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Old 06-06-2012, 07:58 AM   #1
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Room in Vancouver for another Performance/Tuning Shop?

I'm wondering what the outlook on another Performance/Tuning shop opening up in the great Vancouver area.

Are there enough shops around Vancouver to meet the needs of the automotive enthusiast or is there a need for another shop?

Let me know what your opinions are on this and what you would like to see if a new shop were to open up.

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Old 06-06-2012, 08:08 AM   #2
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I don't think so myself. I don't think nearly the amount of people are modding their cars the way they were before. In order to add more capacity to the local marketplace for anything, you either need to have a growing customer base, or go in cheaper or better to steal market share. Entering with the idea of stealing market share as your sole source of customers is a hard prospect.
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Old 06-06-2012, 08:29 AM   #3
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Taking away business from the other locak business is not something that I (or anyone opening a business) should consider as a good business plan.

I do agree on these points but I also seem to see a lot of people who are unhappy with the local offerings and look for alternatives. I know every shop will have there bad experiences be it a customer problem or a shop problem.

In the business that I am in now we make money based on the fact that we offer service and quality that no one can match locally. All our products sell at full retail price and our customers are glad to pay that with the product support and knowledge we offer.
If I were to open a shop I would want to use my experience here as model for a business going forward.
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Old 06-06-2012, 08:56 AM   #4
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Don't think it would work. People who buy aftermarket parts in Vancouver usually know how to get deals below Canadian MRSP, for example, by buying in the States. Thus, you might only be getting labour hours.

This means you are also competing with autobody shops, mechanics, dealerships, and backyard mechanics depending on the assignment.

How can you match service and quality locally? Service, maybe. But anyone can pick out their parts off a catalog or any website.

You will also be paying expensive Vancouver rent for a shop.

That being said, unless you are competing with M&M Design or SR Auto, which their customer base have unlimited amount of resource. They don't care about deals, they seem to care about "what friends have, I must have".
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Old 06-06-2012, 09:05 AM   #5
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Myself, in renovations, I started in the 'good value' area, and people will drop you for a guy $50 cheaper. Much better to play in the "make it look awesome" category. More money, but way more challenging...which is the part that makes it fun(and a headache), but I got sick of hearing"I don't have much money..." when I'm standing in their condo that they just bought for some ridiculous amount of money.
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Old 06-06-2012, 09:11 AM   #6
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The tuning scene is dead.
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Old 06-06-2012, 09:13 AM   #7
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Sadly I think Hondaracer may have summed it up for the local scene.....
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Old 06-06-2012, 09:44 AM   #8
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It would work only if it were a complete shop that sold parts as well, but the only possible way I see a new shop becoming successful is if it were to do something no local shop has been able to do so far, and this is somehow magically finding a way to sell products for the same price it's sold for in the US. That means tires at US prices, body parts, engine parts, etc.... almost everything... And on top of that for the hardcore JDM crowd you would need good connections straight out of Japan.


And that's not even enough, you would probably have to stock these parts at your warehouse too so they're easily accessible to the customer.
Since I've jumped into tuning outta high school in the early 2000's I can probably count on one hand the amount of times a local shop has had something I wanted in stock at their shop. All my friends too over the years, the amount of money we have given to US based stores and shops is ridiculous.
Specifically you would be needing specialists, guys who know mazdas, nissans, fords, etc.... and these guys would have an idea of what the most popular local platforms are and what their owners are typically after so then you know what would sell hot and fast.
For example the Mazda 3 crowd loves their lip kits and HID's and lowering springs, so you would obviously need to stock up on these items, etc...etc... you get the idea..


Opening up a new shop and relying strictly on "good honest workmanship" not gonna cut it because we have a few good local shops finally that we can trust.
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Old 06-06-2012, 09:51 AM   #9
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If the shop you plan on opening caters to the current trends,then I don't see why you can't make it.

Right now the biggest thing in the tuning scene is the stance look or whatever it's called.
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Old 06-06-2012, 09:51 AM   #10
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Think about location,

the fact the only couple decent shops are in richmond sucks for anyone in the valley area.

Open one in langley or abbotsford and dominate that market over there, theres no competition.

The tuning scene is dead?

why does mission raceway sell out every friday?, why is there no parking at RS meets unless you show up 2 hours early? Why are there a bunch of honda's competing to be the first in the 9's this year in the quarter mile? This is the most intense year ever in the "tuning scene"



You must be talking about the riceing scene with underglow and body kits, yes that scene is dead.


The main problem is cost, and reputation.

rent is too expensive for a shop, thus you must pass on the costs to the customer, then they will order and bring their own parts, then you install their parts, their parts fail, they blame you, you get bad rep, and people are way too fuckin cheap to pay for good work, they would rather spend money at backyard places and take the no warranty chance.

