16 / 10 / 2020

Absolute Control Spotlight: Indespension Towbars Quoting Engine


Andrew Chubb




Indespension are industry leaders in towbar fitting, currently fitting more towbars in the UK per year than any other company. With a nationwide network of 18 depots, staffed with professional towbar fitters, Indespension came to Absolute to overhaul their towbar quoting system. The goal - to give customers the ability to generate quotes while also making the system easier for the different depot teams to use and to generate leads and provide marketing insights.

Understanding the process

Getting a towbar fitted to your car or van requires knowing what product suits your vehicle, and how the towbar will be used. With hundreds of options and thousands of combinations available, we wanted to develop an application that helped users quickly arrive at the best product options for their needs. 

For us to fully understand the towbar fitting process, we looked at the systems currently in place and visited an Indespension depot to speak with the towbar fitters and branch managers to understand the complications they were encountering. This allowed us to understand the importance of establishing the exact make and model of a vehicle and the different types of towbar available and, importantly, how the fittings differed. This knowledge was our starting point in creating user stories that we felt captured these requirements. Armed with our new understanding of the process, we were able to begin designing the system.

Creating the quoting engine

We wanted the front of the website to be fast and responsive with components that were tightly integrated into the back end. The whole process needed to be fluid, with a clear and intuitive interface. The front end of the website was built using VueJS, a modern Javascript library that allowed us to create components, populate the interface with data, and manage the state of the application. We created a fully modular process that was divided into steps. Each step was entirely independent and worked by receiving data from the previous step and passing data to the next. This meant that the steps could be re-ordered and changed to optimise user flow, resulting in a seamless application. A user would be able to go back and forth through the process, adjust their choices, and see the various options. With a large catalogue of parts available from a variety of suppliers, this was a project that fell beyond the scope of a typical e-commerce website. Absolute Control - our own agency CMS system - was chosen as a platform for this unique project because of its flexibility and ease when being built into third-party systems. It also has the advantage of having a well developed, easy to use back office.

The back end of the website would deal with the management of the towbar and electrical products, as well as being a point where quotes were collected and distributed to depots. Our primary challenge was to transform the product data from a flat-file spreadsheet into a relational database. The previous method of managing the products was a manual affair, relying on multiple parties to update a single spreadsheet spanning thousands of lines. This process was tedious and error-prone, which subsequently led to the data source not being updated. 

We took what we had learned from the user stories and created administration points allowing users to manage the product and vehicle data, import new vehicles, towbars and electrical products, as well as edit and update prices. This also allowed for management of quotes that had been generated by the system. We used this data to create a dashboard giving system users a quick heads up on how the quoting engine is performing at any one time.

The core premise of the system involves identifying a user’s vehicle by their registration number or vehicle make and model. To ensure accurate and up-to-date results, we integrated with a Vehicle Data Lookup service. Once the make and model have been established, the system can cross-reference the available towbars and electrical options for their vehicle.

The user is then presented with the towbars and electrical options that have been selected from the product database. To help the user make their final choice, help text is included with each option, detailing the types of towing tasks they’re best suited to. To assist users with their purchases, user data is captured and help buttons are placed at key points in the journey so the user can quickly pick up their quotation with a member of the Indespension team at any point if they need more help. The system also allows the user to locate their nearest Indespension depot and book a towbar fitting.

Building the database

With the new system in place, we proceeded to import thousands of records relating to vehicle and product data. Indespension now had a fully managed, centralised database of products that can be searched, updated, and added to entirely from within Absolute Control. This allows Indespension to quickly and easily add new products and vehicles to their system and keep price and vehicle information up to date as new products arrive on the market, improving the overall accuracy of the quoting system. 

To ensure that customers are getting the support they need regarding the differences in vehicle models and wide variety of towbar options available, all of the quotes generated by the system are stored and ordered in the back office. This means the user can be contacted at a later date by a member of the Indespension team to discuss options and arrange a fitting.

Users who are happy with the options available are able to book their chosen configuration into any Indespension branch for fitting, with the option of submitting a deposit payment online. 


The new quoting system was launched on Indespension’s website in May 2019 replacing the old legacy system. It generates hundreds of unique quotations each week, offering customers and depot teams a quick and easy solution to generating, storing and tracking quotes.

A digital-first solution which, ultimately, helps to drive sales. 

If you would like to talk to us about how Absolute Control could help you get the most out of your digital presence, call us on 01204 669566 or send us a message through our contact form and we’ll be in touch.