It’s that time of year again—show time! With about a month and a half before the SEMA and AAPEX Shows, we’re gearing up to bring you live coverage from both…and give you a sneak peek at what to expect at the shows this year. Whether you’re busy planning your trip to Vegas for the biggest automotive aftermarket event or taking it all in from the comfort of your desk chair, let’s dive into what you can anticipate seeing at this year’s AAPEX Show.
In this episode of What’s Treading with Tire Review, sponsored by AAPEX, we discuss all things AAPEX 2022 with Vic Tarasik, owner of Shop Owner Coach and a member of the AAPEX Events Committee. As a former independent automotive repair shop owner himself, Vic coaches other shop owners today and has played an integral role in getting other shop owners involved to chart out the technical and management training that will be at this year’s AAPEX Show, especially in Repair Shop HQ and Joe’s Garage.
Hear from Vic as he explains the new elements to this year’s show, examples of the technical training (ADAS and so much more) that will be available and the management training sessions that will be open to attendees.
MORE WHAT’S TREADING: Click here for the episode archive!
- Ways AAPEX is catering to repair shops and tire dealers with Repair Shop HQ and Joe’s Garage (0:36)
- Differences from last year’s AAPEX show to this year’s and how manufacturers will demonstrate their equipment on real vehicles in Joe’s Garage (3:59)
- New exhibitors in Repair Shop HQ, including Garage Gurus (6:55)
- What Vic and AAPEX are predicting in attendance after last year’s show’s restrictions due to COVID-19 (8:13)
- Management training- such as how to charge what you’re worth a- that will be at AAPEX this year and how you can sign up for them (8:50)
- Technical training sessions available at AAPEX this year, such as sessions on ADAS and EVs (13:28)
- Why tire dealers should go to AAPEX and split their time between AAPEX and SEMA (15:08)
MW: I’m excited to dig into what the 2022 AAPEX Show has to offer tire dealers and general automotive repair shops. There’s the traditional trade show with parts suppliers on the upper level. But, on the lower level, there was Repair Shop HQ. For listeners and viewers who may not know what it is, can you describe it and how it went last year? It’s definitely something shop owners would find interest in.
Vic Tarasik: It’s really cool. On level one of AAPEX, it’s dedicated to shop owners and technicians. If you put part a part on in the bay, you diagnose a vehicle, that’s your home Considering that 2021 was our first year coming off of COVID and some of the restrictions that were going on in Vegas, it was out of the park. We had eight bays with a diagnostic section. We had an alternate fuel section. The attendance was amazing. The exhibitors who participated in Joe’s Garage alone… 75% of them renewed for this year. In fact, we had so much interest, we had to expand it from eight bays to 10 bays this year.
As of right now – the middle of the summer—Joe’s Garage is sold out in the bays and in the kiosks.
So, backtracking a bit, Joe’s Garage is the facade of an automotive shop. You’ll see what [these exhibitors’ products] look like working in an automotive shop. We have lifts bolted to the ground, vehicles up in the air, equipment and products being demonstrated and how they can positively impact a shop owner or a technician in the automotive shop.
At your traditional trade show, you walk up to a booth, and you might have a piece of diagnostic equipment and they’ll show it to you, but they won’t show you how it operates. In Joe’s Garage, they’ve got vehicles that run exhaust systems that pull exhaust out, and they [exhibitors] can demonstrate whatever they want on a live vehicle and see how it operates. They can answer, ‘How will [this product] impact me when I take this product back to my shop?’
MW: So, right then and there, shop owners and technicians can see if the product is something that we could use in the shop to make our lives easier. I know last year; I probably spent half a day in Repair Shop HQ. On the lower level, Repair Shop HW is the large area and Joe’s Garage is in the middle of Repair Shop HQ.
You were talking about Joe’s Garage expanding from eight to 10 bays. Are there any new things or differences from last year to this year that we can expect?
VT: There is. There is a new transmission section. TranStar Industries has come in and taken a bay. First Brand, Raybestos, and Centric Brakes—they have a whole undercar line and have a bay to demonstrate the different variety of products they have. These are the parts that get put on the vehicle. Bosch is going to have the bay where they’re bringing in their service solutions. Mahle will bring in their service equipment. They have a lift that’s purely portable, does not have to be bolted down and can lift the vehicle up to full height.
Advance Professionals is bringing their WTI and CTI training programs in. They’re partnering with Tekmetic and Mechanic Advisor to take a bay and a whole section up in the kiosk area. But, I also have to highlight one of our returning people—Autel. Autel had their ADAS equipment last year, and they’re going to be able to demonstrate ADAS smack dab in the middle of the show floor. It was one of the hits of Joe’s Garage last year.
MW: That’s awesome. For tire dealers, ADAS is huge in their shops and just a huge subject for the automotive industry right now.
VT: It really is. Early on when TPMS came out, that was the kind of the black art of the product line. Now, it’s ADAS and we’re getting questions on how ADAS is going to impact me and how can I service an ADAS vehicle.
So here in Joe’s Garage, they’ll be able to see it, touch it and talk to the guys who actually design the product.
And right across from Autel, Coats is returning with their tire equipment, but they’re also bringing their aligner. So, they’re going to bring their full alignment equipment and have a team there highlighting their product, and particularly their alignment equipment.
