Feature October 1, 2007 by
John Orfanidis, owner of Quality Automotive Services in Toronto
Team effort overcomes much, but struggles continue with Right to Repair
For the last 16 years, I've been running a successful automotive shop in the West end of Toronto. I've grown the business to seven bays with five technicians and one service writer, and we are always ...
For the last 16 years, I’ve been running a successful automotive shop in the West end of Toronto. I’ve grown the business to seven bays with five technicians and one service writer, and we are always busy with a solid group of long-time customers and growing numbers of new ones.
What has to be said is that Quality Automotive did not get to where it is today by my work alone. I have a dedicated staff that has helped grow the business. That is why my photograph includes everyone who works in the shop because each has contributed much to the shop’s success. It is a team effort and I strongly believe that the best shops have staffs that all work toward a common goal and feel their individual success is based on making the shop a success. That is also why I invest a lot in my staff, in helping our technicians get the training they need to stay ahead of today’s ever-changing car technology. I’m on a TSS account for training with ACDelco and I pre-book all of the training courses for the staff and post the days they are expected to go to the course. I insist that we all go as a team, take the training and after things finish go to dinner and discuss what we have learned. I see training, and paying for that training not as an expense, but as an investment in the business. It is the same with investing in new technology regularly. We have purchased the new Snap-On Modis diagnostic tool, Fluke scanner and a scanner from MasterTech, as well as an ongoing investment in Lankar shop management software.
Such investment in staff and technologies is necessary to remain competitive, especially with the rapidly changing technology in cars. Compare what a car was like 15 years ago to one today, and you know how drastic the change in automotive technology has been. But all the investment in training and diagnostic tools won’t help this industry stay competitive if the manufacturers continue to restrict the diagnostic and repair information they make available to shops like ours. That is why we really have to push Right to Repair. Right now, to try to keep up with that changing car technology, many shops have to invest in a greater number of scanners and tools, all of which, over time, can become quite expensive, and often do not do all of what a dedicated dealer tool can do. So we are left scrambling to try to find work-arounds and other means of repairing that car in the bay if the tool we have can’t quite tell us what is wrong.
Just as a shop has to have everyone work as a team to be successful, this industry needs to work together as a team to push for Right to Repair. If we continue to just struggle along, then we will not be successful for long.