Brand new business owner, David Bain, has launched his automotive dealership specializing in the sale of pre-owned cars and trucks. Essex Auto Centre, “has been a goal of mine since I moved into management in my career. Understanding more of the business throughout the years, I realized that I would rather utilize my skills to advance my own business rather than someone else’s. Of course going into business as a car dealer was a natural choice since I have been in the industry for over 20 years.”
When I say that David is a new business owner, I mean NEW. “I left my job in March and began preparing to open the dealership. I received all the necessary licenses and financing by mid-May of this year.”
Unique Ideal Customer
Reinforcing the idea that planning is key to a successful start-up, David is clear who his ideal customer is. It isn’t by gender or age; demographic or disposable income. David wants someone who “has been referred to me by another customer.” Building his business from previously cultivated relationships and then taking care of new customers is his primary focus.
What makes him different
“Customer service is my difference. Taking care of the customer through the entire experience myself makes a big difference. At a large dealership, customers may get shuffled between employees multiple times. There’s no personal attention in that. Without that continuity the customer can feel a level of distrust in the entire process.”
On being a business owner
In addition to being able to provide outstanding customer service, David also enjoys the perks business ownership brings to him. “Flexibility is number one, both personally and professionally. Personally, I am able to be there more for my family and professionally I have complete autonomy in all my business decisions.” The downside? “Risk is one of the things that initially comes to mind. Another disadvantage is not having anyone else to fall back on. At previous jobs, I always had a support staff to get the job done, but now it is all up to me! I put up some personal investment money and utilized equity in my home to fund a small business operating line.”
“Patience is something that I am developing. It can be frustrating working through processes and applications and often being at the mercy of other people to achieve my goals. I am learning how to find that balance between persistence and frustration.”
“Short term I am aiming to be able to cover my start up costs and build a strong foundation that will support sustainable growth. I need to walk before I can run, so the focus now is implementing proper systems and procedures. This will enable me to achieve the growth I am looking for in the future. I currently lease my office and car lot, but would like to own my own property within five years.”
Advice to others
“Don’t be afraid to take the plunge. It takes a lot of guts and it can be scary, but well worth it. Another piece of advice would be to prepare in advance. Utilize the services of a small business support service that will help you do your homework. Lastly, anticipate challenges and have contingency plans.”
A personal note
As I spoke with David, I was very impressed with the presence of his young son, who appears to be that support David might be looking for. He was articulate, knowledgeable about the vehicles, and even got me a bottle of water. Looks like David is investing in a car dealership with generational appeal.
Essex Auto Centre is located at 438 Tabot Rd., Essex, Ontario
David can be reached at: 519-776-5100