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It’s Your Turn: Those dreaded Wheel Locks!

  By Bruce Eccles Few things can frustrate my technicians more than a missing wheel key. And nothing spoils the mood in the office like an unreasonable customer. Funny how these two situations are often go hand-in-hand! Dealerships can get

Confidentiality in the workplace

  By Jeff Mowatt Have you ever had a potential customer who seemed nervous and reserved, rather than excited about doing business with you? It happened in a weird way for me. The senior managers seated around the boardroom table

Measuring the productivity of your whole team

By Bob Greenwood Measuring the productivity of individual employees is important in any business. It’s a valuable statistic to track, and is an excellent starting point for a staff review, encouragement, and sometimes counselling. But what about team productivity? Can

JobberView: The Quality Alternative

  By Zara Wishloff The reputation of aftermarket parts has taken quite a tumble. There was a time, in the early decades of the automotive industry, when aftermarket parts were seen as the quality alternative to cheap and poorly manufactured

Getting Paid: How to collect without creating hard feelings

  By Jeff Mowatt If you’ve ever experienced the awkwardness of having to call a customer to remind them to pay their bill, you know that you have to walk a very fine line of diplomacy. Being a pushover won’t

Straw poll: What I learned during Covid

    By Peter Bulmer We conducted a straw poll recently to find out what lessons people are taking away from the extraordinary circumstances we’re all facing this year.   I’ve learned…   …to maintain a wide array of services

Covid-19: Just the latest challenge

By Bob Greenwood Everyone is aware that vehicle technology and business trends are moving forward at a constant pace. Things are changing so fast, in fact, that many automotive repair shops have had to devise strategies to help them keep

Greenwood: How do you measure success?

Here’s a useful exercise. If you normally refer to our industry as a “trade,” try replacing that word with “profession.” Not once in a while… but every time. It will be difficult at first, but soon it will become natural.

Why all the fuss about tiered labour rates?

By Bob Greenwood, AMAM A lot of repair shops still use a single catch-all labour rate. Jobbers who are watching the industry closely know these shops. If you’re selling parts to shops that stick to a single labour rate, it’s

Off the Shelf: It’s All in the Detailing

Off the Shelf By Susan Hitchon Spending a few days a month with manufacturers’ sales representatives is a time commitment, but it can pay real dividends to learn about the latest automotive products and taking them around to visit your

Marketing Primer: Connecting with your customer

By Peter Bulmer Getting new customers into your shop is always a challenge. Even after spending the time to make sure that your prices are right, your service offering is balanced, your curb appeal is great, and your waiting area

Are you doing what the best shop owners are doing?

  By Bob Greenwood, AMAM Do you sometimes worry about the financial stability of your business? You might have reason to if a significant number of your shop customers aren’t paying their statements in full each month, or are actually

Taking charge of Battery Sales

Modern car batteries have an increasingly complex job description. Once needed simply to provide power to crank the engine, they now need to provide power continuously to dozens if not hundreds of sources. From navigation and entertainment devices to heaters,

What will your next fleet look like?

By Anne Mellano Amazon recently announced the order of 100,000 electric vans to be delivered by 2030. For perspective, that’s more vehicles than FedEx currently uses worldwide. The fleet world is increasingly enamoured with electric vehicles, particularly business like the

Connecting with your customers

By Peter Bulmer Getting new customers into your shop is always a challenge. Even after spending the time to make sure that your prices are right, your service offering is balanced, your curb appeal is great, and your waiting area

Consumer behaviour study holds hopeful promise for aftermarket

If the sale of auto parts and service during the Great Recession of 2009 is any predictor of what will happen during the current market downturn, independent shops should expect to fare better than dealerships. According to a new report

New SEMA report offers insights into retail trends

A new SEMA Industry Perspectives Report provides insight on the health of the automotive aftermarket industry on a wide range of business metrics. Among the key findings: independent retailers in the automotive aftermarket remain the most used sales channel for

SELLING: How to gain your customer’s confidence

  By donalee Moulton In a competitive aftermarket, attracting new customers and convincing them to return is more than smart business. It’s essential. It is also a skill and a way of doing business that can be learned and enhanced.

What are you listening to?

