BreakerLink is a popular website that’s focussed on the second hand car spare trade. It unites breakers, the people who run scrapyards, with customers looking for inexpensive parts. This type of business is ideally suited to the internet, as it’s all about communication. There’s always someone out there looking for a part, and there’s usually someone out there selling the part to match, the skill is in uniting the two – who may be at different ends of the country.
Before the internet came along, breaker agencies relied on telephone communication. Customers would call in on premium rate phone numbers with their second hand car spare requests. These were then in turn sent out to the breaker-yards, so if they had a part in stock they could get sell it to the customer who required it. Websites like BreakerLink however, dramatically changed this business.
Justin Smith is the brains behind the website. Around 1999 trained in computing at his local college, then rather than go off to university, he decided to put his knowledge and skill to practical use, making money. His first job after college taught him how to sharpen his web-programming skills, where he learned how to apply his considerable talents to making money.
Lucy Smith, Justin’s mother, has always been in the breaker business, working for one of the old style breaker agencies. Here she picked up a better than working knowledge of the industry as well as making lots of connections. This was to prove invaluable experience in the future.
When the internet arrived in full force with the broadband boom in the early 2000s, Justin and Lucy cottoned on to the opportunity it presented for a breaker agency site . Working with Lucy, he was quick to see that he could set up such a business with a lot less employees than were needed in a telephone based business, so the overheads would be considerably lower, without having customers experiencing any drop in the levels of service.
They decided to call their site BreakerLink, which went live in 2002. Whilst Justin was responsible programming and setting up the website, Lucy would contact the breakers to sell the service to them. It was very important in the early days to get as many breakers using the service as quickly as possible, as the power of the site lays somewhat in the number of parts available. The more breakers, the more parts.
However, the first incarnation of BreakerLink didn’t work in quite the same manner as today. When the site first started up they tried to simply deal with the breaker side of the business. The idea was to link together different vendors so they could trade between one another when they had a customer with a request for a part they didn’t have.
After they found that their first business model didn’t quite work as well as they’d planned, they decided to adopt an online version of the business model that had worked so well for the call centre based agencies. BreakerLink began to deal with the customer requests so they could send them out to the breakers, ensuring they have a steady list of leads for their clients.
Now if a customer requires a part they simply send a request to BreakerLink. This gets sent out immediately to all the breakers on their books, who each pay a monthly subscription fee in order to receive this service. This means that customers can find the exact part they’re after and breakers can quickly and easily sell good parts. It’s one of those great business situations where everyone walks away a winner.
Of course, there are occasionally problems and mix ups with parts and orders, however BreakerLink are quick to help resolve any situation that might occur where the customer isn’t completely satisfied as part of this service. Thanks to their years of experience in the industry, they’re pretty familiar with the common mistakes that breakers can make, which in turn allows them to easily work out what might have gone wrong, so they can turn a rainy day into an outcome where everyone is happy.
So how successful is BreakerLink? Well, they’re still running now some ten years since they were first set up, which makes them a well established company in the fast paced world of the internet. With more and more people waking up to the power of services such as the one they offer, we can only see them growing further in the future.