Driven Automotive, Saskatchewan: A Thriving Business

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Driven Automotive, Saskatchewan (Photo: Driven Automotive)

Daryl Kulcsar and Jason Mancinelli are partners in Driven Automotive in Regina, Saskatchewan.

After working together at a previous employer, we opened our facility in April 2006,” states Kulcsar. “We often spoke of different thoughts and ideas about the industry than those we were experiencing. Those ideas became Driven.”

Driven opened with a staff of four with Mancinelli as a technician and Kulcsar acting as an advisor. In addition, there was a full-time detailer on staff offering automotive detailing services as well as repair. “We found many of the ideas worked, some didn’t…. as an example, we no longer offer detailing,” says Mancinelli. “We experienced constant growth for the first 10 years. In 2016 we levelled off due to provincial economic conditions. We currently have a staff of eleven and a half including Daryl and myself… six technicians, three advisors and a part-time shuttle driver.”

Trained and equipped
Kulcsar tells us, “It was in 2016 that we used that slower period to work on our systems and procedures. That’s when we became members of ShopPros based in Burlington, Ontario—they offer a very effective training program and procedures for staff to implement, as well as very valuable coaching and business planning assistance.”

When asked about current technologies, Mancinelli states, “It’s tricky, we are equipped as a dealer equivalent for domestic vehicles right up to the current model year. Not quite that up-to-date on imports but adequately equipped. To maintain the knowledge behind the tools we support local training, online training, and, in addition, travel with staff to training conventions.”

“Being well-equipped brings in many referrals for late-model vehicles,” adds Kulcsar. “This has allowed us enormous in-house learning opportunities.

“Another big thing now that we must watch is who owns the data on the vehicle. Ownership and access to that data is going to be a huge point going forward. We believe that when you purchase a vehicle, the data belongs to you,” he says emphatically.

Customer relationship
We asked how they felt their relationship was with their customers. “Eighty percent of our clients are loyal. We have become a very systems-oriented business and we ensure that each time a client comes in, the experience they have through the door is the same as it was the last time! We have digital inspections in place, and we ensure that after they’re completed, the service advisors make contact to educate and inform the client what the correct way to fix the vehicle would be based on what the client’s and vehicle’s needs are. We want to inform them of the best way to fix their particular vehicle for their needs and safety. We believe the customer should be treated with respect and trust.”

Driven also has another service in place: the customer drops his vehicle off in the morning, and they have a ‘shuttle driver’ to take the client back to work, home or wherever he has to be. At the end of the day, if the client needs a ride back to Driven Automotive, the driver will pick him up and take him back to the repair shop.

While Driven uses several methods to advertise and reach current and prospective customers, including a website, Facebook page, direct mailers, and word of mouth, their main method is radio, which they have had a dedicated spot for the past five years. And they have found these methods work to bring in new customers. “A lot of time when I ask people how they found out about us, they say ‘I Googled you!’” Kulcsar says. “We have a very good rating on Google and real client reviews. We’ve been told that people specifically look for us, so something’s working.

The Driven team: Back row (L-R) Blair, Steve, Ryan, Nick, Rob, Scott, Nathan Front row (L-R): Curtis, Luis, Jason Mancinelli, Daryl Kulcsar

“Auto Electric has treated us very well and a lot of our success and growth is due to them. They bring a lot to the table… the nationwide warranty is awesome. And there are many other programs as well but to me that one is tops. Even though we maintain a very small inventory, getting parts in a timely manner is not an issue. They have knowledgeable staff, speedy delivery and great service.

“In addition, the Auto Value program has a ‘Technician of the Year’ award and all techs can put their hat in the ring. This year one of our technicians, Ryan Booker, won the Award! Belonging to Auto Value and Auto Electric adds to the professionalism customers are looking for.”

Respect and success
When we asked what had changed over the years in the business, Mancinelli replied, “I think there is more professionalism now in our industry than before. The general public has come to realize that the technology behind their vehicle is extensive and, I perceive, less pushback happens now than when I was a younger mechanic. The customer’s attitude has changed towards budgeting, cost, and how repairs are done. People respect and appreciate the training and knowledge we have and use to repair their sophisticated vehicles.

“I feel we’ve been pretty fortunate in that we’ve drawn great customers. I believe our clients come here with that respect in mind!”

Seeing how Driven Automotive continues to grow in both size and reputation, it would definitely appear so.

Categories : Mechanical


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