Motor Mechanic as a lucrative business

By Blessing Gabriel on 16/10/2014

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Motor mechanic business is an old one, as old as the first production of motor vehicles. In Aba, the commercial capital of Abia State, there is countless number of individuals in the business. Even though some people often express reservations about their worth, fact remains that from time to time, every car owner needs the services of a mechanic.

As a result of the above, Factnewsonline, took to the streets to sound out motor mechanics on how lucrative the business is; on what is the driving force behind individuals who go into such business; on what are their challenges on the business; and other adjunct issues. Surprisingly, all of them who spoke to our correspondents on the matter, attested to the fact that the business is a very lucrative one.

Emmanuel Akuma is a mechanic-workshop owner at Danfodio mechanic-village in Aba. He had this to say about the business: ‘It is very lucrative as long as the person concerned knows the job. Every average man can do this business. It does not require so much money to start. The only money one needs is just money for buying tools for the work. Any individual, who has N2000 or N3000, can afford the little tools, and as time progresses and he grows in the business, he can get the bigger tools.

 

When asked how they get their customers considering the fact that many of their workshops were located inside obscure streets, he responded thus, ‘it is through recommendation. People on whose car we’ve worked recommend us to others.’

At a workshop in Cameroun road, Chibuzor Okeke, who says he has been into the business for years, also spoke to Factnewsonline extensively on the subject. He explained how he started the business in 1989, and that his master was someone who hailed from Umuahia, the capital of Abia State.

“I learnt it from my master who is from Umuahia. I stayed with him for 13 years. When I left him, I started my own and since then I’ve been in the business. From the business I got the money to marry, I have four children and I am training them in schools. I have properties which I got from the money I made from the business” he said.

As for what has sustained him in the business, Okeke said that it was the passion, discipline and determination he had for the job. “The job is a hard one’ he said ‘but I was determined long ago to do the business because I had no help from anyone. Before I started the job, I tried several other things which didn’t work out fine for me”.

Has he mentored anyone in the business? He replied in the affirmative, explaining that since he was stabilised in the business, he had trained and mentored about eight youths who were doing well in their various workshops.

When asked if there were still young men around who were still interested in learning the business, he said the quest to get rich quick has beclouded the youths of the present generation who no longer what to humble themselves and exercise the patient needed in learning trades. He said: “I have four guys who are serving under me but they don’t come regularly. Today, for instance, I am yet to see them! Young people today are not willing to start small. They want to be rich instantly without patiently learning.’

He went on to enumerate what has come to be their challenges on the job, which ranged from defective government policies to ineffective Association. He lamented that their Association in Aba was weak and that everyone was on his own. He went further to disclose his desire to go back to school to be able to adapt to the changing times, especially as it has to do with science and technology. He then appealed to governments and well-meaning Abians to provide night schools where people like him can go for studies after working in the day time. He expressed the belief that motor mechanics of the current dispensation needs to have some catching up in terms of the intricate developments and computerisation of vehicles.

He said: “If there are night schools, at least 5pm I will close my shop and go to school and spend maybe 2-3 hours there. Today, technology has been modified. In Nigeria for instance, we have different types of cars and as a mechanic I need to get updated with information and more skills as well.

“I should be able to use a computer for instance to search out information. So, night schools are important to us. These cars were manufactured by the white men; none of us was there during the process. Fixing of car requires a lot of brain-work, and information too, but I thank God am doing it and doing it well too.”

 

When the subject of deceptions and cheating of people in rendering services to the people by motor mechanics were raised for comments, Okeke said it was an individual thing that could not easily be tackled without enlightenment. On his part, he claimed to have built up an integrity that many people could attest to.

“It’s an individual thing’ he said ‘A bad person is always a bad person and will always show off his character anywhere. Personally, I have built up my integrity. In fact, I have a Reverend in Lagos who doesn’t call any other mechanic to service his car aside me. Sometimes I travel to Lagos to do that and other times he brings it down here. That car over there (points to the direction of the car), the owner has given me money to buy the spare parts and he has gone. By the end of today, he will come and carry his car, same with this one I am working on (points to another car).

“This other car was given to me by a customer, he dashed me the car! I also have customers from Port Harcourt, Umuahia and some other places. So my sister, it’s a personal thing.’

Answering questions on whether the business is seasonal, he responded thus, ‘there is no special season in this business only that rainfall affects our work here because we have no roof.

Agbai Agueri, is another kind of mechanic because he specifically works on tricycles (Keke NAPEP). He also confirmed that the business as a lucrative one which could be learnt in 2 years or more, depending on how smart the learner was.

According to him, “This work is moving fine but our challenge is that we don’t get original parts to work with. Most of the spare parts we get are usually fakes and when used in fixing a Keke, it gets bad again. Sometimes, if you are not careful, you won’t get original spare parts.” He further mentioned lack of working tools as another challenge. In his words, ‘there are special tools manufactured to be used on Keke but we don’t see them in the market. For instance, the tool to pull the Magnetor (Magnet) is not in the market, the tool to loosen the fiber in the housing is also not in the market.”

On his claim about fake spare parts, our correspondent in a bid to ascertain the truth, visited jubilee road where these parts are sold. A dealer in the parts who introduced himself as Mr. Agu and another one, Chukwudi Nweke, affirmed to the claim. They stated that the reason was because Keke users prefer cheap materials as they see original parts as unaffordable. They went on to say that there were original spare parts but they don’t sell in the market and because these people prefer the fake ones, they flock the market with fake parts.

Overall, there was a consensus that organisations like Consumer Protection Council (CPC); Standard Organisation of Nigeria (SON); and the likes to look into the matter of fake spare parts for motor vehicles. There is also a consensus amongst mechanics that for anyone looking for an honest business to do, that mechanic business would be an honest option.

 

Posted on October, 16 2014

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