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               April 2010, Volume 8, Number 3, $5.95, www.autosphere.ca




               Road to Success
              Dave Peck’s
               Unique
              Success Story
     C O V E R PA G E PROFILE



     Leadership
     Unconventional Success
     Building a successful business is all
     about ambition and talent, with a strong
     emphasis on customer service.



     S
            ome of history’s most success-                   21 years old, but as history would
            ful people began their careers in                later recall, he was well on the path
            the most unconventional ways.                    to success.
     Bill Gates, for instance, dropped out of
     Harvard in order to launch Microsoft,                   A shot at success
     while Albert Einstein changed the world,                Peck managed to leverage his love
     even though he was considered a high                    of cars, his drive, and ambition to
     school drop out. Without question, both                 come out on top. “I’ve always had an
     men were very successful, and we can only               interest in cars,” he says. “Even as
     wonder what life would be like without                  a 6-year-old I could pick out makes
     Microsoft Windows or Einstein’s famous                  and models as cars passed by. It
     theory of relativity.                                   seemed to come naturally. When this            “People are holding onto cars longer than
                                                             business opportunity presented it-             Either they can’t afford a new one or they
     The name “Dave Peck” could also be                      self, it seemed like the perfect direc-
                                                                                                            vehicles are built better and will last longer.
     added to our list on unconventional suc-                tion in life for a young guy who wasn’t
     cess stories. While Peck completed high                 sure what he really wanted... but was
     school, and even continued his education,               sure that he loved cars.”                 PHOTO: JACK KAZMIERSKI

     becoming a licensed technician, his road                                                                    In 1974, Peck Bros. decided to expand
     to success was somewhat unique.                         Most young men would balk at the idea of            their business. Dave and his brother
                                                             taking on such a responsibility, but Peck           Tony bought a Shell 4-bay gas station in
     “I came out of high school and went                     welcomed the challenge. “It was intimi-             Uxbridge, Ontario where Tony and his
     straight into the auto business,” says                  dating to a degree, but I was confident I            family resided. At the same time Dave
     Dave Peck, president of Peck Brothers. “I               could pull it off,” he says. “I was raised in       became a licensed independent dealer
     finished high school but didn’t make any                 Thornhill and knew the community well. I            in used cars. In 1993, he moved his ori-
     university decisions at the time because                was reasonably certain that with a lot hard         ginal shop on Yonge Street to Doncaster
     I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do in life. I            work I had a pretty good shot at success.”          Avenue—a bigger location with 8 bays.
     ended up helping out a friend who owned                                                                     Currently the company has 15 employees.
     a Shell gas station on Yonge Street in                  Driven by ambition, Peck was level-headed
     Thornhill, Ontario.                                     enough to realize that he would need the            Another part of the Peck enterprise is
                                                             proper training to run his service station          Enco Auto Trim and Glass. “We put the
     “During that time I developed a relation-               well. That’s why he went back to school.            Thornhill Peck Bros. location together
     ship with the Shell rep, and when the                                                                       with newly acquired Enco Auto Trim and
     owner had a riff with Shell Canada, I ap-               “During the first few years of operation I           Glass and to this day we are running it
     plied for the location and got it.”                     set up my apprenticeship program, man-              under one roof doing automotive trim and
                                                             aged to sneak away to school and even-              glass, complete mechanical repair and
     Almost overnight, Peck found himself                    tually became licensed as a mechanic,”              service as well as car sales,” Peck explains.
     in the aftermarket with a gas station, a                Peck says. “I ran the business, as opposed
     2-bay garage and a single tech working for              to working in the bays, but I thought it            Success secrets
     Peck and his brother Tony, who became                   was in my best interest to know how it all          Building a successful business takes ambi-
     a partner in the business. Peck was only                worked.”                                            tion, hard work, and talent. But to Peck, it


14   | CarCare Business | April 2010 | www.autosphere.ca |
                                                                                                                           COVER PAGE PR O F I L E


                                                                                                                                        Jack Kazmierski
                                                                                                                            jack.kazmierski@autosphere.ca



                                                                                                                    Even though the recession is technically
                                                                                                                    over and better times are ahead, Peck
                                                                                                                    believes consumers are still hesitant to
                                                                                                                    spend money when they absolutely don’t
                                                                                                                    have to, which means business might not
                                                                                                                    pick up as quickly as we would all hope.


                                                                                                                    “People are holding onto cars longer than
                                                                                                                    they did in the recent past,” Peck explains.
                                                                                                                    “Either they can’t afford a new one or they
                                                                                                                    have discovered that today’s vehicles are
                                                                                                                    built better and will last longer.


                                                                                                                    “What that means to us is that we have
                                                                                                                    to listen carefully to the customer, under-
                                                                                                                    stand and respect their personal situation.
                                                                                                                    Certainly we need to bring all mainten-
                                                                                                                    ance and repair issues to their attention
                                                                                                                    that need addressing, but we often priori-
they did in the recent past.                                                                                        tize those items to fit their budget. This
have discovered that today’s                                                                                        allows the customer to make informed
                                                                                                                    decisions with undue pressure. Eventually,
” – Dave Peck
                                                                                                                    that business will come back to us. We en-
                                                            Peck discusses a project with one of his employees.
                                                                                                                    courage our customers to read and follow
                                                                                                                    their owner’s manuals to understand the
      all boils down to a common denominator.         Keeping up with change                                        importance of regular maintenance and to
      “It’s all about customer service,” he says.     The world is constantly changing, and so                      extend the life of their vehicles. The evolu-
      “There’s really no magic. You need to           is the auto industry. In order to continue                    tion of technology in today’s automobiles
      pay close attention to what the customer        prospering, the aftermarket has to under-                     makes this more important than ever.”
      wants and deliver that with honesty and         stand how things are shifting and adjust
      integrity. As long as you don’t lose sight of   business strategies accordingly.                              With the Right to Repair issue resolved,
      that, I think you can continue to succeed                                                                     Peck is looking forward to a brighter and
      in this industry. Plus I am very fortunate      Traditionally, recessions and economic                        more promising future, but wonders if the
      to have great people working with me that       slowdowns have been good for business,                        aftermarket will be able to keep pace with
      share the same work ethic.”                     but Peck believes that this old adage may                     the way franchised dealerships are doing
                                                      no longer ring true. “Clearly that was the                    business.
      As simple as the notion of customer ser-        case back when cars weren’t built as well
      vice might be, Peck has seen others make        as they are today and when cars were                          “Clearly, the manufacturers are very
      mistakes that have cost them dearly. “The       breaking down more frequently. That’s                         image conscious,” he says. “Our image in
      biggest mistake is not understanding the        back in the days when you got up in                           the aftermarket is equally important, and
      customer and/or treating them without           the morning and your car wouldn’t start                       I’ve always been a big advocate of that.
      the respect they deserve,” he explains.         because of a battery or spark plug, or                        Professionalism and the way we present
      “It’s very easy to not communicate with         ignition wire or ignition failure. Today cars                 ourselves to the consumer, are a very
      the customer at their level and help them       don’t break down like they used to. People                    important part of our business. We have
      understand what it is you need to do in         are able to live with things like check en-                   to do it right and create an image that
      order to solve their problem. The minute        gine lights without having to service them                    competes with the dealers, or we will be
      you talk down to your customers, you’ve         immediately.”                                                 left behind.”
      lost them.”


                                                                                                                  | www.autosphere.ca | April 2010 | CarCare Business |   15

				
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