PASSION DRIVES PAY TO LEAD SUCCESSFUL BUSINESS
Transforming mycar into one of Australia’s leading automotive brands is a proud achievement for Adam Pay
mycar Managing Director, Adam Pay, always knew he was going to work with cars, even when he was a kid.
“I’ve always loved cars and knew from a young age that I’d enjoy working in the automotive industry, as did my parents, who encouraged me to pursue an auto apprenticeship,” Adam said.
“It was the combination of hard work and doing something I loved that ultimately opened up great opportunities and led me on this rewarding career journey.”
Born and raised in Daventry, Northamptonshire in the UK, Adam moved to London in his early 20s before relocating to Australia in 2004.
“I’ve been into cars for as long as I can remember, and I still have an obsession with them. I decided to take on my apprenticeship based on my passion for motors, starting with VW and Audi in 1988 – I really enjoyed it, particularly the technical aspects of the work,” Adam said.
“My first job was at a petrol service station filling up cars. I had a great boss who took the time to teach me and nurture my interest in the auto sector. I loved the job and it led me to spending time in the workshop on weekends.
“After I completed my apprenticeship, I ventured off to manage pubs in London for a few years. One day I heard an advert on the radio. Kwik-Fit, a big chain of fast fit workshops in the UK, were looking for team members and I thought ‘why not?’
“I went for the job and started shortly thereafter as a Tyre Technician, which was the beginning of my journey.
“With hard work and passion, I worked my way through the ranks to eventually become Division Director, managing a large portfolio in the UK.
“I moved to Australia in 2004 and accepted a role with what was Kmart Tyre and Auto Service (KTAS) as a Store Manager in Brisbane. With the same dedication and enthusiasm for the auto industry that I had in the UK, I worked my way up to eventually become Managing Director in 2013, and led the business through the major overhaul to become mycar in 2019.”
Adam is instrumental in leading the evolution of mycar as it grows beyond its KTAS origins.
“We trademarked the name ‘mycar’ in the late 1990s; however, we officially launched in 2019 following a rebrand from our KTAS origins, which began in Australia in 1969,” he explained.
“We completely revamped our brand with a fresh look, store signage, branded vehicles and everything else in between, all in under 12 months. We have since moved away from the KTAS brand and operate as a full-service automotive destination, with customers and team members at the centre of our core vision.
“Now, I couldn’t imagine us going by any other name but mycar.
“The change at mycar has been significant. We have transformed into a company that speaks more about the type of work we do and the relationships we have with our customers.
“We’ve been on an important and rewarding journey to truly understand how we can serve our customers better, and we pride ourselves on helping them with a warm and personable approach, and a team who have a genuine love of cars.
“Our customer-centric approach sets us apart. We call it ‘People First.’ We go beyond the technical needs of customers. We look at the person behind the wheel and think ‘how can mycar add value to your experience as a customer?’
“Our sense of care extends beyond just our customers to our most valuable asset – our people. We have created a workplace where trust, care and expertise are valued, so that our team can be their best selves at work.
“Part of it stems from our flat structure at mycar, I’ll often show up to one of our stores and end up working on the shop floor to better connect with our team members, or spend a few hours sitting with the Customer Team to understand how we can better serve our customers. Our commitment to caring for our customers is at the centre of everything we do; and we champion the message of ‘People First’ across our business.
“Our goal is to help our customers with all their car care needs, no matter where they are in Australia, and we plan to open many more stores in the future, so we continue achieving this goal.
“We want our customers to leave us feeling like they have been cared for. It builds trust and ensures that they come back to let us help them again.
“We’re a growing national business with 269 stores across the country serving millions of different customers each year. We have a wide customer base, from those that have never lifted their bonnet, to genuine enthusiasts.”
Adam describes his strengths as “honesty and enthusiasm.”
“I am lucky in that I live and breathe cars and have always enjoyed being around people, which are two strengths that show in my day-to-day role. I believe it is important to be able to get people excited and feel inspired about what we can achieve together,” he explained.
Like most businesses across the globe, the last 12 months have brought about some enormous challenges for mycar.
“We had to make some tough business decisions due to COVID-19. I am proud of what we achieved, as it has resulted in us being where we are today. There were some genuinely sleepless nights, but looking back, we focused on what is most important – our people and our customers,” Adam said.
“Despite the challenges of a global pandemic, I am proud to say that we didn’t lose a single team member as a result of the pandemic, and were able to open seven stores in 2020.”
Adam believes there is something to learn from every decision, even the ones where the results were not what you were hoping for.
“You might look at some decisions in hindsight and think, ‘I could’ve done that better’ or ‘I can learn from that’ but never do I say, ‘that’s completely wrong’. Every action comes with reasoning and when you work with a good team, it’s not about identifying mistakes or having an attitude focused on looking for errors,” he said.
“It is about focusing on how you do better next time. That said, I have made a few mistakes in my time, I just try to turn them into a positive.”
In fact, Adam is convinced that bringing a positive attitude and a commitment to do better is more important than any other skill.
“Skills can be taught, but passion, determination and enthusiasm provide the drive needed to improve those skills. My mantra has never changed: love your team, love your customers, work hard, and deliver results! It’s why we always put people first at mycar,” he said.
Adam’s advice to anyone wanting to break into the industry is to enjoy the company of the people that you work with, and always look after your customers.
“Always look for the opportunity in front of you, beyond what it is on paper. People often view a career in the auto industry primarily as a technical one, when it’s so much more than that,” he said.
“The auto industry is full of people who are passionate about cars, helping people, new technology and maintaining the classics. It is important that as an industry, we harness that passion and enjoyment, let it grow, and watch people move into parts of the sector that they might not have even known existed. From technical, managerial, to leadership roles – it’s all there.”
On a more personal note, Adam makes sure he still has time to enjoy life and has a simple set of hobbies – walking, and spending time with his family.
“Being from the UK, I have a lot of appreciation for the fantastic weather in Australia, so you’ll often catch me outdoors on the weekends, enjoying time with my family and going on long walks. I’m sure the family love it just as much as I do,” he said.
“My wife and three children genuinely mean everything to me. Whilst my wife and I are from the UK, our children are Australian through and through. I had my wife’s support when I was building my career at Kwik-Fit, and she was the one that pushed me to move to Australia. I’m forever grateful for her support.”
For the automotive industry at large, Adam sees future challenges, especially around attracting talent to the sector.
“The auto industry has more jobs than people to fill them and, historically, a high turnover rate. While mycar’s turnover rate is half the industry average, the chronic skill shortage is a challenge for all of us in the automotive sector,” he explained.
“mycar is always looking for talented team members to join the team, and we’ve built our development programs specifically to address this. We believe that as a leader in the Australian automotive industry, we have a big role to play in addressing industry challenges like the skill shortage and we are looking to close the gap for the benefit of the entire industry.
“Outside of the skills shortage, other challenges include increasing vehicle technology and building our online presence, to which we have solid plans in place to address both and continue to adapt to meet changing customer needs.”
Adam has been a huge contributor to the AAAA, and believes the Association is an important advocate for the industry.
“The Australian automotive sector is made up of a wide spectrum of voices and stakeholders, so having a central, independent voice to advocate for the industry at large is vital. The AAAA brings with it a decades-long track record of success advocating for a healthy and growing automotive sector, which aligns with the core values of mycar,” he concluded.
For more on mycar, visit www.mycar.com.au