Putting the brakes on a career to chase his passion in cars
Listening to Shawn Yap speak about cars is like having a live podcast of Top Gear, a British motoring television programme, being played out before you. He is a walking dictionary on everything automobile-related.
For instance, he is able to list every single part of a car engine with remarkable ease, pistons and all. “I love machines, and I’ve always been amazed at how individual components can come together to make something work,” said Shawn, 34.
His enthusiasm for cars and emphasis on having a personal touch are what makes his workshop – Kaizen Motors – stand out from the bevy of auto-repair workshops lined up along the avenues of Kaki Bukit.
When a customer brings a car in for repair or servicing, he makes it a point to provide a detailed explanation after everything has been completed. “You must at least know what you have changed in your car,” he quipped.
With his extensive expertise in automobiles, you might think he has been fixing cars most of his life.
But he only entered this trade nine years ago. He gave up a job in his family’s F&B business that was paying $3,000 a month to apprentice at a car workshop, drawing a paltry monthly allowance of $800.
“I’ve liked cars since I was young, but I didn’t know much about their mechanics. Quitting my job wasn’t a tough decision because I really had the interest to learn,” he explained.
“Learning was fun, but very tough. Yet, you get a huge sense of satisfaction when you get a broken vehicle to come back to life.”
With such passion for cars, it had always been Shawn’s dream to own an auto-repair workshop. After three years of learning the trade, he struck out on his own, setting up Kaizen Motors in 2015.
Enhancing the customer experience
When Shawn started as an apprentice, he would repeatedly strip out the interior of his own car, a Nissan Silva, to learn about every part of the vehicle.
It made him realise the importance of having customers understand what was being done to their cars at the workshops, as this reduces the risk of misunderstanding between them and the servicing crew.
That is why he designed his workshop with a customer viewing gallery. While the lower level is reserved for his five mechanics to handle the vehicles, most of the second level was extensively refurbished to become a viewing area that overlooks the servicing floor.
With a bar counter, cushy sofas, and plenty of drinks and snacks, customers can observe their car repairs through large glass windows.
This way, customers don’t get in the way of the mechanics, and are still able to see everything that is going on.
His meticulous and customer-oriented approach has built up a loyal customer base. Some even drive from Jurong to service their cars at his workshop. The workshop now handles about 300 to 400 vehicles a month.
For Shawn, having that personal touch is crucial and he takes the time to speak to every customer about their vehicle in detail.
“A customer once told me: ‘Going to a car workshop is like going to a hairstylist. If you’re happy with the hairstylist, you’ll always go there.’ That sentence stuck in my head,” he said.
Spreading the Kaizen name with digital advertising
At Kaizen Motors, Shawn singlehandedly runs the administrative side of business, covering everything from human resource to accounts. This means having little time to market the company.
He found out about Adtiq on Google in July, and decided to use the platform to advertise the company online.
Using Adtiq for Facebook and Instagram campaigns has saved him precious time, as it provides the right keywords that are specifically aimed at his target audience. “My favourite part of it is that it is easy to use and straightforward. Adtiq provides a list of keywords to choose from, which I don’t have to worry about,” he noted.
With the platform, he is also able to plan his posts and upload his images easily, automatically uploading them using a scheduling software. It has saved time and increased efficiency, with results to show for it.
“When Adtiq blasts a post on Facebook, the views go up within a week. Previously, it used to take three weeks for the views to increase,” remarked Shawn, who had been using Facebook to advertise the business on his own before Adtiq.
A never-ending journey of continuous improvement
Living up to the name Kaizen, Shawn is always thinking of new ways to improve and further develop his business.
He has plans to make the workshop a one-stop shop, by increasing his repertoire of services to include tyre replacements and modification services.
He even plans to have a 3D replica of an engine in his customer viewing area, so that customers will be able to better understand his explanations.
Looking back, he has no regrets leaving a stable job to chase his passion.
“It’s worth it. Even if my business closes down one day, I won’t regret it because of the knowledge I have gained,” he said.
Online advertising is now a breeze with Adtiq. With a platform that helps create, monitor and even suggest improvements for your ad campaigns on Facebook, Instagram and Google, watch your business move up a gear or two!