Faizan Alam of Vancouver Auto Parts (VAP) has been in business full time for just three years now but has been part of the family business since he was 17.
They now have six branches all in the greater Vancouver area with one of these branches owned by Faizan.
Alam completed his university course and upon receiving his degree went right into the family auto parts business. He had intended to go further, but he says, “I fell in love with the business! I love what I do!” VAP was started by Faizan’s grandfather and uncles in 1978; his father has been very instrumental in the business as well— three generations of auto parts specialists! Currently Vancouver Auto Parts has 60 employees.
Faizan says they are successful in business because they are the service auto parts store. “When someone phones for a part, we can ship that piece faster than anyone else. We’ve found it’s not price that matters most, it’s service! The shop needs the part quickly—they don’t want to wait. That’s something we thrive on—our delivery service!”
Faizan’s branch of Vancouver Auto Parts is a 24-year member of Bestbuy Distributors; the other branches have been members longer. “Bestbuy is really good for our business. They help us with material on how to handle our customers, support us on any product we use, etc. and our Bestbuy reps are great! They’re always readily available. That’s quite important in this business. In turn, they help our customers when they have a problem such as a warranty claim.
“Belonging to a network like Bestbuy is great! With six stores, you become a big player with them behind you. They do a wonderful job in negotiating with vendors on our behalf; they have the best product available in the market so we get the best products and best prices for our customers,” states Alam.
“Bestbuy has an installer trip we’ve started to participate in. It’s a nice reward for our customers and the support they give us. It helps our relationships. They can talk with other ASPs, interact with their peers about business, get tips, share problems… advice that will help their business,” states Alam.
Vancouver Auto Parts has a trade show once a year. They invite manufacturers’ reps to participate and tell/show their customers about their parts and how to best implement them. The reps also talk to the Jobber sales teams and train them about their products.
To help its customers survive and grow, Vancouver Auto Parts offers them the best products at the best price. “We can seriously compete with others in the area and make sure the product is delivered on time. The premium product we sell has a very, very low return rate. We offer the best price so they can increase their margin and so level the benchmark of the business,” Alam says.
To survive into the future, Faizan believes people need to change and get up to speed with technology. Using more online sales would be good for the Jobber as well as the Service Provider. It’s faster, and the part gets there quickly. Faizan has online sales available and promotes this to his customers. He believes it’s the future of their business. A very forward-thinking jobber!