Auto Service World
Feature   November 1, 2009   by CARS Magazine

Garage Of The Year Finalists: Bill’s Automotive Diagnostic & Repair Tech Centre

It's been a tough year for the city of Windsor, Ontario. Despite a four-month garbage strike, 1,200 jobs cuts at the Windsor Chrysler Plant and the overall impact the recession has caused to local bus...

It’s been a tough year for the city of Windsor, Ontario. Despite a four-month garbage strike, 1,200 jobs cuts at the Windsor Chrysler Plant and the overall impact the recession has caused to local businesses, Bill’s Automotive Diagnostic & Tech Centre shows no signs of slowing down.

“It’s been a little bit of a challenge in our first quarter, but we’ve seen this all come back. It’s interesting because three months ago when all of these people were off we’ve put a lot of notes in deferred work,” says owner Bill Slavik, “Now there’s been a real turn-up and we’re optimistic about next year.”

Located on the east side of Windsor, Ontario Bill’s Automotive was founded in 1985 by Bill Slavik, a licensed technician who started his career in 1976 as an apprentice. From a humble one bay facility, the shop has now grown to one of the largest privately owned automotive shops in Windsor.

The professionalism of Bill’s Automotive is immediately visible when walking into the stunning office/waiting area. The lobby “has two Internet stations where customers can access the Web while waiting. There’s a coffee bar in our lobby where customers can have coffee, tea or hot chocolate and baked goods,” said Christine Hugall, Slavik’s sister who works at Bill’s Automotive as an office/accounts manager and also performs public relations and human resources duties. “There’s a fireplace -and over that is a monitor where they can watch the work being done. It shows the emission and diagnostics bay -the dyno-bank. There are also two High Definition flat-screen TVs where they can watch television.”

But that’s not it for customer care. “We offer loaner vehicles for our customers and a shuttle service so we can pick them up or drop them off. Whatever is convenient for them,” added Hugall. “We also can pick up and deliver their vehicles.”

Maintaining control over the relatively large workforce and diverse cliental, they service trucks and coaches as well as passenger cars, is a dicey proposition.

“The Total Quality Management program ensures that all our team members are made clearly aware of their responsibilities and the high value placed upon clients,” said Hugall.

Customers wanting to know more about the Total Quality Management program only have to go to the shop’s extensive Web site to find out more. Some of the highlights include: providing a delightfully positive client experience; test driving every vehicle to be serviced over a carefully selected “drivability route;” providing an accurate diagnosis with a clear estimate of the cost for repairs or service; advising based upon their needs and the condition and age of their vehicle and educating them on the vehicle’s condition; communicating honestly and clearly with all customers; and maintaining the skill of the shops technicians with ongoing training.

The shop’s Web site also provides helpful information about vehicles and their mechanical operations through informative videos, explaining such things as power steering, cooling systems, battery and videos on such important things as winter driving and winter fluid levels.

“We also have ongoing training for all our technicians through CTI (Carquest Training Institute), Protect Air (Emissions training), E.K. Williams, St. Clair College, MAP (Motorist Assurance Program), CAA, AARO, Northstar Truck Driving School (Air Brake Licensing), and Auto Knowledge,” Hugall said.

Bill’s Automotive supplements all training costs for all their technicians and support staff.


— Eight bays

— Seven licensed technicians, one shuttle driver and two service writers

— Door rate: $99.

— Supports: Numerous local baseball and hockey teams for children as well as supporting numerous local charities such as Epilepsy of Windsor, Windsor Kinsmen, Essex County Shrine Circus, Crimestoppers and Westside Performance, Windsor Mission, specifically feeding the homeless. Nationally and globally, Bill’s Automotive sponsors the Cancer Recovery Foundation and Kidscare Philippines (519) 944-0107