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March 10, 2016 4:00 AM

Ian Szgatti opened his mechanic shop, Fleet Services, less than two weeks ago. Through hard work, fair prices and door-to-door advertising he's already begun building his client base.

Novel way to garner customers for fledgling auto repair business

Good work, decent rates and the initiative to put his name out there are the tools Ian Szgatti hopes will take his business to the top — and he’s meeting the neighbourhood to drum up business.
Szgatti said he decided he’d go door-to-door in various Lloydminster communities to deliver a letter describing his business and mission statement.
“The idea to hand out the flyers is just based on the whole principle of you get what you put in,” the 37-year-old said.
“So if I go around and put in the effort of advertising and tell people about myself, I just hope people are going to appreciate that, and maybe that’ll resonate with some people.”
The idea seems to have worked as he has had numerous calls, directly resulting from the letter.
At a time when many companies are closing their doors, Szgatti decided to open his at Fleet Services automotive repair business and he’s confident he’ll be able to keep them open despite the economic downturn.
“There are a lot of good businesses in Lloyd, but I think my price point and the way I’m willing to approach people and the way I’m willing to just accept what I need to get by to pay my bills will make a difference,” said Szgatti.
“I think that’s needed right now.”
He was previously employed as an oil field mechanic until he got laid off in August and eventually decided to go to work for himself.
Szgatti found an inexpensive bay to rent to do auto repairs and, in just two weeks, he’s already started to build a strong customer base.
Szgatti has been in the mechanic business for 15 years and worked in the oilfield on things like engines and compression units at well sites and also did heavy duty work on transports and trailers in Elk Point.
Lloydminster’s newest mechanic has also been in other businesses he’d tried to start himself, like repairing asphalt, and even dabbled in the agricultural sector for a while.
But Szgatti said he’s always had to start from the bottom to work his way to the top.
“Back in Ontario I didn’t have much money at all and it was always tough to start,” said Szgatti.
“You know what they say though, you’re going to start a couple times and fail a couple times before you hit it, right?”
Back in the ag-sector he was processing cow hides for the textile industry beside a slaughter house where he’d cure the hides and ship them.
Szgatti said he enjoyed the work and it was profitable, but it still didn’t pan out for him in the end.
So after losing his job in the oil field last summer he decided to take his mechanic skills and put them to work independently.
No matter what the economy looks like, people are always going to need auto repairs, so coupling this fact with his confidence in how he treats people made starting his own auto shop an attractive idea.
“You want to know what sets me apart from the competition? Empathy,” said Szgatti.
“If you’re empathetic toward somebody, you’re going to put yourself in their shoes; so if I treat people that way, I’m not going to have to worry about having 10 customers I need to gouge,” he said.
“I’m going to have volume and it’s going to make up the same amount of money — It just takes a bit of time.”
Treating people with empathy is a principle Szgatti holds on to tightly and he brings that principle to work with him every day.
His shop can be found tucked away in bay #6 at 6206-50th Ave. and Fleet Services’ Facebook page even has a dash cam video that takes interested customers from Lloydminster’s downtown core right to his shop.

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