I think there are only 2 or 3 shops that still have, and have always maintained a good reputation.


G-spec nailed it,

None of the shops locally ever have anything in stock except the most common items,

but that is not any shops fault, its canada's fault.

Manufactorers have their own warehouses in the US, so when a shop sells a product it drop ships from the manufactorers warehouse, the shops themselves dont have their own warehouses, we dont have dropship services here.

And if you do manage to stock some parts, they need to be comparible to US prices, because every other shop locally charges over 50% above US prices, so everyone just goes down south for shopping
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Old 06-06-2012, 09:58 AM   #11
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Taking away business from the other locak business is not something that I (or anyone opening a business) should consider as a good business plan.
No, that's exactly how you should think about running your business. 95% of the tuning shops are shit. There's nothing wrong with taking business away from the lousy shops and having them come to your shop (provided you're running a good shop).

Anything to take away customers from people who have no business modding cars is OK in my books.

That said, I somewhat agree with Hondaracer - tuning scene is pretty much dead.
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Old 06-06-2012, 10:44 AM   #12
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Taking away business from the other locak business is not something that I (or anyone opening a business) should consider as a good business plan.

I do agree on these points but I also seem to see a lot of people who are unhappy with the local offerings and look for alternatives. I know every shop will have there bad experiences be it a customer problem or a shop problem.

In the business that I am in now we make money based on the fact that we offer service and quality that no one can match locally. All our products sell at full retail price and our customers are glad to pay that with the product support and knowledge we offer.
If I were to open a shop I would want to use my experience here as model for a business going forward.

Personally being in the industry I'd say no unless you have enough capital to start from scratch and survive. You may have a few people pay MSRP, but those are few and far between. If you REALLY think in our economy you can convince ALL your customers to pay MSRP you haven't been in the industry long enough. Once you give one person a special price, you've basically ripped off another. People are spending less on their cars, ordering online for the cheapest prices, and alot of the time DIY. I'd say mass majority of the tuning scene is under the age of 25 which is NOT an ideal target market mainly because they're not at the height of their careers and paying off loans. So convincing a financially struggling student to pay MSRP will be impossible.

Unless you have a very special "niche", I'm not too sure you'll want to start a shop in a failing economy and most importantly a dying scene. Unless you have millions, you won't be able to compete with US pricing.

I think there's a market to tune supercars here. But you'd have to be a VERY experienced mechanic.
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Old 06-06-2012, 11:44 AM   #13
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if the tuning scene is "dying" per se,

why are there no shops dying with it?

Even the god awfull ones are still in business somehow.

Where did this perception of the scene dying come from?

especially with aircare calling it quits in 2014, I can only imagine the scene is going to increase drastically.


Ofcourse rival shops are going to tell you not to open one, its competition for them and even more price matching / price wars which reduces their income.

hell if I had capital I'd do it just to finally open up a decent shop and take everyones overpriced business away.
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Old 06-06-2012, 12:35 PM   #14
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Old 06-06-2012, 12:53 PM   #15
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For my post, I think there's still a lot of people into cars, but are we really seeing the mass dollars dropped that once were?

Let's face facts, in order to survive, you need to have hoards of kids with a hand-me-down civic saying "over night that shit from Japan" to fill in your shops time in between the higher end cars.

There is still a car scene, and given that there has been since the 50's, I don't think its going away anytime soon, but that big rush of import rockets is not what it once was.

I'm not saying that's a bad thing. I'm quite happy to have a hobby that isn't on the news every second day.
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Old 06-06-2012, 01:06 PM   #16
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On a macro-level, improving engineering and electronics have made gains from tuning stock cars negligible. Also, look where the growth in cars is in the Lower Mainland - luxury cars. If you want to modify your car, you'll likely void your warranty and any free scheduled maintenance. And if you were willing to void your warranty to put a supercharger on your inline six, you'd go for the cheapest route possible since the majority of new luxury car buyers these days are Asian.

When I was in my 20s, modifying Japanese cars was the thing to do because they were cheap and plentiful. Now used Euros (such as an E36 BMW) have finally reached the bottom of the depreciation curve. Why would I buy a rusted out 90s Integra or Civic for 2 grand when I can pick up an E36 for 4 grand which is inherently more fun to drive and has the badge to impress all the chicks?
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Old 06-06-2012, 01:49 PM   #17
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The idea is open to interpritation, but for the tuning market it would be geared towards the higher end clients (ie M3's, M5's, AMG's ect) but not limited to those.

I know there are a tone of other people out there that take a simple Honda Civic and do AMAZING things with it so it would be open to that as well.

