When Peter van Mosseveld, the Motor Industry Workshop Association (MIWA) rep for Eastern Cape, visited RDI Automotive and Service Centre in George he was amazed by the level of detail in the décor and how the new workshop is thinking out of the box.
“It is an experience going into this workshop. They have invested in every detail and it really shows what you can do with a workshop,” he says. This family-owned business is run by the Bekkers and Ina Bekker is responsible for the décor and marketing.
“In May we purchased the workshop which at the time was a blank canvas. As a family we brainstormed ideas and since then have been busy setting up the workshop. We opened our doors on 1 October,” says Ina.
She explains that her younger son, Rynard, is a qualified auto mechanic and after working at a dealership for seven years walked away with only R6 000 a month. “It was at that point that my husband, Deon, my sons, Rynard and Beyers, and myself decided to invest in a workshop. We looked around at what other workshops were doing and decided we needed a more informal, customer-friendly approach and feel,” she says.
And there’s no denying that the workshop has a different, chic look with a twist here and there. But besides the décor what is interesting about this workshop is they have opted to offer a night-shift for customers. “Our customers can bring their car in at 15:00. We work on it during the night and by 07:00 the next morning the service will be complete and the vehicle delivered. This works especially well for courier businesses, for example, who can’t afford to have a vehicle off the roads for even one day. I believe this is a real differentiator for us,” says Ina.
She adds that as a family they believe strongly in paying good salaries to their 14 employees. “Our technicians have 10 to 15 years of hands-on experience under their belts. They are breadwinners and should be able to support their families. Our son’s experience has inspired us to pay properly.”
Dewald Ranft, Chairman of MIWA, a constituent association of the Retail Motor Industry Organisation (RMI), says it’s a trying time for small businesses in South Africa but those willing to go the extra mile are surviving. “Top-class service and a unique customer experience are essential. RDI is delivering on this and we wish them all the best,” he concludes.