Jump to content

[Podcast] RR 379: A Banker and a Master Tech Build a BMW Specialty Shop – Down Under

Recommended Posts

Ken Christie is the Chief Financial Officer of the Australian Bank division of National Australia Bank (a global top 25 Bank), his role is responsible for driving the financial performance and oversight of the Consumer, Business and Private Bank, Wealth division and Customer Experience and products division in Australia. In addition to this fulltime role, Ken is a passionate car owner and collector and has a 50% equity ownership in an Independent BMW & MINI workshop in Melbourne Australia “BM Performance Centre”. This ownership with Mark Higgins blends his passion for cars with that of building and growing a small business.

He has an Undergraduate Degree in Banking and Finance from Victoria University, an MBA from Melbourne University and is a Graduate of the Advanced Management Programme at Harvard Business School. His passions outside of work include snow skiing, car racing, and vehicle restoration and spending time with his family. As a side note, his passion for skiing has led him to pass his level 1 and 2 Canadian Ski Instructor exams.

Mark Higgins is the Co-Owner of BM Performance Centre and is an experience BMW Mastertech. His experiences have brought him to New Zealand, US, and the UK. He is already in the business for 8 months and has set the roles and responsibilities of the shop. He has worked before as a workshop manager and a BMW Diagnostic Technician.


Key Talking Points:
  • The shop opened 6 months ago in Williamstown, Victoria, AustraliaKen Cristie- CFO of Australian Bank but has a passion for his car collection
  • He wanted to create a BMW and Mini’s specialty shop.He races a BMW M3 
  • Mark Higgins- Partner in business from answering an ad. He has been around BMW’s his whole life.
  • Business plan:Exclusive BMW operation
  • Ken found his partner via an ad placement
  • They built a business case and as a CFO. Ken was very familiar and Mark thought it was  
  • Their labor rate is $175. The dealerships are $240 – $280. General shops in Australia is prox $130
  • Building a long-term sustainable business.
  • ChallengesA consistent flow of customers and earning their trust
  • MarketingKen and Mark often go to malls and put flyers on cars in parking lot to attract new customer attention
  • They are getting 5-star reviews on Facebook
  • Australia aftermarket:Techs go through 4-year apprenticeship- then qualify to start 50-55k salary (40k US Dollars) Often only learn to do oil service/brakes at dealerships 3
  • Tech shortage- veterans struggling with new technology, new techs losing interest.
  • They are looking for techs from the UK to come here on work visas.
  • Australia has low unemployment.
  • Australia imports their vehicles.
  • BMW is the second popular vehicle in their area. Mercedes, Toyota, VW, GM, and Ford are in the top.
  • OE information is slowly trickling out to the aftermarket.
  • Mark is getting help from friends in the dealership network to get information to repair vehicles.
  • Technicians must go through an apprenticeship like the UK.
  • Legacy technicians are getting disenchanted as the new technology is coming at them so fast.
  • Parts margins and parts pricing are a challenge. They are trying to maintain a 40% margin.Off the scale compared to the UK.
  • A new key in the UK is about $150. In Australia $700.
  • They are looking for partnerships from parts suppliers
  • BM performance experience is a program they run at the shop.They adopted STEM ideas they heard from the podcast at their shop.
  • For customers that want to understand how their cars are serviced and the electronics, diagnostics, sensors etc in vehicle
  • Customers can watch service being done live, no charge for a customer to experience the service that is differentiation in the market.
  • Customers are fascinated by the diagnostic process and how the car works.
  • They had a BMW car club in the shop in on an evening with about 30 people.
  • Immigration policyUndergrad degree (have a trade), under 30 years old, no children or dependents- open immigration
  • Skills-based assessment and points system 
  • Australian Aftermarket ShowSimilar to AAPEX
  • Held every 2 years
  • Key suppliers-  oil, part supplies
  • Technical sessions to attend
  • Australia has the same land mass as the US with 25 Million peopleWill grow to 41 Million by 2040
  • It takes 24 hours air flight from New York to Australia


Resources Mentioned:

  • Thanks to Ken Christie and Mark Higgins for their contribution to the aftermarket’s premier podcast.
  • DOWNLOAD: Spreadsheet ‘BM Performance Cash Flow Spreadsheet HERE.
  • BM Performance Centre Website HERE.
  • Link to the ‘BOOKS‘ page highlighting all books discussed in the podcast library HERE. Leaders are readers.
  • Leave me an honest review on iTunes. Your ratings and reviews really help and I read each one of them.


Be socially involved and in touch with the show:

Facebook  Twitter  Linked In  Email   Events   Speaking


This episode is brought to you by Federal-MogulEpisode-Logo-Sponsored-By-v1-300x93.pngMotorparts and Garage Gurus. With brands like Moog, Felpro, Wagner Brake, Champion, Sealed Power, FP Diesel and more, they’re the parts techs trust. For serious technical training and support – online, onsite and on-demand – Garage Gurus is everything you need to know. Find out more at fmmotorparts.com and fmgaragegurus.com

Click to go to the Podcast on Remarkable Results Radio

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Have you checked out Joe's Latest Blog?

