• Graham Henrickson

Is there a Future in Smash Repairs?

Updated: Apr 26

Despite the economic challenges and changing market conditions over the last 5 years, the Australian motor vehicle repair industry has grown. But this growth has not been universal and local smash repair shops continue to struggle and close.

If you run a smash repair business, these will be familiar to you. For those who don't, here is a summary of the key factors affecting the industry:

  • The number of vehicles on the road continues to grow.

  • European prestige vehicles have increased market share as real household disposable income has grown.

  • Improved vehicle safety and collision avoidance technology, together with higher petrol prices and road safety initiatives such as speed cameras and drink driving campaigns have aimed at reducing accidents.

  • The number of people who take their vehicles to local auto repair shops has shown a steady decrease; a trend that is unlikely to change.

  • Car owners have shown a growing preference to have all maintenance and repair services done through dealerships. Some believe it is due to the growing number of cars purchased with lease finance from dealerships. But I suspect there is a much simpler reason - convenience and trust. They fear local auto repair shops lack the knowledge, expertise and technology needed to repair todays advanced vehicles.

  • New vehicle construction methods and safety systems require repair shops to invest in new equipment and staff training. Those that do, can take advantage of economies of scale to increase volume and productivity.

  • Changing their terms and conditions to remove the right to choose your own repairer has allowed insurance companies greater control over the industry forcing repair shops to enter volume agreements. Those that do are rewarded with a continuous flow of new clients.

The Australian motor vehicle repair industry remains fiercely competitive and the number of local repair shops has been reducing every year. This indicates over supply and further consolidation and more closures can be expected. This leaves business owners with few options. Here are 5:

  1. Invest in equipment and training

  2. Diversify into other motor repair areas

  3. Identify a niche market and specialise

  4. Partner with insurance companies for volume arrangements

  5. Downsize

The decision requires consideration of many factors. But, if you're well established and have built up a good reputation and loyal client base, your best interests will most likely be served by capitalising on these strengths and establishing yourself as a specialist repairer. If so, then idResults has the expert knowledge and experience to help you do it.

For the last 10 years, we have played an instrumental part in the development and growth of an industry leader - Panel One. Although they were accredited by the BMW Group, they had no internet presence and had lost favour with the major insurance companies. With the business under threat, idResults was engaged to develop a strategy to meet these challenges and help secure the Company’s future.

idResults argued against changing the Company logo as this would have been costly and unnecessary. Instead, it was slightly modified and brought to life with colours deliberately chosen for their association with the BMW brand. It became part of a striking new ‘brand signature’ that was applied consistently across all forms of Company communication. The Panel One website and subsequent update set a new industry standard in design, functionality, and service. On-line Forms improved efficiency, reduced human errors and escalation alerts delivered a more professional and hassle-free experience for clients. The Panel One Facebook page was designed accordingly, and Facebook marketing helped drive visitors to the website.

An exclusive free airport service and a unique end of lease report were among the successful initiatives and the introduction of a new CRM, client eNewletter and blog allowed the Company to engage clients and keep Panel One top of mind.

To make a greater impression and attract more clients to your motor vehicle repair business, contact idResults.

idResults are experts in web marketing for medical practice and websites for allied health professionals.


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