In case you missed our feature on collaborative groups in the March/April magazine we are publishing them online. This week:
MEMBERS 122 some with multiple sites
Employees Approximately 1200
Car Craft celebrates 35 years as a network of like-minded independent repairers this year. What started out as a buying and networking group in Western Australia has developed into a national network that is about so much more than just buying power.
Car Craft is not a franchise, it is an unlisted public company where the repairers who are part of the network own the network and receive a return on investment. “Everything we do is about putting money back into their pockets,” says CEO Peter McMahon.
Car Craft operates as separate companies in each state which sit under the national umbrella. In this way the members of each state will pursue relationships and buying deals that are relevant and helpful to their members.
The way it works is a one off buy-in which purchases one share. It doesn’t matter what size your shop is or how many you have, each member only has one vote so everyone is on an even footing. “It’s all for one and one for all – it always has been,” says McMahon.
Car Craft has had a careful plan of measured growth to attract the right businesses so that the group can offer the appropriate services to the right work providers.
“The growth we have seen in the five years since we started the national expansion has been incredible. We’re now sitting at 122 businesses around Australia. This is because people are starting to understand that to be part of a greater group adds more security to their business going forward.
“Now that we have such a large national footprint the industry is coming to us — insurers, fleet companies and suppliers are looking to strike up a relationship.
“We’re interested in pursuing partnerships — we want long term relationships which will benefit everyone.
“Octoral, a Sherwin Williams refinishing system which is exclusive to the Car Craft network in Australia is the perfect example of a partnership” says McMahon. “We are growing together and the repairers that use it are increasing their profitability while using a top quality product.” It’s an entrepreneurial organisation and has a hail repair, recycling, recalibration, and distribution company within the group as well as being the distributor of Ezi-Methods.
It’s taken time to find the right repairers in Sydney and Melbourne – because no one had really heard of the group. “In Melbourne there was already a very well established group that do great work in the Sheen Group which made it difficult to break into the market – but there is room for both of us,” McMahon says.
“When AMA went on a buying spree in Sydney our phones started ringing at the head office here in Perth. Its growth in the short time we’ve been operating there has been fantastic.
“We’ve all been talking about the huge AMA Group network but at the end of the day they only have a percentage of what is available. There are MSO and franchises in the industry and they all have their place, we just offer a different point of view and offer repairers the opportunity to grow with us.”
Tasmania will be the next location for Car Craft and the group also have interest from New Zealand. “We will continue our measured growth. I’ve seen many companies come and go because they have grown too fast and are under resourced.”
There are still vacancies in Sydney and Melbourne metro and the group is keen to have more members in major rural locations like Mount Gambia, Riverland and Wagga Wagga.
Car Craft is focussed on high standards and training with regular inspections carried out to ensure minimum standards are met. “We primarily welcome good family owned businesses. Our goal is to be the first choice for accident repairs and having a network where standards are maintained is critical for that.”