Midlands-based car service and sales centre pivots offering during lockdown to survive, and bounces back to record months.
Kamran Saleem, Solihull-based entrepreneur and managing director of Motorserv UK, has had to adapt to the uncertain economic landscape created by lockdown and create new revenue streams to survive.
With 750,000 businesses forced to close across the nation during lockdown, and the general public told to ‘stay at home’ for a considerable period of time, the need for vehicles and services plummeted.
With the postponement of the statutory MOT Test in April adding to this woe, and with most people self-isolating and grounding their vehicles at home, the demand for servicing fell off a cliff.
And it was no better in the sales side of the business either – for Motorserv UK, this accounts for two-thirds of their revenue, but during lockdown, it was closed completely.
It quickly became clear to Kamran that in order to survive, he needed to adapt to the changing landscape:
“As lockdown approached, it was very clear that if we just crossed our fingers and hoped for the best, we’d probably go out of business. As MOT and servicing bookings reduced, and sales completely disappeared, I started to put my thinking cap on, and work out ways of generating revenue that didn’t rely on our existing customer base, who weren’t able to come in as usual”
Thankfully for Kamran, and the 20 staff he employs, he was able to do exactly that.
For starters, they begun running an NHS Support service, ensuring that emergency doctors were kept on the road, and distributing over 30,000 masks and other PPE items to key workers across Solihull and Birmingham, including West Midlands Police officers.
In addition, their marketing and business model was adapted to include incentives and discounts for all key service workers, using social media, as well as an extensive email campaigns, allowing them to generate 70% of their usual monthly revenue during lockdown, protecting jobs, and ensuring that their value-for-money proposition continued to survive.
Coming out of the other side of lockdown, the business is now seeing a significant bounce back, with record sales in June and July for both sales and servicing, allowing Kamran to bring staff back from furlough systematically, pay all suppliers and cover all critical payments.
In fact, Motorserv UK has never been busier, having no choice but to install two new service ramps to cope with the extra demand, as well as recruiting new staff, helping to buck the trend for unemployment and redundancy figures in other areas of the economy.
In Kamran’s words:
“As a Business owner, crisis points and problems come frequently, in different forms.
The pandemic, and the resulting lockdown, could easily have led to a broken spirit and lack of motivation to continue.
However in my experience, there is always opportunity and custom out there, and as a business owner, it’s my job to react and change our offering and appeal to a differing target audience to remain relevant and to seek out where the need and demand may be.
I’m very grateful to my staff, our suppliers, our customers, the local and national authorities for their assistance during this troubled time, and as the pandemic is seemingly coming to an end, businesses like ours are seeing green shoots everywhere, suggesting that there really is light at the end of the tunnel.