Rivers Edge Services: Recognizing Our Skills and Knowledge

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Bruce Williams, Owner, Rivers Edge Services. Photo Rivers Edge Services

For this month’s profile of a successful ASP, we headed to Prince George, B.C. to speak with Bruce Williams of Rivers Edge Services.

We asked Bruce to tell us a little about his business—in other words, when did he start and why? “When I finished school, I did not really know what I was going to do and my Mom said, ‘You’re always working on your friends’ cars, etc. why don’t you become a mechanic?’ So I did!”

Bruce states: “I was working for a small independent shop for eight years through my apprenticeship. I went on holiday one spring and when I came back, I was called in for an early staff meeting but I was the only one there. My boss at that time just handed me an envelope and said, “It’s not personal, just business—I’ll help you load your toolbox!”.

“So I started Rivers Edge Services in 1994, in a small one-bay shop and have steadily grown since then. I was always tinkering on my motorbikes, building go-carts and helping my dad work on the yard tractor and vehicles. It was just a natural thing that I liked and was good at,” he says.

Bruce continues, “From the one-bay shop, the business finally moved to a 4,000 sq. ft. facility in 2005 and in 2020 I had the opportunity to expand and take over the whole space in the same location. Now I have a 12,000 sq. ft. facility with 12 hoists, a dedicated wash bay, a parts area, a complete tool room, a large lunchroom, and a nice reception area.

The Rivers Edge Service facility in Prince George, B.C. Photo Rivers Edge Services

EV certified

Asked about the range of services provided, Bruce states, “At Rivers Edge, we provide every service available for domestic, euro and import vehicles. We’re also diesel specialists and are now the only shop in North British Columbia that’s EV certified through the NexDrive program.” Currently, Rivers Edge Services employs seven technicians, one shop helper/detail person, three service advisors and a service manager.

Williams tells us, “We are constantly upgrading our equipment including hoists, etc. When our equipment starts to get old, we have a plan in place to replace it. I find with proper planning a well-run shop will always be able to afford to keep all equipment new and fresh. We have upgraded all our scan tools and have dedicated factory scan tools as well as Autel and Snap-on. Our Autel is the ultra and we have the EV kit for it so we can diagnose EV battery systems. We also have current flush and maintenance equipment as well as three A/C machines that are very new. In addition, we have an 18,000 lb. heavy hoist for Ford F-550 service trucks and a dedicated alignment bay with current 3D equipment from John Bean.” Sounds like a very well-equipped service shop.

The talented team at Rivers Edge Services. Photo Rivers Edge Services

Everyone goes to training

We also wanted to know about training at Rivers Edge Services—something that is so very much needed to stay up to date with the new vehicles and systems. Bruce told us “As far as training, at the beginning of every year we have a team meeting and discuss training programs for the year, and everyone agrees to go to the sessions. We attend all the NAPA Auto tech trainings as a whole team including advisors—our culture is that everyone benefits from training whether it is product knowledge or technical training.

“Our lead diagnostic technician and I attended all the NexDrive training to be EV certified. We also have flown a trainer up to Prince George over multiple weekends to do very high-level diagnostic training for the technicians.

“I have also always done management training through Proshop and RPM training and now I am actually a coach for RPM training—helping other shops get ahead. In addition, I have also done a lot of leadership training over the last few years to really work on my leadership abilities.”

From EVs to classic Ford hot rods, Rivers Edge Services can service and repair just about any vehicle. Photo Rivers Edge Services

Care and acknowledge our customers

CCB asked Williams what some of the factors he considered important in order to build a strong, loyal customer base. He responded, “The most important factor in building a strong client base is spending the time to build a relationship with our clients—we want them to feel like we care and acknowledge them. We spend a lot of time training with the service advisors to really have deeper conversations with our clients so that we can exceed their expectations.”

Our last question—’What are some of the challenges/opportunities you see in today’s repair industry’—was one that I thought Williams handled very well as he said, “I see great opportunities in our industry to be able to level up our profession and be recognized for the skills and knowledge we have to have to be able to not only repair our clients’ vehicles correctly and in a timely manner, but to also be paid accordingly for our knowledge.”


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