Auto Service World
Feature   May 1, 2003   by Bob Greenwood

Perhaps It Is Time To Show Them!!

This particular article is addressed to all the progressive Independents in Canada. Over the past six years many Independents, throughout the country, have refocused their efforts to become better bus...

This particular article is addressed to all the progressive Independents in Canada. Over the past six years many Independents, throughout the country, have refocused their efforts to become better business people and entered the mission to move their business to the next level. These shops are to be congratulated, and a huge thank you from the rest of the industry for your efforts.

The word to you now is “don’t stop here.” As a progressive shop owner/manager you have a larger responsibility to yourself, and the industry, than you may think. Consider the following:

– traditionally Independent shop owners attend courses sponsored by their supplier or WD and leave the course “semi-focussed” in that they understood the message but were fuzzy about what to do with their particular outlet. These shop owners represent about 80% of the participants attending these courses.

– the most progressive shop owners represent the remaining 20% of these participants

– the top 20% take the information and apply it to their particular shops understanding the proper time frame to expect results, but more importantly, they remain focussed to see their mission to the end.

– the remainder of the industry get lost in the forest of their business, and end up confronting their biggest nemeses in their business, namely, a total lack of self-discipline.

– consider that many Jobbers within our sector of the industry have the same major problem… total lack of self-discipline.

– consider that it is this lack of self-discipline that people throughout our industry fail to recognize as the root cause as to “why” an Independent Shop Owner/ Manager, or Independent Jobber, do not move their business to the next level, or become the very best they could be.

– consider the car dealerships are taking market share from the Independents.

The question must arise to the most progressive shop owners, “well how does this affect me?”

It affects you very dramatically, and it shows up on YOUR bottom line called “Net Profit”.

The weaker shops and Jobbers within our industry keep “dragging down” the overall image the consumer has of us. Consider the image projected of our industry on the W-5 program recently aired where a ghost car was taken across Canada. This format is unfair, and we all acknowledge that, however, it leaves one heck of a perception in the consumers mind, and it is not good! Fountain Tire in Calgary must be congratulated for the “Professional” image and job well done.

It is time the strong Independents became more prominent in the consumers mind. It is time the stronger Independents became more prominent to their own peers perhaps challenging them, through leading by example, to come up to the next level. Why? Because the good in our industry are great, and because when the Independent is focussed they are the best and that is the image the consumer must come to see. Consider the image one of my clients sends to the consumer.

Mr. Brouwer is talking to his clients, as well as to the marketplace, that his shop is competent, can handle today’s vehicles, and they won’t let you down. This image is the right one for the competent Independents out there and it is time to step up and present it to the public. Competency, business focus, and total owner/manager self-discipline, allows the shop to take on the dealerships at their own game, allows the Independent shop to rise above all the “noise” in the marketplace and prominently show the consumer, with confidence and professionalism, why an Independent is the best place to maintain their vehicle.

Top shops within our country lead the Industry in “how business should be, and must be, done today to sustain our business and succeed in our future.”

These type of shops challenge the Jobbers and the entire industry to join them. Ladies and gentlemen, our Industry must embrace these owners and move to their level with them. Don’t ignore them saying their isn’t enough of them, let’s all work together and bring as many shops to this level as possible. Our Independent future depends on it. “What part of this picture do you not understand?”

Robert (Bob) Greenwood is President and CEO of E. K. Williams & Co. (Ontario) Ltd. and Automotive Aftermarket E-Learning Centre Ltd. Bob has over 27 years of Business Management experience within the automotive industry, counseling individual shops in Ontario. E. K. Williams & Co. (Ontario) Ltd. offices specialize in the independent sector of the automotive industry, preparing analytical operating statements for Management purposes, personal and corporate tax return completion, Business Management consultation and Business Management and Employee Development Courses. Visit E. K. Williams & Co. on the Internet at and sign up for their FREE monthly management letter sent to you by E-mail. Automotive Aftermarket E-Learning Centre Ltd. is a company devoted to developing Automotive Shop Business Management skills through the E-Learning environment over the inter-net. Students learn at their own speed, and at a time, and place, that best suits their needs; available 7 days a week 24 hours a day. Visit Automotive Aftermarket E-Learning Centre Ltd. on the Internet at

Bob can be reached at (613) 836-5130, 1-800-267-5497, FAX (613) 836-4637 or by E-mail; or

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