There’s no question that the automotive startup industry is one of the most dynamic and lucrative markets to get involved with. It contributes around £14 billion annually to the British economy and keeps roughly a million people in employment.

Whether you’re a petrolhead or simply know that there’s good money to be made in the automotive industry, it makes sense to select this growing market for your future business endeavours.

The trouble is, which niche within the automotive industry should you choose? If you’re stuck for ideas on the type of business you could start, feast your eyes on the following 14 inspirational ideas:

1. Garage Services

Vehicle owners and fleet managers need people to maintain and repair their cars. Garage services are highly sought-after and are effectively recession-proof.

If your startup capital is limited, you could open a small garage offering vehicle servicing, welding, MOTs, and other value-added services that your customers will regularly use.

You may find that government grants are available to help you start such a business, especially if you’re a new entrepreneur. It’s also worth incentivising your services to particular customer demographics, such as NHS workers.

2. Mobile Mechanic

The only downside to opening a garage is paying for various overheads like leasing suitable premises, buying workshop equipment, and employing technicians to work with you.

A simple way to provide popular garage services to customers and make the experience more convenient is by setting up a mobile mechanic business.

As the name suggests, you conduct servicing and repairs at each customer’s home or workplace. It’s also a helpful service for customers with mobility issues or who feel intimidated by using traditional garages.

3. Drive-Through Hand Car Wash

For many car owners, paying someone a few quid to wash and dry their car for them is worth the price compared to spending hours cleaning their vehicles at home. It’s also more convenient if they don’t have a car washing kit or access to an outside tap.

Drive-through hand car wash businesses are also preferable to automatic car washes as people’s vehicles are less likely to get damaged during cleaning.

All you need to set up such a business is some land, such as a former filling station, professional car washing equipment, and some employees.

4. Body Shop

You might think body shops are only for cars, vans, and other vehicles damaged in accidents. However, they’re also valuable for other purposes, such as restoring a vehicle’s paintwork, getting rid of shopping trolley dents, or removing deep scrapes and scratches.

Opening a body shop in your area could prove lucrative – especially if competition is low. Plus, you could work with local car dealerships to receive regular custom.

5. Car Dealership

Whilst it’s true that people can buy cars on the Internet through various online marketplaces, many folks prefer to purchase vehicles from established and reputable car dealerships.

If you enjoy selling cars and can sell them at a profit, opening a car dealership makes sense. You could specialize in used cars or become a franchisee for a major brand to sell new and used models.

It’s a relatively straightforward process to open a car dealership, and the steps in designing a dealership website are also easy – meaning you can quickly market your vehicles offline and on the Web!

6. Car Hire

People hire cars for all sorts of reasons. For example, some may need temporary transport whilst their vehicles are getting repaired, whereas others might be planning long trips and prefer to drive instead of using public transport.

An interesting business startup idea might be to set up a car hire firm. You could provide different types of cars and vans for hire or specialize in a niche market (such as premium and luxury vehicles).

7. Vehicle Financing

The price of used cars and vans fluctuates all the time, so some motorists may struggle to fund any purchases using their own money.

Vehicle financing offers a convenient and relatively low-cost way to secure the cars and vans they want compared with high-interest alternatives like credit cards.

Coupled with strong compliance and background-checking processes, your vehicle financing business can offer a valuable and highly profitable service – whether you’re a lender or a broker.

8. Breakdown Recovery

There’s no denying that today’s cars are highly reliable compared to vehicles built 30 years ago. Advanced electronic systems warn motorists before most issues, meaning they aren’t likely to get stranded on the roadside.

However, there are times when motoring issues may happen, such as a blown tire, and that’s where the services of a breakdown recovery firm can help.

9. EV (Electric Vehicle) Charging Station

It’s no secret that EVs are rising in popularity in the UK. According to a press release by PwC, EV sales grew by over one-fifth in the first quarter of 2023, and the BEV (Battery Electric Vehicle) market share is set to continue growing.

At the time of writing, there are almost 27,000 charging stations in the UK. While it’s easy enough to charge an EV in a town or city, motorists may struggle in other locations like rural areas.

That’s why opening up an EV charging station could prove highly convenient and profitable as a business idea in your area.

10. Mobile Valeting And Detailing

For many people, the cars they drive are their pride and joy. They want to ensure their vehicles are well-maintained, kept clean and presentable at all times.

Using a local car wash is okay for a quick wash, but keeping a car immaculate requires hours of valeting and detailing work.

You could offer a mobile valeting and detailing service, working on each client’s vehicle at their homes or workplaces.

11. Automotive Locksmith

As an automotive locksmith, your core business service will involve cutting keys and helping customers enter their locked vehicles. However, you could also offer some value-added services, such as:

  • 24/7 emergency service;
  • Lock replacements;
  • Alarm configuration and diagnostics;
  • Security enhancements like steering wheel locks.

It’s an interesting business model and one where your place of work could literally be anywhere in the country!

12. Automotive Glass Repairs And Replacements

The glass fitted to windscreens and other windows of a vehicle are very robust, but they can sometimes get damaged from stones or other debris flying off other vehicles on the road.

In some cases, it’s possible to carry out a localized repair on the damage, but in others, only a complete glass replacement can be carried out.

Most motorists have windscreen and glass cover as part of their insurance policies, so you could offer this service to insurance companies as well as individuals who can’t part-fund their repairs and replacements through their insurance.

13. Motor Factors

Motor factories are shops that sell a broad range of automotive products and accessories. Examples include service parts, fluids and lubricants, electrical wiring, cleaning products, and camping equipment.

They provide a valuable service to local communities, especially as it means motorists can buy items in person they need urgently instead of waiting for a delivery from an online store.

14. Performance Parts

Last but not least, if you enjoy modifying and customizing cars and other vehicles, you may have identified a gap in the market for specialist performance parts and accessories.

Building on that knowledge, you could start a performance parts business in your area, catering to all marques or a few select ones. It’s a lucrative business model and one that you will undoubtedly enjoy as it involves one of your life’s passions.

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