This time tomorrow: Partnership and progress
We spoke with Kim and Frank Malone of Karinya Diesel Service (KDS) in late 2020 when they’d used a Prospa Small Business Loan to help them realise their vision of an automotive repair business with strong connections to the community.
Since then, a Prospa Line of Credit has enabled them to keep building on their vision and prepare for an exciting opportunity to expand the scope of their services while continuing to create opportunities for the people of Biloela.
Meeting the challenges of 2021
“Stock-wise, COVID made things very challenging and it’s still a major factor,” says Kim. “When we order parts they might take months to arrive which was never the case before. COVID has had a big impact on delivery times and costs, and that’s put a lot of pressure on our cash flow.”
KDS has used its Prospa Line of Credit effectively since January which has helped ease that pressure and enabled crucial changes to the workshop.
“We have been able to make some upgrades to our hoists,” says Kim. “And we’ve also been able to make some other improvements that we wouldn’t otherwise have had the budget to do.”
To help deal with the challenges around parts ordering, Kim and Frank have also put in place a requirement for a deposit from the customer.
“Everyone understands how things are these days so that hasn’t been a problem for our customers. Though it means I spend a lot more time drawing up quotes than I did previously.”
A new venture for the new year
“We are very excited to be in the final stages of securing a partnership with an agricultural and heavy haulage company, which will kick off in the new year,” says Kim, explaining that while KDS will keep its name, it will become a sub-branch of the company and host them at the workshop.
“This gives us a massive opportunity to expand our business and grow the services we can offer our customers and as well increasing the number of parts we will have easy access to.”
But it’s also a big change for KDS and its clients.
“There have been some mixed feelings from some of the farmers. The new company hasn’t been a local presence like us even though it’s very well known,” says Kim. “So we are making sure our customers know that they will be looked after just the same as always and can rely on continuity of service from KDS.”
The new partnership will also help in Kim and Frank’s efforts to expand the areas they service.
“We’ve been able to supply further afield this year. Frank and his team always work to our motto ‘your dependability, our sustainability’ so we travel everywhere and anywhere in our field of work. Frank has a very good reputation in the mechanical field so we go where the work is. Just yesterday, one of our trucks went up to Mackay.”
Building the team
Kim and Frank’s progress has also spelled expansion for the KDS team as the business grows.
“We’ve taken on a new parts person and also a new admin person, and she has been a godsend,” says Kim. “I’ve learned how to delegate and offload a few things so I can be more efficient.”
KDS is still offering work experience with local schools, and will take on a school-based apprentice next year – their first in three years.
“We’ve also taken on a young man with a disability who works a few hours a week with us. He absolutely loves cars and it’s fantastic to have him helping in the workshop,” Kim says.
“Frank and I are still really dedicated to creating as many opportunities as we can and we offer our own staff lots of training. We’re excited that the new partnership will introduce our team to a lot more training opportunities around computers, new equipment and preparing warranties.”
This time next year
“I am just really happy to see a profit when we do our BAS – that’s a big achievement especially given the challenges we’ve faced. So I want to really work at improving that and continuing to grow the business. Expanding the number of parts we can have on hand is a big part of that,” says Kim of the upcoming partnership.
“There’s a lot to take on but we are committed to making KDS a one-stop shop and to serving all the regional communities around us. It’s 120km to Gladstone and 160km to Rockhampton so there’s a lot of people between here and there that we can help.”
And this time next decade?
“We have two little boys now and they are already totally into cars and they love being in the workshop with their dad. So we want to create opportunities for them too. They’ll be part of the team one day.”
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