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!
From left to right: Nic Ramsay, assistant manager; Matt Hertwig, technician; Dave Marks, technician; Mark Gurney; technician; Matt Mitchell, manager.
Name: Bob Ward
Shop name: The Auto Guys
Location: St. Thomas, Ont.
Number of employees: 6
When did you open your shop? We started as a Midas franchise in 2002 and then opened as The Auto Guys in 2012.
Specialty: We perform regular scheduled maintenance and repair on all cars and light trucks.
Main parts supplier: NAPA
What has been your biggest challenge as a shop this year and how have you navigated through them?
BW: Figuring out how to keep our staff and customers safe by offering contactless pick-up and drop-off of vehicles in for service. Another challenge was trying to help customers feel safe and confident whenever we are servicing their vehicles during this pandemic. We also source new sanitizing products that won’t harm vehicle interiors, while providing protection for everyone.
What’s your biggest success story this year?
BW: Having a team that chose to work through the pandemic without losing any work time. They were part of the process we took to ensure their safety. They were willing to do whatever it took to keep the business alive. We could not have accomplished what we did without them.
How has COVID-19 impacted your business?
BW: It made us focus more on cleaning and safety than ever before.
What kinds of digital technology are you currently using/implementing?
BW: Four years ago we developed our own digital inspection program that allows us to email, text, and print for our customers. Their information can be easily accessed in our archives for reference. We also have the ability to text and email our customers pictures, video, and quotes from our main point of sale computer. More jobs are now sold digitally.
If you could see one change in the aftermarket, what would it be?
BW: For parts retailers to stop selling safety-related products to the general public. Only trained, licensed technicians should be able to purchase these parts.
Name a part/product you and your team are enjoying this month?
BW: We continually look for new innovative cleaning products that are safe to use and locally-sourced. Right now, we are using a product made in Mississauga by Star Pro called Killshot for disinfecting our showroom and customers’ vehicles.