S'porean woman, 27, quits job to take over dad's car workshop business & help repay S$40,000 debt

So sweet.

Lean Jinghui | May 14, 2023, 04:29 AM

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A 27-year-old Singaporean woman made the decision to leave her full-time job with a venture capital firm to take over her dad's car maintenance and repair business after learning that he had accrued S$40,000 in debt.

According to a printed version of the story by Shin Min Daily News on May 13, Cordellia Ann Tan Mei Yin, had decided to do so in 2021 after learning of the financial challenges her father's business was facing.

The Covid-19 pandemic severely impacted the car maintenance and repair company – Pitstop Tyres – which had been up and running for more than 10 years by then and helmed by Tan's father.

Prior to making the decision, Shin Min reported that Tan was earning a stable income in her full-time role with a venture capital firm.

She graduated from the National University of Singapore in 2020.

In mid-2021, however, Tan chanced upon a letter addressed to her dad that spelled out the dire straits of his company.

That changed everything for her.

She realised her father was in debt and was unable to pay what was owed, and that the family's home appliances and car could be repossessed.

Tan elaborated on how the news floored her:

"I was very shocked. My dad is very traditional, so he usually does not elaborate much on the financial challenges he is facing in front of the family, in order not to make us worry."

Making the leap

Knowing that her expertise was in helping business enterprises grow and develop, and that her father was generally inexperienced with online sales, Tan shared that she decided to quit her full-time job in order to help build up the family business, even though it was in a male-dominated industry.

By then, Tan's father's business had already been on the decline for a few years.

After joining in October 2021, Tan shared that she had also realised that the company was S$40,000 in debt, and that her father's bank account was in the negative.

She said:

"At our lowest, the company's internet and electricity bills were cut, and I had to plead with the suppliers to wait till I could sell more tyres, and pay them back the money."

However, these challenges did not deter Tan from continuing with her goals of managing the family business.

Tan added: "Moreover, this is my dad, so of course I would help him."

In order to expand her professional knowledge and be better able to support her father in his role, Tan decided to use all her SkillsFuture credits for courses that could help her improve her knowledge on car repair mechanics, and gain accreditation for an assortment of skills relevant to the industry.

She also started a TikTok account for the company, in order to increase their reach and expand business sales online.

@pitstop.tyres do u want to be my friend also 😄😂😇 #workshopadventures #bumperrepair ♬ Cupid – Twin Ver. (FIFTY FIFTY) – Sped Up Version - sped up 8282

Having first joined when the company was still short-handed, Tan shared that she has since carried out almost every job that needs doing.

Now that the company has picked up in terms of business sales, Tan mainly focuses on supervising, and in executing sales and business deals for the company.

In one TikTok, which showed Tan demonstrate fixing up and changing car tyres, she said she lost 6kg working in the physically demanding job.

One tyre with rim weighs about 26kg, another TikTok revealed.

Father hopes to pass on over 30 years of knowledge

Speaking to Shin Min, Tan's father, 57, shared that he simply hopes to impart the value of "working hard for sweet success" to his daughter, and pass on as much of his knowledge of the industry to her as possible.

With over 30 years of experience, Tan father is the only tyre technician in Singapore to have been certified by German company TÜV, a provider of technical services worldwide.

He still regularly visits the company to "observe" now and then while his daughter runs the show.

Tan's father shared that he is happy that his daughter has picked up the necessary skills fast, but that he likely needs more time to impart his accumulated knowledge to her.

He said: "I'm hoping that with that knowledge, she will face less challenges in walking down this path."

According to Shin Min, Tan officially took over the company from her father at the end of 2022, and has successfully managed to repay almost half of the company's debts so far.

In doing so, Tan has decided not to draw a salary for almost two years, instead choosing to draw a monthly allowance of up to S$200 whenever needed.

Top images via @pitstop.tyres TikTok