How To Start A Mobile Mechanic Business

Posted on January 24, 2023

Imagine you are rushing out of the house, and running a little late for work. You go to crank your car, and you realize - the car won’t start. That’s one way where a mobile mechanic comes in to help. Essentially, a mobile mechanic deals with anyone who is stranded on wheels. Mobile mechanics are highly trained, and typically cost much less than a traditional mechanic garage. Mobile mechanics can help with flat tires, fuel fill-ups, jumping or replacing a battery, locked vehicles, towing, or pre-trip inspections. 

To start your own mobile mechanic business, you will need an initial investment, an array of tools and equipment, and a good social media presence or advertising to get your name out there for others to see. You will also need the appropriate business licensing before you get on the road. Once you have your tools and your business license, all you need is a way for people to contact you and you’ll be ready to start your business!

Experience Matters

Trailer mechanics generally need a certificate from a technical school or a degree in an area related to diesel engines and electronics.

Apprenticeships: Apprenticeships provide the hands-on experience necessary to provide repairs and maintenance on trucks and trailers. Your responsibilities require you to have a valid driver's license.

On-the-job training: On-the-job training prepares you for company standards and duties, but you need a basic understanding of the tools and equipment used.

Other Qualifications: Other qualifications include knowledge of department of transportation (DOT) regulations, time management, basic computer skills, physical fitness and stamina, troubleshooting skills, and excellent written and verbal communication.

Having the right experience not only prepares you for future jobs, but it also gives you the credibility customers want from a mechanic. When your customers can see that you have the schooling or years of experience under your belt, you will be seen as a reliable source of information for their mechanical issues. 

The right type of education combined with work experience will keep your business moving forward, allowing you to be successful in this profession over time. 

What tools do mobile mechanics use?

As a mobile mechanic, your tools are your money. Besides your automotive knowledge, investing in quality tools and equipment will be what keeps your business running. It goes without saying that as a trailer mechanic you will need a reliable vehicle to get from location to location. 

The vehicle you buy for your business matters.

Things you need to consider when purchasing your work vehicle: 

  • Miles Per Gallon

  • Open or closed body

  • Gas or Diesel 

Miles Per Gallon cost less to operate. Buying a more fuel-efficient car can save you thousands of dollars on fuel costs over time and can often balance out a higher purchase price if you keep the car long enough.

Body Type is important to consider when purchasing a work vehicle. An open, classic-style body is a perfect choice if you’re going to carry longer, bulkier materials like pipes, conduits, and builder-grade wood. The tailgate keeps them securely contained on the bed, and there can be compartments along the sides to keep smaller tools and supplies neatly arranged. But considerations like rain, snow, and security factor into the decision to run an open body service truck or a mechanics body truck.

Closed body ones are ideal if you’re not carrying long, unwieldy tools and supplies. The interiors can be customized to your specific needs with shelving and additional storage containers for increased organization and work efficiency.

Diesel or Gas is also important to think about for your work vehicle. 

  • Diesel trucks tend to offer more torque, more towing power, higher gas mileage, and longer-lasting performance. 

  • Gas trucks are generally lighter, faster, and better at handling heavy payloads. Ultimately, your choice will depend completely on your needs.

Aside from your work vehicle, you will need a few basics in your tool kit in order to be a successful trailer mechanic. 

You will need the basics:

  • Hammer

  • Screwdrivers

  • Wrenches

  • Drills

  • pliers

Scanners: Aside from the basics, there are a few staple tools that will be useful for a mobile mechanic. For starters, you will need a quality scanner. This scanner will run diagnostic testing on the vehicles you are working on. These types of scanners cost a pretty penny, but with time they are sure to pay for themselves. Some very advanced scan tools even allow you to read and clear diagnostic trouble codes, reset the check engine light, monitor engine and sensor data in real-time, customize features of your car, and more. Every gasoline-powered vehicle built since 1996 and every diesel since 2008 is equipped with an OBD2 port to get access to that information. So this type of scanner will be very useful as a mobile mechanic. 

Jacks: You will also need to invest in a few types of jacks. It is worth spending your money on a good jack. A quality jack has high lift capabilities and is able to support the vehicle at the maximum height that your jack can lift it to. Purchasing a jack with a size, material, and build that you can use on a variety of vehicles will be very helpful. 

Air Compressor: The next tool you can expect to need is some sort of portable air compressor. That way you can use this tool wherever it is needed. Air compressors are a versatile pieces of equipment and one of the most useful automotive tools a professional environment can have.

Mobile Card Reader: There are many more useful tools that a mobile mechanic will need in their toolbox in order to be successful, but these are just a few staples. Aside from these staple tools that were mentioned, having a mobile card reader and a smartphone will be key tools to finalize your jobs. 

How to manage different working conditions

As a trailer mechanic, each job will come with different surroundings, weather, and sometimes a need for rescheduling. 

