combination of services will complement each other and allow DIY Wash N' Fix to enjoy the proven cash flows of a growing industry (coin-operated car wash) and increasing profitability from a new business venture. The business model relies on an appropriate population demographic to draw on, but once a suitable site has been selected then this operation has the potential to provide a steady income to the owners. Growth will most likely be achieved through franchising.
Though there are other firms that compete directly with the car wash portion of the business, the professional style auto mechanic bays for rent is a unique idea to market. This idea stems from facilities found at many major military installations. The majority of service members live in barracks and there are tight restrictions on the work that can be done on privately owned vehicles in the parking lots of those barracks. Therefore, the military built facilities where the service members could perform their own work on their vehicles.
To apply this business model to the civilian marketplace a similar demographic must be found. The required population must live in similar conditions, such as apartments, condominiums, or in areas with frequent inclement weather, which restrict car owners from performing auto repairs. Providing an area to rent that has adequate space, lighting and environmental controls and would also provide access to expensive professional equipment would appeal to DIY auto mechanics.
The value this business model brings to the market place is to the individual, who has the knowledge or desire to learn about basic auto repair, but does not have a place to do the work or the tools to perform the work. With the rising cost of auto repair parts and the labor costs for mechanics, a facility that would make performing standard auto maintenance and minor repairs more convenient and less expensive would provide tremendous value to the customers.
DIY Wash N' Fix intends to acquire an existing car wash facility with six bays. We expect to spend about $225,000 to buy a facility with enough land to expand the business. We will also construct an additional nine bays outfitted specifically for painting and repair. Construction will cost about $300,000, and the owners intend to contribute capital equal to 10% of initial investments. Approximately $53,200 worth of equipment will need to be purchased to properly equip our repair and painting facilities. Total initial assets will be $578,200.
The layout of the new facility will include three bays equipped with 6,000-pound capacity lifts for doing light work and oil changes. Three more bays will have heavy-duty 12,000-pound capacity lifts for doing major repair work. Finally, there will be three bays equipped with ventilation and equipment for painting cars. Also, there will be a customer service area for customers to check in and out their chosen work bays and tools. Fees will depend on the type of bay desired and range from $15 to $50 per hour of usage. Customers will have access to up to ten tools at a time to perform their repairs.
Operating Requirements and Associated Costs
The materials requirements for the car wash portion of the business will be minimal. Inventory for the car wash will also be kept to a minimum to reduce storage requirements. A supplier that will provide just-in-time supplies will be sought out. In addition, inventory requirements for the repair part will be kept to a minimum. We are not going into the retail auto parts industry. Referrals from local auto parts stores may be a primary method of introductory marketing, so competing directly with them is not our best option. Some items, such as motor oil, anti-freeze and air fresheners will be sold to encourage impulse buying. However, our strategy will focus on building rapport with other local automotive businesses. We will do this by referring our customers to them in order to buy the needed auto parts, and then they will return to DIY Wash N' Fix to do the actual work.
The labor requirements for this firm will include several full-time employees and possibly some part-time employees to augment them during peak periods