The National Collision Repairer chats with Jamie Carruthers, who shares his journey and discusses his current businesses as he celebrates the 50th anniversary of Max Auto Smash Repairs.
Jamie Curruthers began his career in the industry at a young age when his dad pulled him out of school and placed him with one of his friends’ collision repair shops, setting his son on the path to becoming a panel beater by the time he was
18 years old.
Over his journey, Curruthers has owned and operated several shops, including Coastline Panel & Paint, which he has owned for the past 23 years.
However, nine years ago, he saw that “the shop across the road”, Max Auto Smash Repairs, was not travelling so well, so he acquired the business, turned it around and relocated it to be side-by-side with Coastline. Together, they have become known as CPMA (Coastline Panel & Paint Max Auto Smash Repairs), and they repair 45 cars per week with only 17 full-time staff.
Although it has changed hands a couple of times since the early 1970s, Max Auto Smash Repairs celebrates its golden anniversary this year, and due to the longevity of both facilities, Curruthers operates both brands in the Tweed Heads market.
People in the business
Curruthers and his wife Michelle went into business together when they acquired Coastline and have worked together
CPMA also has several long-term employees, including site manager Jason Mewes, a former facility owner and insurance assessor, panel beater Lindsay Brooks and spray painter Dean Morrow.
Curruthers also reflects on the ongoing difficulty finding technicians, so he takes the “grow your own” approach and currently has four apprentices in the business.
Key supplier partners
Curruthers speaks fondly of his longest- serving partner, who goes all the way back to the beginning with Coastline: The Paint Depot, which was acquired by the SAPE Group in 2018. This long-term relationship extends to their paint brand, BASF’s baslac. Curruthers holds both solvent and water-based and selects the system depending on the requirements of the repair.
The SAPE Group also supplies a full range of ancillaries, GYS welding equipment, and Autorobot straightening and measuring equipment, making it a one-stop shop for CPMA.
In addition, with the added complexity of 45 cars now going through the shop, Curruthers switched to iBodyshop when the two shops came together. iBodyshop does everything they need it to do, making the whole business much more efficient.
SAPE Group Queensland business manager Adrian Albany was pleased to offer the following comment, “Jamie’s dedication to the industry is not only proven through his local service and longevity in business through MaxAutos, but also through his ongoing commitment in employing the next generation apprentices.
“With additional support and training from BASF, Jamie strives to exceed the expectations of his customers in his fast-paced professional body shop.”
Secrets of success
Curruthers well recognises that 50 years in business doesn’t just happen by accident, and he puts the long-term success down to the people in the business, the quality of the repairs and the high levels of customer service.
“I believe I have three or four of the best technicians in the industry with great experience, not just on the tools, but in some cases owning and operating their own businesses. This makes a huge difference to CPMA.” Curruthers added that these things make the business stand out from other collision repairers in Tweed Heads.
Curruthers was also keen to point out that he is happy to work with multiple insurers and likes to ensure he maintains a balance in where the work comes from, giving no more than 25 per cent of work to any one insurer. He is a recommended Suncorp repairer, and a preferred Allianz repairer, in addition to working with IAG and RACQ, among several others.
“Insurers are key stakeholders in our industry, so it is in everyone’s best interest to work together for the greater good of the industry and ensure the customer always gets a safe and proper repair.”
The changing face of the industry
When it comes to dealing with the ever- increasing technology on today’s motor vehicles, Curruthers has a two-pronged approach. Internally, he is committed to maintaining the highest skill levels across his technician pool and is currently an I-CAR Silver Repairer.
In addition, when it comes to collision avoidance technology, CPMA relies on its extensive network of OEM dealers to ensure that when all cars go back on the road, the safety systems operate as they should.
In summary, Curruthers and Michelle are proud of what they have achieved and very pleased to be the current custodians of Max Auto Smash Repairs on the auspicious occasion of its 50th anniversary.