Queensland likes things big. Pineapples, Barramundi, whatever. Gabba Collision Repair Centre is no exception to the rule.

ith over 6000 square metres of space under cover, it took Paint and Panel a full hour to walk around this workshop (via zoom, of course).

“We had just crazy amounts of volumes and we needed the space, so we expanded across the road,” explains Paul Economidis, Managing Director at Gabba Collision Repair Centre. “At the moment, we’re talking about 80 or 90 a week, but at its peak, outside of COVID, it can get up to 160 vehicles. We had to be able to deliver to everybody’s expectations with that number of cars.”

With the number of cars passing through Gabba Collisions, Economidis has sharpened his focus onto more substantial jobs: “It’s the big heavy stuff that this place was built for, and from Monday it’s just day-in, day-out.”

Since we last visited the Gabba in 2016 (when they took out the Best Large Shop Award ), Economidis and his team have made plenty of other improvements around the place, chief among which is their recent conversion to iBodyshop. “We changed over in September last year, and it’s been fantastic. I can’t speak highly enough about it,” said Economidis. “I’m getting to the point where I’m not losing anything. Almost everything is itemised. iBodyshop has helped us amazingly through invoicing, through quotes, through front office, through customer relations: everything.”

Clearly he’s a fan. But this strategy of breaking down a job to its constituent elements can apply to every part of the business, which is the way Economidis has approached it. His parts room, for instance, has changed immeasurably.

“It’s become really easy to find stuff with our itemisation as well,” explains Economidis, “The boys come up, and we’ve got parts ready, and away you go. It eliminates downtime looking for parts. We’ve also got a young fella in here who’s our stock-keeper. All the parts go through him.”

Economidis has also broken accounts away from daily administration, giving his finance team its own offices from which to work from. The change it’s made to the business is genuinely surprising.

“We’ve reformatted to keep our invoicing separate, which keeps that department isolated from daily work production. They’re solely dealing with accounts - which has been great for our business, because it keeps the money coming in the door and ensuring that the bills are paid,” he says. “We’ve increased our production by about 10 percent over the last 12 months, so it’s been very good for us.”

To ensure there’s round-the-clock access for customers, tow-trucks and suppliers, Economidis recently opted for a best-in-class alarm facility that allows he and his trusted staff to monitor and control both cameras and alarms on their phones, from wherever they are.

“We have 24-hour access to towing. So for anyone with re-towing the car to our property, it’s always accessible for them. All alarms are controlled off-site from mobile phones, so we can arm and deactivate for anyone who needs it,” says Economidis. “We can really keep up to date with where everything is and where the cars are at.”

Meanwhile, Gabba Collisions are well on their way to being carbon-neutral, after installing a 340kW solar system for the facility.

“It provides 70 percent of our energy at the moment,” says Economidis “But we haven’t had a decent sunny day since we installed it. We think it’ll be at 100 percent by the time full charge comes through.”

But, among all the many changes at the Gabba, it’s the sparkly new fleet of Subaru loan cars that immediately catch the eye.

“They’re our pride and joy, and they are literally brand-new,” says Economidis. “They’re all hybrid vehicles, and they’re supplied by us and our local dealer. It’s good for a customer to jump in a nice new car after an accident. And, through the process of the repair, they’re very handy.”

And while the Gabba is as close to the big-smoke as you could possibly get, Economidis has a small-town attitude to who gets a loaner: “they’re not just for Subaru customers,” he explains. “I don’t mind lending the cars out to anyone, as long as they appreciate what we go through.
I don’t give them out to everyone − they’re for select customers.”

judges’ comments

Sam Street

This was an impressive shop to begin with but Paul has taken it to the next level. The rebrand is awesome, the street appeal is fantastic, I think the new parts department has been the key to increasing an already impressive work volume. Great team spirit too.


Judge Powell

Another good example of a next generation repairer. Paul is transforming this huge comprehensive repair centre with a drive-through spray booth to complement the excellent workflow. Paul’s personal dedication to training and his apprentices will provide a sustainable future.

shop stats

Size: 6000m2 main building, 600m2 delivery centre 1000m2 storage and panel bays

Staff: 50

Number of cars: 80-90 per week

OEM approvals: Subaru, Jaguar Land Rover, Toyota, Volvo, Genisis

Type of repairs: All types

Other services: Mechanical, tyre,
PDR, wheels

Type of repairs: All

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