  By Allan Janssen Podcasts are not a new thing. Streaming radio shows directly to your phone or MP3 player, or downloading them to your computer has been a thing since 2004. But it seems the first decade of podcasting

Getting through the disruption

By Bob Greenwood, AMAM A massive aftermarket disruption is well underway. Your business will be dramatically affected this year by what the shops you sell to are going through. Shop owners who can see the prevailing trendlines are paying very

‘Game changers’ set to rewrite the meaning of work

  Attempting to predict how technology will impact an industry is a difficult but important exercise. By Allan Janssen On the surface, the auto parts distribution industry seems well insulated from automation. After all, auto parts will continue to be

Next adventure for this innovative shop owner? Retirement

By Allan Janssen Since 1975, Bruce Eccles has kept ‘the valley town’ of Dundas, Ont. moving. The owner of Eccles Auto Service has flourished in five different locations in and around his hometown over the years. The business now includes

Winning websites offer marketing tips

By Jacob Stoller With all the hype about the “newness” of the digital age, it’s hard to believe that the world’s first website turned thirty in 2019. However, while social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn have dominated

Advancing Vehicle Technology: Friend or foe?

In this, the final article in a seven-part series sponsored by Chevron, reporter Jacob Stoller looks at how shop owners should view the disruptive technology on the horizon of the automotive industry. The short answer is it’s not all that bad! By Jacob Stoller

Greenwood: Growth through diversity

By Bob Greenwood, AMAM With service intervals changing due to advanced vehicle technology, holding onto standard methods of doing business can become a major barrier to continued prosperity. Today, management must look at where the business is going, not where

The points of the Fraud Triangle

By Adam Malik What does a fraudster look like? Do they wear a ski mask and gloves? A pulled-down baseball hat and sunglasses? No, not really. To better understand a crook, look at the person beside you. That’s the typical

How routine work builds loyal customers

By Allan Janssen The concept of customer loyalty – creating it, sustaining it, nurturing it – has been a hot topic in business circles since the dawn of capitalism. And even in the digital age, it has not lost its

GREENWOOD: The blueprint for investment

Jobbers can help their clients more than they may think when it comes to a shop being properly stocked. The problem, however, is that most shops don’t stock. There are unrealized benefits: eliminating wait times for deliveries, more on-hand products

Five tips to providing five-star service

  By Katie Mares Most shop owners think offering a “five-star experience” carries an additional expense. It is perceived as the result of a retail strategy that leans toward luxury. But offering your customers a five-star experience doesn’t have to

Our Jobber of the Year: It’s All About the Customer

By Adam Malik At the end of the day, it’s all about your customer. Drew Currie, manager of Motorcade Industries’ Mississauga West branch, says what’s a jobber for if not to help make repair shop businesses better, meet customer needs

Greenwood: Making Your Investments Pay Off

By Bob Greenwood Many jobbers have a tendency to look at every dollar leaving their business as an expense, rather than an investment. This can be a scary attitude. It’s time to slow down and consider some math. Imagine talking

Technician Shortage: There is no “master key”

By Allan Janssen The Automotive Service Association held a ‘Talent Recruitment & Retention’ Panel Discussion at its annual meeting at the end of April in Dallas. I must admit that I was hit by a wave of skepticism when it

Lacombe Auto Service: Our 2019 Shop of the Year

By Allan Janssen When we choose the CARS magazine Shop of the Year, we’re looking for businesses that have had some significant change over the last 12 months. We didn’t expect to find shop owners that have engineered a total

When cars start phoning the shops themselves

In the fourth in a series of seven articles sponsored by Chevron, reporter Jacob Stoller examines the intersection of predictive analytics and telematics. By Jacob Stoller Breakdowns often occur at the worst possible moment, causing untold disruption for driver and

All signs point to growing fleet work

In the second of a series of articles sponsored by Chevron, reporter Jacob Stoller looks at how the growth of corporate fleets will impact the business strategies of successful auto repair shops. By Jacob Stoller Whether or not one believes

Avoiding Phone Fails

By Allan Janssen Despite advances in communication technology, the telephone isn’t going away anytime soon, says customer service trainer Nancy Friedman. The guest speaker on a recent webinar hosted by software company Kukui, Friedman says shops need to know how

Deepening the Talent Pool

By Adam Malik A bright future awaits the automotive aftermarket – provided the industry can seize the opportunities. A common problem is the lack of young talent. Jobbers can’t find reliable people to work in their stores, shops can’t find

GREENWOOD: Welcome to the New Aftermarket

By Bob Greenwood, AMAM Isn’t it amazing how much change has taken place in our industry just in the past three years, and how much disruption is entering the aftermarket? Change and disruption will challenge shop owners at a truly

Better Selling: Ending the Confusion Over TPMS

By Adam Malik It’s enough to make some people want to pull their hair out. Lighting up support lines at tire pressure monitoring system manufacturers is the confusion around programming and relearning sensors to vehicles. It can be confusing to

Monkey business

There’s a whole generation of young managers that are increasingly frustrated. Here’s why.

