NATIONAL car brokerage Red Plum Automotive (RPA) has rapidly expanded since the business launched in 2013 – the result of astutely driving a handful of savvy business practices.
RPA managing director, Christopher Lee actually started the business from his kitchen bench in 2013, aiming to provide the widest possible variety of vehicles to meet customer needs, ranging from work utilities to luxury saloons to high-end sports cars. Red Plum aims to find precisely the right vehicle at precisely the right price for customers.
His high powered ambitions and lofty service ideals has paid off, with the team this year expanding to five staff and the service offerings also developing strongly.
“Our brand has evolved in two years from just sourcing new and used vehicles to also facilitating finance, vehicle aftermarket and protection, comprehensive insurance, extensions on manufacturers’ warranties and trade-in opportunities,” Mr Lee said.
He attributed RPA’s success to a number of core practices the business has embraced from day one, ranging through careful planning to having a strong brand.
“Everything we do is thought out to reflect our business, our branding and our philosophies,” Mr Lee said.
“From the way we present ourselves with tailor-made shirts and jackets, to the beautiful paper we send our delivery thank you letters on, our website design and the stock that we use for our business cards. Whilst our visual commitment to our branding never stops, it is in place to project the level of care and regard that we have for our business partners, ourselves and our clients alike.
“It is the personal commitment to each of our clients that drives us forward,” Mr Lee said.
Having a clear vision for the business was also important for Christopher Lee from the outset.
“Any business needs clear visions,” he said. “A mountain of work went into establishing what it was that we were trying to achieve and how we were trying to differentiate ourselves from the pack.
“We have a very clear and concise picture about how we want to be perceived – we want it to be obvious that we provide the highest levels of service, regard and presentation.”
Red Plum Automotive is a complimentary service to clients that aims to save the customer time, effort and money.
“We facilitate one-off private vehicles and do everything from Great Wall utes to Aston Martins,” Mr Lee said.
“We also facilitate fleet purchases and manage fleet accounts including mining providers. We have services in place to quote any kind of financing including novated lease structures and service maintenance programs.”
Being a serviced based business, Mr Lee said he was naturally very selective about who joins the RPA team – ensuring they not only suit the company’s culture, but their dedicated to the needs of clients.
“Good service is having 100 percent accountability, and resolving all sorts of unforeseen issues for the client, not just the day-to-day easy stuff,” Mr Lee said.
“Having a genuine desire to deliver what we profess to is a mandatory requirement for all involved in RPA. I am so proud of all my staff. I get 150 percent from them every day, of their own volition.
“I consider myself extremely fortunate to have the staff that I do. They are absolutely the mortar that binds this business together.”
From people to profits, RPA has no debt or loans, which enables Mr Lee to plan for the future “with a certain degree of strength in position”.
RPA is a low overhead business with systems in place to handle each phase of growth easily.
“We have created an easily manageable multiplier effect and have always viewed the business model from the beginning as growth into a much larger enterprise,” Mr Lee said.
From the outset, Mr Lee identified income generating referral streams; creating professional working relationships and a sales force outside of his team.
“We quickly identified that financiers were going to be a primary source of client referrals,” he said. “Referral partners are always the most successful leads for us.
“Having the approval of a third party to a client expedites the process for us enormously. We make a conscious effort to look after all our business partners and alliances as best we can.”
While RPA is still a new business and the future looks bright, Mr Lee said there was, nevertheless, no room for complacency.
“We are still growing the business. We are constantly reviewing, projecting, and discussing our position with our accountant. Whilst I am very comfortable with our position and direction I will eternally be on the lookout for the unexpected.
“I have great confidence in the products and services we deliver. The process now is to educate more people on what we do and how we can save them an enormous amount of time and money.”
Now with such fast-growth experience behind RPA, Mr Lee cautioned other start-up business leaders “not just to consider what it is you are selling and the benefit you can bring to the market, but how it is that you are going to hold yourself accountable for the level of product or service you deliver”.
Astute advice, indeed.