Autobody repairman making good use of PRYME grant
Camal Preddie at work in his shop.
February 3, 2023

Autobody repairman making good use of PRYME grant

Recipient of a 2020 PRYME Grant, Camal Preddie is pleased at being able to offer new services after receiving $10,000 to invest in his automotive and auto body shop which is located at Lower Edinboro.

On March 17, 2020 the government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG), launched the Promoting Youth Micro Enterprises (PRYME), and Promoting Your Micro Enterprises (PRYME+) programme which provided hundreds of Vincentians with grants ranging from $2,500 to $40,000 to assist them with their business endeavours.

Preddie, a mechanic who received $10,000 for his business, ‘TK’s Autobody and Paint Garage,’ spoke with SEARCHLIGHT on the progress that he has made in the two years since receiving the grant, and how he has been able to increase customer satisfaction due to the new services that the grant has helped him provide.

“It’s worth more than money to me when a client can come and say they are overly satisfied with the product or the services that have been offered. I think that’s the biggest drive because you basically hear people complaining about going to other body shops and having issues, so basically being able to satisfy your customers is my biggest strength.”

Preddie said he is able to do this having purchased tools, welding equipment, diagnostic equipment, and handles which helped enhance his business, and personal income, something he was not able to do before he got the grant.

“There was some slight income changes since, and that’s because of the amount of money that was given. We were able to buy certain equipment so that we can offer more services,” Preddie related to SEARCHLIGHT.

“When you come from humble beginnings…you weren’t born with a golden spoon, you tend to try and do as much as what little finances you have can do, and given that, you would reach to a point where you can say there’s a need for help, and when that [opportunity] came, I jumped on it.”

Though Preddie wished that the programme was available earlier and that he could have received more money to provide even higher quality services, he was still able to do much with the grant he received.

“…I was able to get more money for different services now that I’ve been offered which I couldn’t offer before, given that I wasn’t equipped to do so…the diagnostics for example. Before, we could have only done like a basic scan…looking for trouble codes in the vehicle’s computer system and that’s as far as we could have gone…

“The vehicles now are a bit more intricate and you have situations where the scan tool can only do so much so we were able to get some more advanced diagnostic equipment where we can go deeper into finding out what is wrong with the vehicle, things like oscilloscope and probes, and with that, I could say we’re now able to charge more, something that a lot of people may not like to hear, but we’re able to charge more and be comfortable with that.”

Preddie added that the initiative is one that he hopes to resurface soon as it will assist in his future endeavours.

“It will put me in a position where I could probably get the remaining tools that I need and also consider the repair of the access to the garage itself,” he added.

“For now, expansion is something that’s taken into consideration. We can offer more services, but that’s only when we’re able to get some other tools so it’s still a process but we’re getting there.”

Though his business has been in operation for nine years, Preddie said his love for this field goes back to when he was 19 years old.

“Generally I was being like, what you call a petrol head. You were fascinated about cars, jeeps, buses, and the drive came from young, seeing vehicles and want to know how they work and then you see these fancy cars, and want to know how you make a common car that fancy and there comes studies and after that, everything else is basically history.”

However, Preddie is cautioning youngsters who are looking to work in the same field to check the motive for their pursuit.

“I think it’s a lucrative form of business,yes, but if that’s your drive, you’re going to fail as soon as you start…If you want to become educated or knowledgeable of the systems that are available when it comes to the automotive world, I would encourage you to. Because now most people need commutes and the commutes… they need people who are competent enough to repair.”

The auto mechanic admitted that though business could be better, he is not one to complain.