Hear how Rich Gregg, recent Master Shop Owner, runs his business.


Rich Gregg of Essential Auto Service

Rich Gregg, owner of Essential Auto Service, has been in business for over 20 years and counting! He runs a 5-star shop that is known for its top quality and reliable work. The shop is always clean, well-organized, and, most importantly, busy. With a full staff of six, the business has consistently grown since opening in 1999.

Nestled in the fast-growing city of Waterloo, Canada, Essential Auto Service is surrounded by a fast-paced environment. With two large universities and a population of 600,000, Waterloo is often deemed the Silicon Valley of the North. Rich says he, “likes to keep the shop up to date on the latest technology and this is a great community that accepts the digital and streamlined communication and services we offer.” When Rich is not in the shop, you can find him restoring various vehicles in different stages of repair. Or, he might be outdoors hiking and kayaking. He even enjoys stock trading as a hobby and form of passive income.

The shop was opened because Rich was tired of working for other people, he felt underappreciated and overworked. Now, he is in control of his work and life. What is he the most proud of? The fact he’s taken the chances he wanted to. He invested his time, money, and energy into the business and it’s paid off, he’s not only successful but operational as well. He says, “I have achieved my goals from dream to reality.”

Essential Auto Service of Waterloo, Ontario – Canada

Luck isn’t how he got this far, it was only after hard work has he been able to achieve this level of success. He’s implemented digital inspections and CRM to create transparency and trust, with both the equipment and technicians, so his team can perform to the highest standards. This has gained them a great reputation. Essential Auto has a large returning client base that knows the shop will take care of their vehicle. Their work is high quality and high value.

Marketing is an important part of attracting potential customers to your shop, and Rich takes advantage of this knowledge. He has a weekly marketing budget of $800. With this he uses Google AdWords to drive customers to his website, from there customers can easily book an appointment. They also have consistent branding across social media platforms, including Facebook and Instagram. It’s consistent and continuous.

Essential Auto – wintertime

Rich used to wear all of the hats in his business, he was every position instead of being the owner. He says, “I focused so much on trimming expenses, but I wore all the hats and it became too much to handle.  I often worked late or on weekends to stay caught up.” Once he became a DRIVE client, that started to change. He says, “DRIVE has taught me a lot about running a business and being able to grow it successfully.” He learned how to work on the business instead of in it. He credits DRIVE for helping him to have the courage to make some of the more difficult business decisions. Now, he has more than enough time and energy to oversee the KPI’s and delegate to the shop’s manager. Between January and May, Rich didn’t step foot in the shop because it was fully operational.

Essential Auto Service

This past August Rich attended the DRIVE EXPO, where he was awarded the Master Shop Owner Award. To get this, shop owners must: improve their management skills, increase profit each year, collect and analyze KPIs weekly, establish a workflow that is used by the front and back, create an incentive program that rewards production, consistently market your shop, create a shop playbook, and reduce debt. Before he started his journey to earning his Master title, he would talk to the Master Shop owners at EXPOs and wonder how they were so relaxed. This networking allowed for him to hear about their policies and procedures, leaving him with new things to implement when her returned to his own shop. Now, Rich is the relaxed one giving advice to new DRIVE clients and he’s looking forward to doing just that at DRIVE EXPO 2023.

His advice to other shop owners? Create a long-term plan. Rich says, “Know where you want to be then work backwards. Break your long-range plane from years into the next year then the next quarter, then the next month and finally the next week. You must have a detailed plan and the discipline to follow it, then your goals will always become a reality. I feel if I were to open another location, I would be able to have it operational withing a year instead of multiple years because I now have a solid plan and I know what to expect.”

Congratulations to Rich and everyone at Essential Auto on your continued success!

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MOTOR AGE Magazine link

Watch Rich Gregg on DRIVE FACEBOOK LIVE. Click Here.

Prepared by Chase Clough