By Jan Westell WINNIPEG, Man. - Winnipeg is located almost at the halfway point of the busiest transportation route in the country, the Trans-Canada Highway, which makes it an ideal location for an in...
CUSTOMER FOCUS: Business partners Justin Lee and Neil Klawitter say that operating a small shop has its advantages.
By Jan Westell WINNIPEG, Man. – Winnipeg is located almost at the halfway point of the busiest transportation route in the country, the Trans-Canada Highway, which makes it an ideal location for an independent truck service and repair facility. That was the impetus for the formation of Genuine Truck Service, a small two-man, three-bay operation in the heart of Winnipeg’s industrial corridor, where co-partner Justin Lee says there is enough service business for all players.
“There is a very large trucking network here,” says 32-year-old Lee, who operates the new business with partner, 33-year-old Neil Klawitter. The service opened in late 2007 to fill what the two men saw as a void in the truck service industry.
“We offer personal professional service since we work with the customer from start to finish,” says Lee.
The two men are both certified in the trade with each having more than 12 years of experience in service, including several years in fleet management.
Lee and Klawitter are also working well within the Winnipeg trucking industry. The pair share referrals with companies like the local Kenworth dealer. While Custom Truck Sales offers full heavy-duty servicing, the director of operations also promotes the specialized light service expertise of Genuine Truck Service.
“They certainly are a very highquality jobber shop,” says Don Bailey.
The new business has already received plenty of word-of-mouth publicity, the owners say.
“It has been our experience that this level of service is difficult to achieve in a larger dealership environment,” adds Lee.
Considering that lease rates in the Winnipeg industrial area are not prohibitive, commercial space is limited, according to Lee. Unlike an automobile service shop, which requires a lift or two, and an increasing amount of computer technology for technical analysis and adjustment, a diesel service shop is more cost-effective.
“We had our own personal tools,” says Klawitter, who adds that organizational challenges were the greatest hurdle. “It was a lot more effort to get started: more than the cost.”
The economic horizon looks good for these two neophyte, yet savvy businessmen, since they are charging $85 an hour for labour, which they say is a competitive rate for the Winnipeg area.