Driscoll Motors | A century of service

Wellington’s Driscoll Motors will clock up 100 years in business next year, owing to its adaptability and proud history of strong customer service.

It was established in 1923 as Macleay & Co Motor Engineers but became Driscoll Motors when it was taken over by Albert Driscoll – the grandfather of current owner Leslie Driscoll, who purchased the business from his father, John.

The business, which offers the full range of vehicle servicing and repairs, including auto-electrical repairs, remains very much a family affair.  Donna, Leslie’s wife, manages the office, and Dan, their son, is a mechanic on the shop floor.

Dan and Leslie are joined by three other staff, one of whom has been with the business for more than 20 years, Donna says.

From their central Wellington location - on Walter and Victoria Streets – they service the vehicles of a largely loyal customer base, including some families who have been with the business almost as long as the Driscolls.

“We have had up to three generations of the same family coming to us.”

The business has moved with the times throughout its 100 years, Donna says. It used to specialise in servicing buses, and then moved its focus to cars. 

More recently introduced technology and systems enable it to maintain a high level of customer service. This includes a text alert system so customers are kept up to date with the progress of their job and receive service reminders. “We know how important communication is to our customers, and it’s something we really strive to excel at.”

The firm’s mechanics are encouraged to continually up-skill to keep up with industry developments. “We do a lot more online training since Covid struck. We have a screen and we share videos and articles that are relevant.”

The pandemic has changed people’s attitudes to spending on their vehicles; customers are more likely to shop around for quotes and defer or avoid work and sometimes want to supply their own parts.

Where possible, the business endeavours to provide customers with a maintenance schedule in order to spread costs.

Leslie and the team also play the role of advisors to their customers – who often seek out their opinions before making significant vehicle purchases.  “They know us and they trust our advice. We’ve fielded lots of questions about electric vehicles; one thing Wellingtonians need to think about is charging them – there are a lot of cords running from houses out to vehicles in the street!”

For advice on all things accountancy, Donna and Leslie call on Moore Markhams Wellington director Abbey Warner and business service manager Kathryn Donaldson.

“We have been with them since we took over the business seven years ago. We find them very personable. They speak plain English and everything makes sense.”

While Donna and Leslie are always keeping an eye on the numbers, Abbey and Kathryn provide regular, detailed updates on the performance of the business, and give insights as to how various areas are performing.  “We get really great, up-to-date information about the business and they always talk us through it.”

“We like to run ideas and decisions past them, to see what the various implications for the business would be, for example, if we were to revise wages. It’s great being able to consult people who really know their stuff. And we love being reminded when GST and taxes are due!”