      Most shop owners would agree that the independent auto repair industry has been too cheap for too long regarding its pricing and labor rates. However, can we keep raising our labor rates and prices until we achieve the profit we desire and need? Is it that simple?
      The first step in achieving your required gross and net profit is understanding your numbers and establishing the correct labor and part margins. The next step is to find your business's inefficiencies that impact high production levels.
      Here are a few things to consider. First, do you have the workflow processes in place that is conducive to high production? What about your shop layout? Do you have all the right tools and equipment? Do you have a continuous training program in place? Are technicians waiting to use a particular scanner or waiting to access information from the shop's workstation computer?
      And lastly, are all the estimates written correctly? Is the labor correct for each job? Are you allowing extra time for rust, older vehicles, labor jobs with no parts included, and the fact that many published labor times are wrong? Let's not forget that perhaps the most significant labor loss is not charging enough labor time for testing, electrical work, and other complicated repairs.  
      Once you have determined the correct labor rate and pricing, review your entire operation. Then, tighten up on all those labor leaks and inefficiencies. Improving production and paying close attention to the labor on each job will add much-needed dollars to your bottom line.
  • Similar Topics

    • By Transmission Repair

      Premium Member Content 

      This content is hidden to guests, one of the benefits of a paid membership. Please login or register to view this content.

    • By carmcapriotto
      Recorded Live at Vision 2023, the wives tell all! Find out what it's like being a wife, mom, and business partner with their husbands.
      Shelly Fleischman, Automotive Alley, Arcade, NY. Listen to Jim’s previous episodes HERE.
      Liz Perkins, L1 Automotive Diagnostics and Program, L1 Automotive Training.
      Nicole Barrett, Barrett Automotive, Cornelia, Georgia.
      Show Notes
      How did you get involved in the business? What is your role? How do you re-energize?  What is your awesome news? Are you a rule maker or rule breaker? Implementing EOS (Entrepreneurial Operating System) Implementing systems and procedures Work-life balance, how do you juggle the business and your family?  
      Additional links about EOS
      Implementing EOS with Barry Barrett: Four Shop Owners Share Their Success [RR 686] The Power of EOS: 2 Day Leadership Meeting [RR 719] Barry Barrett's 7 Part Series on EOS
      Thanks to our Partners, AAPEX and NAPA TRACS. Set your sights on Las Vegas in 2023. Mark your calendar now … October 31 - Nov 2, 2023, AAPEX - Now more than ever. And don’t miss the next free AAPEX webinar. Register now at AAPEXSHOW.COM NAPA TRACS will move your shop into the SMS fast lane with onsite training and six days a week of support and local representation. Find NAPA TRACS on the Web at NAPATRACS.com Connect with the Podcast: -Join our Insider List: https://remarkableresults.biz/insider -All books mentioned on our podcasts: https://remarkableresults.biz/books -Our Classroom page for personal or team learning: https://remarkableresults.biz/classroom -Buy Me a Coffee: https://www.buymeacoffee.com/carm -The Aftermarket Radio Network: https://aftermarketradionetwork.com -Special episode collections: https://remarkableresults.biz/collections      
      Click to go to the Podcast on Remarkable Results Radio
    • By carmcapriotto
      This week Hunt discusses the basics behind debt and how to pay your debt down in a safe manor.
      • What factors go into evaluating whether debt is a good option or not?
      • How does leverage work with debt and how do you analyze the situation to make sure it will be a profitable one?
      • Do I actually want to be debt free or is this debt making me more money than it is costing me?
      • How do I select what debt to start paying down first?
      Thanks to our sponsor partner NAPA TRACS
      Hunt Demarest, CPA
      Paar Melis and Associates – Accountants Specializing in Automotive Repair
      Visit us Online : www.paarmelis.com
      Email Hunt: [email protected]
      Get a copy of my Book : Download Here
      Click to go to the Podcast on Remarkable Results Radio
    • By ASOG Podcast
      Meet The Garage Network from Australia
    • By carmcapriotto
      This week Hunt discusses the current banking crisis and the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank.
      • What happened to Silicon Valley Bank, and are there other banks at risk of the same fate?
      • What risk factors played a role in the eventual collapse of the bank?
      • What role does the government play in these situations, and what are they doing to fix this?
      • What are the after effects of something like this going to be?
      Thanks to our sponsor partner NAPA TRACS
      Hunt Demarest, CPA
      Paar Melis and Associates – Accountants Specializing in Automotive Repair
      Visit us Online : www.paarmelis.com
      Email Hunt: [email protected]
      Get a copy of my Book : Download Here
      Click to go to the Podcast on Remarkable Results Radio

  • By nptrb, in Automotive Industry,

    By nptrb, in Automotive Industry,

    By nptrb, in Automotive Industry,

  • Our Sponsors

  • Create New...