App puts dent in panelbeaters’ workload


Tucked above Tony’s Panelbeaters on Rosebank Rd is a West Auckland company which has caught the digital wave.

The location is significant, because it was their busy workshop below which inspired owners Geraldine Austin and Richard Foulkes to start their company WE-Estimate with colleague Clif Shaw last year, and it is their testing ground.

Their brainchild is a customer-focused ‘app’ and web server interface which allows panelbeaters throughout the country to take iPhone photos and video commentary of damage to cars, and outsource collision repair estimates to WE-Estimate’s experts.

If shops use the app they don’t need dedicated internal estimating resources, estimates are consistent around the country, and the process to get repairs done is sped up.

WE-Estimate ( builds business resilience, reduces administrative overhead, saves time and improves profitability – all for a fraction of the real cost of accurate repair estimates.

WE-Estimate met ATEED West area office’s research and development (R&D) advisor Grant Hemmings late last year. Grant understood the company’s needs and helped it secure $94,000 R&D funding from government agency, Callaghan Innovation.

Grant has introduced WE-Estimate to businesses which can help with production development and better business practise.

The results have been impressive after a typical slow start in an industry which Geraldine Austin says doesn’t easily adapt to change.

“Early innovators have realised the product’s usefulness, and word of mouth is huge in the industry so we are starting to gain real traction. Our pick up is following the innovation adoption lifecycle – it’s just a matter of persevering and we believe it will grow substantially.”

Geraldine Austin says working with Grant and the ATEED West team was excellent: “Grant put us in touch with the right people very quickly, which really helped. His incredibly responsive communication makes a big difference. When you have so many balls in the air, it’s easy to forget something crucial, so having a passionate person pushing us to keep on track has been important.”

She says WE-Estimate’s products were built to be scalable and exportable, with New Zealand a great test market. WE-Estimate is developing android-compatible products, and sees a market for similar apps for other trades.

Zane Taylor, ATEED manager business growth – West, says WE-Estimate is a great example of a cutting-edge West company which will help Auckland become an export-led economy.

“ATEED’s services are tailored to help companies such as WE-Estimate and we are proud to have been part of the company’s innovation and growth.”


Call ATEED West office today on 354 0068 to discuss how its specialists can help your business.