Garage of the Year Finalists
11 technicians 3 service writers
Door rate: $85 per hour
Supports numerous kids’ sports leagues and local charities, including fund-raising for the cancer institute.
Brij Sharma, president of M&M Auto Service centre in Toronto runs a 14-bay facility he says will be expanded to 21 before the new year. Primarily involved in fleet maintenance, Sharma’s business is heavily reliant on keeping up to date on all of the latest technology, simply by virtue of the fact that he’s involved in the repair of some of the latest OE offerings.
Sharma aggressively pursues the acquisition of the latest technology, and says he uses industry publications as a bench mark.
“If we see a new piece of equipment anywhere I’ll be the first person to call the sales rep,” he says. “After that call we’ll schedule a meeting with the company, and decide whether or not that new technology has a place in our shop.”
It’s that kind of attitude that has led Sharma to run one of the best equipped shops in the region. Sharma sees it as a cost of doing business in today’s changing marketplace, and a cost that he simply could not function without.
All of the new technology also comes with a significant training cost, which is something Sharma says he is always happy to provide for his staff, usually through seminars with the manufacturers themselves. “I work closely with our suppliers to offer training to our staff,” he says. “I encourage my technicians to always better their education by sending them to trade school and informing them with bi-monthly seminars supported by larger industry parts manufacturers.”
What’s more, Sharma keeps in mind the importance of offering training and product knowledge seminars for his service writers as well.
“The service writer is the first guy in the shop that has to know everything about the part,” he says. “He’s the guy that is really going to have to be able to sell it, so he’s got to have all the answers.”
In terms of apprenticeships, Sharma pays keen attention to personal working partnerships. When he brings in an apprentice, he assigns that apprentice to one senior technician. As a result, that apprentice doesn’t take direction for too many different people, and working with one of the top technicians in the shop helps focus their learning experience, Sharma adds.
While Sharma sees several challenges on the horizon, he is direct when it comes to the number one challenge facing the industry. “My chief concern is that technology scares people,” he says. “Everyone in the industry has to be up to date on the latest equipment, and if they are not, they are going to drive business back to the dealerships through misdiagnosis, and that hurts everyone in the aftermarket.”
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