Wonderboom Panelbeaters have been in business for 47 years and are still going strong. Automotive Refinisher took time out to understand this business better. In 1962, Hans Riekert and Ge Botha started a business from home having completed their apprenticeships at Yskor.
Their first business together was called Subway Panelbeaters which they started in 1964, the property was subsequently bought by the Railways, which enabled them to start Wonderboom Panelbeaters.
Jacques Riekert, Hans’ son, worked in his school holidays at the business as he grew up and in 2006, he and his wife Astrid bought the business, starting a second generation legacy at Wonderboom Panelbeaters.
Being a family set-up and maintaining compassion for their team as well as clients who have had a horrible experience is definitely their secret to success. Their passion for enabling artisans by taking on apprentices is equally admirable, especially as these learners are hearing impaired. Wonderboom Panelbeaters have been working with Dr Frik Botha and the group at IT-C for the past three years and have grown exponentially over time.
This year saw five IT-C students doing their practical at Wonderboom Panelbeaters and they are training to become assessors.
To date the team at Wonderboom Panelbeaters have helped two spray painters and one panelbeater complete their apprenticeship. Such is their work ethic, human spirit and excellence in work, they are now part of the Wonderboom Panelbeater crew permanently.
The company have a team of 43 staff members housed in 3 000 square metres. They are a major structural repair shop and pride themselves in a high quality standard of finished work. In order to achieve this they have invested in the correct equipment as choosing good ancillaries and coatings along the way.
R-M is the automotive paint brand of choice for this company as it provides clients with peace of mind with R-M’s lifetime guarantee – and colour matching is always achieved speedily.
The ordinary challenges apply to this body shop, as any other – that of keeping up the pace and affordability of the latest technology to stay ahead of the ever-changing motor vehicle.
That said, it is also why Wonderboom Panelbeaters are part of the Collision Repairers Association (CRA). The CRA is an organisation that promotes collision repairers to maintain and deliver a high standard and world class service to all their customers. They are also trying to negotiate better rates for the body shops as a whole and forge a better way ahead for the industry as a whole.
To run a successful business for almost five decades is an absolute triumph in itself. To do it with a dedicated and loyal team that puts excellence and heart and soul at its core is simply brilliant.
Something we could do more with as individuals and definitely in the industry too.
Story by Claire Macfie