March 26, 2019 | Issue 2
A chat with Balgores Motors
Balgores Motors is East Anglia’s leading accident repair group with eleven manufacturer-approved car body repair centres throughout Essex and Suffolk. We dropped in for a quick chat with Group Parts Manager, Graham Gash, to find out more.
Tell us how the business began and how it’s evolved since?
The company started in 1982 as a car dealership, with a body shop, a single attendant petrol station and just four staff. We’ve since evolved to become an accident repair group with 300 staff operating across 11 sites.
Can you describe Balgores Motors and what marks you out?
We are a well-established business with a strong reputation for being at the forefront of repair technology. In the past year we have invested around £500,000 in new equipment, including an ADAS wheel alignment unit and a £100,000 lathe to carry out specialist wheel work.
We have manufacturer approvals for 20 leading prestige and premium brands including Aston Martin, Bentley, VW Group and Jaguar Land Rover. We are not cheap but you pay for quality and our customers recognise that as they keep coming back to us.
Who are your customers?
Around 40% are main dealerships and another 40% are insurance referrals. The final 20% are walk-in customers, which is quite high for the industry. The walk-ins come from repeat business or or word-of-mouth recommendations. Our reputation for repairing prestige vehicles is among the best.
Any unusual facts about the business?
We have just recently acquired our own go karting centre! We wanted the freehold for the site and the centre came with it. The staff love it, as they get a discounted rate and it’s good for team building.
What’s the biggest challenge you face as a business right now?
Vehicle technology is a huge challenge.
Cars are becoming like a computer on wheels. Even something as simple as changing a bumper now requires more specialised skills, with parking sensors and cameras that have to be recalibrated during the repair process. We have invested a lot in training our staff to deal with the advances in technology.
Describe your relationship with TPS?
TPS are one of the best suppliers we deal with. They always keep to their delivery times, in fact you can set your clock by them. Martin Turner, our local TPS Centre Manager, is brilliant to deal with and his product knowledge is second to none. It also helps he is a West Ham fan, like most of us here!
What do the next five years hold for Balgores Motors?
We are always looking for acquisitions, particularly freehold sites, to keep the business moving forward. As we acquire more sites, we will take on more staff, including apprentices. We have taken on three new apprentices so far and have plans to recruit more throughout the year.
And finally, what’s your favourite Volkswagen Group vehicle?
It has to be the Audi Quattro. If money was no object, it would be the original Audi Sport Quattro, as that was some car.