• Son Lewis, husband Todd and Tracey Richards.
    Son Lewis, husband Todd and Tracey Richards.

It seems like every year there’s a stand out business that wins an embarrassing amount of awards. That business, this year is Geoff Richards Panel Beating (GRPB).

A profitable, well-run business with happy staff, amazing processes that gives back to the community and the owners work a four day week. If they weren’t such lovely people you’d be tempted to ‘hate on them’ as the young folks say.

Without wishing to repeat what in their Best Country Shop winners’ profile when it comes to training, let’s just say they're mad for it. And when it comes to community involvement they are all in. They are the only shop we know about that does kindergarden show and tells (everyone says we should be trying to attract kids before year 11). The kids from Dubbo Early Learning Centre enjoy seeing the damaged cars and learning about colours and shapes.

GRPB is the only Green Stamp accredited shop in Dubbo and this is just one rung of their commitment to social and environmental awareness. They have their succession plan already co-managing the business in the form of 32-year-old Lewis Richards to ensure continuity and stability of GRPB, while preserving their values and culture.

Their loyal customer base also spans three generations thanks to their reputation for outstanding quality and customer service. GRPB is also the only I-CAR Gold Class and Tesla approved repairer West of Sydney.

When Tracey said: “We love implementing new processes and procedures that not only reduce repair turnaround times - but also create efficiencies for our administration team who are at the face of our business,” she is deadly serious. There is a dedication to constant improvement from the whole team not just the management. They have regular dialogue on how they can work smarter.

Tracey continues: “Our company culture is collaborative and connected. Sometimes it's the small things like our Friday Team lunches where each week a staff member cooks the staff lunch. It can be as simple as a BBQ or as extravagant as slow cooked ribs, pasta bake and salad. We all work alongside each other completing day-to-day activities and it provides an opportunity for open communication, to build or improve relationships. We believe healthy free speech, brainstorming and the suggestion of ideas on improving processes from the staff themselves is progressive and also creates an inclusive work environment.

The business will celebrate its 50th anniversary in January 2024. In its history it has trained many apprentices, collectively spent thousands or hours training and developed and nurtured many team members.

While the anniversary will be a time to look back, the business has its eyes firmly on the future. The team use the latest technology in the form of Moonwalk and their own calibration equipment and have all the skills to carry out safe and timely repairs on both ICE, hybrid and EV vehicles.

As well as investing in the latest Moonwalk and LINQ paint technology the business also able to undertake ADAS recalibration in house.

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