Carel initially started his career as an electrical engineer with Iscor, and worked for Honda SA for four years before starting his own business. With his knowledge and client base built up over the years, Carel was able to begin his business with customers ranging from farmers, to agriculture companies, local municipalities, local government organisations and in the Tourist Industry. This company does the servicing and warranties of Honda equipment, which is specially designed to combat and prevent large veld fires. As a distributor, Carel stocks and sells a wide range of Honda engines, water pumps, generators etc. designed specifically for fire prevention. Due to the seasonal nature of his business (most fires occurring during winter months), Carel introduced Quad bikes and Karts to his business two years ago. During the summer months, Carel undertakes sales, service and repairs to Quad bikes and Karts.
Carel and his staff have a combined experience of more than 40 years, accumulated in the fire fighting and technical electrical installations industry.
Creating his own personal financial security whilst doing the job he loves was Carel’s reason for starting his own business. In doing so, creating jobs for the semi-skilled has made the venture worthwhile for Carel.
Multi Fire is situated in a secure premises surrounded by palisade fencing and electric fencing. 24-Hour armed response is also in place, creating a safe and secure environment for employees, customers and visitors to the premises.
Management has established a comprehensive dealer database that provides outstanding service to his customers in outlying areas. Marketing for Multi Fire is done through advertising in trade magazines and representation at relevant exhibitions and agricultural shows. Carel does his own marketing and sales within a 200km radius of Springs, and utilises his dealers to assist with outlying areas.
Assurance is given that the proprietor can service and maintain the products they manufacture and distribute. “We do not sell what we cannot service,” says Carel.
The owner’s professional outlook on business supports his ideals to work with top quality products (ie. Honda SA): “We will not buy or work on sub-standard equipment,” he says.
Running a company with a small staff compliment enables Carel to provide the necessary in-house training, as well as other training for his workers. He has assisted some of his employees with literacy training courses in the past. Occupational Health & Safety training is underway, and hands-on technical training are given to sales staff before they call on potentially new clients.
Employees at Multi Fire earn above minimum wage regulations; annual bonuses, as well as leave bonuses are paid annually.
Carel firmly believes in enhancing the personal circumstances of his employees: This stimulates efficiency in work performance and production in his business.
Ad hoc donations are made to local charities although Carel would like to concentrate on contributing to one specific charity that will utilise his contribution to the fullest. He is also in full support of PATSAADs.
The company’s Access of Information Manual is currently being registered with the Human Resources Commissioner ensuring that the Company is legally compliant and transparent.
Multi Fire is fully compliant to regulations pertaining to VAT, PAYE and UIF. Carel is considering a BEE business partner should he find the right person to work closely with him in the future.
The company operates in an extreme seasonal market and Carel manages to ride the roller coaster fluctuating well by always ensuring that he is prepared for the expected as well as the unexpected.
Carel currently imports top quality equipment and spares from overseas, and has registered as an imports/exports agent in South Africa. His existing clients have created an opportunity for Carel to consider business in other Africa countries, an option he is pursuing for future business prospects.
With a 30% annual growth rate in profits and sales over the past few years, Carel feels that his personal goals for financial success has been achieved.
Building a stable company with a strong financial future for his four children is Carel’s top priority for the future. He has short-term plans to revamp the premises and upgrade the offices and workshop. Long term future goals are to establish small branches in other towns to provide a service to his clients in outlying areas and create further job opportunities for semi-skilled workers in those areas.