Patrick Patel opened his Enfield-based car garage business, Automotive Component Specialists, in 2012. Just six years later, he’s hit £650,000 turnover.
When Patel started his business, he no idea how to attract customers. He then joined an online marketplace platform which enabled him to fix over 1,000 cars.
Business Advice caught up with Patel to discuss his recent expansion plans and find out about his new work space.
What inspired you to start your own business after you left Audi?
I wanted to have complete ownership of my own company and deliver a better service than what was on offer at the dealership I was working in. I wanted to build a business from nothing and deliver a level of service which drivers deserved.
How did you fund the business?
I joined an online platform called WhoCanFixMyCar.com after doing some research online. I was struggling to find customers for my garage but once I signed up to WhoCanFixMyCar.com, I was able to send estimates to drivers who were using it to find garages. I have completed well over 1,000 jobs for drivers who have found my business online.
What were some of the biggest challenges you faced when launching?
Before I joined WhoCanFixMyCar.com, I had no idea how to find and attract drivers to my garage. I had to ask family and friends if they needed repairs or services for their cars, as a garage relies on its reputation so much. Without that, it can feel impossible to get drivers to trust you.
What’s your biggest achievement to date?
I have recently moved into some brand-new premises and fitted the workshop with state-of-the-art technology. I have a team of skilled technicians and it’s great to see drivers getting a level of service that is so good that it surprises them. Having that reputation feels good.
I’m also opening another site, which will double the size of the operation in a couple of months and that will be a huge achievement.
What marketing strategies have you used?
I haven’t needed to market my business as I have been able to access drivers who are in market via WhoCanFixMyCar.com. There are literally thousands of jobs to win, all I have to do is login and chose which jobs I would like to do.
In five years’ time, I’ll be…
That’s difficult to answer because you never know what is coming around the corner but hopefully be able to keep growing and improving and opening even more sites!
Who are your business heroes and why?
Al Preston and Ian Griffiths are the co-founders of WhoCanFixMyCar.com and I know them both very well. The platform has grown alongside my workshop but there are literally thousands of other garages which benefit from it too. I really look up to them and have a lot of respect for the work that they have done to build a team and a business which helps drivers and technicians alike.
What advice would you give to aspiring entrepreneurs?
Just keep going and going and going. Stay focused and work hard. The rewards might not arrive today or tomorrow or the day after that, but they will eventually. As long as you remain determined, you’ll get what you want.
What’s your favourite way to spend downtime?
I enjoy playing golf when I can!
Last series you binge watched?
I have to admit that I enjoy watching Eastenders.
What three things can’t you live without?
My mobile phone, WhoCanFixMyCar.com and my family.
What app do you use the most?
I’ve already said it so many times but it’s true! WhoCanFixMyCar.com.
What song is always on your playlist?
Thriller by Michael Jackson.
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