THE new car market has taken a bit of a prang during the recession – but that's not bad news for a firm specialising in dealing with bumps, bangs and bashes.
Dent Wizard specialises in a unique process called paintless dent removal, where small dings, dents and creases are repaired without sanding, filling or spraying car bodywork.
And it has benefited as the new car sales market has hit the skids and more people are turning to secondhand motors or sprucing up their current drives.
The Brixton-based business was started in August 2007 by Ross Knowles, and covers Plymouth.
It's a franchise from Dent Wizard UK, itself part of the world's largest automotive services company, Manheim Group, which in turn is owned by the large multinational Cox Enterprises.
During the past year the business has grown in excess of 50 per cent, down in part to the development of the service by Mr Knowles, but also to increased demand because of the economic crisis.
Mr Knowles said: "Our business customers fall into two groups: dealerships that trade in secondhand vehicles, and private individuals.
"As more and more people choose to buy a secondhand car rather than a new one, dealerships are keener than ever to ensure the cars they sell are in tip-top condition.
"The Dent Wizard service means we're able to repair minor damage without removing panels, which would affect the manufacturers' warranty."
He added: "We're also seeing an increase in business from private individuals, who are taking pride in the vehicle they own rather than seeking to replace it with a new one."
Dent Wizard is a mobile service which goes to the customer, travelling anywhere across Devon and Cornwall.
Mr Knowles said: "We're delighted our growth has been so healthy and steady over the past year, and we believe the current state of the car sales market will mean more growth for us."
Mr Knowles has been supported by Martin Atkins, of Plymouth-based chartered accountants Francis Clark.
Mr Atkins said: "Dent Wizard is an excellent example of a local expert, in this case Ross, who is trained as a commercial vehicle mechanic, who has taken a franchise from a worldwide organisation and made it a regional success.
"Franchises are a good way to get into running your own business, and as the economic climate worsens and more people find themselves out of work, we anticipate that the franchise option will grow in popularity."