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Skinny’s Garage

From riding to building, Alex Kelly is inspired by motorbikes. He funnelled that passion into opening his own shop and social garage, two spaces that are individual in nature yet connected in purpose. Skinny’s Garage and Skinny’s Social Garage allow customers to get their bikes serviced and take part in a community of motorbike enthusiasts.

Turning inspiration into a reality

Alex has been in the motorbike industry for 14 years. For five of those years, he has been the shop owner of Skinny’s Garage. Over that time, he expanded his business, moved spaces and welcomed new staff. ‘Three years ago, we opened up the Social Garage. We’ve managed to grow into a staff of seven now. We also have a dealer’s licence and are buying and selling used bikes as well,’ Alex said.

Skinny’s Garage gives aspiring mechanics a place to learn through apprenticeships. The apprenticeships span four years, during which apprentices learn the in and outs through hands-on experience and government-facilitated training. With each mechanic having their own set of expertise, apprentices are able to learn specific skills from each one.

The learning doesn’t stop at Skinny’s Garage. Skinny’s Social Garage was created for those interested in being taught more about motorbikes. Its membership-based model grants access to the use of the space and its tools. There’s also a community aspect. The Social Garage organises events, rides and barbeques for its members.

With everything Skinny’s Garage has got going for it, Alex appreciates the flexibility of using Square to process payments and get insights about business performance.

It does everything I need it to do.

Between servicing and selling bikes, Alex figured out a way to take payments that works for Skinny’s Garage. ‘For the workshop, I use Square Terminal. It does everything I need it to do in one handheld unit, which is fantastic,’ Alex said. Square Terminal allows Alex to take EFTPOS payments and print receipts for his customers.

Alex also found another functionality of Square Terminal to be useful: ‘Manual credit card entry is extremely valuable. Quite often I have customers that pay by credit card over the phone, and it’s so easy to be able to do that through the terminal.’ Square Terminal features give Alex the ability to key in credit card information and accept all types of payments, from chip cards to digital wallets.

Hear how Alex grew his business with Square Payments

‘Square has fundamentally helped my business because it improved my cash flow dramatically.’

Really easy and really user friendly.

Skinny’s Social Garage takes Alex away from the shop at times. For those moments he prefers to use Square Reader. ‘For the Social Garage, I use the Square Reader because it’s more flexible in the way that it can be used. Quite often we’re off-site when we’re using it,’ he said. Alex finds Square Reader to be more convenient for smaller transactions like merchandise sales. Its compact design makes it easy to transport.

Beyond taking payments, he’s been able to use Square to track sales and collect business insights from his Square Dashboard. ‘I like that Square Dashboard is really easy and really user-friendly. I could look up any transaction from any history of using Square and find out all the information that I need.’ Alex can view the transaction history of sales taken with Square Reader and Square Terminal all in one place from his Dashboard.

It’s the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done.

One thing Alex has become very aware of since starting Skinny’s Garage is time. He’s had to learn the art of time management to keep his business running and maintain his personal life. But Alex still finds enjoyment in running a business even with the challenges he’s faced, ‘It is single-handedly the hardest thing I’ve ever done, but it’s also the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done.’

This enjoyment is reflected in the way Alex wants customers to feel, ‘I want my customers to perceive my business as a fun and enjoyable place to be.’ He takes pride in providing excellent customer service and going beyond customer expectations.

In the future Alex is interested in opening up another location. He also imagines adding additional revenue streams to keep the business growing. A potential thought is to offer a motorbike rental service. For now, he’s maintaining what the garage does well and looking forward to the future.

How Alex gets work done

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This business was paid for their time by Square.