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Horse-powered mechanic is building a stable trade
Vincent Fuoco brings a whole new meaning to the phrase horse power.
The father-of-three converted stables into a garage to house his car repair business.
Mr Fuoco, 37, set up Godwins Automotive in June after quitting his job as a service manager with major dealer Ridgeway in Kidlington.
Leaving home at 6.30am and not returning until late evening meant he was hardly seeing William, three, Evelyn, two and one-year-old Sebastian.
He explained: “I was working 60-70 hours per week and often bringing work home with me.
“I felt I was missing out on all the things I’d looked forward to when I first found out I was going to be a father, from seeing their smiley faces in the morning, to story time before bed.”
He had what he describes as a “lightbulb moment” when he decided to go it alone.
With more than 20 years’ experience of working in the motor trade, it seemed the obvious solution.
After starting as an apprentice mechanic aged 16, he became a master technician by the time he was 23 and specialised in fault-finding and diagnostics for the next 10 years. He worked his way up to the role of service manager where he headed a team of 20.
Finding land for his business premises was not a problem, as his wife Lucinda’s parents owned a small holding in North Aston, near Bicester. On it was an old barn which had been converted to stables, so with help from his brother-in-law, who is a cabinet-maker, they set about transforming it into a modern car repair shop, complete with professional ramp.
He and Lucinda, 27, remortgaged their house in Dunthrop to raise the £15,000 for equipment.
Mr Fuoco said: “I have no doubt in my ability as a mechanic and I feel I can offer a really personal service to my customers.
“I looked at the list of risks of starting my own business and it was quite long, but when I put that next to the list of sacrifices if I stayed in a nine-to-five, I had no choice.”
The business offers MoTs, servicing and diagnostics and specialises in Volkswagen and Audis, although he is happy to work on any make or model. To compete with major garages, which charge around £114 per hour for labour, Godwins Automotive charges £45.
Most of his work is coming from word of mouth and he has launched a website, which he created himself after learning from a book how to write code.
He added: “It’s great now, because I can take my little boy to pre-school three mornings a week and pop home at lunchtime if I want to, without having to explain myself to anyone.”
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