Autosphere recently reached out to Zack Auto & Trucks in Calgary.
We’re sure you will find this profile very interesting and maybe a little in awe as you read what this person has done in a short time. This is Zakaria Bentria’s story in his own words.
As a young immigrant, life was extremely tough. I moved from Morocco to a completely different part of the world, at the age of 22 (December 2009). I entered Canada with a student visa—Canada had so much more to offer as far as apprenticeship and trades training compared to what was available in Morocco.
I put myself through apprenticeship school in Montreal and then moved to Calgary in 2013 with $500 in my pocket. I had no idea why I was heading West or where I was going to live. Luckily, I found a place to rent in N.E. Calgary with a Canadian family that treated me like a son.
I worked at different independent shops and an OE dealer until I started my own business as a mobile mechanic (part-time) in March 2016. After a few months of running my own business and not too much savings, I decided to open my own mechanical shop. My first shop consisted of 2,400 sq. ft. of shop space without any equipment or a customer base. Through hard work, honesty, kindness, and respect, I managed to build a reliable clientele that has supported me through my journey. Some of these clients are now personal friends and others I even consider family.
In January 2023 I expanded my business again to include a 4,800 sq. ft. shop with four hoists and an alignment lift. This was always my biggest dream, and now when I look back from where I started, I can’t believe what I have accomplished in the ten years since completing my apprenticeship.
To be honest, I never thought I was going to become an auto mechanic. My student visa was for a three-year program—”mechanical engineering”, but I never registered for it. Time was running out on my visa, with only one month left to find a new program for visa renewal and the only program that was available at that time was for an automotive repair technician. I completed the automotive course and went for one month of training at a super busy automotive repair shop in Montreal. After getting this hands-on experience, I found that I really loved diagnosing and fixing vehicles.
Customers are most important
Truly my business strengths and success have come from building a strong, loyal customer base. I am always here for them, listening to their concerns, answering their questions, and supporting them in every way possible. I take pride in the services we provide, and we stand behind our work by offering our customers a strong warranty program—the one offered by Bestbuy auto network. This program offers the customers a two-year 40,000 km warranty on parts and labour, other warranty program out there are just one year, parts and labour. We are open six days a week and have continued to expand our offering and supply our clients with a professional workspace for their vehicles and themselves. Our waiting room consists of a lounge area with a fireplace and TV, a business area with free WIFI and charging ports plus a clean shop which includes top-of-the-line equipment. Our website has a convenient online booking option and I have subscribed to text messaging to remind customers of their appointments.
I take pride in the services we provide, and we stand behind our work.”
– Zakaria Bentria
We have over 350 five-star reviews on Google and Zack Auto and Trucks received the top choice award in 2022/2023 for Automotive Repair Facilities in Calgary—we have been nominated again in 2024! We have earned this reward by being honest with the customers and not trying to sell them a repair that is not necessary. We always get the customer’s vehicle completed on time, except when it is beyond our control. Unfortunately, this happens occasionally but we always communicate this to the customer as soon as we have completed the diagnosis. The service we provide to our customers would not be possible without the relationship and service we receive from Ameen’s Auto Parts. “Big thanks to Ameen Auto Parts for the fast delivery and support they give us.” Without Ameen (the owner) I don’t think I would have grown from a mobile mechanic to a 4,800 sq. ft. shop in seven years. Ameen’s sales representative, Terri Cole, visits me regularly, always supports me with good business advice, and has educated me on the Best Auto Repair Program and how to promote it to my customers.
Regarding equipment, besides the hoists that were purchased and upgraded when we moved to the new location in January 2023, I also invested in Snap-on dual a/c machine, the latest Snap-on scanner Version, a Hunter wheel balancer, a Gorghi tire change, and a CEMB Alignment machine.
The biggest challenge for my business currently is finding good technicians or apprentices. I find that I bring an apprentice in, teach him and support him through his program, then they go elsewhere, and I start from scratch again.
I owe a tremendous amount of thanks to my parents for their prayers and support; my wife for all the work she does behind the scenes, and my kids for giving me hope in this field—I hope they will continue what I started.
I want to show my deep appreciation to everyone who has supported Zack since day one.