Meet the team at West Gosford Express Lube

Opening in 2009, West Gosford was the first location of Express Lube Australia, the first “No Booking Required” auto service centre. Over the years they’ve expanded their stores and have added new team members to the Express Lube family. But how did it all start? We talked to Damon and the staff at Express Lube West Gosford to find out.

Tell us a little bit about you?
Hi my name’s Damon and I’m the co-founder of Express Lube.

How did the idea form for the concept Express Lube?
I moved to Australia from Canada in December 2007.  We purchased a vehicle and decided to travel the east coast.  I went to our local mechanic to get a service and was told it was a 2 week wait.  I checked with other automotive service centres in the local area and found the same thing.  I couldn’t believe that we had to wait for a service. I quickly saw the opportunity to build something great.  I spent the next 18 months doing research and opened the first Express Lube in October 2009 at 392 Manns Road West Gosford.

How did you distinguish yourself from your competitors?
Convenience, Customer Service and Price differ us from our competition

 

How many staff did you have when you first opened?
We started with 6 staff to ensure quality, customer service and speed was achieved to a high standard.

How many people came in your first week of trading and do you remember how much you made in that first week?
We had 17 customers in the first week producing $2200 in sales

What obstacles did you face in the first year?
Scheduling was our biggest nightmare.  We were open 7 days a week for the first 6 months.  Reducing the hours made it much easier. Offering basic services to start and more services like brakes, registration checks attracted more customers.

What would you do differently if you could?
Open a frozen yogurt store. Do more research on the model before opening.  We should have offered the same services as other mechanics but with the convenience of No Booking Required and price.

You’re now located at 320 Manns Road. Why did you move from your original address 392 Manns Road West Gosford?
We had to move after 3 years. Our site was purchased and demolished as the new home for the Master’s building.  We moved down the road temporarily and then moved to our current location.

What do you attribute to your success?
Understanding our customer needs. Creating great culture makes our employees happy, in turn they provide amazing service to our customers.

 

What’s a typical day for you now?
Most shops have 6 employees.  They start at 7:30 and finish at 5:00.  They can expect anywhere from 15 to 35 customers in a day.  Ranging from registration checks the engine swaps. Our employees are amazing. They put the customer needs in front of their own.  Sometimes they don’t take lunch until 3:00pm

What do you look for in a new employee?
We always look for someone that fits in with the team.  Happy employees make a happy workplace. Sometimes the most experienced mechanic will not fit in because of different personalities.  The good thing about have 5 shops is that if someone does fit in at one shop, most likely they will fit in at another.

What habits made you successful?
Learning from my mistakes. Understanding that your employees are your most valuable asset.

Best advice you have for people starting a business today?
Understanding your model. If you sell frozen yogurt, don’t expand your products into hamburgers.

Get really good at what you do before you expand into more locations.

Be very clear with your job descriptions.

Create policies and procedures and teach them to your employees.

Market your business.

Create an economic analyse.  Ex. 30% products, 30% expenses, 30% labour, 10% profit.

Create sales targets 12 months in advance. Monitor and make adjustments through out the year.

Leave your problems at work.  Don’t bring your work home with you.  Your family time is your family time

After chatting with Damon, we got a chance to look through the store and meet the staff. We even got a chance to interrupt their day and ask some hard hitting questions.

Name: Chris T
Job title: Branch Leader
How long have you worked in the industry? 19 years
How long have you worked for Express Lube? 2 years
What’s the 1 job you seem to do most during your work week? Stock orders and running the general operation of the workshop
Name 1 song you’d turn up loud if it came on the radio while you’re driving alone? Zombie – New Version
The number 1 tool or piece of equipment you couldn’t do your job without? Torch – Don’t leave home without it!
What’s the greatest device – Xbox or Playstation ? No competition there – Xbox

Name: Josh C
Job description: 2nd year apprentice
How long have you worked for Express Lube? I started my apprenticeship here 1 ½ years ago.
How do you take your coffee? Black, 2 sugars
What’s the 1 job you seem to do most during your work week? Basic services and cleaning
Name 1 song you’d turn up loud if it came on the radio while you’re driving alone? Better Now – Post Malone
Best place to get takeout near work? KFC
The number 1 tool or piece of equipment you couldn’t do your job without?
10mm socket
What’s the greatest device – Xbox or Playstation ? Xbox

Name: Hayden D
Job description: Mechanic
How long have you worked for Express Lube? 6 years
How do you take your coffee? Black, 2 sugars
Do you only work at the Gosford store, name the other Express Lube locations if any? Gosford #1
What’s the 1 job you seem to do most during your work week? Service and rego checks

Name 1 song you’d turn up loud if it came on the radio while you’re driving alone? Dancing in the moonlight
Best place to get takeout near work? KFC
The number 1 tool or piece of equipment you couldn’t do your job without? Telescopic ratchet and electric 3/8 gun
What’s the greatest device – Xbox or Playstation ? Xbox

We had a ball meeting the team working at Express Lube West Gosford. We’ll try and catch up with some of the other stores over the coming months to see if Xbox will win as the ultimate gaming console and of course what it’s like working at their location. Thanks for joining us on this behind the scenes look at Gosford Express Lube and don’t forget to come in and meet the awesome team yourself.