Not the kind of shop you would come to for a simple tune up or brake job.
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Old 06-06-2012, 01:54 PM   #18
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There is room for more if you can bring a new and exciting product to the market, otherwise you're just another brick in the wall selling Rota's and Recaros.

Design something that people really want that isn't already there, something that people constantly have to fabricate on their own to make something work.

That is how you can exist in the local tuning scene, along side custom fabrication such as what Blitzkrieg or 360 do.



To be completely honest, shops that cater to bolt ons alone are the ones that are most likely to fail, you have to offer up some pretty spectacular skills to truly be part of the local hoopla. Vancouver is the location of a lot of world class engineering, design, and fabrication, whether it's catering to cabinetry or cars, what you have to do is keep up.

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Old 06-06-2012, 02:11 PM   #19
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To be completely honest, shops that cater to bolt ons alone are the ones that are most likely to fail, you have to offer up some pretty spectacular skills to truly be part of the local hoopla. Vancouver is the location of a lot of world class engineering, design, and fabrication, whether it's catering to cabinetry or cars, what you have to do is keep up.
So true. Our manufacturing isn't big at all, but varied and very well done. I personally think its the combination of easy asian access with multi-cultural connections. We have a wide and varied skill set bringing new techniques from everywhere.

In renos, I have met a lot of people that are doing some very creative things right here. The only problem is you never get to hear about them.

A friend of mine was fairly big in making custom car parts and we go into a few different shops and walk in expecting to see a standard garage and one is "here's where we custom build the frame for the electric car, and assembly is here" and another shop working on a high efficiency gas engine. You drive past the shops everyday and have no idea.
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Old 06-06-2012, 02:12 PM   #20
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Not the kind of shop you would come to for a simple tune up or brake job.
Why would you want to neglect this market?

What are you going to do when the slow season creeps around the corner or when people are taking their winter projects out to the track?

Maintenance is essential and these customers are your bread and butter. Without them, I'm not sure how you will survive. You can cherry pick your customers/clientele but ignoring basic maintenance is a little farfetched.
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Old 06-06-2012, 02:19 PM   #21
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There are always room for shops. The question is not whether there is room but are there better business / opportunities?

If you want to be and have the resources to be an owner.. think about the revenue. Right off the bat, you will loose out on mail order services from the US. So you are stuck with servicing / labour related work, Since cars aren't exactly small you need space. Real estate is expensive in Lower Mainland, you have to move the cars through quickly, so it is either small jobs or cut corners. Then you have to worry about city taxes, bylaws and insurance. That's not counting the issues with people complaining about your pricing etc etc.

From a purely business perspective, there are higher margin business than working on cars. From that perspective, (discounting customer loyalty etc) Lower Mainland is saturated.

There are plenty of smaller hot rod shops in the Valley from Langley out to Abbotsford. Princess Auto usually gives away a free magazine that covers them. They are usually low key and the demographics are older.. vs the tuner scene. They are usually market themselves via word of mouth. They don't market themselves like attention grabbing teenagers.

If you have the money and what do mess with cars, don't start a business. Just spend your money on a private garage with plenty of good tools. Plenty of people have large spreads out in Maple Ridge .. Langley etc that have huge garages can even accommodate paint booths etc. Get a hobby farm on ALR land and go nuts if you want. If you are doing it because you are limited by career choices, well you have make the best out of your vocation, so good luck.

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Old 06-06-2012, 02:35 PM   #22
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There is room for more if you can bring a new and exciting product to the market, otherwise you're just another brick in the wall selling Rota's and Recaros.

Design something that people really want that isn't already there, something that people constantly have to fabricate on their own to make something work.

That is how you can exist in the local tuning scene, along side custom fabrication such as what Blitzkrieg or 360 do.



To be completely honest, shops that cater to bolt ons alone are the ones that are most likely to fail, you have to offer up some pretty spectacular skills to truly be part of the local hoopla. Vancouver is the location of a lot of world class engineering, design, and fabrication, whether it's catering to cabinetry or cars, what you have to do is keep up.
Indeed this is true and there may still be room for this in our current state and with the existing car culture we have here.

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Why would you want to neglect this market?

What are you going to do when the slow season creeps around the corner or when people are taking their winter projects out to the track?

Maintenance is essential and these customers are your bread and butter. Without them, I'm not sure how you will survive. You can cherry pick your customers/clientele but ignoring basic maintenance is a little farfetched.
It would not be ignored, it is that it is already taken care of. The general servicing would be taken care of by the other side of the business (which is already established and been so for over 20 years now).
With the types of cars that are being worked on currently there is no need to "cherry pick" our customers.

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There are always room for shops. The question is not whether there is room but are there better business / opportunities?

