For the greater good of the industry, a national voice is needed for shop owners and managers.
I recently made a heated argument against some restaurant service staff making a case they deserve larger tips due to a decrease in wages spurred by COVID. Pardon me? Did I just hear that right? Did they really think everyone else was immune to shrinking profits?
My point was a simple one: people should be paid a decent wage for performing what is a fairly standard service. Regardless, you see tip jars on counters everywhere. It seems like any establishment offering food or beverage is basically begging for money to help them and their staff make it through these rough times.
What poppycock and nonsense! Seriously—have you not been affected by a pandemic that basically removed cars from the road for nearly two years? Add insult to injury with a glance at parts and material prices, which are moving upwards faster than the speed of an ultra-fast hardener.
There was a time, it seems so long ago now, when repairers used to get together and share their concerns. When the Canadian Collision Industry Forum (CCIF) first started, it was a revolutionary concept. Insurers, suppliers and repairers all in the same meeting…and repairers were actually listened to!
In those days there were breakout sessions where action items were not only discussed but spelled out and results were expected! At the next meeting there would be reports on each session, and woe and behold the session leader who didn’t produce some sort of results.
But, as time marched on and the consolidators and networks became more influential, the voice of the individual repairer—network or independent—has become as soft as a church mouse. Let me reiterate that you, as a repairer, should be fairly compensated for your service without the need to keep asking for more money to perform safe repairs.
The point of my little rant is to pose the question: Is it time to bring back some type of national action group, with benchmarks and expected results? A perfect example of this is the Saskatchewan Association of Automotive Repairers (SAAR). Man, under the watch and guidance of Tom Bissonnette, they seem to be getting things done. Working with their insurers—public out there in God’s country, don’t you know!—suppliers and trainers. It seems a week doesn’t go by that I don’t learn something from Tom’s weekly email to his members. And his members sure do appreciate it.
I believe something along these lines, county-wide, is needed. Send me an email firstname.lastname@example.org or give me a call if you agree and we can start getting the wheels in motion. Or I guess the other option is you can put a tip jar on the counter.