Located in the west end of the Ottawa-Carleton region Allard’s Collision Centre is a family-owned Canadian business. Allard’s Collision builds its reputation on the principles of superior customer service, quality of workmanship, honesty and integrity. These principles have made Allard’s Collision the No. 1 independent collision repair facility in the region, and the garage and collision centre has become a staple in local car body repair and maintenance.
Allard’s Collision provides its customers with expert collision repairs to all vehicle makes and models, complete paint services and body repairs, full mechanical repair options, automotive glass replacement and stone chip repairs, as well as detailing services. All work delivered by Allard’s professionals comes with full workmanship guarantee and lifetime paint warranty.
Ted Mills, General Manager of Allard’s Collision Centre, told The Canadian Business Journal that the Allard family started in the automotive trade in 1958, opening the first Allard’s Collision Centre in 1976, with the second location opening across the street in 1984, providing automotive services to Stittsville and West Ottawa. With 46 employees focused exclusively on body and paint work, Allard’s Collision Centre repaired 4,300 cars in 2011.
To the question of, ‘What makes Allard’s Collision Centre the best in the automotive repair industry?’, Manager Jeff Dunlay said, “For Allard’s Collision it’s always been the level of service we provide to our customers. We guarantee everything we do for life as long as the customer owns the car, and it does not matter when the customer had the repair done — whether it’s one year or whether the customer had the car fixed 20 years ago. If there is an issue with the repair we have done, we will correct it.” To this Mills added, “All of our staff are licenced, and we are an I-CAR Gold certified shop. Also all of our body technicians, including me and our managers, are Platinum I-CAR certified individuals, where ‘Platinum’ certification stands for the highest training for the collision repair standards.”
As far as the technology goes, the company follows all I-CAR standards. Mills said, “We have state-of-the-art frame equipment and a full service mechanical bay, the latest in wheel alignment technology, flow measuring technology, as well as the latest in measuring technology such as scanners and computers.” To this Dunlay added, “For example, the new, in-car technologies such as airbags installations need to be taken into consideration when repairing the body. For example, if we are repairing a door on a BMW, and we have to remove the so called ‘vapour barrier’, we have to replace it, we cannot reuse it because this barrier is a side-impact sensor, so we need to be aware of all the technology that is currently being installed in the vehicles, how it works, and what should be done in each instance of a repair.”
One of the company’s biggest advantages is that this modern facility has the capability to process large volumes of vehicles. The Centre operates on a six-day schedule for painting. To this Mills said, “We created the six day schedule due to the fact that painting is usually the slowest part of the body repair process. That’s why we run our painting schedule from Monday to Saturday.” One of Allard’s two locations focuses solely on collision repair and framework, while the centre across the street focuses on body repair and the painting process.
The company continues to work and attract young people into the trade as well as promoting from within. To this Dunlay said, “If we have a young man who works for us as a car detailer who wants to become a body repair technician or a painter, we always seek to promote within to fill those positions, and to grow our talent.” To the state of the industry Mills added, “It is actually getting harder to get young people into the industry, as not too many young people are trying to get into the trades. This has developed over the years as the wages in the industry had been suppressed, and public perceptions of the industry had been that of a ‘dirty’ trade. In reality, none of this is true. Body repair is actually a very lucrative trade. This is also a very ‘clean’ trade. Most of our work is collision-based, and we generally don’t deal with much rust work and so on.”
The company continues to note exponential growth. “Our volume continues to increase, due to the local economic growth. The housing in the area has been growing continuously over the past few years, and the housing demand continues to grow. We have new subdivisions sprouting out of the ground all around us.
The latest subdivision that lays only two kilometers from our locations will provide 10,000 new homes, increasing the local population by about 30,000 people.
These developments will definitely continue to support our growth. Due to this growth, we see about 10 per cent annual business growth, while our competition continues on the downward spiral.”
Dunlay added, “We also have contracts with local car dealers, insurance companies, and we also hold several major fleet contracts with large logistics companies, so if their vehicles have a mishap in our area, Allard’s Collision most likely takes on the repair.”
The company goal is simple — putting customers first. To this Mills said, “We have a strong reputation with our local customers, and we always deliver exceptional service. That’s why we have a good reputation and continue to grow.”