Meet Tracey and Russell, the owners of Superior Automotive Services.
Tracey and Russell provide a one-stop-shop automotive service ranging from oil changes to wheel alignments, WOFS and Mechanics. They are also members of the VTNZ repairer network – talk about comprehensive!
We talk to Tracey to get to know the friendly faces behind Tauranga’s long-standing automotive business below.
Tell us a bit about your background – your career to date, your experience… basically, how what you have done has got you to where you are today.
Starting out in Australia, I worked in admin at Grundfos Pumps, and the Department Dept of Health. Then, I moved to New Zealand, and worked for BHP Billiton at the Port of Tauranga, before starting with Superior Automotive. I have now been here for 28 years!
Russell has been in the automotive business for a long time. He started out as an apprentice and rose the ranks to Foreman with Maungatapu Motors. After his OE, he came back to Tauranga and started what was then called Otūmoetai Auto Services (by himself) in 1992.
Shortly after he employed a couple of technicians and soon enough, we outgrew the premises on Otūmoetai Road, and moved to our current location on Ngatai Road. Business has grown a lot in 29 years, and we have since rebranded to what you know us as today: Superior Automotive Services.
When did you start your business? How long have you been operating?
Superior Automotive Services (then Otūmoetai Auto Services) was opened in 1992 by Russell and has been operating for 29 years.
Tell us about your business: What services do you offer? How can you help our business community?
We do it all! Everything from comprehensive vehicle servicing and repairs (for all makes and models) to impartial WOFs.
We believe our convenient location, and services (e.g. drop your car off in the morning, and pick it up after work) make us a valuable part of the community.
What makes your business unique?
Many things, some of which include impartial WOF checks, which are done through VTNZ, (as we are part of the VTNZ Certified Repairer network), and we are positioned centrally meaning our location is great for all customers, including those needing to drop their cars in on the way to work.
We also have a team of A grade technicians and who all pride themselves on customer service and guarantee our workmanship.
When you first got into business, what is the one thing you wish people told you?
There are ALWAYS things that will come up and will challenge you.
In your first year of business, what challenges did you face and how did you overcome them?
One challenge we faced was staffing the business to match its growth.
And now, looking back, what have been your biggest learnings?
How to balance running a business and our lives outside of it.
What’s the one misconception people might have about your industry?
These days being an automotive technician is a highly skilled job because most modern cars are computerised, so technicians must be able to think outside the square and be able to diagnose appropriately.
Also, oils aren’t oils! Dependent on the engine spec of a vehicle there can be myriad of oils to use (we only use Total lubricants, which are specific to the engine type of the vehicle). Using a cheaper grade oil is simply not suitable for modern engines, which put them at significant risk – most people don’t realise this.
What’s the one thing you want people to know about your business?
We take pride in our customer service and are good at what we do!
What are your goals (personal and professional) for the next six to 12 months?
To further grow our business and expand our reach/recognition in Tauranga.
When you’re not at work, how do you like to spend your time?
Usually at the gym.
If you could impart one piece of advice to fellow business owners, what would it be?
Keep your staff engaged and moral up! We treat everyone like family, and everyone has a say. We also hold regular ‘toolbox’ meetings and have Donut Fridays.
Members can find it hard meeting people at events, so we want to take some of the pressure off that awkward small talk by shining a light on your business through our member profiles.
Our member profiles are a great way to give the business community a taste of who you are and what you do, so when they see your face at one of our events they won’t hesitate to make that all-important introduction.