Couple use car as collateral to buy Gladstone business
WHEN Rick Williams saw an opportunity to own his own business, he left behind a job earning up to $100,000 a year and used his car as collateral to kickstart his success.
Now, more than four years on, Mr Williams and his wife of 20 years, Tanya, employ three people and have no regrets.
“I’d often spoken to Tanya about owning a wrecking yard or a mechanical workshop,” he said.
“When she found out Gary Dale was going to sell the wrecking yard, we went and saw the bank and they loaned us $30,000 using the XR8 as collateral.
“We purchased two second-hand hoists, a small forklift and we managed to get enough decent cars to kick off.
“We ended up with more than 50 when we thought we might only have 10, so the $30,000 went a long way.”
Growing up in Gladstone, Mr Williams started as a bricklayer with his father until at 25, when he was diagnosed with adult asthma.
“Cement dust and lime dust was really affecting my lungs so I had to diversify into something else,” he said.
Then he completed a small-engine mechanic apprenticeship and worked as a mechanic in Gladstone while he got qualified as a diesel and gas fitter.
For the first two years, Mr Williams drove to Yeppoon and back every day to work, so they could put all they earned back into the business, sometimes working until midnight after a shift in the mines.
“I was working so Tanya didn’t need to earn much of a wage, and we paid the $30,000 loan off within six months,” he said.
“The salary of the job that I left was up to $100,000 a year and I probably don’t make half of that now.
“In saying that we’ve got the XR8, two Ford Rangers, the car trailer, forklifts, and a Ford Courier ute we just bought, so you do get some perks of owning your own business.”
Like many new businesses, Mr Williams, aka the “Ford Doctor”, said they were told they wouldn’t last 12 months.
“When COVID-19 hit things really slowed down at first and we were relying on JobKeeper payments, then the last two months have been the busiest it’s ever been,” he said.
“Because of the downturn, no one’s got much money so they come looking for second-hand parts because people have still got to survive, they’ve got to have a car to live.
“We strive to keep 100 per cent of people happy 100 per cent of the time.”
What helped the business grow was being a member of an Australia-wide wrecking group, the Motor Traders Association of Queensland and the Capricorn Group (a buying group).
“We quickly realised we needed to diversify so we have five sources of income,” he said.
“We’ve got new parts, used parts, the mechanical workshop, we sell used cars and recycle scrap metal.”
Williams Auto Wreckers and Mechanical on South Trees Drive Gladstone is open from 8.30am-5pm Monday to Friday.