We talked to Nick Clover about his business (19th June 2012)
Rochford Life: Nick, how long have you been running this business?
Nick: Well I’ve been working in garages for a long time but I’ve only been working for myself for about six months.
RL: And what sort of area do you cover
Nick: I’ve been out to Basildon so I will go as far as Basildon, Wickford, Canewdon, Hockley, Rayleigh, Southend and surrounding areas.
RL: And what sort of work do you mainly do?
Nick: It’s mostly clutches, services, brakes, that sort of thing. I don’t usually do cam-belts and timing chains, I just haven’t the equipment at the moment, but if the cam-belt is one I know I’ll be able to handle without the specialist tools, then I will take the job on. I also do diagnostics, I have the machine for that.
RL: Hearing you refer to specialist machinery, have things changed much in recent years?
Nick: Oh yes, but often it’s a case of the parts. For instance you can’t buy a wheel bearing on its own for new cars, it’s a complete hub now which makes it easier, on the newer cars at least, and cheaper for me to fit but the part is more pricey for the customer
RL: How do you work on charges?
Nick: Very simply, I look at the job and decide then what I will charge for it. I haven’t got an hourly labour rate, and I don’t charge to go out to look at a job so I have no call-out fees. If I can’t do the job or I think it’s going to be too difficult for me to do, I will be up front and honest with the customer and tell him so. The only thing I have a fixed price for at the moment is servicing. I will do a full service, that’s an entire car, for £20 plus parts. You get a sheet of what I have checked and I will note anything that is suspect and I go from there, and that has generated a lot of work. That does undercut a lot of people and there is the risk that people think it is too cheap but I want to generate the business and I’ve done a lot of services.
RL: And so to summarise...
Nick: I focus mainly at the moment on clutches, brakes and servicing, general MoT repairs. For £40 I will pick up your car from the house, take it to get its MoT and bring it back. I’m fully insured with public liability insurance and trade insurance, for driving your vehicle.
RL: That’s really good. Thank you, and I hope the business thrives.