Early on in his career, Wheel Easy founder Dennis Ho knew that he wanted to work with cars for a living. He also learned that he enjoyed interacting with clients and creating positive experiences for his customers.  

And he wanted to do it on his own. Ho wanted to be an entrepreneur, open his own business, and fulfil a unique customer need when it comes to automotive services. 

It’s About the Tires

In Canada, fall and spring are tire-changing seasons. And if you’re in the automotive industry, it can be an intense eight weeks of business during each season.  

For a customer, it can be frustrating trying to book an appointment. There are delays in getting your time slot, and then you’ll likely experience a long wait while the service is being done.  

Ho wanted to change that experience. 

He wanted to make it easy for customers to get their tires changed. He wanted to free them from booking an appointment at an automotive shop and then waiting an hour or two in the service department. Time is valuable. 

Ho decided to set up his own mobile tire-changing business. Instead of going to a shop, Wheel Easy customers stay in the comfort of their own homes while they receive complete auto services, right in their own driveway! It’s as easy as booking the service request online, and then a Wheel Easy team member will come and complete the work. 

The customer-friendly venture combined Ho’s abilities as a technician, his customer service skills, and his desire to be an entrepreneur.  

But Ho needed help setting up his venture.  

Connections Are Key 

Ho connected with TechAlliance through Fanshawe College’s business accelerator program. In addition to the networking opportunities from the School of Transportation that Ho had already graduated from, TechAlliance offered him plenty of support and connected him with the Ontario Centre of Innovation and other grant agencies. This greatly helped him prepare for the launch of his business — Wheel Easy — in the Fall of 2022. 

To grow the business, Ho needed some assistance in developing the software side of Wheel Easy. With support from TechAlliance’s and the i.d.e.a. Fund™ (Inclusion, Diversity, Environment, Acceleration), Ho was able to implement new software design and functionality for the platform. The customized booking platform is key to making Wheel Easy’s service model simple to use for customers, while also ensuring service technicians are deployed in the most efficient manner. 

TechAlliance had just the right experts to support Wheel Easy. Ian Haase, a serial entrepreneur and former teacher at London’s Ivey School of Business, acted as Ho’s advisor. Haase provided software support, ideas, and business-model thinking. Current Entrepreneur in Residence (EIR), Paul Hogendoorn, also supported Ho as part of the i.d.e.a. Fund™. Hogendoorn used his background in software development and experience in business operations to help Ho focus on customer acquisition and retention, which resulted in improved efficiency.    

Scaling Up 

While refining Wheel Easy’s mobile service offering is key to the business’s growth and sustainability, Ho is also looking to offer more amenities. He’d like to reduce the seasonality of the business by offering basic services such as diagnostics, brakes and other in-depth offerings, but scalability cannot be rushed. TechAlliance’s expertise is helping Ho determine the level of growth that will be sustainable for Wheel Easy before launching additional services.  

Wheel Easy’s team is small, but as business ramps up and the company evolves, the business has positioned itself within a market that has room to grow. While other services and offerings for its customers are still being determined, with the help of the i.d.e.a. Fund™, Wheel Easy is poised for success. 

 “Wheel Easy’s service offering fills a need for busy Canadians,” says Dr Martin Smith, venture growth advisor for TechAlliance. “We’re thrilled that we were able to connect Dennis with Paul through the i.d.e.a. Fund™ to help develop his software and scale up the business effectively.” 

Supported by a $10-million Government of Canada investment, through the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario), the i.d.e.a. Fund™ is led by Boundless Accelerator (formerly Innovation Guelph) in partnership with five Regional Innovation Centres (RICs): WEtech Alliance, Haltech Regional Innovation Centre, Innovate Niagara, Innovation Factory and TechAlliance of Southwestern Ontario. The program helps high-potential ventures access the tools they need to succeed by providing financial and business advisory supports to develop or redesign products, services, processes and technologies that reduce impacts on the environment and create made-in-Canada solutions. 

To learn more about the i.d.e.a. Fund™, go to techalliance.ca/idea-fund 
To learn more about Wheel Easy, visit https://www.wheel-easy.ca/  
To learn more about FedDev Ontario, go to  https://feddev-ontario.canada.ca/en