Since 1970, Killen’s Smash Repairs has been helping the people of Armidale and the New England region get back on the road after a vehicle accident.
The business was originally born more than 50 years ago as Killen & Reid, having been founded by Paul Killen and David Reid. However, in 1975, Paul and his wife Gwen took sole ownership, and it’s remained a family business ever since.
Today, Killen’s Smash Repairs is under the stewardship of Michael and Natalie Killen and their son Patrick, employs 15 people, and continues to deliver the exceptional, high-quality service it's known for.
“We pride ourselves on having one of the best-equipped workshops in regional NSW and have a huge commitment to training beyond the standard apprenticeship,” explains Michael.
“Killen's is one of only 32 repairers in NSW and 120 in Australia to have achieved the I-Car Australia Gold Class Accreditation – we achieved this in 2018, and it involves a commitment from all staff to complete accredited training in their category every year to maintain.”
In the ever-changing world of automotive, it’s essential to keep up with the latest technology, repairs and finishing materials too, and this is something Killen’s continuously invests in. It’s a Manufacturer Certified Structural Repairer for the likes of Tesla, Jaguar, Land Rover, Subaru, BYD & GM/Chev/HSV Vehicles, and as such, is well equipped to manage electric vehicles, which are increasingly popular.
Customer service at its heart
It’s not only the quality of the work behind Killen's long-term success, however – it’s its dedication to customer service and the local community, too.
And, when many customers come via insurance companies, that can be a challenging relationship to navigate. However, the team at Killen’s always places huge importance on that direct relationship with the vehicle owner, who’s often a local.
“In metropolitan areas in particular, insurers will often manage the entire process, and the vehicle owner may never have contact with who repairs the car,” explains Michael.
“We believe our greatest advantage is being able to meet the customer, discuss their concerns, explain what will be done and always be available to resolve any issues post-repairs.”
As with many businesses, however, the past few years have been incredibly challenging to navigate, and circumstances outside of Killen’s control have impacted service levels.
“The past three years have seen high demand for our services, and along with supply chain issues, has created far longer wait times than we would like,” he explains.
“We always will try and triage a vehicle, and non-driveable vehicles will get priority – unfortunately, this means that some customers are waiting longer than we’d like. I would like to thank our customers for their patience and assure them that we very much value their business.”
The importance of community
Killen’s currently provides employment for 15 locals, including three apprentices, and is always keen to hear from people who may be interested in entering the industry, which underlines its commitment to the local community – as does its continuous support for local events and causes, too, including Tour de Rocks, Anya’s Wish - 19 for 19 Challenge, Souths soccer club and the New England Garden Festival.
“The best thing about being a small business owner in regional Australia is the contact with the community,” says Michael.
And it’s a sentiment that underpins the ethos of Killen’s approach to business.
“It’s important to remember that people like to deal with people they like,” he says. “The service and the product has to be right, but the most important thing is to treat people with transparency, honesty and respect.”
This rings true with Killen’s long-standing relationship with Regional Australia Bank, too.
“We especially value our relationship with Regional Australia Bank,” says Michael.
“They have supported us for over 25 years, and we particularly value the fact that they are local people who recognise and understand our business and staff, and what it means to be a part of a regional community.”