If you want to be and have the resources to be an owner.. think about the revenue. Right off the bat, you will loose out on mail order services from the US. So you are stuck with servicing / labour related work, Since cars aren't exactly small you need space. Real estate is expensive in Lower Mainland, you have to move the cars through quickly, so it is either small jobs or cut corners. City taxes, bylaws and insurance. That's not counting the issues with people complaining about your pricing etc etc.

From a purely business perspective, there are higher margin business than working on cars. From that perspective, (discounting customer loyalty etc) Lower Mainland is saturated.

There are plenty of smaller hot rod shops in the Valley from Langley out to Abbotsford. Princess Auto usually gives away a free magazine that covers them. They are usually low key and the demographics are older.. vs the tuner scene. They are usually market themselves via word of mouth.

If you have the money and what do mess with cars, don't start a business. Just spend your money on a private garage with plenty of good tools. Plenty of people have large spreads out in Maple Ridge .. Langley etc that have huge garages can even accommodate paint booths etc. If you are doing it because you are limited by career choices, well you have make the best out of your vocation, so good luck.
Well put.
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Old 06-06-2012, 02:44 PM   #23
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The idea is open to interpritation, but for the tuning market it would be geared towards the higher end clients (ie M3's, M5's, AMG's ect) but not limited to those.

I know there are a tone of other people out there that take a simple Honda Civic and do AMAZING things with it so it would be open to that as well.

Not the kind of shop you would come to for a simple tune up or brake job.
Maybe I'm na´ve, but I would think that street legal gains at the very high end of the luxury market are very hard to come by unless you completely re-engineer driveline components. Perhaps re-programming software is the key these days and if you could market such gains, then there may be a market (although limited.) Perhaps I spend too much time downtown (which is full if M-cars and AMGs), but people who buy such cars would rather be seen driving in them as opposed to having them in a shop for track duty.

As far as Civics go, I'm sure there are people who spend money on them, but these days (considering their worth), enthusiasts would rather put their own time in as opposed to paying a shop. If I had the money to spend on modifications, I'd put them into a car with some cache as opposed to a Civic.
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Old 06-06-2012, 02:50 PM   #24
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That brings up another good point.. cheap tools and proliferation with knowledge. In the past a good set of tools are couple hundred bucks, now it is hundred dollars+ (see the Snapon vs Mastercraft / craftsman argument).. pretty much simple tools can be made and bought cheaply. With Youtube etc.. people can follow how to do their own work.

Even "exotic" cars like Porsche's PIWIS Fiat/Ferrari ST scanners can be had.. so that adds extra pressure.

To really modify modern high end cars ECU mapping, you need to have access to high end cars as a test bed, good working knowledge of FPGA. That's just to get access past the encryption protocols of the ECUs, before the mapping etc. Granted things like that doesn't really need much space (you can also get tax credit for the car), but the knowledge required, people usually get better paid jobs than working in a garage.

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As far as Civics go, I'm sure there are people who spend money on them, but these days (considering their worth), enthusiasts would rather put their own time in as opposed to paying a shop. If I had the money to spend on modifications, I'd put them into a car with some cache as opposed to a Civic.

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Old 06-06-2012, 03:05 PM   #25
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if the tuning scene is "dying" per se,

why are there no shops dying with it?

Even the god awfull ones are still in business somehow.

Where did this perception of the scene dying come from?

especially with aircare calling it quits in 2014, I can only imagine the scene is going to increase drastically.


Ofcourse rival shops are going to tell you not to open one, its competition for them and even more price matching / price wars which reduces their income.

hell if I had capital I'd do it just to finally open up a decent shop and take everyones overpriced business away.

There have been many shops dying with it. There are no "car shows" with big sponsors anymore. Why is that? Because the scene is growing? Aircare is the least of any tuners issues. You deal with it once every 2 years.

If you had the capital I welcome you to open a shop to take everyone's "overpriced" business away. You obviously have not thought this out and have no idea on the industry and the overhead required. If your idea was great I'm sure you could easily get backing from any bank/family/friends. We can all talk the talk. But would you risk 6 figures to do so? Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying what you're saying entirely wrong. Just saying if you opened up this amazing shop that costs tons of money to build, do you really think you could survive by being the cheapest?

OP, was thinking he could offer even better service and charge full MSRP. Glove with your mentality you've already proven it won't work because he's wanting to charge more then the average for his "expertise".
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"High Fidelity Mobile Audio"

Authorized Retailer For:
Focal, Audison, Mosconi, Hertz, Rockford Fosgate, JVC, Kenwood, Clarion, Escort, AntiLaser Priority, Stinger Radar, Beltronics, Compustar, Thinkware, BlackeVue, Lukas plus much more!

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***2017 BEST LASER JAMMER - ANTILASER PRIORITY***






Last edited by Cman333; 06-06-2012 at 03:33 PM.
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