In Year 10, Ferda knew he wanted to be a mechanic and told his father he wanted to leave school.
“After a big huff and puff, he made me stay till Year 11 and I left then to become an apprentice motor mechanic,” the father of three tells Kochie’s Business Builders.
It was a decision that would set him on the road to Minchinbury Automotive. In 2003, while working as a mechanic for the business, he saw an opportunity to step into the driver’s seat and take over from its retiring owners.
Almost 20 years later, Ferda has steered a business with a strong reputation for quality, yet affordable, repairs and servicing in Western Sydney. Here are three of his tips for fostering a return customer base:
1. Be honest and fair with customers
“At Minchinbury Automotive one of our true beliefs has been to always be as honest as possible with customers and treat them fairly,” he says. “So, it’s about good service at a reasonable price, and the customers always seem to come back.”
During COVID, transport and supply chain interruptions have meant customers can’t always get what they want, when they want it. For Ferda, this has meant keeping up communications with customers when things don’t go according to plan.
“Transport has been a major issue, which has impacted being able to quote or estimate repairs,” Ferda explains. “So we’ve had to take a step back and not jump straight into it. We’ve had to do a little bit of homework and possibly get back to the customer, which is not something we’re used to, as we’re [usually] able to quote or estimate a job there on the spot.”
Thankfully, most customers have been understanding.
“If I turn around and say, ‘Look, I’m sorry, but I can’t get this in for another couple of days’. They’re all fine with that,” he says. “It’s an unwritten understanding that we all seem to have. Everyone’s happy to deal with each other and be patient.”
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2. Be up to date with payment options
With the rise of contactless payments and digital wallets, small businesses have no choice but to adapt or miss out on significant revenue.
“With Minchinbury Automotive, what’s changed the most has been technology – not just in motor vehicles, but the way we do business,” Ferda shares. “The way we [manage] cash flow, collecting money, and finishing transactions with clients, whether they be personal clients or fleet customers.”
Having a reliable EFTPOS payment solution has proven to be essential for Ferda, who recently started using Westpac’s EFTPOS Now terminal to process payments. Built on Android, the terminal accepts all major credit and debit cards as well as major electronic payment options people are now using (Google Pay, Apple Pay, Samsung Pay) and has a reliable 4G connection.
“The Westpac EFTPOS Now terminal has helped me solve a couple of different things. One being the contactless payment, with that being virtually 90 per cent of our cashflow,” Ferda says.
“Secondly, the connectivity has been more reliable. We’ve had no issues with network drop-outs and it’s something that we can trust all the time. And finally, especially in the era we’re in with COVID, where people are worried about close contact, the contactless payment part of the EFTPOS Now terminal has been a saviour for us.”
3. Make problem solving your obsession
It starts with a passion for solving your customers’ problems. “You have to be passionate because it’s all about customer satisfaction and if that’s something that you’re not able to supply, then you’re not going to last long,” Ferda says.
He adds: “What I get satisfaction out of the most is starting a job, then finishing it – solving problems or problem vehicles that have been to repeat workshops. Because we’re out west, we have built up a reputation of being the European car specialist. So when the vehicles come to us and we fix a problem that no one seems to be able to solve – that’s one of the biggest satisfactions that I get.”
While he doesn’t need to work as many gruelling 14-hour days as he did when he first took over the business, Ferda is in a position where he’s thinking of expanding Minchinbury Automotive.
“[It would be] either a larger premises or expanding the workshop that we’re at and adding a few more specialty repairs, such as auto electrical,” he says.
Find out more about Minchinbury Automotive here.
Learn how Westpac’s EFTPOS Now terminal can help your business, offering Wi-Fi and 4G connectivity, simple flat rate pricing, no lock-in contracts and instant settlements as a Westpac customer to improve your cash flow.
This article is brought to you by Kochie’s Business Builders in partnership with Westpac.
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