MW: Vic, we’re talking about Joe’s Garage right now, but in the greater Repair Shop HQ, from last year to this year, are there any big differences in terms of what dealers can expect?
VT: So, these guys aren’t new but didn’t get the spotlight they deserved last year: Garage Gurus. They had their mobile training center, and last year, that was one of the areas that we didn’t really promote well, but they’ve got their 18-wheeler coming in and they’ll have their mobile training center like they did last year. They’re going to be doing some classes on-site and also show what the training can be like when they take it to a shop’s area. Alt fuel is getting more traction than it did last year and the diagnostic section…we’re really building out the tool and equipment area. This year, there’s no hesitation on people coming back. So, we expect level one to be totally packed.
MW: Vic, you talked about restrictions at both AAPEX and SEMA last year. What are you hearing attendance-wise for AAPEX this year?
VT: Exhibitors and attendees are at pre-pandemic levels. So, we’re tracking back to what a full show—both exhibitors and attendees. It looks like COVID is in the rearview mirror for the aftermarket.
MW: We’ve talked about Repair Shop HQ and Joe’s Garage. I also wanted to discuss the training that will be at AAPEX. There’s also management and leadership training too, is that right?
VT: We have world-class trainers coming this year. We have the technical and management training that was vetted by shop owners. All the classes that are being presented have been crowdsourced by the people who are listening to What’s Treading and their peers.
They’re going to be able to learn and bring back that knowledge to their shop.The focus in shop management is going to be on sales and leadership…developing your team to maximize that front of the counter.
MW: Yes, I was pulling up the schedule and there is one called “Charge What You’re Worth,” which I think is a great title and I’m sure lots of great information will be there. There’s another one called, “The Top 1% of Shops and How to Be One.” There’s marketing, sales, success strategies anything that you can highlight in particular?
VT: The first one you mentioned, “Charge What You’re Worth” rings my bell. There’s this internal challenge that we all struggle with when we’re trying to present an estimate to a customer. We tend to minimize it, especially those of us who’ve come from the industry where we were technicians, worked through as a service advisor and then owner. We don’t often think about what it is we’re really worth. So, Murray Voth, he’s the trainer on this one and has his own coaching company called RPM Training, but he comes from the technical side of the business. He was a technician and a shop owner. Now, he’s a coach. If anyone has lived the not charging what you’re worth, it’s us who are former shop owners now turned coaches. We’ve learned how to charge what we’re worth, especially because we’re coaching a lot of shop owners to charge what they’re worth right.
In the market today where it’s really difficult to find a technician, it’s never been more important to charge what you’re worth so you can afford to pay the people that work for you and afford to pay the people you want to hire. If you’re not charging what you’re worth, you will never be able to hire top-level talent. Murray will bring in some tools to give service advisors and shop owners so they’ll have a boost when they get back to their shop. I highly recommend that class.
MW: You’re doing a session with Murray Voth as well, correct?
VT: Yeah, so a lot of shop owners have heard about a 20 group, and sometimes, you don’t get to know what a 20 group is. So, Murray and I are putting on a half-day class called, “What’s a 20 Group and Why Should I Care?” We’re going to have shop owners that are there who have submitted their numbers (financials). If anyone wants to get involved with this, they just have to sign up and submit their numbers. It will be anonymous. It’s an abbreviated version of a typical 20-group meeting, which is around two and a half days. They’ll leave there with some tools to be able to put to work right away and start making some additional money if they come to the class. And they’ll take the mystery out of what a 20 group is.
MW: Other than those, are there maybe two or three you can highlight specifically for tire dealers to attend?
VT: ADAS is the one that I would point them to. We’re bringing in a world-class trainer to show them and take the mystery out of ADAS. We’ve got equipment in Joe’s Garage and the technical component for the training sessions.
MW: I know there’s a couple EV seminars and training sessions on the schedule as well. That seems to be an ever-growing topic in the automotive aftermarket.
VT: EV is not going away. EV is going to be part of our discussion, whether a shop owner takes on EV right away or looks at it as part of his future growth plan. If he comes to the technical component of it and learns a little bit about EV, he’ll be better equipped to make that decision. EV is not for everybody right now. It’s a growing and changing market. I know shop owners who have serviced Teslas, and they have customers who come from 400 miles away to get their vehicle serviced. They’ve made that part of their marketing mix. Whether or not the shop owner is going to put it as part of his current marketing plan, he still should take time to come to the EV sessions because these are world-class trainers who understand that side of the industry better than most people do.
MW: Vic, there is lots of training going on at AAPEX. We’re so excited about that. But for tire dealers in particular, a lot of tire dealers have been traditionally going to SEMA, but coming to AAPEX, there’s so much there for them, too. From your perspective, as a former shop owner, why should tire dealers attend AAPEX this year?
VT: That’s a great question. So, tire dealers typically focus 50% of their business on tires, and 50% on general repair. These guys have the tire industry down to a science. They know the ins and outs of it. If they come to AAPEX, they’re going to see some things that they wouldn’t see at SEMA. They’re going to see hands-on demonstrations and live vehicles in Joe’s Garage. They’re going to get training that they couldn’t get over at SEMA. You’re going to see live vehicles on a lift. No one in the US is doing that.
I strongly suggest that anyone who’s at SEMA spend half a day over at AAPEX, you won’t regret it.