In this article

Chris Gooi has always harboured a passion for all things antique.

Fascinated by old tech, the ex-hotelier is particularly infatuated with classic cars. This love culminated in his purchase of a Mercedes W124 Classic around six years ago.

Meddling with his car, he noticed his meter looked worn out, so he turned to workshops, asking whether they could help freshen it up.

“None provided this service, some asked me to get a used unit which I refused because I want my car to be original as it is, with original equipment intact,” Chris recalled.

And when he finally found someone who provided refurbishment for meters, the cost was too high.

Image Credit: MisterMeter

Thus, Chris decided to do his own research, and refurbished his own meter successfully.

But how did he go from fixing up his own car’s meter to starting a full-fledged business by the name of MisterMeter?

Leveraging social media

The answer is pretty simple—social media.

Posting his work to Facebook, Chris ended up getting the attention of other classic car enthusiasts.

“Most classic lovers can repaint, upholster their car but they still need to stare at their aged meter,” Chris pointed out. “They may be broken, faded, or dimly lit. Mine was good looking!”

From there, he began receiving a number of inquiries, and Chris realised there was a gap in the market that he could fill.

His very first customer was acquired through a Facebook post. Chris remembered going to his house in Shah Alam nervously and finishing the job after a day.

“I think I did only a 7/10 job in terms of refinement compared to my results now, but the customer was happy,” he shared.

Image Credit: MisterMeter

Being in the business of repairs, the fear of accidentally breaking a customer’s classic, rare meters can be frightening. But for Chris, constant learning and improving his techniques has helped increase his confidence.

Today, MisterMeter is his full time, providing door-to-door uninstallation and installation services for customers in the Klang Valley.

Offering a specialised craft

Specialising in older cars, MisterMeter mainly works with cars and trucks that are 15 years and above.

With older cars, though, there are usually a lot of parts owners may have to tune up, not just the meters. So why just focus on meters?

For one, as Chris himself experienced, not a lot of workshops will refurbish classic cars. Moreover, the founder believes it’s good to be specialised and focused.

In any case, he already has his plate full with meters itself, and he’s still spending time mastering this one equipment.

For customers who are in need of car restoration skills, Chris would refer them to his contacts.

Nowadays, Chris fixes up about 25 to 40 meters a month, and has delivered close to 1,000 meters since MisterMeter’s inception in 2019.

He shared that the profit margins for his specialised service can go over 300%. His services start at RM150 for minor repairs, and can go up to RM600+.

“Like a beautician, hairstylist, artist or magician with technical know-how, the value is very subjective. Customers are willing to pay for good results,” he said.

Image Credit: MisterMeter

That said, Chris believes it’s critical not to be greedy with the margin and keep things affordable to maintain customers’ trust.

“My dream and goal is to make MisterMeter a trusted, well-known brand for instrument refurbishment,” he expressed. “A place to get your car instrument meters fixed, be it for car meters or similar items, such as antique gadgets, clocks, and more, all with a dedicated small team.”

En route to achieving this, Chris has plans to get a working minivan to do minor repairs on the spot. Aside from convenience, he believes this will help with brand visibility.

“I’m still far away from the above. But every day, every step counts,” Chris expressed. “I try my best, God will decide the rest.”

Driven as a solopreneuer

Before this, Chris was in the hospitality industry, starting his career at the Grand Maya Hotel, previously known as The Radisson Kuala Lumpur.

After 10 years as a hotelier, he switched to financial planning for better income.

Image Credit: MisterMeter

Yet, despite the higher income, being a financial planner wasn’t really cutting it for him. “I did not really like the role—advising and peddling financial products to customers,” he reasoned.

His experiences were not in vain, though. He believes that customer engagement is important in any industry, but it’s especially something that’s lacking in the auto service industry.

“How many friendly mechanics or technicians you find out there? Not many. When customers feel comfortable, they talk and deal with you,” he said.

While those soft skills are helpful, pivoting to be an entrepreneur is still very challenging, especially when you’re doing it solo.

Running his own business, Chris does worry about when the next order will come and the financial strains that come with a lack of requests. With no mentors in his field, there’s also the challenge of learning all the technical know-hows.

“But the lesson is, one must discard any forms of fear and apprehension. Just do it,” he said. “Learn and improvise from there.”

Image Credit: MisterMeter

For others who want to become an entrepreneur, Chris suggests asking yourself why. 

Is it for passion? Money? Or because you think you can do better than what is offered by others? Is there a need for your product or service? Is it unique? Are you willing to work even harder than working for others? Are you willing to provide customers with good value? 

“Answer all the above truthfully and then just go for it,” he advised. “You cannot be perfect, or wait for the perfect everything to start. It won’t happen. If you like running your own show, just do it. Then learn and improvise. And provide better everything than your competition. Strive for that. You will do just fine.”

And this advice rings true for people of all walks of life. Age, as they say, is just a number. After all, it was at 42 years old that Chris donned the MisterMeter hat.

“I’m an old dog that managed to learn new tricks,” the now 47-year-old shared. “If others can, you can. Just start.”

  • Learn more about MisterMeter here.
  • Read other articles we’ve written about Malaysian startups here.

Featured Image Credit: MisterMeter

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Vulcan Post aims to be the knowledge hub of Singapore and Malaysia.

© 2021 GRVTY Media Pte. Ltd.
(UEN 201431998C.)