Speed Wrench began in West Michigan with two brothers, John and Al Van Dyke, driving out for mobile automobile repairs. That was 1989 when the team consisted of five people. And then Jim Ruiter joined about eight years ago as part of Speed Wrench’s outside sales team. Around then, the repair company began attending an annual conference at the DeVos Place in Grand Rapids, Mich., where he met with a lot of local dealers in the area.
Today, the company boasts more than 150 employees and has grown a reputation for becoming a leading RV repair entity. Those chassis repair skills paid off as Speed Wrench recently expanded to a 30,000-square-foot facility with 20 bays.
“We work hand-in-hand with the dealers, and we take care of their customers. They have somebody to send people to that they can trust,” said Ruiter. “It’s been a really good relationship. The business has grown by word of mouth since getting those referrals.”
The full-service body shop will now have a dedicated home in the previous 15,000-square-foot building. Meanwhile, the state-of-the-art facility will allow the RV business segment to grow as the list of referred dealerships, which includes Camping World, continues to grow.
“The thing had grown to the point where we were basically out of space in this building and parking area,” Ruiter elaborated.
He mentioned how during the summer the majority of the repairs done will be motorhomes. Trust has grown with customer base enough that they’ll sometimes bypass the dealers and visit Speed Wrench. Still, the internal RV repairs are left to RV dealerships, i.e. washers, heaters, awnings, but anything involving the chassis. That long list of mechanical fixes by state-certified technicians covers a range of areas like brakes, steering, electrical systems, cylinder heads, leveling jacks, and more.
“The motorhome thing has really taken off in the last 8 to 10 years,” said Ruiter. “We go to people’s homes if they have a no-start situation, as well as storage facilities.”
That mobile service includes state parks – a convenience considering Speed Wrench is located 20 minutes from Lake Michigan. “We have some of the best beaches in the world.”