Investing in Your Business

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

Training and proficiency are more important than ever!

Currently, the Government of Canada is requiring that new passenger vehicles and light trucks sold in Canada after 2035 must be electric. The rules will be phased in gradually, starting with a 20% requirement in 2026. By now you are probably tired of hearing about EVs. 

Knowing what’s important 

Business owners who want to stay ahead of the curve know that to grow your business you need to invest in it.  Who is the most important person in your business? Is it your staff—the ones who you rely on every day to keep your doors open and your customers coming back? It should be, so why don’t you invest in your staff by providing training for them? Too many times we hear “I can’t afford to lose my technician off the floor for the day, it costs me too much money.” 

Consider this: When you send a technician for training for a few days—while you may not have them on the floor during that time—what you do have is somebody who is gaining valuable knowledge and skills—skills that enable them and your business to stay ahead of the curve when it comes to technology and repair requirements on the latest vehicles, including EVs. Ultimately that means more revenue for your business. 

If the shop around the corner doesn’t have the tools, equipment, or technician to be able to work on these EVs this allows you to market yourself by advertising that you are EV certified and that your technicians have the training and skills to work on these vehicles.

Remember, the federal government is mandating that 20% of new vehicles will be EVs by 2026, that’s only three years away. 

Door rates

My second question is are you increasing your door rate? Gas prices are increasing, food prices are increasing, so why aren’t your door rates? Service centres continue to invest in equipment, tools, staff, and training, yet there is often a reluctance to raise the door rate. Dealership door rates tend to be much higher than those of independent auto repair providers. Yet independents have staff and technicians with the same knowledge, if not more. So, why don’t we value our time the same as the big guys? It is time we realize that we are professionals in the automotive industry and should be charging for our time accordingly.

That doesn’t mean gouging customers, it means providing quality work for a fair price. Ultimately it is service, not price the consumer values most and what cements the reputation of your business. You have taken the time and effort to invest in the equipment, staff, training and tools to properly repair vehicles that today, typically cost between $40-$120,000, so why not leverage it? A new vehicle is a huge financial investment for most consumers, which means they want qualified, licensed technicians who have the training and specialized equipment to maintain and repair them.

Seize the opportunity

Vehicle OEMs are investing in producing more and more vehicles in their lineup. Franchised dealers can’t service all of them, plus with the average age of the Canadian vehicle fleet continuing to increase (it’s now almost 11 years according to Statistics Canada), there is a huge opportunity for the aftermarket in the months and years ahead, so why not take advantage of it?



Carrossier Procolor St-Jérôme
  Full time
Carrossier Kyoto
Shop Foreman
  Full time
Chateauguay Honda Desjardins
Sales Representative
  Full time
Acura Plus Blainville
Parts Clerk
  Full time
Canadian Tire Whitby North
3rd or 4th Year Apprentice Service Technician
  Full time

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