Shop of the Week is a weekly column devoted to showcasing the efforts of automotive shops and their teams across Canada. Want your shop to have a turn in the spotlight? Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org!
Name: Peter Foreman
Shop name: Foreman’s Integra Tire Auto Centre
Location: Langley, B.C.
Number of employees: 6 (including me)
When did you open your shop? Dad (Dave Foreman) opened in May 1979, I officially took over in June 2015
Do you specialize in anything? General service and repair with tires representing about 20-25 per cent
Main parts supplier: Lordco Parts
What has been your biggest challenge as a shop this year and how have you navigated through them?
PF: Managing the unexpected trends, our typical slower times have been busy and our typical busy times have not been as busy. Through it all we didn’t get much growth compared the past five or so years, where we had double digit growth year over year. I also have struggled managing expenses as I have been poised for growth and invested equipment and training that wasn’t easy to slow/stop.
What’s your biggest success story this year?
PF: I was able to add another staff member (apprentice) and create a mentorship system with a senior tech to work with two apprentices directly. Hopefully, I will add a third team member as the process refines.
How has COVID-19 impacted your business?
PF: Initially, the business drop off was significant and the government subsidies helped ride the wave. I had to lay off my service advisor initially and put my three technicians on a share program (two weeks on, one week off) so they could keep working. Now, we are seeing the struggle for parts availability, especially where tires are concerned. The bonus was that I had already implemented a valet pickup/drop-off service before COVID-19, so having that in place was great. It actually boosted the usage and now people are starting to love it!
What kinds of digital technology are you currently using/implementing?
PF: We are using Protractor for our shop and we use it for most all aspects of the business (sales, booking, inventory, accounting). We have AutoText.me as our DVI and client communication software. The integration is really great and having the ability to use “text to pay” is nice with our COVID-19 protocols. We are just implementing an online SOP program through ShopPros and while it’s a lot of work on my end, it’s coming along nicely. I was just able to implement the first phase of it (HR) and use the system to onboard my new apprentice remotely before he started his first day.
If you could see one change in the aftermarket, what would it be?
PF: Better ability to obtain quality aftermarket electrical components. The technicians have lost trust in the current offerings and we are sticking with OE. The reman products are even worse.
Tell me an interesting fact about your shop?
PF: We updated our office four years ago and I am really proud of the results. I even entered an online waiting room contest (AIA) and we were the only Canadian finalist, so I like to say we have the best waiting room in Canada (technically true)!
Name a part/product you and your team are particularly enjoying this month and why?
PF: We just implemented the BG program and the technicians are happy to use, my advisor loves being able to offer the benefits from it as well.