Family business built on long-lasting customer relationships.
Dave and Christie Dias started BC Diesel Truck Repair and Performance, which is located in Surrey, British Columbia in 2011. Their 18,000 square feet full-repair facility on 64th Avenue is equipped with the latest diagnostic tools and a team of experienced professionals who have what it takes to get your diesel truck working reliably again or if you are looking for high performance diesel modification for your rig they are your one-stop-shop.
In eight short years Dave and Christie have built-up a nationwide dealer network and what is quickly becoming a one-stop shop e-commerce giant for diesel drivers in The Great White North and beyond. BCDIESEL.CA offers products and apparel from over 63 industry-leading manufacturers – as well as Diesel Particulate Filter kits – and free shipping anywhere in Canada on orders over one hundred dollars.
When Dave Dias was a kid he wanted to be a NASCAR driver, “I’ve always been really into vehicles; I’ve always been drawn to cars. When I was younger I watched my brother build all the old Mopar stuff and then later I had a couple of Challenger RTs.” Dave also owned a Challenger Hellcat, but it should not be a surprise that he traded it in for a diesel truck, but still stayed with a Mopar product as he talks about his Ram 3500 with a six-inch lift and 35-inch tires and a full BC Diesel wrap down the side, which is a real eye catcher and is much better in the mud and snow then the Hellcat.
Dave quickly pointed out that he and his Ram 3500 are in good company.
“My daughter is really into cars and trucks, too. She also drives a diesel truck, works at a dealership, and following in my footsteps.”
Dave’s first job at a dealership, he explained, was at 18. He was washing cars.
“But it wasn’t long before I was selling cars at the dealership,” he pointed out with a chuckle. “And then it wasn’t long before I was the sales manager.”
Today, Dave leaves most of the management decisions to his better half. His wife, Christie, is BC Diesel’s co-owner. She’s also the central nervous system of the company’s famous customer service, he explained.
“My wife has a brilliant mind for business. She takes-on so much: the accounting, shipping and receiving, and hiring new employees, which is a key to our success. If it wasn’t for her, the rest of the team wouldn’t have the time to be so focused on the customer’s needs. She’s always conscious of our image. Christie drives an eco-diesel and that’s also totally wrapped with our advertising, too” he boasted.
If you’re a gearhead in the Greater Vancouver Area and you’ve seen Dave’s Ram 3500 or Christie’s eco-diesel vroom by all wrapped up in BC Diesel pride you might have done a double take. And you’d be forgiven. BC Diesel is one letter off from a big name in the diesel world.
“BD Diesel is a manufacturer of diesel performance parts and people get us confused all the time,” Dave explained. “They’re a major player in the industry both in Canada and the U.S. Christie and I worked there for 10 or 12 years each. She was the accountant and I was the east coast territory rep. After six years of working together, we started to date and we eventually became husband and wife – and parents. Brian, the owner at BD, welcomed it because his company is very family oriented. He has over 100 employees and many of them are the sons and daughters of past employees. That’s how we’ve both worked for almost the last 20 years: in a family-driven business atmosphere.”
Dave and Christie credit Brian and the BD family for much of their success today.
“We really hit the ground running because of our time there,” Dave said. “Being the BD east coast territory rep meant I did a lot of traveling in Toronto and Florida, places where the big trade shows are. What I really noticed dealing with other shops and businesses was a lack of customer service. Diesel truck drivers are driving 75,000-dollar and 100,000-dollar rigs and they’re phoning around trying to find the right parts and a lot of the time they’re being sold stuff they don’t want or don’t really need. No one out there was tailoring the experience for individual drivers.”
Part of Dave’s job at BD was monitoring online diesel chat forums.
