Formed in 1989, Porsche specialists 911 SBD offer a complete range of services for all Porsche vehicles.The company, who had a previous background in the racing arena, now specialise in the servicing, repair, maintenance and restoration of these prestigious cars.
Managing Director, Rajib Bose took over the business six years ago and decided to move the company’s focus away from racing. “It was a strategic decision to gravitate from the racing side of things and more into the repair of road vehicles; with that came new opportunities. As a specialist repairer we see ourselves as having a slight advantage over the main dealer due to the bespoke services that we can offer and this has stood us in good stead.”
Thanks to market demand, one of the aforementioned services that Rajib refers to comes in the form of brake ‘skimming’, having recently invested in the Pro-Cut PFM 9.2 on-car brake lathe. Speaking about the reasons behind this decision, he said: “We regularly get calls from customers saying they’ve just been quoted £2,100 for a brake pad and disc change. A lot of the time, the vehicles have only clocked up around 20,000 miles. Thanks to the Pro-Cut brake lathe, we’ve never had to change discs on a vehicle that’s completed less than 60,000 miles.”
He continues: “In times where the customer is watching every penny, this tool negates the need for fitting brand new discs which, as would be expected for any Porsche model, are going to be pricey. As an example, if you own a Boxter then you’re looking at around £120 for a set of pads and discs, per wheel, and for other models this can be upwards of around £570 per wheel. On average, the cost of discs is around £250 each which isn’t cheap, so we’re saving the customer money and offering them a good service in the process.”
From a business point of view the real beauty of the tool to Rajib is that he doesn’t have to make his margins from the upselling of parts that the customer doesn’t necessarily need, he explains: “By offering a brake skimming service to the customer you don’t have to spend say, £600, to make 10% back. With the Pro-Cut brake lathe you have no outlays and are therefore making straight profit.”
Having previously seen the tool in action and after hearing good things about it from colleagues, Rajib looked further into purchasing one of the units. He said: “I first came across the brake lathe whilst visiting a friend’s garage. Chris Turner, who has 40 plus years’ experience and is well known in the Porsche scene, was using the older version at his garage and he spoke very highly of it. I then went away to do some of my own research and got in touch with Peter Spraggs from Pro-Cut who deals with the European arm of the business. He came down with the tool, demonstrated how to use it and after that it was a no-brainer, I had to invest.”
Rajib initially purchased the entry level PFM 9.0 unit and chose to buy the machine outright: “I can honestly say that the return on investment for the tool was around three-and-half months, however when the 9.2 was released, I decided to upgrade. It’s so much better than the previous model as it features advanced electronics, it tells you how damaged the disc is and, if there’s any warping or run-out, it will sort this all out for you. It can also rectify brake judder, squeaks and noises. The tool is so easy to use too – in fact I think it took me about two hours to learn what I needed.”
With approvals for the PFM on-car brake lathe in place from many global manufacturers (including Porsche), Rajib understands the benefits of offering brake disc resurfacing as an alternative to replacing the part. He concludes: “We often find ourselves explaining to customers that they don’t need to order brand new discs as we can repair the ones already on the vehicle (as long as there’s enough life in them). Once they find out that we’ve got a ‘dealer-level’ tool in the form of the Pro-Cut, they’re completely fine with it as the skimming option is far more cost-effective for them in the long run.”