Trailblazer Series – Michael Key Auto Engineering

Doubling your monthly profits in just over two months sounds like some spiel from some sleazy marketing ‘guru’, right? Well, that’s exactly what Matthew at Michael A. Key Automobile Engineering achieved last year.

Arrann Diamond

Case Studies

Matthew has taken over the family business, a car garage in Long Eaton, Nottingham. They’ve been in business since 1985 and currently have seven staff working for them and six-car bays.


At the end of 2020, Matthew decided he needed to change how the business was run to make it more profitable. In January 2021, he enrolled on Auto IQ Accelerator programme after reading excellent reviews and hasn’t looked back since.

Michael Key Auto Engineering Case study

The Story of Michael Key Auto Engineering

In 1985 Michael Key opened his car garage’s doors to the public and successfully serviced thousands of cars over the years.

However, when Michael’s son, Matthew, joined the business, he noticed a pattern emerging. The garage was busy, yet wasn’t as financially successful as you’d expect. With many months of “turning a profit, but nothing significant”.

Matthew knew something needed to change, and he tried his best to put his business degree to good use to develop the garage into a more profitable business.

He said, “We couldn’t really make it pay what we wanted it to, to take the business forward while supporting the directors”.

The business was proving more stressful than he’d anticipated, especially around Christmas time which Matthew began to hate more each year. That led to sleepless nights worrying if the business would be there in January… Clearly, something needed to change. And it led to Matthew scouring the internet seeking answers.

One name kept appearing, followed by a tonne of praise and excellent reviews: John from the Auto IQ Accelerator programme, who had led several technical courses Matthew attended in the past.

The Challenges Michael Key Auto Engineering faced before Auto IQ Accelerator

All businesses face challenges; Michael Key is no exception to the rule.

One of their biggest challenges was turning a profit and ensuring the business had adequate cash flow.

Three years ago, the garage was due to close for two weeks at Christmas. Something the staff looked forward to each year. However, for Matthew, he hated every minute of it.

Before you start comparing him to Scrooge, he had his reasons.

Closing for two weeks meant two things. No income and still paying the bills.

It caused so much stress and anxiety, leaving Matthew “…juggling bank accounts, worrying about not having a business to come back to”.

Everyone was singing John’s praises. I heard his name mentioned a few times. So I decided Auto IQ was the best option as it looked a perfect fit.

Matthew stated, “Everyone was singing John’s praises. I heard his name mentioned a few times. So I decided Auto IQ was the best option as it looked a perfect fit”.

After speaking with John, Matthew signed up for the programme immediately.

And now? Michael Key earns one year’s profit…in the first quarter. Talk about turning a business around.

But it wasn’t a walk in the park. The garage needed hard work and determination to become the success it is now. Luckily, Matthew had all the help and guidance he needed to turn his garage around.

Maximizing Your Garage Profitability

But, worrying about cash flow wasn’t the only challenge they faced before the Auto IQ Accelerator:

One of their biggest challenges was turning a profit and ensuring the business had adequate cash flow.
  • 1

    They felt like “busy fools to start with”, taking any old job.

  • 2

    The garage didn’t turn a significant profit.

  • 3

    There wasn’t a plan in place to take the business forward.

  • 4

    Implementing change was difficult as previous changes hadn’t been too successful.

  • 5

    Matthew’s parents were getting older, nearing retirement.

As the challenges began to pile up, Matthew had a decision to make; he’d either continue down the same route facing the same problems daily. Or, he could try something new with a proven track record of success.

Luckily he decided on the latter and joined the Auto IQ Accelerator.

Why Auto IQ Accelerator?

Michael Key needed direction. Matthew knew this but struggled to get a plan of action to stick, especially when staff pushed back on any changes.

While he searched for a way to improve his business, he’d had guidance from various business coaches, but nothing seemed to work how he wanted.

But having been successful on technical courses that Auto IQ’s head trainer, John, has led, Matthew was curious as to what business coaching was on offer as part of the Auto IQ Accelerator. Especially, considering the reputation it had.

The whole team is focused with one goal in mind and no longer 'working for work’s sake'

And one of the keys of the Accelerator for Matthew was accountability.

Accountability spurred him on to take advantage of the bespoke nature of the Accelerator programme, implementing the business strategy he’s always wanted Michael Key to have.

How Michael Key Auto Engineering used Auto IQ Accelerator

Michael Key used the Auto IQ Accelerator programme to bring stability, increased profits, and less stress to the garage.

Here’s how the Auto IQ Accelerator helped Matthew:

  • Bespoke 1-2-1 coaching – Regular meetings to keep Matthew accountable, ensuring he followed the bespoke strategy laid out for his garage business.
  • Removed the stress from Matthew’s business – The help and support from Auto IQ helped remove the pressure and stress from his business, as they handled the little things, allowing him to focus on the bigger picture.
  • Being part of a group – John’s knowledge is extensive, but he hasn’t been in every situation. With the group meetings, Matthew saw what other businesses were going through, learnt from their experiences, and developed solutions for his problems together.
  • Strategy development – Matthew worked with the Auto IQ Accelerator team to develop a weekly, monthly, and yearly plan. Giving his business direction and the steps he needed to take for success.
  • Wide range of expertise – Head coach John and his team of experts helped Michael Key with everything from Digital, Marketing, Data, and HR. Giving the garage the best coaching and advice around.
  • Marketing overhaul – Without marketing, customers won’t come through the garage’s door. Auto IQ helped Matthew identify his ideal customer and how to target them.
Maximizing Your Garage Profitability

Matthew and the Michael Key Auto Engineering team have been under Auto IQ’s wing for over a year, and the difference is staggering.

The whole team is focused with one goal in mind and no longer “working for work’s sake,” as Matthew put it.

The garage now receives only the most profitable customers. Cars come in for a full health check, and the staff have the mantra “make every car safer for the customer”.

The Results

Before Michael Key discovered the Auto IQ Accelerator, the garage was at a stalemate.

Money was coming in but going out faster than a Formula One tyre change.

However, after starting the Accelerator programme, Michael Key doubled its net profit…In 12 months. Talk about changing the game.

It’s a paradigm-shifting moment, leaving a legacy for my kids.

During one staff meeting, they announced they’d turned over £70,000 in a month. One employee exclaimed, “Bloody hell, it was only a few months ago, and it was £30-40k a month”.

Imagine waking up each day knowing your business is on the right path—no more worrying about bills and no added stress or anxiety. Sleepless nights are a thing of the past.

It’s how Matthew feels now.

And when asked if he had any advice for garages thinking about joining the Auto IQ Accelerator programme, he said, “It’s the best thing we’ve done for our garage. Profitability, strategic planning and vision for the business. I really enjoyed it”.

Although Auto IQ showed Matthew the ‘How’, he’s done a fabulous job with implementation, and his hard work is paying off.

Looking to the future, Michael Key is looking to overhaul the garage, splitting it in two, so one half can focus on van servicing, while the other targets luxury vehicles such as Mercedes, BMWs, Audi, etc.

If you’ve found Matthew’s story inspiring and feel your garage needs some guidance to point you in the right direction, Auto IQ is here to help. You’re one quick call away from the answers you’ve been looking for.

Ready to take your garage success to new heights with our Business Accelerator programme?

Hit the red button now or give us a call on 01604 328500

Get Started Now