In a lot of ways, Fletcher’s Smash Repairs in WA is your classic family business. Owner Van Lam relies not only the help of his little sister and his niece, but was recently joined by his brother, Cao.

e’s come and joined the team now,” says Van. “He was doing truckdriving before, but he’d had enough of that. He’s a panelbeater by trade, so it’s great to have him helping out.” But, the site at Malaga is a far cry from where Van started, at almost three times the square meterage. “The previous shop, the land size was 1300 square metres,” Van says. “We’ve gone to 3000.”

The business won Best New Shop WA back in 2018 for its great workflow and design.

Having a (much) larger footprint has allowed Fletcher’s a few conveniences that make life that little bit easier. Since the business is spread across multiple sheds, there’s room enough to accomodate a parts delivery bay, with its own internal road for drivers. “It’s really convenient. The delivery guys can just drive down here and drop stuff off without have to disturb us all the time,”

And, the business’ growth has allowed Van and his team to innovate and experiment with efficiencies that a smaller shop simply couldn’t handle: like buying their own tow-truck, for instance. Instead of waiting on the trucking company to send a bloke to help them, Fletchers uses the tow-truck to cart its cars between dealerships. “We used to call the tow-truck companies and they guys would tow it when it suits them,” he says. “If the car’s ready, then we can just send our tow-truck down to pick it up, instead of waiting for them. It’s more efficient. We want to get the car back to the customer, you know?”

But, despite the patent success of Fletcher’s business, the inevitable has already occurred: Van needs more space again — just two years after opening the new premises.  “When we first moved in, we were going: wow! This is going to be perfect!” Van says. “We’re thought, we’re here for the long term - otherwise I wouldn’t have painted all the beams like I did. But now it’s not big enough...” So, Van is having the tin sheds pulled down, along with the car detailing space. In its place, he’ll install an automated carwash as well as as significant amount of room undercover. “We’ll probably get 721 square metres,” estimates Tam. “If I could have a little lift, I’d build a mezzanine and put all the parts upstairs and then have more working floor space.

“We’ve hit fifty cars each week, so I’d like to try and make fifty-five or sixty once we finish the expansion,” Tam says.

The extra space will, hopefully, have a flow-on effect, with in increase in capacity justified by an increase in business. And, the robot carwash isn’t bad news for the two detailers Fletcher’s currently employs, either. “I’ll find other things for my detailers to do,” he says. But, true to form, even though the current build isn’t over, Van is thinking about his next next project. “I’m thinking about buying another site and moving all the heavy cars down the road. And I might have to buy another unit to park these cars, because right now I don’t have enough room to park them.” he says.

judges’ comments

Sam Street

It amazing to see Van outgrowing this workshop in just two years. It’s a sign of good repair outcomes that work providers are sending so much work. The shop still looks brand new and we’re excited to see what comes next.


Judge Powell

This workshop is a good example of efficient production flow with well defined work areas and drive through booths catering for large and small repairs without disruption to output.

SHop stats

Size: 3136m2

Staff: 21 including 2 apprentices

Type of repair: All types

Cars per week: 50

OEMs: No

comments powered by Disqus