Managing your oil supply

SKU complexity has led to new ways to track motor oils. How are you keeping track of what’s on hand?

Game changer

Predictive analytics will shake up the aftermarket long before electric or autonomous vehicles. Jobbers, shops and manufacturers all stand to benefit if they get on board

The DVI revolution: How tablets made their way into the bay

How digital video inspections became one of the auto repair industry’s greatest selling tools.

The More Things Change: Invoicing Systems

Our latest walk down memory lane takes a look at how invoicing systems have changed over the years. March 2019: Invoicing Systems The more things change? Take a look back at the quaint old days of the last century when

Optimism for today, questions for tomorrow

A stormy aftermarket forecast can be avoided with the right planning. Industry experts weigh in on how the industry can set itself up for success

Challenges ready to hit on all front

From taking on the competition to hiring challenges, jobbers are ready to dig in

A fresh cup of SUCCESS

Six strategies to help you abandon old ideas in favour of new, more relevant ones.

Facing ‘the single-greatest threat to the independent aftermarket’

Plateauing new sales plus higher used sales equals stiff competition ahead

We have a deal

But new free trade agreement means things won’t be ‘business as usual’

New competition expected to emerge

As the import market continues to grow, jobbers could face increased competition

How changes in vehicle ownership will affect your business

Part 5 of 7 in an exclusive new series.

Connecting the dots between online & retail

Jobbers need to invest online, but also in store ‘to complete the circle’

Missing in action online

Go online and search for places to buy windshield wipers. What are the first five links you see? If it’s remotely similar to my experience, you saw a couple of big box retailers, an online retail giant and an e-commerce

Advancement of autonomous set to accelerate

Robots and humans will soon share the road. How can and will the two co-exist?

An important role during exciting times

New AIA chairman sees plenty of opportunity ahead, but finding talent to fill tomorrow's jobs is a priority

EDITORIAL: Time to get the message out

Changing vehicle technology is setting up another fight between OEs and the aftermarket. The time is now to get ahead of the mudslinging.

‘Internal turmoil’

When fraud hits, jobbers are in for a long and distressing ride

Don’t count on mandatory TPMS

There's little appetite in Canada to demand sensors in vehicles

What do they want? Parts. When do they want it? Now

In our annual survey of service and repair shops, we asked what jobbers could do to better serve their customers

EDITORIAL: Survey says, there’s more you can do for your customers

Many of you probably shared this experience over the recent holiday season: you want to get the perfect gift for someone. You know exactly what they need. You looked online first, saw that the store carried the product and made

The Cost of Saying “No”

How to effectively turn customer objections into opportunities.

Lighting the way to improved sales

Let there be (more) light. That is the recommendation of a 2017 report from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) that found many midsized SUVs need to do a better job of illuminating the road ahead. According to the

THE NEW MOBILITY: Autonomous vehicles and the aftermarket

Part 6 of 7 in an exclusive series.

THE NEW MOBILITY: New ways to eliminate pain

Part 5 of 7 in an exclusive series.

Staying In Touch With Your Customers

By staying in touch with your customers, you turn basic transactions into ongoing relationships. But doing this effectively is not as easy as it sounds. Sending an email that simply says “thinking of you,” or something along those lines, has

Which Platforms Should You Be On?

Once you’ve decided to develop a social media presence for your company, choosing which platforms on which to open a profile can seem overwhelming; each platform has its own unique advantages and disadvantages. You certainly don’t want to miss out

Is Peak Oil Demand In Sight?

The total demand for liquid hydrocarbons is playing out as a tug of war between growth in the petrochemical sector, and declining demand from passenger cars, according to a recent report by McKinsey & Company. According to the report, petrochemical

How Connectivity Is Shaping A New Auto industry

The automotive industry is quickly transitioning from infotainment to transformative technologies that will enable Mobility as a Service to spring to life. Third-party platforms like CarPlay and Android Auto are beginning to emerge as OEMs explore the benefits of ADAS

7 ways to fill the GAPS in your team

Industry watchers have long raised warning flags that the influx of new technicians is insufficient to fill the job vacancies created by those who are retiring. The resultant skills shortage is real… and it’s growing. New estimates suggest the problem

Ware’s Automotive and Industrial Supply 2016 Jobber Of The Year

Jim Ware, with his sons Tim and Dave and their staff, work very hard to provide unbeatable service, and it shows. Just ask their customers. “They go above and beyond what other jobbers do,” says Jason Maderios, owner of Jay’s

