There comes a moment sometimes in life when you have to look at yourself in the mirror, take a big breath and say ‘can I make it on my own? Stand on my own two feet and go for it?’
That’s exactly the position Justin Macal (50) , new owner of Revive! Southend-On-Sea found himself in just before the pandemic. After over two decades working in the family contract car cleaning empire, he felt it was time to step out from under the family umbrella and create his own destiny.
Justin joined the family business after a successful early career start as a car salesman with Dagenham Motors. He worked his way up through operations, eventually becoming sales director, quadrupling the company’s turnover as a result of negotiating a huge national dealership group contract.
But family businesses can have their own politics, and dynamics can change. Justin wasn’t enjoying it as much and he questioned his future.
He’d been working in the business for 24 years and it was time for a new challenge.
Then Covid arrived. Said Justin: “ I thought, great, I’ll have few months to stand back, get away, take a breath, recharge and just think.”
He met up with his dad and explained how he was feeling, and whilst his father didn’t want him to leave, he offered his full support for whatever he chose to do.
To keep occupied during the pandemic, Justin took a job as a home delivery driver for Sainsbury’s where his surprised colleagues initially though he was an undercover boss just like the popular TV programme! He said: “I really enjoyed it. I’ve gone into a yard environment where I am used to being the boss and now I’m one of the workers. I came out of my shell and it made me think, right, I’m ready. I need to find another job. But I didn’t know what I wanted to do. I didn’t want to go and sell cars again although there were lots of offers.”
His job searching led to an interview with a franchise broker who, after suggesting several other options that weren’t right, put forward the Revive! opportunity.
Explained Justin: “The idea interested me as I knew about SMART repair. A former colleague at Dagenham Motors was one of the first to be trained in SMART repair techniques back in the day and he still does a bit of work. I looked him up and asked him about Revive! He knew of Revive! and said – Justin it’s a no brainer – you will fly!”
So he set the ball rolling, completed the training and discovered that Revive! was just what he had been looking for.
“I’ve got a journey to go on. I know what I want and what I’m going to get. I know I’ll be successful but I know it’ll take time. I’ve got a lot to learn and that’s where the support and back-up from Revive! Head office comes in.
“The biggest thing for me out of all this is that I absolutely love it. It’s the best decision I’ve ever made and I’m so glad I’ve done it. People who know me really well have said Justin, you’ve got your smile back, you’ve got your edge back.”
With ten years to go until retirement, Justin wants to make his own mark and build a business that he can pass on – not to his children but to his Revive! ‘family’. He’s already building a great relationship with his two technicians and he hopes that as the business expands and becomes the smart repairer of choice in Essex, when the time is right to take a step back, a member of the team will take over.
Reflecting on his transition from being part of a family firm to running his own business Justin said:
“I’m going to do this for me. One day they’re going to say, you know what, he didn’t need his dad to lean on , his dad didn’t do it- he did it himself.”