However, it is yet to secure a repair agreement with any insurer.
John Matthews, its UK business manager, says he is in talks with several insurers but his priority has been to get repairers on board. He expects to recruit another five repairers by the end of the year.
“Insurers’ responses are very positive,” he says. Some have branches using Fix Auto in Canada and the US, and Matthews is using these relationships to open dialogue with their UK counterparts.
“Despite the differences between the US and UK bodyshop sectors, there is still a fundamental need for insurers to reduce their claims costs. Managing the networks that they currently operate costs insurers lots of money,” says Matthews.
“What Fix Auto offers is a way of bringing together the best regional bodyshops that haven’t the resources of a major player such as Nationwide but provide excellent service to the insurer.” He believes small bodyshops lack the marketing power that a franchise can provide.
One task facing him is establishing Fix Auto as a well-known brand in the UK, as he wants it to become a consumer choice. Repairers who sign the franchise agreement are required to add Fix Auto signage to their premises, but can also retain their existing branding while the business is established.
Franchisees will pay 3% of their total annual turnover to Fix Auto, but Matthews says they should ultimately see their profitability increase.
“We believe we can show tangible improvements to the running of a business that will eventually yield that take and if a Fix Auto bodyshop doesn’t generate a return on investment, they can fire us within 60 days.
“This is our ninth market and we know it takes time to get the results, but ultimately we will be in a position to take 3%.”