Invest in a tent: A tent will help protect you if the weather is not favorable on the day and time of your scheduled job. Tents are usually easily assembled and will make a difference in lowering your rescheduling rate when it comes to weather conditions. You can attach your tent to your truck and safely work on your vehicle underneath it. 

How do Mobile mechanics get customers?

Another important part in starting up your mobile mechanic business is letting the public know you are open for business. Marketing and advertising is key! Advertising your business does not have to be an elaborate plan, the main idea is to just share and promote your business when and however you can. 

Get social: We live in a world where social media is such a useful tool for marketing yourself and your business. With social media, you can spread information about your business in a quick and cost-efficient manner and potentially reach millions of people with your message. Make a business Facebook or Instagram account and start spreading the word of your new business with just a click of a button. Once you start to build a client base, getting reviews added to your social media platforms will make your business appear more reputable and appealing to future customers. 

Word of mouth: Aside from social media, word of mouth is also a powerful tool to spread the word of your business. Word of mouth has always been an important tool for small businesses because when someone speaks positively about your brand, it helps build confidence and trust that your customer’s investment won't be a mistake.  Consumers trust recommendations above all other types of marketing and this is why this type of marketing is most likely to drive sales. Consumers believe testimonials from friends and family over all forms of advertising.

Get online reviews: Give consumers different ways to talk and share your new business. Let them know that they are important to you and that sharing their opinions is important to you. Before you know it, your past clients will be sharing within their circles and start growing your new audience.  

Build a custom website for your business: If you want to dig a little deeper with your marketing, build a website! There are several free website builders that can help you get your site up and running in no time. Use your business site as a place to showcase your work, reviews, your contact information, and a little about yourself. We live in a world where if a business does not have a website, consumers are less likely to trust that retailer. So investing a few hours of your time to build a basic website using Wix or Wordpress can immensely boost your appeal to future customers.

What to do if you need to reschedule a job?

As an entrepreneur and small business owner, you can expect to need to reschedule jobs from time to time. Rescheduling can be necessary due to:

  • scheduling conflicts

  • too harsh of weather conditions

  • Sickness

  • pop-up emergencies that need tending to

No matter the reason, trailer mechanics need a process in place to track each job, avoid double-booking or overbooking, and reschedule jobs to the homeowner's satisfaction—all of which leads to more booked jobs, and fewer cancellations. 

First, be upfront with customers and explain how rescheduling can result in more efficient routes, increased customer satisfaction, more accurate performance reporting, decreased windshield time for techs, and decreased downtime between jobs. Some customers will refuse to reschedule their appointments, regardless of the reason.

Create a task management system that works best for your business. Establishing a set of task-management standards helps when addressing:

  • Customer concerns

  • Permits

  • Refunds

  • Responding to customer reviews

  • Team performance reviews

  • Parts ordering

Are mobile mechanics profitable?

Can you make a living being a mobile mechanic? The short answer is, absolutely. The average mobile mechanic's salary in the US is $57 thousand per year or $29.50 per hour. The more experience you have, the more money you can make. 

Your location, past experience, certifications, and tools all play into the amount you can charge your customers and the amount you can expect to make. 

With hard work, you will build your customer base over time and you can easily exceed the average mobile mechanic salary.

As a mobile mechanic, you get to be your own boss, have flexible hours, and have an eclectic customer base that always keeps you on your toes. Mobile auto repairs are booming because car owners don’t want to waste time going to faraway dealership services and repair shops. There’s no time like the present to start building a business that will last long-term. 

In Conclusion

Mobile mechanics usually operate from a fully stocked van or utility and can perform almost all the same tasks that traditional bricks and mortar mechanical workshops can.

There are a few key factors that play into being a successful self-employed mobile mechanic business:

  • Education

  • Experience 

  • Equipment 

  • Eager marketing tactics 

For education and experience: 

  • High school diploma or GED certificate

  • Completion of a certificate program or technical training in mechanics and truck repair

  • Knowledge of air brakes, hydraulics, electrical, and ABS brake systems preferred

  • Experience with various hand tools

  • Valid driver's license

  • Physical strength and stamina

  • Welding or fabrication experience

Making intentional investments into your business from the start will set you up for success. This profession will give you flexibility in your schedule, and allow you to enjoy being your own boss. You will be responsible for minor repairs, such as changing light bulbs in brake lights. You will also be responsible for more significant repairs such as repairing or straightening the trailer frame or overhauling braking systems. 

Trailer Mechanic Duties and Responsibilities 

  • Diagnose issues in semi-trucks and tractor-trailers

  • Perform preventative maintenance on trailers

  • Test equipment and systems for performance

  • Perform repairs to brakes and electrical systems

  • Replace parts

  • Document repairs

You can spend your days thriving in a career where you are helping others with some of the most tedious mechanical issues. Meet your customers right at their homes, or wherever they are broken down, and provide quality services. Follow these steps, and build a business that will stand the test of time.