Below is the five minute talk that President Jim gave at the Northern Business Breakfast on August 24th about his business journey. Jim has worked hard to build his dream into a successful business.
My name is Jim Buckoke and I have run a business called Jim’s Trim in Salisbury for thirty eight years.
I would just like to give you a bit of background about my business journey.
Firstly, I had the choice of two apprenticeships, but chose one at GMH (General Motors Holden) as a Motor Trimmer. My first insight to the work force was spending three months at Woodville GMH in the Apprentice Area, learning how to weld and use machines. After my basic training, I moved to the Elizabeth Plant in Production Engineering. GMH were very good to me, teaching me a lot.
After doing my apprenticeship and one year extra working for Holden’s, with my $700 holiday pay, a sewing machine, a work bench and a small rented workshop, I started Jim’s Trim in January 1979. I had no work, but was able to get extended credit from the Local Paper and put a 6×4 ad on the front page for one week. Well, it took off, and within eighteen months, I had outstripped my wildest dreams.
Moving from making new cars to repairing them had its challenges, as was learning who to give credit and who to be wary of. Losing my Driver’s Licence for Traffic Infringements, (I loved fast cars) forced me to take on my first apprentice, and with work increasing steadily many more followed, leading to a peak of seven employees.
After seventeen years of renting, in 1996 I purchased my own solid brick high clearance workshop in Salisbury, near the Main North Road.
Over the years, we have done a vast range of work from the Airforce and RFDS (Royal Flying Doctor Service) planes to large cray boats, motor vehicles dating from 1913 to the present day and even bridges, buildings, covers for large machinery, forklifts and earthmoving equipment. We are also involved with a Vehicle Body Builder, making small disabled vehicles of which we have made around twelve hundred. Another specialty of ours is making ski boat Biminis and fishing boat canopies.
Recently, we retrimmed a 1934 Lagonda Rapier (which is an English sports car) using traditional methods including hand stuffing the leather seats and using tacks. We also made a hood and side curtains, all done from photographs. Shortly after, the owner took it to France and drove around Europe for a month.
Jims Trim has also been contracted back to GMH to do Prototyping Work. I have found with my competition that they seem to go for private, one-off customers. Ours being a niche business, which is affected by discretionary spending, lead me to seek Trade and Industrial customers as well as Private customers who understand the complexities of our work. I think having account customers is also good for smooth cash flow.
I have always looked at how I like to be treated as a customer and applied this to our business standard; for example, greeting and acknowledging customers as soon as possible even if we are busy with others. Prompt and effective after sales service is also important to us. As I said before, a portion of our business is discretionary spending which can lead to fluctuations. In an effort to counter this, we have recently increased our online presence with a new updated Website (with help from Polaris) and are promoting ourselves on Social Media.