Lana Pagiamtzis came from outside of the industry, took over an ailing shop now Fix Auto Mulgrave and is now bursting at the seams in two shops.
ana Pagiamtzis is a true entrepreneur, she works her backside off and has extracted every ounce of benefit from being part of the Fix Auto franchise. Lana also demonstrates the agility that smaller independent business have, that ability – using a COVID expression – to pivot. Her business had a drive contract with Auto & General but when CARe opened up the contract was given to them. Lana was asked to do structural work instead and the team has, therefore, adapted. They have had a mechanical section for a long time which is even more useful with the heavier work and so — while it is a huge change — they are busy, productive and profitable.
Lana is full of praise for her talented vehicle body technicians but like many in the industry does worry about their being enough people having the skills to repair these cars when they retire. Mulgrave was the very first Fix Auto franchisee in Australia and she says it is simply a blessing have them in her corner, going in to bat for her with insurers and even helping out at the shop when she was ill.
Fix Auto Mulgrave is no stranger to these awards and with good reason. While Lana is just in the boutique category this year, we suspect with her eye on growth that she will follow the industry trend and tip into the large category as smaller shops often struggle to be as productive as her business is – plus insurers lean towards larger operations. The passion she has for the business totally permeates every corner of the shop. “Did I say I wanted to be a panel shop owner when I was young? No. Do I absolutely love it? Yes,” she says.
Like many entrepreneurs building up a business she has been pedal to the metal to get to where she is today and now is realising that perhaps it’s time to loosen the reins a bit in order to cut back on the crazy working hours.
The shop itself has had to expand its parts storage with all the non-drive work but otherwise it hasn’t changed much since we last visited. Heavy hits are messy work and we’ve seen plenty of shops that are a bombsite with parts all over the floor and lots and lots of dust. Not so at Mulgrave, it is spotlessly clean and well organised. There are some new speed benches recently installed to make life easier for the techs.
Two M&N spray booths sit next to two prep bays. Mechanical work is now undertaken in the other shop which she has moved to be less than 100 metres away. So while back in 2019 they were repairing around 35-40 cars per week, 20 non-drives from a team of 11 is pretty impressive.