Established: 2018

Location: N/A

Contact Name: Nic and Libby Nel

Website: www.kapiticoastscaffolding.co.nz

Business mission and vision:

Our mission is to create a solid local business focused on providing the best scaffolding products and services to support the growth we foresee happening on the Kapiti Coast over the next decade.

Our vision is to become the preferred provider for residential and small commercial scaffolding, a firm renowned for being a pleasure to work with and who delivers more than expected.

Vote

Scaffolding services for small to larger residential and some small commercial projects. We operate from Wellington to Levin, with 50% of our business coming from the Kapiti Coast and 50% from Wellington. We started two years ago as a skip and scaffolding company, but sold the skips part as scaffolding was becoming the main growth area of the business.

I like things to be 100% perfect. My staff know that high standards are required to be part of this team. It’s the only way things work for me and I’ve strived to be the best in every business I’ve had. We believe in using top-notch equipment and I’ve invested in the very best gear available in New Zealand.

Kapiti Coast Scaffolding has not yet won any awards. However, my previous business in South Africa, Rhino Shuttles and Tours, won the Award for Service Excellence: Africa and Middle East in 2016 and 2017. This is an annual award for businesses in the travel and tourism industry run by the prestigious international magazine, Luxury Travel Guide. We won in the category for shuttles and tours.

Rhino Shuttles was based out of Johannesburg and enjoyed the reputation as one of the best available in the region, earning five stars from TripAdvisor. The company ran eight vehicles and employed thirteen staff members.

The emphasis I place on service excellence was also reflected in awards I won when I worked as a Real Estate agent before starting Rhino Shuttles. In the five years I worked for Guardian First National in Johnsonville, I won the salesman of the year award twice. During the two years I worked for Etchells & Young Real Estate in Johannesburg, I was also awarded a salesman of the year award.

I like to build up something from nothing and to enjoy the results of my labour, both from a job satisfaction as a financial point of view. Not only that, but to see how your business can make a difference in peoples’ lives, both for clients and staff, is hugely satisfying. I also like problem solving and scaffolding offers some intricate challenges that we tackle as a team and come up with solutions – that is hard to beat. For me it is definitely not just about the money, but the satisfaction of doing a great job and seeing your staff grow and develop.
When I started I started with skips and mobile scaffolding but I quickly found the demand was more for comprehensive scaffolding rather than mobile. I don’t have the certifications, so I needed to employ people with certifications which was a big financial commitment. Needed to do courses to get up to speed with NZ health and safety requirements. Needed to invest in scaffolding gear plus PPE, harnesses etc. A lot of capital investment required to run a decent-sized . Average house uses $25K in gear and we now have 8 houses worth, but still not enough, so still need to invest more. plus vehicles.
Running your own business means constantly overcoming significant challenges. If it’s not cash flow, it’s staff issues or running out of scaffolding before all the jobs are done – which is one of my favourites! I mean, that’s what scaffolding rental is for, isn’t it? Probably the least favourite challenge was staying in business and retaining my staff during the Covid crisis.

In the case of Kapiti Coast Scaffolding, immigrating from South Africa to New Zealand and bringing my scaffolding and skips business over as well, was a huge challenge, and a costly one. Not knowing the business environment in New Zealand (and there is only so much you can research on the internet), ranks way up top for me. I soon realised that the mobile scaffolding I had over there and brought over at great cost in order to service a (falsely) perceived niche in the market, was a big mistake. I had to think on my feet and change course without losing my faith in the business.

Likewise, the skips did not prove as profitable over here as it was over there. Fortunately, I could sell that part of the business to a buyer for whom it was a perfect fit and move on with the (for me) more profitable scaffolding section.

In the beginning when I arrived in New Zealand – with English being my second language and in addition trying to get used to the Kiwi accent – it was really difficult to get into business, which relies heavily on communication. It took me two years to be understood and to understand what people were saying. At that time, I was in car sales, earning no basic salary but only commission on sales. This meant if I didn’t sell, I did’t eat. It took me two years, but I became successful by sticking with the task despite the challenge and the stress– again trying to add value to the company as well as earning a living. I went on to become salesman of the month and business manager of the month in the Ford Group Wellington on numerous occasions. I was also awarded the New Zealand Legend of Finance Award for Australasia.
I’ve always strived to give my best, whether it was to my employers back in the day or in my own business. This has driven me to achieve success, awards and work satisfaction through the years.

The first business I had in South Africa was in the motor industry. I started a workshop and developed it into a motor service and sales business before I sold it for a profit. Then I moved into paving, starting off as a sub-contractor and growing into doing my own residential contracts. Within two years I progressed from small residential to commercial and then industrial projects. I sold Jonic Paving when we moved to New Zealand in 1997.

I’ve already mentioned the success of Rhino Shuttles & Tours, which I built into an award-winning business in an extremely competitive industry when we had to return to South Africa for personal reasons.

Returning to New Zealand two years ago, I started my current scaffolding business and I intend to grow it into a thriving Kiwi company. We have already overcome the challenges mentioned earlier and I am confident that we are on the right track to creating something worthwhile here on the Coast.

I’m proud of what my team and I have achieved in the short space of two years. The feedback from clients, repeat business, positive Google reviews and 5-star Builders Crack reviews show that we are building a solid reputation for excellent service and competitive pricing. This in turn lead to an expanding client base and the promise of a thriving future.
I started off in September 2018 with one employee and now employ three permanent staff. I am currently looking for a fourth scaffolder to start in January 2021.

When my jobs outnumber my scaffolding, I rent scaffolding from SafeSmart Scaffolding (ProScaf System). I also use electricians to do sleeving of electrical cables to ensure safety for everyone working on the project, including roofers and painters.

I offer ongoing training for staff, not only in scaffolding but also safety training. Last year I’ve paid for my team to go to Tauranga to do a course in safety inspection and in two years’ time we will do a refresher again. This is a necessary expense because keeping myself and my staff up to date with the latest methodology, development in equipment and safety laws, is simply essential in my opinion.

The amount of repeat business I receive speaks for itself. I am also constantly receiving positive reviews through Builders Crack and Google Reviews.

As I said earlier, the feeling of satisfaction I get from creating something from scratch – seeing it grow and prosper and the responsibility of employing people and helping them provide for their families is a strong motivator for me. Also, the feeling that I am helping to create something lasting that will still be here long after I am gone, gives me a rush.
I strongly believe in giving back to the community. That is why I have been sponsoring events right from the start-up of the business and before Kapiti Coast Scaffolding (then still Kapiti Skips & Scaffolding) could afford to do so. During the two years that we have been up and running, we’ve provided sponsorship for the Rotary Golf Challenge, the Strawberry Festival, numerous local schools, sports and community groups and the Child Safety Awareness Programme. I also provided scaffolding free of charge to the Raumati Bears to repair their clubrooms.
I’ve mentioned earlier that I’ve been contributing to charity and other community ventures right from the start and it stands to reason that I will continue to do so – and more – whenever the opportunity presents itself in the future. As immigrants, we were welcomed with open arms by this community, we feel part of this community (we have been citizens since 2000) and nothing will give us greater pleasure that to be an asset to this community.

My family and I have a strong commitment to the local community. When we retire, we will be chuffed to have left a legacy of a successful local business that provides a quality service; a company that actively supports the vulnerable in our community through sponsorship and proves that it is not all about the money but also about the relationships.

Thanks for your vote.