The tyre and mechanical repair chain, which celebrated its second anniversary last week, now has 269 outlets around the country and more are being rolled out.
At its core a network of rebranded Kmart Tyre and Auto Service shops following Continental AG’s notice of acquisition in 2018, MyCar employs about 360 apprentices – making it Australia’s single biggest direct employer of apprentice technicians.
MyCar managing director Adam Pay told GoAutoNews Premium the company had an excellent program for school-based traineeships.
This has led to the employment of apprentices, which Mr Pay said had helped shelter the company from a shortage of technicians and kept the business in expansion mode. Apprentices are trained through a partnership between MyCar and TAFE in Victoria.
“One of the biggest challenges that the industry faces right now is getting sufficient technicians,” he said.
“And that’s only been exacerbated by COVID-19 with its national and international lockdowns. Previously, when it was difficult to find people, we secured people under the 457 rule and got really good quality technicians from the UK or Ireland or South Africa or wherever it might be to fill those vacancies.
“We’re no longer getting access to those people. So we look to the people we have and we nurture them.
“Apprentices with MyCar have technicians working and coaching with them on a day-to-day basis.
“On top of that, we have a career pathway through MyCar. So you might join as a trainee while still at school, progress to an apprenticeship and at that stage we’re very, very clear on where you can take your career from that point forward.”
Mr Pay was a technician who joined MyCar’s predecessor KMart Tyre and Auto, became a store manager in 2004 and then to his current position as managing director.
“We see people become the best technicians and then we will give them more than just a technical role through internal and external training and allow them to step into management,” he said.
“We ensure that if you want a career path from technical to management and then on to leadership, we’ve got all of those programs in place to make sure you can do that.
“I’ve got a hundred stories about people who have come through from an apprenticeship and are working fairly senior roles.
“That’s how you facilitate growth, by working to offset the impact of the skill shortage by growing our own.”
Mr Pay said the success of MyCar started with a foundation of being technically sound and delivering a high quality of work.
“That’s the foundation of fixing the car the right way, at the right price and at the first time,” he said.
“Then, I think, we continue to be successful because our business has a strong attention to being customer-centric and convenient, both in terms of the location of our stores and through to the services we offer.
“The convenience factor includes the fact that we have a car repair business and a tyre service that is generally all under one roof, and we’ve got a mobile business, which means that if it’s inconvenient for a customer to come to a store, we’ll go to them.
“So we sort of wrap that up in convenience. But then if I go past that, go past the quality and convenience, our focus is creating a frictionless, transparent, engaging customer experience.”
Mr Pay said MyCar locations were an important part of the business model. The stores are mainly in shopping centres but it has standalone outlets and others that are within petrol stations.
“We’re continuing to grow. We opened seven new stores during COVID year last year, which was a bit challenging with some of the restrictions,” he said.
“We have a really aggressive growth of our store network with one opened this year and another to open next month.”
He said the aftercare relationship with the customer was also a vital tool in keeping them with MyCar.
“We make sure that when you buy a product or use a service at MyCar, we build in aftercare service,” he said.
“So if you fit any tyre at MyCar from our tyre-care plan range, which is five different brands, and you have an issue, you can bring that back within 30 days.
“And it’s a no quibble guarantee. Damaged tyres will be replaced and we have lifetime repair for tyres.
“It’s all about peace of mind. We work hard to look after our customers and we make sure our warranties and guarantees are compelling.”
MyCar has built its online presence, adding the ability for customers to search for tyres, through to purchasing online and then finding a store to get them fitted.
“That has been really successful for us since we launched it in September last year,” Mr Pay said.
“The feedback from the teams has been great and the feedback from the customers has been just as productive.”
Mr Pay said his company has expanded its digital experience for customers but said this has to be linked back to the in-store experience.
“You can do all of the digital and technological stuff that you want but at the end of the day, the customer who comes into the store will need to be talking with somebody who is going to be assessing the car and working on the car,” he said.
“So the customer will need to be able to trust them. So linking the technology and digital with the human side is really, really important, and we are very much on that journey.”
By Neil Dowling