What’s up with Canada?

There is a trend I have begun to notice recently.  The Canadians dominate the collision repair world. Dominate may be a bit of an overstretch, but Canadian firms own, operate or control some of the biggest names in the industry. Canadians also have more analysts covering the collision repair sector than any other country.

Quick personal note – I hope you can join me at NACE. I have an exciting line up events. I’ll be presenting on growth strategies in a consolidating industry. I’m also making myself available for one on one meetings to confidentially discuss anything that’s on your mind – how to optimize your finances, how to start formulating an exit plan, or just to “talk shop”. Then of course there is Craft Beer Tour and Pairing Dinner sponsored by AkzoNobel and D’Angelos Paint, at this point, only open to a very limited number of subscribers. Sign up now to get in the lottery.

Canadian Companies in Collision Repair

Some of the largest companies in the collision repair are Canadian owned and operated. Some of these names (in no particular order) may surprise you.

Caliber Collision

At present the largest collision repair operator by revenue, Caliber has been Canadian owned since 2008 when the Toronto based investment fund ONCAP acquired Caliber as part of a management buyout for $58 million. At the time Caliber operated only 66 stores. ONCAP later sold Caliber to OHMERS, another Canadian investment firm in 2013, netting ONCAP a reported $425 million. Since OHMERS acquired Caliber, the company has grown from 157 stores to 412 at the end of Q2 2016.

Gerber Collision and Glass

Many people do not realize that Gerber Collision and Glass is wholly owned by The Boyd Group, the only publicly traded pure play collision and glass company in North America. Gerber, originally founded in Chicago in 1937, was acquired by Boyd in 2004. At the time Gerber only operated 16 locations. Gerber now operates over 300 locations in the U.S. Boyd is headquartered in Edmonton.


Only a few days after last year’s acquisition of CARSTAR U.S. by Driven Brands, CARSTAR Canada was also acquired by Driven Brands. Jose Costa wasted little time in unifying the two companies into CARSTAR North America, and installing Michael Macaluso of CARSTAR Canada as the head of the new unified company. CARSTAR has over 400 locations in North America.

FIX Auto

Global franchisor, FIX Auto has franchises across North America and Europe. The company is focused on bold international growth, targeting emerging markets like Australia, China, Mexico, Turkey, South Africa and many others. Fix is headquartered in Montreal.


FinishMaster is a wholly owned subsidiary of Uni-Select , another publicly traded Canadian company. Uni-Select owns FinishMaster, the largest distributor of automotive and industrial refinish products and equipment in North America and Uni-Select Canada, Canada’s leader in distribution of automotive parts, tools and equipment in the aftermarket. FinishMaster was acquired by Uni-Select in 2010 for $217 million. FinishMaster comprises about 65% of total sales, according the most recent quarterly report. Uni-Select is headquartered in Quebec.

What does it all mean?

Collision repair is global market. In Australia, the industry is consolidating at a lightning pace. In Spain, where I recently presented at IBIS, consolidation does not exist. Similar to the U.S., in the UK there are private equity backed collision repairers. But these repairers have not expanded as quickly or aggressively as their private equity backed U.S. counterparts.

The industry will continue to evolve. Competition will increase in your country – whether you are reading this in Canada, Australia, Spain, Turkey, or the U.S. I have subscribers in each of the countries mentioned, and clients in multiple countries. I am continually amazed at how similar the challenges are from country to country. Consolidation. Technology. Lack of technicians. Increasing competition.

I can say with certainty is that competition will continue to drive this industry forward. Competition may come internally, or it may come from a neighboring country.

If you’re wondering how competition will impact your business, please contact me using my contact page. Subscribers you can always email me direct. Communication is always kept confidential.

Until next week!