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I am thinking of starting a female owned and operated maintenance. shop in Louisville KY. I'm in the process of writing up a business plan. I want it to be a beauty shop atmosphere so women feel comfortable and give alternate career opportunities to young women to learn a new trade. do you have any contacts or information for me that would be proof this is a good idea. Has it been done before?

Answers from the Automotive Experts

Amy Mattinat, Owner and Author at Auto Craftsmen Ltd Hi Amy, I think it is great that you want to start a female owned shop. I am a female owned independent service and repair shop. My shop is very attractive, the waiting room is like a living room and our service is 2nd to none. But I have no females working for me at this time. I had a female parts manager once, but she got a job working for the state that I couldn't compete with. There was one female technician in the area I tried to get to work for me for years, but she eventually opened her own shop and is running a one woman shop and is very successful. Couple of things I think you need to think about: 1. Make sure you get some hands on experience in the automotive industry. This is a complicated business and there is a lot of components to make the business successful. (automotive service and repair, buying parts, running the front desk, marketing and financing.) 2. Location is very important. 3. Finding a mentor or consultant who is or has been very successful in the business is key! 4. Finding the right employees. You need people who are smart, experienced and are team players. In a perfect world you could have a successful shop with all women, but don't start out with all women if they are not qualified. You may need to get your shop up and running and proven successful before qualified women would want to take the chance on working for you. 5. Learn how to create a payment plan for the staff that is commissioned or production based pay. The more the business makes, the more the employees make. Money is a great incentive for high quality employees to want to work for you. 6. A business plan is important, but real world experience is essential. I know a woman like you who has a dream of having a female owned and operated shop. She went to school for automotive technology, wrote her business plan, got a job as a service writer at a dealership, then got a job as a parts manager at another dealership. She told me she is finally ready to start looking for a building to open her business, but is having a heck of a time finding qualified women to work for her. Yes it can be done!!! But like any great achievement it won't happen overnight. My advice is to take the right steps and don't be attached to having only women work for you at the start. Best of Luck to you, Amy Mattinat

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