by: We Rise and Shine
Have you ever gone to an auto repair shop and the mechanic rattles off a laundry list of additional services they provide, or shows you unfamiliar car parts that “need” to be replaced? If so, you probably do one of two things: acquiesce to the mechanic’s suggestions and walk away spending more than you initially anticipated, or politely decline their recommendations because you don’t believe what they are telling you. Imagine if there was a shop, which served as a destination place where you could go without the fear that your mechanic is trying to upsell you. Where you could trust the service, relax in a nice lounge that caters to women, and get your nails done while waiting for your car to be serviced. Sound like a dream? Well, it was for Patrice Banks until she put her vision in motion with the launch of Girls Auto Clinic, a female empowerment company that is transforming the automotive experience for women. Through comprehensive workshops, and information shared in her “Glove Box Guide,” Patrice is providing women with the tools and resources they need to maintain their vehicles, and reclaim their power when they visit an auto shop to have their car serviced. Here’s what the illustrious SheCanic had to say about her vision and making history with her full service auto repair shop:
You’ve mentioned that you used to be a self-proclaimed auto airhead, what first peeked your interest in the automotive industry?
Patrice: I was a typical woman who owned car but didn’t feel in control of it. I didn’t know anything about maintenance and service, I felt taken advantage of and anytime something would happen I would panic. At one point, I was in search of a female mechanic to help me, and to my surprise I could not find one. I wondered how come there wasn’t any type of support group out there. I decided to start my own company to empower women and help them get the knowledge that they need about their vehicles so they don’t fear their car or the mechanic.
At what moment did you know it was time to leave your full-time job at DuPont, and how did you know this was what you were purposed to do?
Patrice: My purpose has been to help women and empower women; that is what drives me. Girls Auto Clinic launched in 2013 and I was conducting workshops and working part-time at an auto shop while working for DuPont. When I left DuPont, I started working full-time at a shop. What made me quit my job was I was always thinking of Girls Auto Clinic, even at work. That’s when I knew it was time to go. I’m happier now; it was definitely the best decision that I made.
What are some of the things you cover at your monthly maintenance workshops?
Patrice: At the workshops, I cover the most important things that you need to know so that you can take better care of your car. I start with a table of used parts and unused parts. You should see the difference between when something is in good condition and when it needs to be replaced. I want women to not be afraid to ask the mechanic to show them what they are talking about. During the workshops, you have the opportunity to learn on your own car. I am going to educate you on what’s underneath your hood, what you can and cannot touch, how to jumpstart a vehicle, as well as the purpose of your battery and your engine. I make it relatable so you know and understand what is going on.
What are the top 3 things everyone should know about their vehicle?
1. Year, make and model of vehicle because it affects the repair and the parts that need to be purchased
2. The correct pressure that needs to be in your tires at all times
3. Know the maintenance schedule. You can refer to your owner’s manual for this information.
What have you found to be the common mistake when it comes to auto maintenance?
Patrice: People frequently neglect oil changes. You should change your oil regularly, and do it before the maximum amount of miles.
How can women be more empowered or more informed when they visit the dealer or auto repair shop?
Patrice: It’s all about education and research. My advice is to educate yourself, which you can do by reading your owner’s manual. Make sure you know the maintenance section and understand what is needed for your car. You can also purchase my Glove Box Guide.
What would you say are some key indicators to let you know when a mechanic trying to pull a fast one on you?
Patrice: A mechanic who doesn’t want to explain anything or is giving you a hard time.
What has been your most memorable experience since starting Girls Auto Clinic?
Patrice: Definitely being in the Philadelphia Daily News. It was very nostalgic for me because my mother would go to the coffee shop everyday and bring home the daily news. It was always something I looked at and read as a little girl.
What is your ultimate vision for Girls Auto Clinic?
Patrice: My vision is for Girls Auto Clinic to be a household name. I want to offer women automotive services that are based on trust, inclusion and empowerment. I call my company a female empowerment company. My goal is to change how women view the automotive industry, how the automotive industry views women, and the history of women in automotive. I want to open shops that cater to women and hire female mechanics and provide support and resources for their career development. There is also a lot of outreach to young girls; being proactive with them with not only their car maintenance, but also building a career in the automotive industry.
When do you feel most empowered?
Patrice: I feel empowered when I feel confident to be myself and not worry about what other people are going to think of me.
What would you want your legacy to be?
Patrice: When people think of Patrice Banks, I want them to know that I’m just a girl who was a dreamer. I want to be honored for the fact that I had a dream for what I wanted for my life and I went after it. In regards to Girls Auto Clinic, I want to make history for women in the automotive industry.
WANT TO MAKE HISTORY WITH GIRLS AUTO CLINIC?
Share the vision!
The Girls Auto Clinic Repair Shop will offer:
Full maintenance and repair services of all vehicle makes and models. Car wash/Car detail services will also be available.
● Female technicians/mechanics and service advisors.
● Sale of GAC apparel and the GAC glove box guide.
● FREE monthly workshops to educated women on car care and maintenance.
● A lounge catered to a woman’s aesthetic; comfortable, visually pleasing and clean.
● Nail salon on site that will offer nail and spa salon services.
Share the Wealth!
Here a just a few of the things you can gain with your donation:
- $1 raffle valued at $150 or less
- Electronic copy of the Girls Auto Clinic Glove Box Guide
- #sheCANic Tshirt
- GAC 2016 Calendar
- Glove Box Kit
- Car Emergency Kit
- Girls Auto Clinic Workshop
- Advertise on the GAC website
Find out more here!