There are many ways to become successful in the collision repair business and Deon Greyling is just one man who did it the hard way. He used to work out of a scrapyard refurbishing old mine vehicles to make a living.
Coming from that start-up 20 years ago it has been a long, hard slog to get to the state-of-the-art facility that the Summit Autobody operation is today. The company is now a major structural repair centre in Makhado and currently employs around 45 personnel in the auto body repair centre.
It’s a family-owned operation where his daughter Charlotte takes care of the daily business dealings. The plot of land which now houses the new company was virgin soil and Greyling in true “ons werk self” fashion has been largely responsible for the rapid building and starting-up phase of the relocated workshop in Industria Street.
Greyling says it became a case of constantly ploughing back profits and investing in new, more efficient production equipment and training to get the top quality production that’s needed in todays repair shop. Three new Chief drive-on bench racks are just some of the new equipment installed. “We started the company working only for private clients and it took some real hard work and effort to eventually gain the confidence of our insurance companies to come on board and be a trusted repairer.
Today we’re on all the major insurance repair panels like Santam, Mutual and Federal, Hollard, Zurich and many more,” says Greyling. Driving standards up has been a constant theme for the Greyling family.
Greyling showed me pictures of all his handmade roof trusses members made at his farm close by. This type of cost saving had to be taken to make his budget go even further as expenses forged ahead in the venture. The end result is a world-class production centre set up with high volume clean compressed air and a full turn-key operation supplied by Phoenix Exchange.
There are Radical spraybooths that are waterborne compliant, a special mixing room plus a downdraft preparation station centre for primer vehicle preparation.
“Support for the company on refinish comes in the form of Glasurit, who have supplied on-site training to upgrade the spray painting output,” say painters Sarel Lube and Rudi Viljoen. “We are on target to put out around 120 repairs this month and have in reality only been up and running for a few months now.
“Being successful,” says Greyling, “requires a number of disciplines. Delivering a good repair to the client to their damaged vehicle and maintaining positive relationships with both trade suppliers and insurance companies, is a vital part of ongoing business.”
Greyling was a founder member of the Collision Repair Association (CRA) and feels the group has succeeded because as a trade body they are focused on the industry needs and will play a big role as a trade body going forward.
Surrounded by a wall of approvals from motor manufacturers such as Toyota, VW, Audi, GM, Hyundai, Kia and a host of others, shows the Greyling philosophy of giving their customers peace of mind is part of their objective in delivering a car right first time.
They have developed a special training facility up in the company boardroom where suppliers can easily update changing process needs for the company. Greyling’s ability to personally check each and every vehicle before delivery has and still remains a big priority in his daily work schedule. All in all the new Summit Autobody workshop based in Louis Trichardt shows that with twenty years of painstaking effort and quality commitment Greyling and the family’s effort have been well rewarded.