Location, location, location ! A true mantra for some estate agents, a myth to be fought for others, the location of your future repair workshop is nevertheless an essential element in your decision, along with the price and quality of services. Finding premises for your garage represents an important stake. It is a substantial investment that greatly conditions the success of your business. In addition, you will have to choose between renting or buying a business premises. You have probably read a lot about the subject, perhaps even started your research, and you no longer know which expert to turn to. That's why we're offering you a summary of all the elements you need to take into account.
Opening a car garage requires a lot of administrative formalities, but also finding the right location. The task is more difficult than it seems, due to the number of elements to take into account.
If you are planning to create your mechanic shop from scratch, don't imagine opening your garage too close to houses, in a housing estate or even at your home. You will inevitably be limited in size, but above all you risk attracting the wrath of the entire neighbourhood. A garage imposes significant noise pollution, which is difficult to accept in a residential area.
You think it's a good idea to build a garage in a residential area.
Do you think this is anecdotal ? Unfortunately, no. Many indelicate people remain solely focused on their project and forget the inconvenience they cause to their surroundings. Opening a mechanic's workshop and fitting out premises accordingly is subject to numerous authorisations.
How do you know if it is possible to open a garage in a commercial premises ? Your administrative adventure begins with the town hall of the municipality in which you intend to set up. And more specifically with the town planning department, as well as the department linked to local economic development, depending on the size of the town.
As soon as you have located a premises that meets your criteria, you need to check that your vehicle repair and maintenance business is permitted by the PLU, the Local Planning Scheme. You must then apply for planning permission if you are planning certain expansion or development work, but also if you are planning to modify the façade. You should also be aware that an application must be made for the installation of a sign, whether illuminated or not.
Finally, you must obtain an ERP fitting-out permit, as your garage is considered an Establishment Receiving the Public. The interior layout must therefore comply with a certain number of standards, mostly related to safety.
Changing the use of a commercial premises into a garage follows the same principle. Clearly, you cannot open a garage in just any area and the fact that you have located a commercial premises does not mean that you can necessarily set up your repair, bodywork or painting business there.
When you set up your company, you are given an NAF code. This specifies the main activity of your business. Town halls append to their PLU the list of NAF codes authorised in the various sectors of the municipality, in order to preserve local shops or to balance the presence of certain sectors of activity. What applies to one type of business does not necessarily apply to another. Some municipalities are also more interventionist than others, so the rules differ from place to place.
Building your business from scratch is difficult, especially if this is your first entrepreneurial venture. There are thousands of garages to take over in France. You might as well start like this, at least you have the assurance that you can practice your activity at this precise location.
The work carried out when writing your business plan has enabled you to determine the area you want. This involves a detailed study of the target clientele, depending on the services you intend to offer. All you have to do now is find the rare pearl that meets all your criteria and, above all, fits into your budget.
The Internet is an excellent ally, as it allows you to access all the organisations relaying offers in terms of car garage hire. Among these, we advise you to consult :
Plan many visits and study offers and commercial leases very carefully. You should also check with the local council to find out what construction and development projects are planned in the area you are interested in. This information is contained in the PLU.
Let's face it, it's not possible to give you a precise figure for the budget you need to set aside to open a car garage. At best, we can hazard a range, between €200 000 and €500 000. Too many parameters come into play to be really precise.
Buying or renting ? This is the big question, because behind the budget question is the question of buying or renting.
Renting your future repair shop limits initial investment, which can be reassuring. You can also more freely change locations if you want to expand and grow your business.
You can devote most of your financial resources to your development, but you also lose rent every month.
The initial investment obviously hinders business start-ups or takeovers, as several hundred thousand euros are needed to become a landlord. Nevertheless, you considerably increase the value of your business, you don't have to deal with any landlord and you have the satisfaction of not losing rent.
Keep in mind that the size of your workshop will need to take into account any future development or expansion plans. If this is not the case and you are thinking of moving to expand your business, being a landlord may be a hindrance.
Advertisements for car garages for sale often mention « Walls and goodwill ». Do you know what this means ?
Walls refer to real estate, i.e. the premises themselves. The goodwill, on the other hand, includes :
Owning one does not mean owning the other. If you buy a business on your own, you end up having to rent the walls.
Find all our articles on the blog, specially designed to meet the needs of garage owners. Whether you are a young entrepreneur or have been running a garage for many years, we are committed to addressing the topics that concern you, to provide you with as many answers as possible.
Is there a subject that particularly concerns you or challenges you ? Don't hesitate to tell us about it in comments !