Partner in the spotlight: Carrosserie Markant

Car damage? You can count on the expertise of Carrosserie Markant to repair any car damage you may have. A family business that likes to go the extra mile for the satisfaction of its customers. That’s why customer focus, innovation, and speed are their top priorities. Dockx Rental has been a satisfied customer for many years. Read more about our partnership, the business, and the latest techniques used by Carrosserie Markant here. An interview with Managing Director Christof Claes. 

Christof Claes manager of Carrosserie Markant

What does Carrosserie Markant do? 

Carrosserie Markant is an expert in repairing car damage. We do all kinds of bodywork repairs on cars and small delivery vans. We focus on cosmetic damage to vehicles in this regard. We are not a garage that does vehicle maintenance. We focus our bodywork on the private market (50%), fleets (25%), and we also carry out repairs on the Dockx Rental fleet (25%).


What is your role within Carrosserie Markant?

As of this year, I have been, still unofficially, the manager of Carrosserie Markant. I am taking over the business from my father. About ten years ago, I started working on the shop floor, in the workshop. It is also in that period that we moved and built a new building on the Dockx site in Terbekehofdreef (Wilrijk). I started doing more and different tasks systematically and now I have been at the office full-time for about five years. I have become increasingly involved in determining the direction we are taking with Markant in recent years.


How many people work for Carrosserie Markant? 

Currently, there are about ten people working in the workshop and three people in the office, including myself. I am always actively looking for new staff. So you can always contact me for a job. (laughs) It’s not easy to find good staff. Fortunately, we have the latter at Markant, which is very good. I am very happy with our team.


Is Carrosserie Markant part of the Dockx Group? 

Yes and no. Carrosserie Markant is not part of the Dockx Group, but we are all family. The Dockx Group has several companies, i.e. Dockx Rental, Dockx Movers, and Dockx Rhenus Archisafe. My cousin Joeri is CEO of Dockx Rental, my cousin Sarah is CEO of Dockx Movers, and my uncle Wilfried is involved with Dockx Rhenus Archisafe. You could describe it as one big family business, yet we all operate separately.  


What does Carrosserie Markant do for Dockx Rental? 

Carrosserie Markant and Dockx Rental have been working together for some 35 years now. The most important goal in this partnership is to make sure that the damage repairs to Dockx Rental’s cars and small delivery vans run as smoothly as possible. For example, we draw up damage files and price quotes in order to then see how extensive the damage is and whether or not it is covered by the exemption. Our goal is to get the cars that come in for repair back on the road as quickly as possible so they can be rented out again by Dockx Rental. In the event of a total loss, we will arrange for the vehicle to be sold. For this purpose, we engage an independent expert agency to make the calculation. It is very important to us that the customer is always treated fairly. 


Which car repairs do you take care of the most? 

It varies. For Dockx Rental, it’s mainly the slightly heavier damage cases. A car with a small parking dent is not brought in immediately. But a car that can no longer drive should, of course, be repaired as quickly as possible so that it can return to the road. In general, it’s difficult to draw a parallel in accidents.

Is there a particular Dockx Rental vehicle that gets damaged more often than the others?

At Dockx Rental, we mainly carry out repairs on cars and small delivery vans. By far the most damage is done to cars. And the reason for that is because delivery vans are more robust and solid. Dockx also tries to limit damage as much as possible, for example, they have placed iron bull bars on the sides of the vans to prevent damage if you take a turn too tightly. There is also a sticker on the inside of the delivery vans indicating the height of the vehicle. They are small things that have a big impact on reducing damage. Dockx’s goal is for every customer to have a perfect rental experience. Where the car can be rented, picked up, and returned without damage.  

Damaged Dockx moving van

What tasks are carried out in your workshop? 

Bodywork is a whole process consisting of different phases. I have two to three employees who disassemble and reassemble vehicles. In addition, there are two sheet metal workers who ensure that, among other things, blisters are removed from vehicles and that, if doors have to be replaced, the new doors also fit back into the vehicle. Then there are the preparers. They will refine the rough sheet metal work and prepare the car for painting so that the painter can put on just the right colour. The car is then reassembled and washed. So there is a lot involved in car damage repairs.  


You also do Smart Repair. Can you explain what that is? 

The possibilities and techniques within bodywork also continue to evolve. Smart Repair is an alternative repair technique that makes it possible to carry out repairs very locally. The biggest advantages are the low cost and the speed of the process. For example, if your bumper is damaged by driving into a small pole, it’s not necessary to dismantle and paint the entire bumper of your vehicle. This damage can be repaired locally using all kinds of techniques. Frequent methods are, for example, paintless dent removal, adhesive dent repair, or even induction. The cost is much lower because you don’t need working hours and products for disassembling and repainting the entire bumper. We also use these techniques for larger repairs. For example, if there is a large dent in a vehicle, it may well be that we first push it back out so that the impact of the dent is already reduced. Afterwards, a traditional repair is still needed, but this combined approach has a major impact on the cost price. 

Thanks to this technique, we have introduced the so-called One Day Repair. This is a cabin that we have equipped to fit a vehicle inside and in which one person does all the work on this vehicle: dismantling, stripping, etc. Everything is provided in this cabin. The advantage of this is that you can work very efficiently and no vehicles need to be moved. Of course, you can only do this with eligible vehicles. If a whole flank is gone, that’s not something you can fix in a day. Certain processes take time and you have to respect that.


How do you differ from other competitors? 

Carrosserie Markant is a family business. We strive to communicate transparently with our customers and, above all, to brainstorm with them. We would walk through fire for our customers, so to speak. Putting the customer first is a real priority for us. We do not treat anyone like a number here. It may sound stupid, but occasionally, we also act as psychologists. When people have just had an accident, they sometimes come here in shock. You would be surprised how many people need to vent about it to us. An accident claim is no fun, but we try to make it as pleasant as possible for the customer. It’s not unusual for us to help a customer with the declaration. Nowadays, everything is online and the older generation sometimes has more trouble with that. We always try to help and assist as much as we can. Personal service and customer focus are really important to us, as is quality, of course. These are also values that we share with Dockx Rental.


What advice would you give people before they get behind the wheel? 

The most important advice I can give is to be careful with your smartphone. People still underestimate how many accidents happen because of this. Did you rent a car but haven’t paired the Bluetooth yet? Then pull over somewhere safe. When renting a car, you should also pay attention to the size of the vehicle. If you rent a vehicle that’s bigger than your own, pay extra attention when parking it. Learning to assess your car and leaving your phone alone are the most important pieces of advice as far as I am concerned.


What goals does Carrosserie Markant still have with Dockx Rental?  

Our goal is to continue optimising so that we can carry out repairs to Dockx Rental vehicles even more efficiently and get the vehicles back on the road even faster. This, of course, also applies to repairs for our private and fleet customers. 

Of course, we both want to continue to grow. That’s something every entrepreneur wants. There’s nothing better than being able to do that with my family.