Each year the Paint & Panel Bodyshop Awards program grows and improves, always reflecting and adapting to changes in the industry.

Nominations are open for the 2021 Bodyshop Awards. Now in their 26th year, these awards have evolved with the industry and recognise not just individual shops but excellence in many different areas of the industry. 

What’s new in 2021?

The biggest change this year is opening up the Country Repairer of the Year Award. We weren’t able to judge these shops in person as the distances between them were too great and asked nominees to send us a video entry after which one shop is announced as the winner. 

Each year the standard rises and there are so many next level country repair facilities and we have often lamented that there is only one winner. We approached the category sponsor Motor Trades Association of Australia (MTAA) to see if we could make the awards more inclusive and were delighted with the enthusiasm displayed by the industry association.

The result is that this year firstly, we will be judging country repair shops via Zoom so there is no need to make a video entry. Secondly, we will have a winner in each state and announce the national winner at our glittering awards night in November. In addition, we will be highlighting country repair businesses around the country in the magazine throughout the year.

Richard Dudley MTAA CEO said: “Country collision repair businesses are essential to the mobility of their communities. They often have to turn their hand to repairing a wide variety of vehicles from backhoes to four wheel drives. They face an array of challenges such as attracting and keeping knowledgeable and skilled staff as well as delivery of parts and equipment. 

“MTAA is delighted to shine a light on these community heroes and facilitate more businesses being recognised by the entire collision repair industry.”

Best workplace

This is a new award sponsored by Sydney Automotive Paint & Equipment (SAPE). We wanted to recognise a business that is simply a great place to work and we expect the nominations will come from that business’ team members. There are no real criteria for this award, we look forward to receiving your submission on why your shop is the best place to work. We would expect some basics like decent staff facilities and a safe working environment but other than that we’re wide open. 

SAPE’s managing director Paul McMartin said: “We see so many of our customers look after their teams incredibly well having created a fantastic work environment. As a company that also strives to create a positive work culture we are especially proud to sponsor this award.” 

Best Indepdendent Commercial Vehicle Repairer

This award, sponsored by City Hino, has been for Best Heavy Vehicle Repairer in the past. However, there has been a huge amount of consolidation in this space over the last 12 months with AMA Group and Royans buying up many independents. There are, however, many businesses which specialise in light commercial vehicles and small trucks. Accordingly, for the this category we are looking for repairers for whom commercial vehicle repairs (vehicles between 4.495 tonnes-12 tonnes) make up 30% or more of their repairs.

In person judging

Covid permitting we are committed to returning to in person judging this year for the best shop awards that aren’t country shops. As usual we have four categories for the three largest states – with a medium size shop category and three for the other states and territories. The pandemic is sure to have affected turnovers with less quotes written than in a normal year because of various lockdowns. Accordingly we have tweaked the turnover figures which we use to categorise the shop by size to reflect this. 

We also have a shorter nomination period and two separate nomination forms for if you are a supplier or a repairer nominating. 

Everything you need to know

If you head on over to the Paint & Panel website Event & Awards section you will find everything you need to know about all of the categories including our best practice categories, what we are looking for and how to nominate. as well as a frequently answered questions section.  You can also see a list of award categories on page 59.

What do you get if you win?

All the winning shops are featured in the November/December issue of the magazine for the entire industry to see. As well as the recognition for all of your hard work, it’s a huge boost for your team as well. 

Each winner receives two tickets to attend our night of nights awards dinner in Melbourne on 12 November where they will be presented with their award trophy in front of their peers. While it isn’t practical for winners to bring their whole team to the awards night (although it has been done before) we will be sending a party pack to each winning shop after the awards night so the team can celebrate together. We also send the best shop winners an award specific logo to use in their marketing materials, a video of their business, photographs and a PDF of their magazine write up. 

A word from the sponsors

These awards are only possible because of the continued support of our sponsors. Our Platinum sponsors Axalta Coatings and Compass and our Gold sponsor iBodyshop not only support the awards with sponsorship money but also encourage nominations and share their industry knowledge to ensure the awards always reflect changes in the industry. Our many supporting sponsors ensure wide recognition of the many aspects which make up a successful collision repair business. 

Steven Brett, managing director of Axalta ANZ said: “ I think this is a great awards program. It sends out a strong message about the professionalism of the industry. For repairers it demonstrates what can be done and it raises the bar for the whole industry. Also for all the groups that support the repairers the OEMs, the suppliers, the insurers and the customers it really says to those people that this is a professional industry that takes itself seriously.”

James Frape CEO of Compass said: “People see collision repair as a necessity and yes it’s true it is an industry that people can’t be without.  We absolutely must recognise the mums and dads and the large organisations for all the blood sweat and tears that they put into their businesses. 

“You have to be proud of what you do and if you want to take your business to the next level whether that’s to get an insurance contract, an OEM badge or just within the local community, these awards make a massive difference.”

Steve O’Brien of Gold Sponsor iBodyshop added: “It’s critical to keep innovation and motivation going. A lot of shop owners work in a solo environment, mostly they are just rowing the boat themselves and work really hard. When someone has the vision and persistence to strive for excellence it’s often unnoticed. What is really important about the awards and the awards night is that innovation can spread out into the market a lot quicker because it is publicised. It’s a tough road out there so any ideas that can make us better at what we do the faster we share them the better.”

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