entrepreneurship

How Taiwo Abiri became a millionaire mechanic by watching Youtube videos

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My Dad said being a mechanic was bad for a university graduate, said Taiwo Abiri, the millionaire mechanic that learnt how to repair cars by watching YouTube videos.

Somewhere in Lagos, Nigeria, Economics and MBA holder, Taiwo Abiri, is living his dream of making money by getting his hands dirty. He is a car mechanic, and he became one by learning the trade from YouTube videos.

“I wanted to go to a technical school in the US to learn about car repairs but I couldn’t because my parents would not support me. I did not want to go for my NYSC. They wanted me to do an MBA. My dad said being a mechanic was bad for a university graduate. In fact, I changed my first engine oil for a car from steps I learnt on YouTube” Taiwo Abiri told The Nerve Africa. Now he has made 25 million in 2015 from his makeshift shop that services 8 to 10 cars daily.

Since parents wouldn’t support him, he decided to fund his way through his training by getting a job at a real estate firm after his compulsory one year National Youth Service Corps (NYSC).

As he narrated his experience at the real estate firm, a man with middle eastern origin walked in and presented an invoice to Taiwo. “They supply us lubricants,” he told me as the man left the container office to supervise the offloading of the lubricants. We continued our discussion while he was away.

Abiri told me how he saved as much as he could throughout the year he spent at the real estate firm. He had completed a Project Management Training by the time he got the job as an Assistant Portfolio Manager. He resigned after spending 13 months there and enrolled for apprenticeship at a garage owned by some Lebanese men on the Lekki-Epe axis of Lagos, ensuring that no one at the garage knew he had a degree.

“I wanted them to treat me the way they treated everyone there,” he says, adding that he worked there without being paid for 20 months.

The man who I assumed was an Emirati had finished supervising the offloading of the lubricants and he was back to ensure payment was made.

“I will do a transfer,” Abiri told the Emirati, whose hands were interlocked as if he was talking to a boss he reveres. After the transfer was done, the Emirati remained standing, head bowed towards Taiwo Abiri as if he was trying to tell him a secret. “We also sell Volkswagen parts, Mercedez Benz…,” I could barely make out his words. But he seemed to have told Taiwo what he loved to hear as he gave him an approving glance.

While at the Lebanese-owned workshop, Taiwo’s educational background distinguished him, as he understood things before others and was able to use some computerized tools others found hard to use. He started buying tools with his savings and donations from his brother who lives in the United States and now has a stake in Motomi, Taiwo’s auto-repair company.

Although he started his car repair business with friends and families as clients, Taiwo boasts of several corporate clients today. Motomi repairs cars for Century Energy, Four Points By Sheraton, Falcon Gas, AA Rescue, Structon Construction Company, Computer Warehouse Group, among others.

Taiwo showed the kind of enthusiasm I have never seen a mechanic shown as he discussed part of his future plans. “I can’t tell you all,” he said smiling. “But we will soon start our express service. Clients can invite us and expect us to get to them in record time to fix their vehicles; whether their cars broke up on the highway or the fault happened while they were at home.”

The Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Nigeria Economics graduate had a Business Development Officer on his team last year but she left at the end of the year. He said he was looking to hire a replacement as he expands his reach and hope to get more corporate clients on board. He also plans to start Motomi Express 24/7 to ensure clients are served round the clock.

At the moment, he works on 8 to 10 cars daily but hopes to increase this as his business grows.

Funding has been a major challenge for Abiri in his bid to scale up his business. “I even went to the Bank of Industry to see if I could get a loan but they told me that they only give loans to manufacturing companies and not to service companies,” he told me.

Taiwo hopes he gets investors that will help fund his big plans, one of which includes setting up a model technical school where graduates who would like to toe his path can perfectly fit into.

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