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Fix Auto: Thirty Years of Success

Autosphere » Collision » Fix Auto: Thirty Years of Success
Sonia Bouthillette, Vice President of Operations for Fix Network in Canada, explains that a core strength of the network is the ability to consistently deliver top quality service to its customers. Photo Jack Kazmierski

Fix Auto has grown to provide unrivalled global expertise and support for its franchise partners.

In 1992, Fix Auto was founded to bring together what was then a very fragmented collision repair industry. Communication with customers to build trust, communication with insurers to create long-lasting robust relationships and also, communication with both parties to ensure that collision centres within the Fix Auto network could optimize processes and procedures to deliver consistent, high quality vehicle repairs.

Today, Fix Auto has grown to become one of the largest collision repair networks in the world (as part of the Fix Network family which also includes mechanical and glass franchise opportunities) and yet those very principles established by the banner in the very beginning remain just as true and as relevant in 2022 as they did in 1992.

A world of benefits

Sonia Bouthillette, Vice President of Operations of Fix Network in Canada, explains that being a Fix Auto franchisee opens a whole world of benefits. “Franchisees have greater access to leading insurance providers and our collective purchasing power ensures they can receive automotive parts and services from the most reputed OEMs,” she says.

Additionally, the Fix Auto team works very closely with its franchise partners to ensure they always have the right operational and technical support, along with highly effective marketing tools and training to run a very successful operation. At the same time, Fix Auto actively encourages entrepreneurial spirit, from the senior leadership and management team to each franchisee within the network.

Put it all together and the recipe is one that’s proven to be extremely effective in continuing to drive success for both the network and its franchise partners, no matter what changes or developments are happening within the collision repair industry and the wider automotive aftermarket sector.

To provide context for just how robust and successful Fix Auto’s franchise model is, since 2014 it has, under the leadership of President and CEO Steve Leal and his senior management team, grown not only across Canada but expanded internationally into the UK, Europe, South Africa, Mexico, and Australia.

“In all the countries we operate in, our teams are constantly supporting our franchisees by giving them access to the best suppliers and increasing their awareness about the most advanced training, certification, technology and tools, so that their technicians can remain on top of the most complex vehicle repair technology,” explains Bouthillette. “Technicians at all our locations can access world-class repair training, technical and operational support, and forge stronger customer relationships that help them restore vehicles to their original condition.”

Training centres

Getting back to Canada, major investments in equipment, technology and training, including the establishment of regional training centres in Milton, ON, Blainville, QC, and Calgary, AB, has helped to ensure staff and technicians within each of the network’s 267 Canadian franchisee locations have the opportunity to regularly advance their skills and capabilities. This ensures that they can perform the latest techniques and by doing so, consistently deliver quality, certified collision repairs and restore each and every vehicle back to its fully functioning, pre-collision condition.

There’s no question that the collision repair landscape in Canada is vastly different today than it was in 1992, and for independent collision centres, the past 10-15 years in particular has seen a dramatic change in the way business is conducted—from DRP programs with insurers, to greater OEM involvement in specific repair procedures and the investments in equipment and training required to keep up with them—all of it requires shop owners and managers to be extremely strategic in their decision making.

According to Bouthillette, Fix Auto can take a good deal of the guesswork out of these decisions by presenting a very attractive option for those businesses that are considering joining a network. Some of the key attributes include:

  • First rate quality of service—including follow-up—that’s translated into the loyalty and satisfaction among the network’s customers.
  • Continuous training of franchisees and their technicians in the latest collision repair technologies and customer service standards at Fix Network’s three Canadian training centres.
  • Fix Auto’s leadership in collision repair and body work.
  • The Power of the Network—i.e. that Fix Auto is recognized by all insurers and OEMs and offers a rock-solid guarantee to customers—providing continuous marketing and technology support to all franchisees as well as operational guidance for them.
  • The ability to take care of every single aspect for shop customers, from First Notice of Loss, to handing over keys, to final delivery of the repaired vehicle back to the customer.

These, and other aspects, including the ability to provide far greater economies of scale and negotiation when it comes to equipment, training and staffing investments, as well as greater leverage with insurers—provides shop owners and managers with the peace of mind that there is a vast and highly capable repair network that can back them to the hilt. This becomes particularly important given today’s operating environment where continued advancement of automotive technology and growing complexity of repairs, make it increasingly challenging for many independent collision repairers to stay ahead of the curve.

Consolidation of high-profile brands

Another added benefit is that through Fix Network’s acquisition and investment in other high-profile automotive aftermarket service brands, including Speedy Auto Service and NOVUS Glass, franchisees who join Fix Auto have the opportunity to diversify and expand their business into new sectors, strengthening their footprint, reputation and revenue opportunities.

Bouthillette notes that in Quebec, three super-centres that offer Fix Auto, Speedy Auto and NOVUS Glass services under one roof, have seen not only greater business expansion but also faster turnaround times for collision repairs, due to the ability to perform mechanical and glass repairs in house.

As we move forward, this trend in consolidation is only likely to continue, particularly as the automotive collision repair and aftermarket service industry continues to witness greater demand for advanced repair technologies, contactless repair processes and shop procedures, as well as the growth in electric vehicle repairs and servicing. Based on how Fix Auto and the Fix Network family has been able to continuously meet these demands amid an ever-expanding global network and an unpredictable global pandemic, the future—for those collision centres that are already part of the Fix Auto family and those that are looking to join—appears to be very bright indeed.

 

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