How To Build Filter Profits

When it comes to profits, filters are often overlooked. It is not that jobbers are unaware of their profit potential; it’s more likely that many focus on lower-cost filters as they can be sold quickly, in great volumes, and appeal

The Growing Threat Of Asbestos

The Canadian aftermarket is slowly waking up to the realization that asbestos is still coming into Canada in the form of imported brake friction products – and the volume at which it is entering the country continues to grow. According

The Growing Complexity Of Customer Service

Customer service has always been an important factor for any business. It goes without saying that keeping customers happy is key in the quest to gain loyalty and keep customers coming back for more. Everybody, at some point or another,

Five Key Tools That Will Boost Sales

Anticipating customer needs is a difficult challenge for any retailer. For jobbers managing a warehouse of auto parts, having every part for every job is impossible, but if you learn to utilize the wide array of analytical tools that are

E-Commerce Continues To Expand

Consumers expect their auto parts buying experience to be enhanced with convenient, online tools. Roughly half of 1,000 vehicle owners surveyed by eBay had purchased auto parts online, and nearly one in five have purchased a vehicle online in the

Top Retail Brake Sales Tips

When it comes to brake components, there are a myriad of options at all levels. The brake market is not so much driven by brand preference as it is by the reliability of the components you are handing over the

Top Nine Retail Exhaust Tips

As many in the industry are aware, the performance exhaust market is an ever-evolving one, going from the fast and furious tuner market, to modern domestic muscle, to trucks and SUVs – seemingly at the drop of a hat. Here

Motor Oil and Filter Sales Tips

Motor oil, oil filters, and air filters are product categories that play a key role in the aftermarket. They are part of basic regular maintenance, which is considered the lifeblood of a garage. But with the variety of items available

You Are What You Measure

The oft-used missive, “You can’t manage it, if you can’t measure it,” only goes so far. Inasmuch as you can’t run a business without some level of information on what is actually going on – or at the very least,

IT’S YOUR TURN: Let’s retire unsafe vehicles

It should be the duty of repair shops to prevent neglected and dangerous vehicles from getting back on the road.

Management: The Relationship Rule

It’s an accepted truism in business that doing what you can to keep existing customers is a better strategy for business growth than chasing new ones. Not only does it cost more to get new customers, but when new competitors

Management Software: Rules of engagement

The idea of “managing” your customers the way you might manage your financial statements seems impersonal. You intuitively feel that regular customers – some of them good friends, and all of them individuals with unique likes and dislikes – are

IT’S YOUR TURN: Is it time to give back?

There’s tremendous personal satisfaction in helping people who haven’t had the same opportunities that you’ve had.

The Evolution Of Customer Service

We recently moved to a new neighbourhood, and the weeks following the move involved the requisite trips to the local lumber, hardware, appliance, furniture, and grocery stores, as well as numerous stops at local eateries. During this accelerated shopping period

How Outstanding Customer Service Can Unlock Significant Revenue

By providing an outstanding customer service experience, automotive service providers can generate higher levels of customer retention and unlock significant revenue potential, according to the J.D. Power 2015 Canadian Customer Service Index Long-Term (CSI-LT) Study. The study, which measures the service

How Product Knowledge Can Drive Battery Sales

When it comes to building battery sales, technicians are the primary influencers of what is chosen by the vehicle owner. A technician can only be that kind of influencer, however, if the jobber is there to help support him with

Should You Be On Facebook?

Particularly over the last couple of years, Facebook has become much more than a great way to share pictures of the grandkids or hilarious cat videos. It’s become one of the most powerful marketing tools available, and an essential part

VW Emissions Case: A Stark Reminder

When news broke of Volkswagen’s alleged violations of emissions laws, my reaction was one of profound and personal disappointment. Let me explain. The accusations (of which there seems to be fairly damning evidence) plainly state that VW engineers had installed

Hiring Right

When there are more positions available than bodies to fill them, it’s more important than ever to have a strategy to keep your benches filled.

Ride Control How Proper Staff Training Can Benefit Your Bottom Line

Ride control is a simple idea, but there are a couple of major misconceptions that are holding back sales, limiting service levels, and even endangering lives. Most drivers, and even many technicians, view ride control as shocks and struts, but

Staying visible

At 100 km-h, a vehicle travels more than 27.75 meters a second. A lot can happen in 27.75 meters… which is why visibility items like wipers and lights should be a key concern for every driver. There are tremendous benefits

Finding the right spot

Looking to open a new shop? The right location will make the difference between years of struggling and instant sustainability.

