How to set up a car alignment and balancing workshop in Nigeria
If you are interested in the automotive world, opening an alignment and balancing workshop in Nigeria is a great option for you.
Today, households in Nigeria fortunate enough to own a car always treat it as part of the family. They take care of it, pamper it and, in some cases, even have a name for it.
That is why setting up a workshop in your area for this type to offer essential services for the care of these spoiled at home, can generate very profitable income.
So, if you want to learn what alignment and balancing is all about, why this is a good business idea, and what the basics are that you need to be able to have your own workshop, read on.
What is alignment and balance in a car?
An alignment and balancing shop offers two basic automotive services:
The initial tire configuration wears out over time. Straight out of a dealership, the manufacturer has stipulated an optimal setup for each car model taking into account three different types of angles:
- The lean angle that directly affects the turning ability of the vehicle. Depending on the purpose and safety needs of the car, this angle will be positive or negative (i.e the tires will be tilted out or in).
- The steering angle responds to how the wheels are in relation to the steering axis of the steering wheel. This is the one that provides the return effect that causes the steering to return to its original position after a turn.
- The point angle is the easiest of all to identify. Just stand in front of the vehicle and see if the tips of the tires point in or out. This angle is directly responsible for the straight-line stability of the car. It also influences the steering response sensitivity.
So, the alignment consists of readjusting the wheels to these initial angles in which it was initially set.
This has two implications: first, we have to know what the optimal angles are for each car model that we are going to service. Secondly, we will need a machine to be able to carry out the alignment in the most optimal way possible.
How to identify the problem?
Normally, the symptoms of when a car needs an alignment service are the following:
- Going over 40 km/h, the vehicle will go to the right or to the left by itself if, for a short period of time, we let go of the steering wheel while being straight ahead.
- When driving in a straight line, the steering wheel is not centered.
- The edges of the tread are worn.
What happens if a regular wheel alignment is not performed?
Getting a car aligned regularly is very important to reduce tire wear, maintain straight-line ride stability, maintain steering wheel return ability, and optimize cornering performance.
If this maintenance is not carried out regularly, the vehicle owner runs the risk of, in addition to causing damage to the tires, affecting the steering system and other important mechanisms of the car.
Car tires, like their initial configuration, wear out over time. Tires are particularly sensitive elements since they are in constant friction with the terrain over which they are driven. Then, due to the uneven wear of the tires, the weight of each one loses its integrity, causing the balance that should exist between the tire and the rim to be lost.
Balancing consists of restoring that harmony that must exist between the weight of the tire and the respective rim.
How to identify the problem?
Normally, the symptoms of when a car needs balancing service are the following:
- Going over 60 km/h the steering wheel starts to vibrate.
- The rims are damaged or dented.
- At certain speeds, the vehicle makes strange noises.
What happens if the periodic balancing of the wheels is not carried out?
In addition to the discomfort of driving with vibrations, balancing is an essential service to increase the life of the tires and avoid unnecessary wear on the suspension.
Why are alignment and balancing essential services for a car?
These two services are vital exercises in car maintenance. In other words, it is not necessary for the vehicle to be damaged to require them, but they are in constant demand for people who own a car and want to keep it in good condition.
In addition, it is especially necessary for people who live in cities. Here they face hundreds of streets in poor condition with cracks and speed bumps that affect their tires day by day.
It is also noteworthy that this activity has a very cyclical market, with greater demand during the weeks prior to long holidays such as Christmas, summer, national holidays, etc.
Thus, balancing and alignment allow for reliable driving, longer tire life, preventing premature wear, facilitating the movement of the car and lowering fuel consumption.
Every driver is recommended to perform these procedures every 6 months or every 10,000 kilometers.
What other services to offer?
The basic services that you can offer are alignment and balancing, for which you need to be constantly updated on new techniques and technologies to offer the best service to customers. However, it is also a good idea that if you have a workshop of this type, you offer a revision service.
This is very timely and helps build customer loyalty, since, by having a closer follow-up of each case, you will strengthen ties with the customer and this will make them recommend you to their friends.
Offering vehicle consulting services in Nigeria is also a great plus. Your customers will be more than happy to receive guidance on how to best use their vehicle for high performance.
What you need to open an alignment and balancing workshop in Nigeria
The place to carry out this type of business has to have considerable space. Keep in mind that you will need to fit at least two cars into your business at a time, so a project of this size cannot be built in a small area. It is also necessary that you get a spacious place so that the provision of services to the vehicles is comfortable, because remember that maintenance activities require a lot of movement on the part of the personnel and the last thing you want is for them to collide with each other or not be able to perform your tasks in the best way.
Do not forget that this space should also include a service office and a bathroom.
The machines used in an alignment and balancing workshop are the following:
- General maintenance tools
- Balancing machines (stationary and portable)
- Alignment machines (wheel alignment plate)
- desk furniture
- Computer, telephone, and other office items necessary for internal and external communications.
Due to the specialized equipment that is required, you must bear in mind that the investment to be made is not low, since in addition to the physical structure, furniture and equipment, it is necessary to invest in the opening of the company and the dissemination of information. its services.
Labor and employees
Those who take their vehicles to a workshop want to be well looked after and want to realize that the place is full of qualified professionals. Therefore, in setting up an alignment and balancing shop you need to invest in good staff.
Offering a high-quality service is essential in a business whose main form of sales is directly related to customer service. For this reason, you need all the people involved in your work team to have the best disposition and attitude to deal with clients. From the doorman to the mechanic and the cashier they must have an attitude of service.
It is also necessary that the mechanics you hire have experience in the area. Do not forget that you are going to mess with one of the most precious and expensive assets that its owners can have. So you have to make sure that nobody is going to experiment with them and cause any havoc, or you will be the one who has to pay for it.
In addition to these professionals, a person responsible for the administrative area is needed to help you keep accounts, general data and the necessary procedures for your business.
On the other hand, depending on where the workshop is located and the services performed, you should consider hiring a security team, since many cars will be left to you and it is important that you can guarantee their safety.
Despite this, you could get started with a three-person team: a manager and two charismatic auto mechanics. Do not forget that what makes the difference in businesses where a service is provided is customer service.
Steps to open an alignment and balancing workshop in Nigeria
As with any undertaking, you must follow a series of basic steps if you want to open your own alignment and balancing workshop in Nigeria:
1. Conduct a strategic analysis
Before launching to open the business in any area in Nigeria, you have to analyze in great detail where you are going to locate it, the possible competition that you are going to have, the type of business that you will open, what services and/or products you will offer and what are the possible opportunities and difficulties that they could show up.
2. Make a business plan
Next, describe your business on paper. Make it clear what your mission is, what you aspire to achieve and what are the values that will identify you. It also establishes how the internal dynamics of your company will work and makes a projection of expenses for each of the items in which you are going to have to invest (space, equipment, personnel, etc.). Develop a marketing plan in which you include the outreach and launch strategy and include this in your spending projection as well. Finally, establish the financial plan on which you will rely to make the initial investment.
3. Define an execution schedule
Find out what the legal requirements are in your country to be able to have your own alignment and balancing workshop. Keep in mind that this type of activity that offers automotive services has very specific requirements in each country, and you must find out about them before any other step for the execution of your business.
Based on the information you obtain regarding the legal requirements, draw up a schedule with estimated dates for the execution of the first steps of the project. Include a tentative opening date.
So, now you know what alignment and balancing are, why this is a good business idea and what is the basic thing you need to be able to have your own workshop within any area in Nigeria.
Now that you are aware that people prefer to keep their cars in very good condition rather than having to buy a new one, it is up to you to offer them the service they are looking for.