The Collision Clinic
“I contribute the company’s success to the hard work, dedication, and loyalty of our employees. Additionally, I attribute it to the integrity, passion, and soul of the owner, Glenn Hickey. This mantra is what he instilled in his employees, and who service customers with these values to this day. In the long run, a reputation for unwavering integrity will take you much further in business and personal life.”
— Sharon Wells, General Manager
The Collision Clinic evolved from humble beginnings when founder Glenn Hickey started his collision repair business in St. John’s, N.L., converting his parent’s barn into a four-car repair shop in 1978. Today, Collision Clinic represents one of the largest and most progressive independent collision repair facilities in Atlantic Canada.
To the question of what led Hickey to the automotive industry, he told The Canadian Business Journal, “At the seed of things, I have always liked cars – from hot rods to race cars – and that drove me to work in this industry, to improve and customize car bodies and build something different and outstanding, which was accomplished with Collision Clinic. From the very beginning as a young man I had aspirations of not only owning my own business, but building a great company. I am very proud of this achievement, but I give the credit to all of the great people who chose to work with me over the years.”
With the years of experience, Hickey also participated in the auto repair community in various posts, as a Provincial Chairperson and Instructor for ICAR technical training, National Director for the Society of Collision Repair Specialists, National Chairman for the Canadian Collision Industry Forum, and he has been admitted into the International Collision Industry Hall of Eagles. Hickey was also named the 2011 P.J. Gardiner Institute Entrepreneur of the Year by Memorial University’s Faculty of Business. This award celebrates the achievement and entrepreneurial spirit of an individual who strengthens the provincial economy and business community.
Today, with its 26 employees, the collision repair facility spreads over 12,000 square feet with a 7,700 square foot production space. Sharon Wells, General Manager of Collision Clinic, said, “By the industry standards this may appear small, however, at an average of 2,500 vehicles repaired per year, Collision Clinic has been recognized by industry experts for some of the highest production per square foot in North America. We are definitely in the category of ‘the vital few,’” referring to the Pareto Principle of the “the vital few” [according to which 20 per cent of all pea pods contain 80 per cent of the peas].
As a member of Collision Solutions Network (CSN), Collision Clinic delivers superior collision repair service, while reflecting the core values of confidence, trust, and integrity. Collision Clinic was also the first ICAR Gold Class Certified collision facility in Newfoundland, and its technicians meet the requirements and standards set by “The Inter Industry Conference on Auto Collision Repair.” In addition, all managers are fully trained in lean processes and efficiencies throughout the repair process. This training makes improvement and adaption a part of everyday work throughout the company, achieving new levels of performance and customer satisfaction. Providing industry-leading service, and as a local go-to place for car repairs, the Collision Clinic was awarded Outstanding Business of the Year in 2010, and the Consumers Choice Award in 2011 and 2012.
And what drives the success of Collision Clinic? It is the ability to attract repeat business. While the company continues to grow, satisfied customers continue to return to the Collision Clinic for the service, creating the base of success. “We are not a multi-store operation, and we prefer to focus on perfecting our service.
In addition to our repeat business, as well as insurance and dealer referrals, we have a wide base of clients and client sources, so we plan to keep the momentum going,” Hickey said. To continue to increase effectiveness, Collision Clinic focuses extensively on training as well as acquisition of the latest technology and equipment in the automotive industry. “If there is a new piece of equipment on the market, chances are that Collision Clinic will have it first.
Our continuous quest for innovation has always given us a competitive edge.”
As far as customer satisfaction goes, Collision Clinic surpasses its competition. Implementing the latest technologies, the company stays in touch with its clients throughout the repair process via email, text messaging, and the company mobile app. Individual flash drives containing customer paperwork and nationwide lifetime guarantee are available. Wells said, “From a technological perspective, this form of communication appeals to our younger generation customer base. We provide updates and information to our customers according to their request. We are very adaptable to the customer needs, we embrace service and quality, and we never compromise on integrity. This is a core component to our customer service.” To use the Collision Clinic’s “Status On-Demand” service, clients simply log on to the company website with a secure password and view the repair progress in real time. The company smart phone app works as a personal car accident emergency assistant, a single-click emergency communication system, contacting family members, emergency services, insurance company, even providing a location and a map of the accident, making it a must-have app for any driver.
Contributing to the community, Collision Clinic created the “Enriching Lives Car Giveaway Program”. The program is designed to donate a late model reconditioned vehicle to an individual during the holiday season. While Collision Clinic’s sister company Auto Parts Network donates a vehicle, Collision Clinic and its technicians provide all the necessary repairs, donating time and expertise. Wells said, “We have been doing this for eight years now, and it is just a natural fit for us to do this form of community engagement.” Besides this initiative, the company supports over a dozen other local initiatives such as the St. John’s Curling Association, Children’s Wish Foundation, Ronald McDonald House, and Community Food Sharing.
The Collision Clinic’s facility is still not at its full capacity and the company sees more potential to provide service to more vehicles. Wells said, “As a business, we are not falling into a comfort zone just because we are successful. Comfort zone is not part of our culture, and we are always searching to improve our business model. We realize that changes are inevitable and ongoing, and that success is directly related to the ability to adapt to change. Also, to work effectively, our people need to be on the same page. That being said, over 65 per cent of our people have been with us for over 10 years. During the hiring process, we seek employees who are committed and dedicated and who are looking for a long-term career in our industry.”
To remain ahead of its competition, Collision Clinic continues to challenge the boundaries of what’s possible in all facets of the industry.