Pit Lane, Durham, DH1 5HH

Tel: 0191 3757444

One year on…and at times full

April 18, 2014

It’s around a year since we properly opened for business at the garage.  In some ways its flown by and in others it feels like its been the hardest year of work in my life !  We’ve really got to know many local people (and their cars) and I have to say theres an excellent sense of community in Newton Hall.  The people of the area are really great, many different nationalities and personalities have been through the door and this variation is so exciting enthusing and makes life interesting.  People have got to know us and we know them, its good !

Within the year we’ve had lots and lots of highs and of course a few moments that have left us pulling our hair out too !  When we first opened I’d often be a bit tense if we were quiet for a day or two.  Really now our problem is often that we are full and struggle to cope at times, the car parking at the front can get especially challenging !  We get regular customers coming in saying…”every time I drive past nowadays your absolutley chocka” !  They’re pleased for us and obviously we’re pleased too….

For me personally the nicest moments involve getting positive feedback from our customers and the most difficult are receiving negative feedback.  Only yesterday we had a lady visit the garage who’d developed a problem with her car and was upset,  she also had a really small baby with her, in these situations I try to envisage that it may be my partner or sister and we’ll go out of our way to assist.  Without Karen working myself and Bryan were left to try and calm things down, get her relaxed and get the car fixed and back on the road.  Everything was fixed within the hour and she was so pleased by she left which was great !

I think through the year the values we’ve really tried to focus on are the following;

Proper and straight-forward customer communication – It’s difficult at times (especially when the garage is busy) but we really try and communicate properly with all customers, explain whats wrong wrong with their car and offer to give a walk-round the vehicle while its on a ramp and the problems are visible.

Fair pricing – Myself and Bryan oversee pretty much every price we provide to our customers so we both know that we’re happy with all the prices provided.  I think our prices are very reasonable especially when compared to like for like services offered by bigger national chains and main dealers.

Necessity of work – I tell the guys to treat all cars like their own.  Does a part really need replacing or fixing. Will it last longer.  What would you do on your best friends car with that scenario ?  All customers are different too, some like to get the car fully fixed when its in the garage, others like to schedule work over six or twelve months to spread costs.  Both approaches make sense to me and we’ll work in both ways depending what customers require.

Quality of workmanship – This is essential.  We stay away from cheaper products and parts as a matter of course and all the technicians are allocated jobs that they are fully capable of carrying out.  Each of the team has strengths and weaknesses but I always have a real confidence that we carry out our work to a very high standard.

General standards – Seat covers, floor mats, cleanliness of the reception and workshop, clean staff….all of these are factors in how we maintain our level and our standards.  Regular bin collections, regular waste collections, ramp and machinery maintenace, workshop floor cleaning, stock taking is all what sets us apart.  Of course at times this feels like a chore but its always rewarding when you turn the lights off at the end of the day and the workshop is gleaming as it was a year ago….

A whole year ago….phew !