Three accident repair centres based in East Anglia have joined forces in a bid to take on more private fleet work.
Colchester-based Faseko, Anglia Bodyworks in Bury St Edmunds and Station Coach-works in Great Dunmow have formed Anglian Accident Repair Centres (AARC).
The umbrella company brings together 39 staff and puts through around 90 cars a week. Their collective turnover is about £4 million.
The move was motivated for two key reasons: the consolidation of insurance companies that wanted only one point of contact for multiple sites and the three bodyshops’ desire to expand their services to fleets.
Angela Farren, Faseko managing director, said all three companies were like-minded independently-owned bodyshops.
“We really want to get away from work providers and work with local fleets,” she added.
Anglia Bodyworks no longer holds any insurer partners, ending its last relationship in January this year. Faseko only works with one insurer – Groupama, having previously worked with RBS, Liverpool Victoria and NMA.
AM was unable to contact Station Coachworks owners Dick and James Amott about its situation.
Steve Savage, Anglia Bodyworks managing director, said working with insurers no longer fitted his business model. “We were forced down the non-genuine parts route with insurers,” he said.
“We were having to produce repairs that we weren’t satisfied with because of the insurance companies.”
All three body repair companies hold equal shares in AARC but Farren said there was room for other bodyshops to join the group and adjust the shares accordingly.
While Faseko, Anglia Bodyworks and Station Coach-works will continue to trade under their respective names, an AARC corporate identity is currently being put together and will be used in a marketing campaign from early next year.
Support from Zebra
The alliance is supported by Call Zebra, an accident management group, which answers phonecalls on behalf of the bodyshops, then emails details of cars coming in.
Work is divided through zoned postcode areas, said Farren, but their joint capacity means fleet work is more achievable:
“We can work between the three of us to attract bigger fleets.”
AARC will go out to local fleets and show them what is on offer, added Farren.
It has not yet approached the supplier market to use its buying power as a group but Savage said that would be the next step.
He added that AARC was about independently-owned bodyshops taking hold of their future.
“I no longer want or need to have insurance contracts dictating methods of repair that could jeopardise my reputation,” he said.
“We’re here to repair cars properly and quickly and get people on the road as soon as possible,” said Savage.
Faseko is currently going through the process of achieving PAS125 while Anglia Bodyworks has manufacturer approvals but expects to go for the standard within the next 18 months.
Manufacturer accident repair approvals include Ford and Renault at Anglia Bodyworks and Saab, Renault, Nissan, Kia and Mazda at Faseko.