A businessman through experience, a tradesman at heart.
Sheen Panel Service workshops are a landmark across the suburbs of Melbourne. The workshops, blazoned with yellow and maroon, have helped countless members of the community get back on the road.
A reputation for quality service and professionalism has helped Sheen grow to the friendly panel beating and smash repair group it is today. Sheen has become the standard in panel beating service in Melbourne, with more locations to come.
Martin Stone, the owner of Sheen Panel Service, reflects on his continually growing business from its humble beginnings in 1969.
With over 40 years’ experience, Sheen are your trusted panel beaters. Find your local Sheen shop.
In the beginning…
The summer of 1969. That year is sealed in history for being the final chapter in a turbulent and historical decade.
It also marks the founding of a great Melbourne business. In November 1969, Martin Stone started a small panel beating and smash repair workshop in Bayswater, in Melbourne’s East.
Originally a tool maker by trade, Stone turned to panel beating with the vision to create a business which functioned on the principle of quality service. After many years of sweat and hard work, Sheen is now found across the city of Melbourne.
Stone attributes this success to the quality service offered at every Sheen workshop, regardless of location. If it’s the familiar Sheen logo, then customers can expect the same friendly service, every time.
“We want anyone who walks into a Sheen store to experience the same service, not matter where they are. This is the major driver for all of our stores and we continue to educate and train our staff to maintain this level of service”, Stone explains.
5 business lessons
With over 40 years of operating Sheen Panel Service, Martin Stone has learnt a thing or two about the panel beating business.
He has boiled down his strategy to five key points:
- Find a good location – Lots of passing traffic is always a good indicator!
- Prepare to work hard – For the first five years, you will need to open at 7am, then close at 7pm. Oh, and forget weekends!
- Stick to the plan – Be diligent and faithful to your original recipe.
- Set goals – What are your metrics of success? What do you want to achieve for you and your family?
- Get a succession plan – Ensure that you can still earn after you stop working.
Giving back to the community
An unwritten rule of business, according to Martin Stone, is to share your success and give back to the community which has supported you.
“Variety charity has been a big part of my life”, says Stone.
Variety is a national not-for-profit organisation which is committed to helping sick and disadvantaged children. It does this by providing equipment and support services to parents, carers and schools.
Variety is primarily funded by events, sponsorship and donations. One of the largest events is the Variety Bash, a national road trip to outback destinations.
19 years ago at the Variety Bash in Tasmania, Martin Stone was inspired when a 16-year-old girl told the audience about her experience. It was clear how a new wheelchair had improved her mobility and quality of life.
“I am now as free as a butterfly”, she told the audience.
Since then, the Sheen Panel Service Car 55 has been a faithful entrant in the Variety Bash. Sheen Panel Service has raised over $1.6 million for Variety to date… and is still going strong!
The future for Sheen
Sheen has grown with the community and shows no signs of losing momentum. Martin Stone foresees big plans for the company.
In addition to finding new ways to improve customer service, Stone envisions 30 shops to be up and running within the next 3 years. The NSW border might also be on the horizon.
With its 24th location opening up this year, there is a lot of work ahead for Marin Stone and the team at Sheen.
But if there is anything Sheen Panel Service is best at, it’s hard work and dedication... and panel beating, of course!