Sarich Motors

Driving success in the family business

  • Sarich-Motors

    Scott Sarich (right) credits his father Ivan (left) for teaching him the ropes of running a successful automotive repair business.

Driving success in the family business

When Scott Sarich joined his father Ivan as an apprentice in his automotive workshop business in the early 1990s, it set the scene for the young man to learn the ropes from the master.

Ivan had owned Sarich Motors in Wellington since 1977. In 1998, and after Scott had finished his apprenticeship under his father’s guidance, the duo bought Avalon Service in Lower Hutt, where Ivan worked until 2012.

Scott and Ivan operated the two mechanical workshops as equal partners until earlier this year, when Ivan decided to retire and sold the Avalon business to an employee, leaving Scott as sole owner of the Wellington business.

Sarich Motors specialises in automotive servicing and repairs for a variety of private, commercial and fleet customers. With three other full-time mechanics on the books, business is buoyant and it’s a business Scott loves being involved in.

“I enjoy coming to work every day,” he says. “And the challenge of owning your own business, of making a dollar, keeps me driven.”

Scott is very grateful for the ‘leg up’ he was given as a young man by his father. “I was very fortunate that I was able to join Dad in the business. I’m not sure I’d be where I am today without his help. Being given that opportunity, it is a legacy I hope to continue, and offer to my children.”

When it comes to defining a successful business, Scott is very clear. “It’s simple,” he says. “Be customer focused. Deliver what they want.

Make your customer’s life as easy as possible.” And Sarich Motors doesn’t just talk the talk. A free pickup and delivery service is just one of the ways the company demonstrates commitment to helping its customers.

Earlier this year, when Ivan decided to retire and Scott decided to run the Wellington workshop solo, they called on Markhams partner Bruce Stormer, to help navigate the transition.

“We have had a long and fruitful association with the Sarich family,” says Bruce. “For many years we worked closely with Ivan, and then were very involved with the sale of Avalon and setting up Scott as the sole business owner. Although we deal with Scott now, we have thoroughly enjoyed the relationship with Ivan and wish him well in
his retirement.”

On a day to day basis, Markhams handles many of Sarich Motors’ financial needs including preparing the company’s annual accounts, filing GST, and acting as financial and business advisors.

“Bruce and Abbey are fantastic and really proactive,” says Scott. “But what I have discovered is that I need to be able to monitor better how the business is performing. Not just on an annual basis, but more frequently, to ensure each month we are reaching targets and our projections are realistic.

“More regular reporting will be an essential tool in future planning, assessing where we are at any given time to be able to respond to business opportunities as they arise,” he explains.

For an agreed monthly fee, Markhams will monitor Scott’s figures and report progress against the budget and Scott’s expectations. Potential issues will be able to be identified as they happen and planned for, rather than waiting for the ‘wash up’ at the end of the financial year. For Scott, it gives him certainty of cashflow and more control over his business’ direction.

For the immediate future, Scott is concentrating on building and consolidating the business but will continue to explore opportunities. “Knowing I have the backup of Markhams gives me confidence,” he says.

And who knows, one of Scott’s children may end up donning overalls and joining their father in the family business.

Published Spring 2012.

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