Who dropped the ball?

In late March, a woman brought her 2001 Ford Focus with 137,000 kilometers on it to the shop of a good friend of mine in a major city in Canada. She’d never been to Morris’s place before, but she worked

Tomorrow’s training

With the growing popularity of webinars is online training ready for prime time?

Which shop will survive?

It’s tough and getting tougher for small shops to thrive in today’s economic climate. Here’s why.

The Forum’s open… come on in!

If you’ve got questions, there are readers out there who have answers. If you have tips, we want to hear them. Got suggestions for the industry, or for this magazine? Great! Or if you’re feeling inspired, you can also consider it a virtual soapbox, allowing you to rant to your heart’s content. We’ll listen and then get right up on our own soapbox to reply when you’re done.

It’s all about relationships

Ontario shop owner believes the biggest key to success in business and life is developing strong ties with the people around you.

Is Your Car Count High Enough?

Management trainer Kelly Bennett releases new program to address one of the industrys biggest concerns

Video Spotlight

  • ASW Conversations: Shad Smereka on Fountain Tire’s national DVI strategy
  • ASW Conversation: Tim Cifelli on what shop owners are learning during Covid
  • ASW Conversations: Bob Greenwood on counting billed hours, not cars
  • ASW Conversations: Tracy Carnahan on the new meaning of TRUST
  • Greenwood’s Garage | Season 3, Episode 16
  • ASW Podcast 003 Bob Greenwood on the new reality of retail
  • ASW Podcast 001 Scott Eccles on helping fellow business owners
  • Greenwood’s Garage | Season 3, Episode 15 | Are you in denial?
  • Greenwood’s Garage | Season 3 | Episode 14: Who are you attracting?
  • Greenwood’s Garage | Season 3 | Episode 13 – Why CRM Matters
  • Greenwood | Season 3, Episode 12 | Time to assess your business
  • Greenwood | Season 3, Episode 11 | Choosing your clientele
  • Greenwood | Season 3 | Episode 10 | Today’s CRM
  • Greenwood | Season 3 | Episode 9 Management Trouble
  • Greenwood | Season 3 Episode 8 | Find Your Four Corners
  • Greenwood’s Garage | Season 3, Episode 7: The new aftermarket
  • Greenwood’s Garage | Season 3: Episode 6 Collaboration
  • Deep Dive: Katie Mares on offering Five-Star Service
  • Greenwood’s Garage | Season 3 Episode 5: Building your team
  • Deep Dive: Randy Moore on achieving your dreams
  • Greenwood Season 3 Episode 4: The Importance of Empowering Your Staff
  • S3 Ep 3 | Finding the Right Revenue Mix
  • S3 Ep 2 | Transforming the culture of your business
  • S3 Ep 1 | How to be Professional
  • S2 Ep 14 | Prioritize Office Time
  • S2 Ep13 | The Bus has Left the Station
  • S2 Ep12 | Rotten Apples or a Rotten Barrel?
  • S2 Ep 11 | Passion Fuels the Fire
  • S2 Ep 10 | The Path Forward
  • S2 Ep 9 | Time to Look Ahead
  • S2 Ep 8 | Defining Your Career
  • S2 Ep 6 | Managing the Workload
  • S2 Ep 5 | Understanding Leadership
  • S2 Ep 4 | 5 Bridges Shops Must Cross
  • S2 Ep 3 | The Summer Months Begin!
  • S2 Ep2 | You’re Paid for what you Know
  • Just Ask Bob: Get your questions ready for Greenwood’s Garage
  • From the Heart
  • Ep 16 | Make Your Own Achievement List
  • EyeSpy 2: Rabbits and Rats and Snakes, Oh My!
  • Ep 15 | Correcting Management Mistakes
  • Ep 14 | Managing Cash in Changing Times
  • Ep 13 | Fun with Numbers
  • Ep 12 | Perceptions Matter
  • EyeSpy: Creative DIY Repairs I
  • Ep 11 | Apathy Could Kill the Industry We Love
  • Ep 10 | Make Every Decision an Important One
  • Ep 9 | Success Begins with your Team
  • Ep 8 | Your Future Isn’t in the Past
  • Ep 7 | Focus is the Key Discipline
  • Ep 6 | Change with the Times
  • Ep 5 | Breaking Your Daily Routines
  • Ep 4 | Stick to Your Business Vision
  • Ep 3 | 3 Succession Planning Tips
  • Ep 2 | Don’t Waste February
  • Ep 1 | Your Business Journey