A top-performing sales manager from BMW Bolton left his role last year to set up a successful mobile alloy wheel refurbishment service.
As sales manager at Williams BMW Bolton he was in charge of a team of 19 staff, drove a powerful BMW X6 and was regularly coming up with ideas – such as a sales evening where the showroom was transformed into a nightclub complete with dancefloor and bar – that consistently made his car dealership one of the top performers in the country.
Never one to miss an opportunity, Jamie spotted a gap in the market for mobile alloy wheel refurbishment. He had noticed that if the diamond alloy wheels on a used car needed repairing – for example by being scuffed or scratched – it would often lead to frustrating delays that meant the difference between making a sale and the customer walking away. For prestige brands such as BMW, around 85% of vehicles have diamond cut alloy wheels meaning this can be a huge amount of potential lost revenue.
At the Bolton dealership Jamie had his own experience of this when a customer had said he would buy a high performance car if it was ready in time for a wedding at the weekend. Jamie had assured him it could be done – only to be frustrated to find no one could do the wheel repair in the time available – resulting in not just a loss of commission, but a missed bonus.
Says Jamie: “Once the wheels are off a used car it’s going down in value for a dealer every day. You can’t test drive it, you can’t show the car to a customer, you can’t service it or photograph it.”
He adds: “That car not coming back in time and costing me my bonus niggled me for ages. Then one day I was on LinkedIn and saw a company had developed a much smaller and lighter lathe for repairing diamond cut alloy wheels. It weighed half a ton instead of the normal three tons and that was a real lightbulb moment for me. From that moment I knew I was going to walk away from my job and start up my own company, setting up a mobile alloy wheel refurbishment service.”
Jamie had spotted the potential to install the lighter repair lathe in a van and offer a mobile diamond alloy refurbishment service to car dealers – such as the one where he used to work. It took months of planning to work out how to configure a Mercedes Sprinter van with everything that was needed – not just the diamond cutting lathe, but spray booth, heat lamps, extraction and its own power – but by February 2017 the UK’s first mobile alloy wheel refurbishment facility was on the road.
Demand for the service has been huge –in the first year of operation alone DA Tech’s ‘Diamond Smart’ van service has repaired more than 2,500 diamond alloy wheels and it is working with dealers, car supermarkets, body-shops and independent garages across the North West.
Dean Ashworth, Head of Business at Audi Hyde says: “The mobile service DA Techs offer is brilliant. The amount of kit needed to repair one wheel is huge and at first we couldn’t believe they’d managed to get it all in a van. They came and gave us a demonstration of how it worked and we knew immediately what a difference it could make. We use DA Techs all the time now – the speed and quality of the finish is unbelievable and it means we sell more cars which can only be a good thing.”
And it’s not just car dealers who want the service – there’s been huge interest from private clients needing a wheel repair too. Demand has been so great that DA Techs has just invested almost £100,000 in a purpose-designed repair unit in Adlington. The unit complements the mobile service by offering full wheel restoration from bare metal up to a ‘like new’ powder coated finish. It is aimed at clients who don’t need quite as fast a turnaround for their wheel repair. A diamond alloy repair at the unit which fully opens this month (February) costs £90 including VAT.
DA Techs now has four staff and this year is planning to invest in at least one more mobile van – an investment of more than £90,000. Jamie says he’s already had several private investors looking to invest in DA Techs through the start up Enterprise Investment Scheme which offers tax relief opportunities.
Do you have any questions? Contact our team of specialists below: