Gem-Car has officially opened its new Montreal headquarters and training center.
At a gala event last night, attended by industry leaders, suppliers, and Gem-Car customers, company president Mathieu Brunel thanked the industry for its support.
“This is all about us saying thank you,” he told Auto Service World. “We’re in a new building, in a beautiful new facility, and it is only because some people trusted us when we first started.”
The software company invested some $4 million in an ambitious expansion and renovation project in a state-of-the-art building. It includes two floors of offices, a call center, a new webinar lab, and a two-story entrance atrium. The third floor is dedicated to administration, with a training center that can accommodate 60 guests.
Mathieu Brunel, president of V2V Technologies, which created and manages the Gem-Car suite of automotive software modules.
“I am very proud to provide my team with an amazing headquarters building to support our growth of over 30% per year. A dream comes true for me and our dedicated staff. Our employees have access to a modern coffee corner, a beautiful kitchen, a rest area with a foosball table, a gym, and finally an amazing rooftop terrace offering a gorgeous view of Montreal,” Brunel said.
“We made our office a great place to work, so we can better serve our customers,” he said. “We now have thousands of garages all over the country, and they all came to us from different distributors. We got referrals on a daily basis from all over Canada.”
The company also has approximately 200 customers in the U.S.
“It’s a small invasion, but it is growing!” Brunel said.
Its suite of software modules helps repair shop owners manage and grow their operatons.
He started the company in 2001 as a provider of about 28 different software programs.
“In 2008, we made the decision to go to just one software. We put all of our efforts into one industry and I’m so glad we went in this direction,” he said. “These days, everyone likes to deal with a specialist. When you’re sick you want to have the best specialist. If you have to deal with a software company, you don’t want someone who is in a gazillion different industries. You want someone who truly understands your industry.”
He sees the success of Gem-Car as being tied to its efforts to improve the lives of its customers.
“I think we are bringing solutions that help to make people money, and gives them more time for their families,” he said. “Garage owners work really hard, and that’s great. They’re passionate about cars. But we want to help them elevate their standard of life, where they’re making more money, becoming better managers, and enjoying their lives.”
Brunel said coming changes to the automotive repair and service industry will dictate the use of software that helps organize the business and make it more profitable.
“You need good software to thrive in this industry. We are fortunate in the automotive industry to have a selection of a lot of good software options. But shop owners really need to choose one. They need something to help them elevate their businesses,” he said.
For its part, Gem-Car has put a push on improved inspections and communications tools.
“Cars are better built than they used to be,” he said. “They will require more maintenance than fixes, so we have turned our attention to inspections, particularly digital inspections. And we do that in conjunction with our CRM tool, which is a communications tool designed to market directly to the customer either by email or text.”