CARS reached out to leaders and executives in the automotive repair sector and asked them their thoughts on how business will change for shops in the year ahead, what the biggest challenge for the industry is moving forward and what they see as the top opportunity in 2022. We will present their answers in alphabetical order over the coming weeks…
Diane Freeman, Executive Director, Automotive Aftermarket Retailers of Ontario
Changes to the way shops operate and communicate with their customers for automotive maintenance and repairs have already taken place with the pandemic. Shop owners have had to use more social media, texting and emails to connect with their customers.
Also driving change is the way customers want to have their vehicles serviced and maintained. They want convenience with little interruption in their routines. The car is dropped off and the communication through text or email with payment done via e-transfer or credit card payment over the phone.
The biggest challenge is the lack of qualified technicians and attracting youth into our trade. We need to show the professionalism that we have and opportunities for young people and that you can earn a six-figure income in the aftermarket as a licensed technician.
We need to approach grade and high school students to talk about our industry — how much it has changed, more computerized and requires more problem solving and technical skills. We need to have young people see this as a career. We need government to promote our industry through media ads on television showing skilled trades in the automotive sector.
This is the time to network with others in your industry. Take advantage of online training classes to keep your skills updated. Most of all, take this time to review your business and look at what is working and not working. Changes that need to be made and goals and objectives need to be looked at.