13 Jul 2024
The voice of the independent garage sector

Age of Extinction?

One of the advantages of being the business owner is you don’t need to ask anyone for the day off. Well, I have to inform Mrs P if I intend not to be in, but more often than not, she’ll probably be
coming with me.

Now summer is properly upon us, we have been looking to duck out of the workshop to try and up our cultural cachet, by which I mean see some live music. A lot of acts I would have liked to have seen over the years seem to be winding down or outright retiring, so I thought we’d better see as many of them as possible before they are gone. We saw the Elton John retirement tour, we are seeing The Who, and we even went to see 70s American shock rockers KISS. Mrs P did an excellent job doing our face paint. I’m glad I didn’t opt for the platform boots though as there was a lot of standing
around before the show began.

When we got back, it made me feel somewhat reflective. Some of these dinosaur acts have been going since the 1960s, and seem like they have always been there, and then they are gone. Parkit Motors is something of a fixture in the town, although we have not been going as long as that. Things have been moving fast in this industry in recent years, and it takes a lot to keep up. You all know this. Training, investment, recruitment; It all takes time, money and commitment. Sometimes you wonder if it is all worth it. The thing is, I might comically moan about this and that in this column, but in reality I love this industry, and I love my garage. I love helping the customers, and I love fixing cars. I even seem to love running a business.

With the rise of AI now impinging on people’s day-to-day lives, with job losses being predicted, am I also a dinosaur, slowly lumbering towards the long oblivion of the tarpit? Is there a point where you say “I’ve had don’t think so. There is so much we need to do in the business, but this is something I enjoy, and I want to keep doing. This is why I keep pushing us forward. Keeping this attitude also means you keep going. The next challenge, then the one after that is its own goal, and its own reward.

Of course, much of the work in the garage is routine, with servicing and MOTs, but you need to keep the customers coming in. Finding new ways to engage your existing customers is very rewarding. Keeping the business organised properly as well is vital. I’m enthused about it all just writing this.

Legislative changes and technological advances are keeping us on our toes. They are also making us a better business. Every time something gets in our way, we find a method to deal with it, and more often than not it makes us a better business as a result. Does that sound like something a dinosaur would say?