“I found a real niche in that part of the job. Brian recognized that in me and moved me into that position dealing with customer relations and PR and anything like that. When it came time for me to move on and start my own business, it was my intention to take care of customers. These are customers who require specialized parts and need you to spend a little more time with their concerns. They need detailed emails with options they can choose from rather than just a list of things we think they need. Diesel customers need to be understood. I was so successful as a territory rep because I took the time to listen to people. I know that if I get bad customer service when I need something for my car or my boat, I remember it. But when you get good customer service it sticks with you in a meaningful way and that’s what I’ve based my company on.”
The repair side of BC Diesel, Dave explained, is based on one meaningful yet simple principal: “People want to get their truck back on the road because time is money.”
“They don’t want to have to come back two weeks later because it was misdiagnosed,” he continued. “They don’t want to hear that you’ve overbooked yourself and that you’re rushing jobs just to get them out the door. The same principle applies to the other part of our business.”
Dave’s talking about the diesel performance side of BC Diesel, which includes BCDiesel.ca. “And that’s a huge market. When people are buying stuff online and you’re shipping it to the east coast, for example, the customer service experience is just as vital. If someone copies down the wrong serial number on an order that means a customer is waiting seven days for the wrong part to arrive, then they have to send it back and potentially wait another seven days – that’s unacceptable. We make sure that our customers get just what they want and in a timely fashion. If someone on our team has a customer on the phone or a customer in front of them they put everything else aside, no matter how busy it is. These are expensive diesel performance parts and most people don’t want to wait long for their stuff.”
Ninety percent of BC Diesel’s inventory is shipped directly from Surrey with no middleman for the customer, Dave explained.
“We import a lot from the U.S., which is great because we’re so close to the border here in Surrey. Some of our less popular items we’ll ship directly from one of our suppliers in Alberta or Ontario, but at least 90 percent gets shipped from here – and we offer free shipping anywhere in Canada. It’s appealing for anyone into diesel culture but especially people looking to buy an exhaust system in a box. We’ll ship a five-foot box all the way to Nova Scotia, for example, free.”
Dave’s travels as BD’s east coast sales rep molded a Mopar-Challenger child into an expert on diesel culture and its nuances.
“There were quite a few fuel seminars from injection shops and things like that, for sure,” he recalled. “My travels still bring me places where I connect with the performance market. With a diesel engine the better it breathes the more efficient and cleaner it runs. That’s where the bigger exhaust and the higher-flow air filters come in. Every bit of tuning people are putting in makes the truck go faster and it gives you better fuel economy. The tuning market is a multi, multi-million-dollar market.”
There is also a smaller “but growing” market, Dave continued.
“It’s a market of young guys, mostly. These are guys who want to drag race their diesel trucks and they’re specifically looking for speed. They want to take it from 400 horsepower to 800 horse power – and it’s not that hard to double the horse power of a diesel engine – but what drives the market in the grander sense is fuel economy. We stick to mostly newer stuff and modern models, 2003 and newer. 2003 was a big year for diesel emissions; 2008 was a really big year. We’re all for a cleaner environment, but a lot of these diesel emission systems are really unreliable. They cause the vehicles to have really bad fuel economy and to run into a lot of problems, which is contradictory, but that’s what makes this such a niche business right now, why we’re so popular. Can you imagine spending 100 000 dollars on a work horse and it’s in the barn every other week? This is a clientele that deserves the best in customer service.” And that is exactly what BC Diesel Truck Repair and Performance offers and delivers to each and every customer online and in their shop.
The Dias and the rest of the team at BC Diesel Truck Repair and Performance also understand that it is important to give back to the communities where they do business is part of being a good corporate neighbor. That is why the company sponsors Athletes 4 Kids, which supports kids who can not afford to play sports, because they believe along with A4K that regardless of a child’s socioeconomic status, they should be able to participate in organized sport and BC Diesel Truck Repair and Performance helps provide families with financial assistance so all B.C. children can realize their dream of playing amateur sports.
So, it is easy to see that the Dias are focused on keeping you moving and active whether it is at work or play.
by Jamie Barrie