Zooming his way, one gear at a time
What happens when a young mechanical engineer, fresh out of University, sets aside stereotypes and dreams of becoming a businessman? A success story is written—of passion, determination, hard work, and courage. Read on, to learn about Pratik Magdum’s inspiring journey from Mechanical School to his own Auto Workshop.
Pratik was born and brought up in Kolhapur, Maharashtra, where he completed his schooling. Being an auto-freak, he pursued Mechanical engineering from Sinhgad College, Lonavala. After graduation, he took up a job in a real estate firm where he tried selling flats. But his hands ached to hold the steering wheel, and his heart yearned for the world of automobiles.
Pratik left the real estate job after a year and started restoring old Mercedes cars of the 1960s and reselling them. However, it took him 4-5 months of persistent effort to restore one car, and profits were comparatively low. So in parallel, he started reselling other old cars by restoring them to good condition. He also plunged into the service sector which involved painting, detailing, and servicing four wheelers – a small course done earlier helped him carry out these tasks. Subsequently, he started a small workshop in Balewadi. However, it was under constant scrutiny of the Municipality, and he had to keep relocating the workshop owing to Municipality rules and regulations.
Pratik was now thinking of expanding his business. He had the necessary experience, expertise and manpower, but there was dearth of capital. He had acquired a franchise of Carnation, but he did not have sufficient funds to procure a place.
deAsra to the rescue
When you wish for something with all your heart, the entire universe conspires to bring it to you. That’s precisely what Pratik experienced. One day, he spotted a deAsra advertisement in a local newspaper. He attended the deAsra seminar in Pimpri-Chinchwad and was impressed with the information provided. He then went to the deAsra office and met their representative. deAsra supported Pratik in procuring a loan of 5 lacs, with the help of which he could start his franchise and could also get a place and the machinery to start his workshop.
A businessman is born
Finally, with deAsra’s help, Pratik started ‘Auto Wizards’ – a car service and reselling business on Pune-Mumbai highway, as well as a workshop in Mankar Chowk, Wakad. Pratik did a great job at networking by meeting each dealer personally and offering lower rates than their old contacts. Pratik got his initial business from dealers, but now the franchise provides individual customers. There is an online portal/website by Carnation and customers from the Wakad area are assigned to him. Pratik, who always had an eye for using social and digital media for marketing, has two of his own websites in the making. Yet, he still believes that word of mouth is the best way of marketing a business. Pratik has a team of five people at his workshop and two people at his reselling centre.
Challenges and USPs
Finance is a critical area for Pratik’s business. In case of direct customers, he gets money instantly, but in case of companies, work is done on a credit basis and pending payments pose problems. Secondly, manpower retention is also a problem since employees leave easily for higher salaries.Despite the challenges, Pratik ensures his business has an edge over nearby garages by offering lower rates and warranty for painting jobs (which is not usually offered at other garages). Likewise, he offers a pick up and drop service, which again is not common in the industry.