Ireland’s only online car accessory and parts supplier for consumers and the automotives trade Micksgarage.ie is on target to hit a turnover of over €1m this year, the company told siliconrepublic.com.
The site, founded in 2004 by Mayo brothers Ciaran and Michael Crean, operates out of a warehouse in Dublin 3 and is about to launch a side business focusing on car care products and will later this year add an “Ask the Mechanic” forum to the site.
The company’s managing director Ciaran Crean told siliconrepublic.com that growth is being driven by the increasing number of cars on the road and NCT requirements to keep cars in good condition.
Micksgarage.ie’s typical customer profile is the cost-conscious car owner who shops for value. However, more and more trade customers such as car dealerships and garages are ordering over the internet, said Crean.
“The site has been well received. We believe the automotive customer out there realises what we are doing and that we’re the only website in this space,” said Crean. “We reckon we provide convenience and transparency that shoppers wouldn’t find in their local motor factor.”
Crean said the site sells car parts such as bonnets and wings up to car accessories such as roof racks and tow bars and delivers to anywhere in Ireland for €5 for small parts and €9.50 for large parts. “Whether it’s a roof box, wiper blades or a Haynes Manual we can deliver it to you if you’re in Ennis or Tory Island in Donegal.
“We are on track to reach €1m turnover this year after three and a quarter years in business,” said Crean.
Crean, who worked as an IT consultant for Eircom, Reuters and Accenture, and his brother Michael, who left a career in automotives to become an IT consultant for Pfizer and Fineos, hatched the idea in 2001 but only got cracking on the site in 2004.
“With the maturity that came after the dotcom implosion in 2001 we saw people were realising that buying online was a viable alternative. We only had to look at how Paddy Power’s website was doing to see that.”
Crean says that unlike Amazon.com selling books and CDs, repeat business would only make up 7pc of Micksgarage.ie’s customer base but he sees this changing over time.
“Right now if someone had a crash and wanted a new bonnet or wing they’d come to us. We’d be surprised to see them in three months time again and could only assume they’re a bad driver. However, there is repeat business for items like wiper blades and spark plugs.
“As we bring in new ranges such as a car care range we will see more repeat business,” added Crean.
The company has grown to employ four people in East Wall in Dublin. “We’re growing with the rollout of broadband as people wake up to the internet as a viable way to source products and services.
“Thinking back it took us three months to get our first order but now there’s a tremendous appetite out there among consumers that learn of the service. Our marketing campaign strategy would have a lot to do with it,” said Crean.
“Cars is one of the top four search terms on the internet and when you consider there are 1.4 million registered cars in Ireland it’s a rich pool,” Crean added.
In terms of the launch of the ‘Ask the Mechanic’ forum on the site, Crean said the company is currently looking to recruit a tech-savvy mechanic. “The advice will come over the internet but it will come from a professional. We think this will be a popular add-on for consumers and a win-win for Micksgarage.ie at the end of the day.”
By John Kennedy