In the latest of our Q&As with successful entrepreneurs, His & Hers asked Rick Potter of Wheel Gods how he built a thriving business in a competitive field.
What motivated you to set up Wheel Gods?
It was a new challenge and a chance to perfect a service that was being provided by others but at a poor level. After having a set of wheels powder coated by a local company and seeing the end result, which I was not happy with, I decided to delve deeper into the industry and provide a much higher level end product.
What were the biggest challenges during the early days of your business?
The biggest challenges were trying to enter a market which was already littered with competition and being the “New Guy” – not having the trust or reputation to bring new clients on board. Also, competing with smart repairers who merely touch up damage on a wheel, rather than totally renewing the wheel, which is what needs to be done as part of a powder coating process. Trying to sell that to the end user has always been difficult, but once they see the end result they are always bowled over with it.
How did you identify a gap in the market for a company providing a professional alloy wheel refurbishment service to transform the appearance of customers’ cars?
Again, seeing poor workmanship throughout the business, I realised that the industry needed a more professional outfit, certainly for the higher end wheels out there.
Do you have any advice for readers who’d like to set up their own businesses?
Budgeting is always very difficult in the first 12 months. Whatever you think you need, I would usually say double or treble it as business is full of surprises. Also, staffing the business can really hurt you financially with NI and taxes and pension pots eating away at most company’s profits, so only make that step to recruit full-time staff if you are 110%.
Which factors do you think have been key to the Wheel Gods’ success?
Hard selling driving force and creating a fantastic end product which sells itself. Most of our work is now word of mouth which is fantastic considering we are still in our first 12 months of business.
Please tell His & Hers about your career highlights to date:
Taking 70% of dealerships local to the business in Bolton and Manchester onboard and maintaining a high level of service, and competing with companies that have been established in the area for over 10 years.
Also, working for companies such as Porsche, Audi, Vauxhall & Lamborghini shows a certain level of success which we are very proud of.
What does a ‘typical day’ involve for you?
Organising our priority wheels with our none urgent wheels and making sure every process is completed correctly.
What are your plans for the Wheel Gods over the coming months?
To acquire more main dealerships and hold the market within the North West of the UK.
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