Tenacity is the word that describes the past and present ownership at College Auto Tech, a garage that has been a part of this city since 1975. It’s a trait that Dave White says has contributed to his success and one that he shares with his daughter, Jaime Hamilton, who is the business’s current owner. “I don’t like to let things go. If there’s an issue, I have to go through it and deal with it and be happy with the result. It’s why we are both good with our clients. If they’re not happy, were not happy,” says Dave. “There’s a lot of satisfaction in seeing something that needs attention, dealing with it and then making it better.
In its third location at 79 Waterloo Ave., College Auto Tech is also in its third generation of ownership. Jaime Hamilton took over for her father, Dave White this spring. Dave started working at his own father’s shop when he was eighteen. While Dave is approaching retirement, he still spends a lot of time at the shop. “Everyone assumes that you hate your job, and you count down days to last day – if I had to do that I’d probably cry on the last day. The beauty of having a small business is that you don’t have to walk away and now I have a nice balance. I have some freedom that I didn’t have twenty years ago. And I get to work with Jaime – you can’t put a price on that.”
Jaime and Dave have worked together closely to develop an excellent customer service strategy that creates a positive and comfortable experience for their patrons.
Communication is a big part of that strategy and the shop follows up with customers two weeks after any major repair work. Upon request the shop will send out email reminders for service and text when vehicles are ready for pick up.
They also have a comfortable waiting room with complimentary Wi-Fi, hot drinks, and television access to Virtual Vehicle. Virtual Vehicle is a video program with a large selection of automotive topics. “A lot of the time, people don’t understand how a part works. When we have to replace a part we can send or show people the appropriate video that corresponds with the repair,” Dave notes.
College Auto Tech also offers the Roadside Assistance Program to its customers. Anyone who spends a minimum of $25 on service is given one full year of roadside assistance. It’s a reimbursement program accessible through registered TechNet shops and it’s a program that College Auto Tech is proud to offer.
College Auto Tech is a proud member of the Guelph Garage Owners Association. The GGOA is a network of like-minded garage owners who have a reputation of doing the right service at the right time at a fair price. Their member list, code of ethics, and community involvement projects can be found listed on their website.
Don’t compromise your warranty
When you spend a lot of money on a big purchase the last thing you want to do is end up paying more. New vehicles come with a warranty to protect new owners from expenses – but those warranties don’t come without conditions.
“Every car has a maintenance schedule and it must be upheld to protect the warranty and value of the car. If you don’t follow the maintenance schedule - whether you go to the dealer or an independent repair shop - that’s when you have issues with your warranty,” Dave explains.
Maintenance schedules go beyond a simple oil change, although timely oil changes do fit the bill. Required action can include flushing the cooling system, cleaning injectors, replacing the cabin filter, rotating tires and inspecting brake lines, fuel lines, suspension, and drive belts.
Keeping on top of your maintenance schedule can also help you avoid costly repairs by catching issues before they become large problems.
So what is the maintenance schedule for your vehicle? Each vehicle is different, so check your owner’s manual or with a member of the GGOA to learn about your recommended schedule.
Book your next service with a member of the Guelph Garage Owners Association: