BIG Awards 2022 Winner Q&A – Shaikly Motor Company

BIG Awards 2022 Winner Q&A – Shaikly Motor Company

The BIG Awards, Other

Over the coming months we will be shining a spotlight on our BIG Awards 2022 winners, hearing their stories, what makes them tick and their advice to other garages.

This month, the IGA interviews Michael Shaikly, owner of Shaikly Motor Company in Colchester, who won our hotly contested Independent Garage of the Year – Large award.

Tell us a little bit about you and your garage:

Our family business was established in 1977 by my father Frank, prior to this he was working for a local main dealer but wanted to achieve more in the industry. Frank left the main dealer and started on his own operating out of a small unit. The business had steady growth in the early years, creating a loyal customer base. I joined the business in 1989 working alongside Frank until 2000 where the business management was handed over to me. From there on we moved sites multiple times over the years at our Hythe location as the business and customer base expanded. In 2017 we opened our Severalls Branch across the other side of Colchester, and our latest business accruement in 2020 was to open a designated car and commercial sales site at our Hythe Branch. We now employ 20 members of staff across the business and have created a calm, team environment which encourages the growth and development of each individual.

Why did you choose to work in the industry?

The passion for cars and all things mechanical and electrical.

What has surprised you the most about working the industry?

What surprises me most in the motor industry is that in the face of competition, garages continually find themselves in a price war to the bottom. They discount the value of the works they do, often by fitting poor-quality parts that are not fit for purpose, rather than focusing on the value of the services they offer. We see time and time again MOTs offered at discounted rates, ‘diagnostic’ checks for next to nothing to attract customers. The consumer deserves better, they need honest appraisals and investigations and need to understand the complexity of modern vehicles.

What do you find most challenging about working in the industry?

The biggest challenge is ensuring we keep up to date with new developments and technologies. The automotive industry is changing at an astronomical rate, so we must continually invest in the right training and equipment so the team can do their jobs.

What’s the best thing to happen to you whilst working in the industry?

Winning Large Independent Garage of the Year 2022 has been our greatest achievement.

As winners of the Independent Garage of the Year – Large award, what advice would you offer to other garages striving for success?

Don’t undervalue your business and services you offer – Training, coaching and mentoring will create a positive team ethos. That will implement clear processes across the business for all staff which will deliver the best customer service as the team are now the business; it will pay dividend for years to come.

What’s the best piece of advice you could offer to someone starting out as a technician?

Try to enrol yourself with a company that has a vision for training and development – take every opportunity that you are given to develop your skillset and learn – on and off the job.

Where do you see your garage business in five years’ time?

We will be in a stronger position; our training and development programme will equip us for the swift new advancement of technologies within the industry.

What would be your dream car and why?

1967 Ford Shelby Mustang GT500 – love the story behind the vehicle’s development.

What does winning a BIG Award mean to you?

Recognition for the hard work from the entire team which will allow us to develop and grow, and give our customers confidence that their vehicle is in the hands of a trustworthy garage.