A Profile of a Family Business

Bill Strachan bounds through the front office at a clip. He pauses long enough to warmly greet each customer individually. After a lifetime in the auto repair and collision business, Collex Collision Experts' owner knows a thing or two about customer service.

It's no wonder that Collex has been voted Brampton's Best Auto Body Repair Shop by the Brampton Guardian Reader's Choice Awards for 3 years running. Strachan flips through the current list of customers. "Repeat, repeat, repeat", he says reading the names. "We often see people for an accident who end up being so happy with our service, they come back for regular repairs." 

But even greater testament to the quality work and personal touch at Collex is the customer feedback book - just ask Strachan to see it and he'll haul out a weighty binder crammed with cards and letters saying things like: "outstanding customer service", "I'd recommend Collex to anyone", and "very, very, satisfied". "It really is work the drive to Collex," says Strachan.


So, what's the secret? Simple - the Strachan family provides the friendly atmosphere. Bill and his adult children, Karl and Kathy, work together to make everyone feel welcomed and appreciated. Bill credits the rest of his employees as well - proudly dedicated and committed to providing great service to customers who are often in a bit of distress. "We fix their cars, and we fix them right", says Bill. That straightforward and helpful attitude is exactly what makes customers feel at ease.

However, family consideration extends well beyond friendliness to serious concerns for safety.  "We are very safety conscious", explains Strachan. The company has frequently taken industry-leading stands on safety issues. As a Director of the Collision Industry Action Group, Bill helps keep close tabs on safety issues in the industry.

Collex also services a number of Brampton & Mississauga fleets - and their clients in this area are impressed with the company's commitment to service. According to Maple Engineering & Construction, "The quality and quickness of action keeps our fleet of 50 vehicles not only on the road but also looking good."


Attrell Toyota has been using Collex for 25 years now: "It is very important for us to be able to refer our clients as well as send our own vehicles to a reliable, courteous auto shop. We know we are being treated with honesty, courtesy and respect at Collex."

It's quite impressive when you step past the front office at Collex and have a look at the shop. The people working here are highly skilled and licensed collision repair people with a passion for what they're doing. The new paint station, which they've just installed, is state of the art and there isn't a tool out of place or a rag on the floor anywhere - it's a tight ship that bears more resemblance to an operating room than it does to a typical auto body repair shop. As a result, the work they've done bringing badly damaged vehicles back to driving excellence is truly incredible. Strachan has a few photos in his desk of his shop's completed repair projects that are quite astounding.

Richard Cullis, President of Dial One Wolfdale Electric, which has a large fleet of commercial service vehicles, describes what a difference Collex makes to his business: "Collex takes care of our vehicles in a fast and efficient manner. Collex's vehicle maintenance programs help to ensure that our vehicles are operating at peak performance."

Bill's background provides some clues why the emphasis on the science of repair. He started with American Motors Corporation working in the service end of the business, but soon realized that he really wanted to get in there and do the repairs himself. He trained in Toronto and them worked at a service station in Meadowvale and a downtown Toronto high-end shop, but say Strachan, "I always wanted to own my own repair shop."

This is a man truly dedicated to the art of repair. Even today, as head of this bustling business and nearing retirement, he can't resist the urge to get involved in some of the repairs. "The job can be very exciting," enthuses Strachan. "Every day is different"

Miro Elevators, fleet clients for 10 years, tried other shops before coming to Collex but they've stayed because of the expertise: "Their workmanship has always been first class. It has always been a pleasure dealing with them."

Bill's original partner, Henning Klausen, started Collex here in Brampton and brought Strachan in as a partner to help run the shop. Eventually, Klausen retired and Strachan took over the business continuing its commitment to the community. 


Strachan is very appreciative of the people and the city of Brampton for giving him the option of building a business here - it's something he mentions frequently. "Brampton has been very good for me and my family," adding, "We really appreciate being able to fix people's cars to satisfaction." Leaving your car with a repair shop is very much an act of trust and Strachan appreciates that both his customers and the local Brampton Insurance Brokers and Insurance Companies have that faith in his company: CCV Insurance, Goodison Insurance, Peel Mutual Insurance, and The CG&B Group Inc., to name a few. "It is most gratifying when the insurance broker is recommending to a client that Collex do the repair. We owe a great deal to all of them." says Strachan. 

In the next five years, expect to see Collex grow. Strachan says the plan is to invest in new equipment and new technology that will speed up the repair cycle. It's apparent, this collision shop will be serving Brampton when Strachan's grandchildren are grown up!

Bill Strachan - Brampton Board of Trade
2005 Businessperson of the Year

322 Rutherford Road, Brampton, Ontario (905) 457-9250