Preparing for Change

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Diane Freeman is the President of the Automotive Aftermarket Retailers of Ontario (AARO). You can reach her at [email protected]. Photo Diane Freeman

The last 12 months have shown how predictable things can be, but with the right planning and support, service providers can successfully navigate any challenges.

How do you see the service provider business changing in the next 12 months? What will drive change? And, what do you need to know to keep up with these changes?

We have all seen changes in the industry from shortages of parts, shortage of licensed technicians, attracting youth into the industry, the COVID-19 pandemic and now, rising inflation and interest rates. At times, it might seem that shop owners have more changes coming than they can keep up with.  In Ontario, we’ve also seen the launch of a digital Motor Vehicle Inspection program and while it may seem this is another big change to add to the list, in reality, this has been a long time in the making.

Steering through change

That being said, how can we as service providers, navigate through all these changes that are coming at us? One way you can is to become part of a group or association like AARO. As they say, there is strength in numbers and being part of a group can help you with what’s coming. This might include what equipment you will require, and help answer those questions that you all have when it comes to renewing and enrolling your shop as an MVIS Inspection Station in Ontario.

Using MVIS as an example, being part of an association like AARO can help guide you when it comes to the documentation that will be needed to start the enrolment process. Such as ensuring you have:

  • Business number and expiry date (if applicable).
  • Tax Compliance Certificate letter and Tax Compliance Verification (TCV) number 
  • Master Business Licence, Articles of Incorporation
  • Banking information (Account, Transit, Branch numbers)
  • Vehicle Inspection Centre Insurance Certificate
  • Ontario Motor Vehicle Industry Council (OMVIC) Licence (only applicable if you are a new/used vehicle dealer)

More details and updates can be found here.

As we enter a new year, now is also the time to set goals and seek new opportunities to advance and grow your business. Not only is it a good time to join an association or network if you haven’t already, but it’s also the opportune moment to take advantage of things like:

Technician training

Technician training and development, especially given how quickly automotive technology is advancing. Often this can be found through your association. AARO for example now offers government-funded classes and hands-on training for Electric Vehicles

As part of a plan to set goals, take a look at what is working for your business and what isn’t. Take a Business Management course and take the opportunity to train your front counter staff. Remember, this is your business and your livelihood.

There are numerous programs available to help you succeed and like training for your technicians, your industry association can often be a good place to start.

As for AARO, we are continuing to look for ways to provide more value for our members. Whether it’s providing helpful information, offering training programs, delivering networking opportunities and providing representation for our members on legislative issues, as an association, we continually strive to help ensure your service centre is the number one choice for consumers when it comes to their car care needs.

Although there is economic uncertainty as we kick off 2023, I have no doubt this will prove to be another exciting year for our industry, with many changes and opportunities for today’s automotive service businesses.

And I invite you, if you haven’t already, to take a look at our association and see how we can help your business. Visit aaro.ca or contact us at 1-800-268-5400.

On a final note, I would also like to wish all of you a very successful, productive and prosperous year!


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