Eggs in one basket? Not for the Queensland repairers we visited. Nearly all either had fingers in related pies, a customer base that wasn't insurer-dependent or some kind of diversification.
Gold Coast Collision Centre
First off we visited hard working and inventive Dan and Megan Leishman. This is another stunning shop, neat as a pin, beautifully laid out plus the fantastic graffiti art on the walls. It's actually a bit bigger than they wanted. Originally they were just in the unit next door and the current panel shop was a gym, but when the gym moved out they took the plunge rather than regret it a year or so down the line when they were bursting at the seams. When they couldn't find anyone to make the downdraft prep area they wanted which would allow them to work on motorhomes, they made it themselves. They also specialise in restorations and have a separate area for these so they don't interfere with workshop flow.
BumperPro Scratch and Dent Centre
Adam Stockman’s started out in a mobile van, built up his customer base, parked his van and now has a thriving bodyshop. As well as specialising in cosmetic repair BumperPro does full resprays and has a brisk trade in paint protection - and insurance work too. Detail Pro runs out of the same premises. Stokmanis is looking to open up a second location to save some of his loyal customer base having to travel so far. He has a productive, happy team and says business is good. He had some awesome metal on site.
Rolscar Smash Repairs
This was a new shop to me. Highly productive with plenty of dealer work as well as insurance work, Rolscar takes quality repairs very seriously. It's an old shop but well laid out with drive through booths. This a family business with brothers Paul and Thomas Taaff at the helm and plenty of second generation family employed in various roles. These guys have their own wreckers yard too, which is complementary to the business in many ways. They also undertake truck repairs and are in the process of building a new workshop across the road. We look forward to seeing their progress next year.
Excel Body Works
This was an interesting business - again a first visit for these award judges. Manager Shane Zerner showed us around. His parents owned the shop and while he and his brother love the industry they didn't want to take on the stresses of ownership so it was sold to Ross Mutton and the brothers stayed on. Mutton has his own insurance company specialising in taxi and Uber drivers. Guess where they get their cars repaired? Brilliant business planning. They also repair cars for other insurers. It's an old shop and about to be compulsorily acquired to make way for a rail project. When then happens the shop will purpose build new premises.
Exclusive Auto Centre
This is one of the few repairers left in central Brisbane. Charlie Castro is an old school craftsman and clearly his customer base knows it judging by the exotic cars on the workshop floor. The reception is a shrine to the prancing horse of Ferrari. As well as run of the mill insurance repairs, you won't be surprised to hear that restorations are a speciality here. Exclusive suffers from usual inner city headache of parking problems.
Hadwen's Collision Prestige Repairs
Hadwen's is a second generation shop run by Tyden Hadwen. It's Lexus and Subaru approved and very much approved of by its customers going by the glowing Google reviews. Hadwen's is all about creating a great customer experience. It has a windowed reception area overlooking the workshop; Tyden says his customers feel reassured seeing cars being worked on (as long as its not their own). He has great relationships with local dealers and a loyal customer base which keeps him and his crew very busy.
Drive Accident Solutions
A fantasy shop this one, absolutely stunning. It wasn't quite finished last year when we visited. Drive has approvals from Tesla and Subaru and offers a range of services including car servicing and detailing. It has a strong fleet clientele and is handily near the airport for customers who want fly in fly out repairs. It is a huge site, enough to make many an inner city repairer weep and its vast customer service area also has a cafe complete with barista.
Jonkers Smash Repairs
We met the rather jolly crew at Jonkers Smash Repairs next. This is a dealer owned shop which is an approved Toyota repairer (and Jonkers is a Toyota dealer). Manager Trevor Coetzee showed us around. While clearly busy and running well, we might have expected a dealer owned shop to have invested in updating the shop's appearance and equipment to give a more corporate feel.
Morayfield Smash Repair
A large, well run shop with spacious, comfortable customer service area. The workshop area is well plannined out with excellent signage. Owner Ryan Anderson has got his head screwed on right and has sensibly diversified including offering full mechanical services and ute tub lining with Rhino Linings. The shop is also a Europcar centre and so is also able to put customers straight into a hire car.
Woodriff Smash Repairs
This shop is a object lesson in 'don't judge a book by its cover'. A rather dilapidated looking - from the outside - reception area hid a smart interior, and a huge, well run workshop. Second generation brothers Joe and Nick Woodriff are running the shop and working with a business coach to ensure that as well as just repairing cars well, they also run a successful business. Joe has got to be one of iBodyshop's number one fans and uses every reporting element to keep an eagle eye on every department. There's also a large mechanical workshop too.