From job loss to generator repair – how Koos Diedericks found his niche
For Koos Diedericks, starting his own business was a product of necessity. When the Covid-19 pandemic happened, his work contract in KwaZulu-Natal was not renewed, leaving Koos in a rather challenging situation. As a result, Koos and his wife Lynne no other choice but to relocate to Johannesburg to live with their daughter. Even after settling in, Koos was unable to find employment in his field. Koos would have to think outside the box to ensure an income for himself, and his over 40 years of mechanical experience in both petrol and diesel engines would be the key to his success.
Koos shared the story of how he got started: “The idea came when I had to repair my daughter’s generator. She then started to advertise my services for me, and so the first generator service came in, and I have been going since then.” From that day on, Koos Diedericks Repairs and Services was born.
Based in Witpoortjie, Roodepoort, Koos specialises in the repair and maintenance of generators, and has now also included brush cutters and lawnmowers. With South Africa experiencing long hours of loadshedding every day, generators are becoming increasingly important, and for those who have generators for their homes or businesses, being without them for more than a day or two can be very disruptive. Koos understands this, which is why he is dedicated to repairing and servicing generators as quickly as possible. “With the high stages of loadshedding we are experiencing, I try to get it out the same day or soon thereafter,” he says.
Starting a business from scratch is never easy, and Koos faced some challenges along the way. “The biggest challenge was starting from nothing and slowly building from there,” he explains. “It was difficult as trust had to be earned along the way.” However, Koos embraced each challenge and made it work. What sets him apart from others in the industry is his efficiency in getting equipment back to his clients as soon as possible, minimising the inconvenience that comes with loadshedding. He is also happy to not only do off-site repairs but also to go to his clients’ homes and offices and carry out service or repairs on-site.
Koos is a diesel mechanic by trade, and this has been invaluable in running his business. When asked how he stays motivated and focused on his goals as a small business owner, Koos says, “I have remained thankful for each and every job that has come my way and give the best customer care possible. I believe word-of-mouth has helped me immensely.”
He markets and promotes his business on Facebook, which has helped him get off the ground. He also hands out business cards whenever and wherever possible. Koos measures the success of his business by the satisfaction of his clients, and his goal is to further grow his business so he can trade his car for a panel van.
Koos has built and maintained relationships with customers and clients by checking in with them after each job and ensuring that their equipment is working well. By doing so, Koos has fostered strong connections with his clients, and as a result, some have become regular clients, offering him repeat business.
When asked how he has adapted his business to changes in the industry he replied “I have not found adaptation a problem, I have just carried on with what I know”. Nonetheless, he recognises the significance of keeping up-to-date with industry standards and regularly seeks out resources to expand his knowledge and skills as a business owner, particularly when he encounters new or unfamiliar situations. Regarding any setbacks he might have encountered, Koos mentioned “The only setbacks would be the acquisition of spares, where I have to drive further afield to get them.”
Looking to the future, Koos hopes to continue to grow his business in the West Rand and make an impact in his community. He knows firsthand how load shedding can disrupt people’s lives, and he hopes to provide a reliable and efficient service that can help ease some of that burden. As he puts it, “For me, the load shedding has been and will probably have a huge impact on the lives of people in the community. I hope in some small way, I can help make it a bit easier for them.”
Koos’ wife Lynne describes her husband as a quiet man by nature, but quick to crack a joke once you get to know him. “He has some really good ones,” she says. He has a strong work ethic, is well-liked and hardworking, and when a client needs work done, he doesn’t waste time and gets straight to work.
He balances his personal and professional life by prioritising his work but still taking time to unwind by playing golf. “Work comes first,” he says, “but, when possible, I take to the golf course for some R&R.”
Koos is an inspiration to anyone who wants to start their own business. His story shows that with hard work, dedication, and a positive attitude, anything is possible. He is proof that even in challenging times, there are opportunities to be found, and success can be achieved.
Contact: Koos Diedericks +27 76 328 7194
This article was featured in Pivotl Magazine, Issue 2 of 2023. Read the full issue here.
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