50 fastest-growing start-ups
StartupSmart Awards 2011
23. What Scratch?
Founders: Matthew Burke, Dale Burke
Industry: Trades and services
As the name suggests, WA-based business What Scratch? offers automotive scratch repair using a system that can repair minor damage without having to respray the car.
What Scratch? was founded by husband-and-wife team Matthew and Dale Burke in 2008, who used their own savings and a loan from their parents to propel the business forward.
Matthew Burke began the business as a one-man operation working out of a van. Two years on, there are 16 What Scratch? vans in WA and New South Wales.
The business employs five staff and took in revenue of $904,812 in the previous financial year.
According to Dale Burke, customers didn’t want the inconvenience and expense of taking their car to a panel shop only to have minor paint blemishes repaired.
However, customers did want their duco to look its best, so the Burkes came up with a system requiring no respraying but high quality scratch repairs.
The system proved intensely popular and, after securing the exclusive distribution rights for a US-made Sprayless Scratch Repair system, the decision was made to franchise the business.
However, the company decided it would not sell a franchise unless it already had the automotive dealerships in a particular area on board first.
“Automotive dealerships love our system and we are currently servicing over 100 of the biggest dealerships in Australia,” Dale Burke says.
“Our private customer enquiries have also increased 3000% in two years and we now see this as the growing opportunity to exploit into the future.”
Burke says some of the hardest parts of starting the business were the long working hours, the lack of income, and making the move into franchising.
“Franchising a business may sound like a great idea but you certainly don’t get rich quick. It costs a lot of money, is a huge amount of work and nobody thanks you or tells you [that] you are doing a good job,” he says.
What’s been the best part of starting the business? According to Burke, driving down the road and seeing a What Scratch? van in the traffic.
“It is our goal to have a professionally trained What Scratch? technician available in all metropolitan and major regional centres through Australia and New Zealand,” he says.
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