Identifying good candidates and providing them with the right tools and support are key to growth says Collin Welsh.
This spring, Collin Welsh was named Director, Franchise Development for CARSTAR in Canada. For Welsh, the new role represents an opportunity to build on his considerable experience in cultivating relationships with current and potential franchisees as well as providing them with guidance and strategies to help them realize their goals and potential. Welsh, who has been involved with the automotiveindustry his entire professional life—from starting out as anapprentice auto technician to managing parts sales, rental businesses and running fixed operations on the OEM dealer side—says the current environment in collision repair represents a very exciting chapter for the industry, and he feels proud and privileged to be a part of it. Recently, Collision Management interviewed Welsh and asked him to share his thoughts on the industry…
From what we understand, joining the collision industry was kind of the “missing piece” in your repertoire. Can you tell us a little about that?
Yes. When I joined CARSTAR about six years ago, I saw being involved in the collision industry as the next chapter in my professional journey. I have a passion for it and working primarily in central, eastern and northern Ontario, I was able to cultivate relationships and work strategically with franchisee partners to help them grow their business and expand to becomemulti-store operators.
Tell us a little about your current role?
In my current position, my goal is to essentially educate potential new franchisee partners across Canada. What I’ve found over the last several months is that whether I’m in Victoria, B.C. or Toronto, Ontario, the challenges and opportunities facing facilities are essentially the same. I very much enjoy having conversations, getting to know them and showing what we, as a network, are able to provide in terms of support and keeping up with changes in the industry. I also think it’s great when we, CARSTAR, as a group are able to get together and share ideas and best practices as well as identify which businesses really have the potential to succeed as part of the network.
What are some of the key factors you see as essential for a network to help its franchisee members be successful in the collision repair industry?
From my perspective, I can identify four key points. Firstly, having established national insurance partnerships and relationships. Secondly, having dedicated corporate support for local insurance agreements. Thirdly, having the information and tools available to help franchisees assess their current needs and KPIs and finally, providing the information and support on how to improve those same KPIs. Having a laser focus on the corporate side with your operational team can really help from an after sales service perspective and position both the network and its franchise partners for success and growth.
Can you tell us where you see future growth in terms of expanding CARSTAR’s footprint across Canada?
I’ve been having a lot of conversations with small town collision repair owners as well as businesses in metro areas. What’s interesting is that there are small communities where you wouldn’t envision a franchise succeeding. What we’re seeing, however, is that as cities expand, surrounding smaller communities see more of their business trickling into metro areas, with insurance carriers pushing business back to these smaller communities. If we’re able to take a core collision business with a great reputation and inject it with our brand while maintaining the existing business volume and growing it within that community, that’s a real recipe for success.