The Compass Corp journey
James Frape and Simon Large were operating a car rental agency in 2004 when they identified an opportunity to develop a credit hire service – where replacement rental vehicles are provided to the not-at-fault party in a motor vehicle accident. There is no cost to the customer, with the payment recovered from the at-fault party’s insurer.
Credit hire was a well established business model in the UK, but untapped in Australia. Using James’s own vehicle, the Australian credit hire market was formed when a friend had an accident – James’s car was leased and the at-fault insurer paid for the service.
Customers got a free ride
With Castle Hill Smash Repairs as their first commercial client, Compass Corp was soon running 40 vehicles from three car spaces under the Harbourside Hotel in North Sydney. James remembers the early days as being hectic, “I used to deliver the cars to clients and get a train back. And then I’d do it again – I’d wash the car on the road, deliver and come back. I did everything from A to Z – I’d even invoice and collect the money from the insurance company”.
The business quickly began to gain more commercial customers and expanded to a fleet of over 500 cars across Sydney.
The drive to grow nationally
Following success in New South Wales, James and Simon decided to take the business interstate and, in early 2014, The Growth Fund invested alongside the founders to support the expansion.
“We doubled the size of the business in the first year,” James recalls. “We now have sales teams across Australia. The first thing we did with access to growth capital was to go national. We have offices in Melbourne, Adelaide, Perth, Canberra, Newcastle, Brisbane, the Gold Coast and satellites in Cairns and Townsville. Only 5% of the population know about the service – I want it to be at least 15%.”