This expansion continues the company’s recent move into north Wales and Manchester last year and will involve extensive growth in the north west, although there are currently no plans for new sites outside this area.
Discussions are already under way with a number of bodyshop owners, mainly those leaving the industry or retiring, and the extent of the expansion will be based on the number of suitable sites available.
Managing director Neil Kirk hopes that the process can be funded without the need for loans, involving the acquisition of financially strong bodyshops, which are already adequate for their locality rather than opting for new builds.
“Wherever we build new sites they are based on an existing footprint,” he says. “The ability to fund new sites from revenue is the way to go.”
Howard Basford recently invested heavily in removing old equipment at its existing sites, with aims to adopt the new PAS 125 quality standard accreditation procedure across the entire network.
Neil Kirk believes this commitment to quality is well recognized by insurers, and views the planned expansion as an effective way to meet their demands for higher bodyshop capacity.