If a stranded driver cries for help on the side of the road, do they make any sound?
Mobile technicians are heroes of the diesel repair industry, arriving in rain or shine to fix up trucks in need. Sometimes they’re the only human contact a driver has had in hours. Being the one to show up and save the day means the world to your customers.
There’s just one catch: as a mobile technician, you’ll need to be ready to bring your entire repair bay with you.
Well, okay. Maybe not your entire workshop, but definitely a decent chunk of it.
It’s not the type of job where you want to wing it. If you show up to a job without an essential tool, that might mean driving all the way back to your shop to pick it up—and that’s a lot of wasted time.
Overall, becoming a mobile technician can be a rewarding career move that lets you use your repair skills in a different way—and provide extra convenience to your customers. But you also need to be properly equipped for nearly anything thrown your way.
To lower your risk of driving back and forth between job and shop, here are a few tips for planning your mobile mechanic setup.
1. Business Requirements
Before starting a mobile mechanic business, make sure you’re ready to start any type of business.
Making sure your new company has its paperwork in order isn’t all that interesting. Then again, it’s not like getting in serious legal trouble would be a refreshing change of pace—so take this part of the process seriously.
When you’re gearing up (pun intended) to open a mobile mechanic company, you’ll need to get:
- Insurance. Figuring out the exact type of insurance you need is far beyond the scope of this article. But if you’re a technician, not getting insurance for your company is a bad idea.
- A business license. This might have a different name where you are, but it shouldn’t be too hard to figure out the local equivalent.
- A reseller’s permit. With this permit, you’ll be able to buy parts (including bulk parts at wholesale rates) and sell them to your clients.
- An EIN. Unlike most things involving the IRS, getting an EIN online should only take a few minutes.
- Additional licenses. When it comes to licensing requirements, no two states are alike. That means it pays to do your research.
The licensing requirements we’ve described above should be broadly applicable. Still, the exact laws you’ll need to follow will vary depending on your city or state.
And trust us, if you find yourself in hot water legally, you’ll want a better excuse than, “But I read about starting a business on the internet!”
2. Organized Space
Once you’ve crossed all the Ts on your paperwork, you’re ready to start thinking about the physical items you need to make it on your own as a mobile technician.
First, you need a vehicle that’s up to the job—and that doesn’t just mean getting you from Point A to Point B. Your truck of choice needs to excel in terms of:
- Storage space. No mobile technician wants to arrive on the job site and realize they don’t have that one tool they really need. Make sure your vehicle is large enough to accommodate your entire setup.
- Configurability. The amount of space your vehicle offers goes beyond the raw numbers. Along with that, it’s wise to make sure your interior is adjustable and flexible enough to meet the demands posed by any job.
- Fuel economy. While mobile mechanic vehicles need to do more than get you where you need to be, this is still a crucial piece of the puzzle. Before investing in a truck for your business, ensure it gets good mileage in urban and rural environments.
Of course, even the roomiest vehicle will offer limited space compared to a standard diesel repair shop. In other words, maximize your storage space with organizational equipment. Shelves, toolboxes, and other storage solutions can make it easy for you to do more with less!
It’s time for the fun stuff. Namely, deciding what mobile gadgets and tools to bring with you.
While your exact needs will vary based on the type of services you focus on, it’s never a bad idea to have these tools in your mobile mechanic setup:
- A floor jack. There’s a good chance you’ll need to get under a customer’s truck during the average job, so it pays to invest in an excellent floor jack that’s up to the demands of the job. (Just make sure to bring jack stands and a portable air compressor, too.)
- A power source. Cordless tools are handy, but you’ll need a way to charge them. As a mobile technician, you should have a small power inverter or portable generator for this task.
- Parts for common repairs. It’s often impossible to say exactly what parts or tools you’ll need for a given job before you get there. Still, you can improve your odds by stocking up on the essentials—like the tools listed in this blog post, for example!
One of the drawbacks of being a mobile technician is that you don’t get to choose where you work. While this can feel exciting or maybe even adventurous to some people, it also means you’ll need to deal with rough terrain and harsh weather while on the job.
As a mobile mechanic, you’ll have to work on all kinds of ground, ranging from dry—but hard—asphalt to snow and mud. Kneeling and lying on certain types of terrain can be uncomfortable, and the wheels on your creepers may not work in some environments.
Don’t just say, “It’s fine; I’ll rough it.” Protect your knees and back. Pack an outdoor rubber mat, closed-cell sleeping mat, or moving blanket in your vehicle so you have a cushion to kneel or lay on while you work.
Inclement weather, like snow or rain, can also make it harder to do your work, so make sure you have shelter that can protect you from the elements. Depending on your needs, this could be a simple pop-up canopy or something attached to your vehicle—just make sure whatever you use can keep you dry while on the job.
5. Mobile Software
Let’s face it: running a mobile technician business is hard work.
That’s true no matter how efficient and well-organized your mobile mechanic setup is, and regardless of how much thought you’ve put into getting the right tools for the job. You’ll still need to keep track of service orders and invoices, take care of scheduling and share information across your team—just to name a few of your duties.
Instead of trying to do everything on your own, let Fullbay help! Our mobile software is the perfect fit for mobile technician companies like yours since it offers:
- Paperless invoices, estimates, and more
- Real-time internal and external communication
- Straightforward tech scheduling
- Inventory management capabilities
With Fullbay’s software, you and your team won’t need to waste time focusing on the little things. Instead, schedule a demo today to learn what our software can do for your business!