New Arrivals: Cases, Boxes and Crates

Our workshop is starting to get a little crowded…

One side of our business that we’ve been trying to focus on this year is modifications.

There’s a great amateur racing scene up here in the North, a scene which Gray and I have been an active part of in the past. As young, greasy sprogs we were always getting up to mischief, pelting around make-shift tracks just outside of the town centre. Of course, that was the 80s: when you could pick up a second-hand banger for a few quid and have it back up and running in a week, with a little help from the local scrap yards.

We’re not so much in the business of equipping underage drivers with beaten up death-traps today, but we do love helping drivers realise their dream of tricking out their rides.

As part of our commitment to educating drivers about their cars, we’ve introduced a new service that has already proven to be a hit with amateur racers and gear-heads alike.

What’s better than getting a new modification fitted in your car? Unpacking, fitting and testing it yourself of course!

Since we started our new Mod’n’Fit service our workshop has been packed with pallet-loads of boxes, wooden packing cases and crates – all full of modifications big and small. We’ve got new brake discs, bumpers, turbo-injection systems and speaker systems: you name it! Although it would be quicker to have our teams fit these parts themselves, we know that part of the joy of owning and modifying a vehicle is getting your hands dirty and making the change yourself.

For car lovers like us, it’s a bit like wading through a treasure hoard every morning. Every day we’re surrounded by shiny new bits of kit all packed away in their cases, waiting for their new owners to pull them out and fit them. It’s got to the point where we’ve had to designate one of our maintenance bays to storing these parts, as we’re now getting a little overwhelmed with a seemingly endless stream of wooden crates, all of which end up causing a stir within the workshop, inevitably leading to a lull in work as our guys eagerly pry open the new arrivals to see what new toy lies within.

It’s certainly an exciting time of year for us and our apprentices.

Alex, Kate and Mark have all been getting along swimmingly, their skills have been improving nicely and they’re now all getting stuck in to some serious work in the garage. Each of our apprentices are given tutors from within the company who they initially shadow whilst they pick up the basics, but now they’ve all progressed to the point where they can happily take on new jobs within the garage.

As is usual for kids starting their new careers, they’ve all taken to certain aspects of the job. Alex loves to approach modifications from an aesthetic angle, whilst Kate has become obsessed with engine torque and body lightening. Mark, meanwhile, has thrown himself wholeheartedly into transmission systems, far and away the most complicated of things to study, but it’s great to see him challenge himself.

Now let’s hope these kids can help us clear away all these damn boxes!

Doing Our Bit for the Community

Here at G. A. Mak Motors we pride ourselves on being more than just mechanics.

Our founding Father taught my brother and I that owning a mechanics workshop is more than just running a business.

“When you open up shop, throw your doors open to the public, cut the red ribbon – you know what I mean: you’re not just starting a business. It’s more than that. When you hire men from the local area, you’re telling them that they can rely on you to pay their bills, feed their kids, all that stuff. When a customer walks into your shop, he (or she) is putting their vehicle – that’s thousands of pounds of their money, not to mention their time – in your hands.

Now in an ideal world, you’d take the car in and make sure that their car – their property, remember – is back in ship-shape as soon as possible. They’re relying on you, so that they can get on with their life and every extra day that you take to sort it out, is another day that they’re falling behind on their own responsibilities.

Every single customer who walks through our doors needs to leave as a friend. When they hand over their hard-earned cash, they need to feel like they’ve got their money’s worth. They should drive away from the garage with a smile on their face, pleased with their interaction with our company and eager to tell their friends about the help that we gave them.”

Gray and I have spent our working lives trying to uphold the values that our Father taught us as kids and we hope that this is reflected in the service that we provide our area. Our Dad’s name is still on the sign above the door, it’s still on the shirts of amateur football teams that need our sponsorship and it’s important to us that it stands for more than just another mechanics.

Our local community, like any other in Britain, is one full of different people with different needs. The skills that we have as mechanics don’t just have to be used in our business. That’s why, if an elderly customer is struggling with a specific appliance, or they can’t find a spare part that they might need, we can use our contacts in the spares and scrap industries to find a Belling oven door or a replacement Hotpoint washer drawer for them. In an ideal situation, we can find the part for them and even help fit it – whatever we can do, within reason, to make their lives easier.

All of this stems from what our Father taught us about owning and running a business. There’s no catch, no extra charge, no fleecing. Going the extra mile for the people in our community is our way of showing thanks for the fact that we’re still around.

It’s a way of being more than just the guys who fix your car, it’s something we’ve done for a long time and it’s not about to stop anytime soon.

Dad Visits the Workshop & We Take On

We’re proud of our heritage here at Gamak.

We’ve been here for over forty years and love that our name has become synonymous with car culture in Rotherham.

We have a passion for anything with a motor and there’s nothing we like more than being able to spread that love as much as possible, that’s why you’ll see our name on advertising boards at the local speedway race track, on the sides of go-karts and even plastered on the livery of a few local banger racers. We also try and find a way of getting young people into engineering as much as possible: as part of our commitment to the local support of our own trade we take on 3 apprentices each year.

The annual injection of young blood into the workshop each year is something that long-timers like myself and Gray always look forward to. It’s a perfect opportunity to re-evaluate the way that we work, assessing the effectiveness of the systems that we have in place and letting us appreciate how we can change our ways so that we can provide a better start in the world of mechanics for these young men and women.

More young people than ever are entering into practical trades. Put off by the high cost of university tuition fees, the young people of tomorrow are more skills-focused than ever, they understand better than anyone else that getting hired in the 21st century requires more than just a piece of paper.

When we start the recruitment process, we look for a few qualities in our apprentices:

  • Passion for mechanics – this has to be more than ‘just a job’ for these kid, we like to know that they have a real love for what they do.
  • Bags of enthusiasm – there’s a lot of trial and error in mechanics, our apprentices need to have the enthusiasm to get right back on the horse when they fall off.
  • Winning sense of humour – being able to have a laugh at yourself is a big part of fitting in to our crew here, there’s no room for self-seriousness!

Our new starters joined us this month and we’ve been delighted with their progress so far. Alex, Kate and Mark are all 16 years old, fresh out of secondary school and have spent the last couple of weeks getting accustomed to working life in a mechanic’s workshop. They spend three days a week with us here and the other two days learning in college, so we get a good 24 hours a week to bring them up to speed with the way that we do things here at G. A. Mak Motors.

As is tradition our founding father came in this week to hand our apprentices their first paychecks and have a chat with them. G. A. Mak is first and foremost a family business and it’s really important to us that our new starters understand where it all began for us.

We never tell our apprentices about this tradition and leave it up to our Dad to surprise them with their envelopes of cash – even at 67, he’s still got the winning sense of humour that we look to foster in our own employees.