The road ahead
What does the future hold for the shops? Our son Matthew is apprenticing with us as a technician as part of his high school studies. He’s pretty much settled on taking over the business someday. My advice to him and to anyone looking to run an auto repair centre is to be involved in the business, rather than simply looking at it as a place to park your money. While I agree it is an investment to a certain extent, a business is something that needs to be nurtured so it becomes a reflection of you. That’s one of the reasons I built a coffee bar at our Woodbridge location, well, that and also because our clientele is overwhelmingly Italian. What’s Woodbridge without a coffee bar, I thought? Well, it’s practically unheard of. When customers walk in, they head straight to the counter. On Saturday mornings, I’m more barista than boss. And while I’ve tried to step away from brewing the Joe, my customers are quite vocal in their disappointment when I’m not there. I don’t mind it, though. Like I said, it’s all about building relationships, and if all it takes is catching up over a shot of espresso, I’m happy to do that.
I’m always asked what it’s like to be a woman in such a male-dominated field. My answer is that times are changing. There are a lot of women in our industry—not as many as there should be mind you—but I am fortunate to be part of a business that includes some amazing female franchisees. There is an evolution on the other side of the counter, as well. These days, women are a great deal more active in making the buying decisions. With all the information available on the Internet, I find my female clients take a greater interest in the work a technician is doing on their car because they can easily research it online. On any given day, you’ll find about half the clients in the waiting room are women. I think in some cases my female clients like the fact the shop is owned by a woman, but I also know their husbands appreciate they are dealing with one, too.
As long as I love what I’m doing, I don’t see it ever changing. Matt and Michael will take a more active role in the business down the road, so I can perhaps slow down a bit myself. As I said, your people become a reflection of who you are in the way you present the business. Once that foundation
is laid, stepping back a bit isn’t all that difficult.
Tina Dejong is co-owner of Midas stores in Woodbridge and Etobicoke, Ont. She can be reached at email@example.com.
Date of first franchise: 1956
Franchise/corporate units: 154
Investment range: $338,000 – $425,000
Initial franchise fee: $30,000
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