LOBATSE: A 29 year-old man has started a flourishing panel-beating business with experience merely gleaned from his colleagues over the years. Apart from repainting vehicles, he also specialises in cutting and re-building accident damaged vehicles to a new look.
Abel ‘Hiroshima’ Molefhe was born in a rural settlement of Tshweneyagae in the outskirts of Lobatse in 1998. He moved here in 2000 to seek employment, but later started developing a passion for spray painting and panel-beating, which has turned into a profession in which he rules the roost after establishing himself as a brand.
Having been in the industry for the past 13 years, Molefhe says his passion for spray painting and panel-beating started when he was still a youngster.
He says with his determination to learn, he grabbed an the opportunity to work as a labourer for one Motsumi Mosa who was a veteran panel-beater at the time.
Having employed at least two people thus far, he says “an opportunity for success lies in the person not the job’.
“I started panel-beating in 2005 and I was working under the mentorship of one Motsumi Mosa. I worked with him from 2005 to 2008. After learning the job, I started doing some piece-jobs within town until today.
“I started falling in love with the job while I was still a boy, I am not sure why I liked the job, but I suspect it was because I always saw my mentor doing it. I loved the way it was done,” Molefhe says.
He adds that there are no serious challenges in panel- beating and spray-painting, hence he urged those who have passion to join.
“I meet challenges, but they are not that much. I can’t say they bother me. They are just logistical challenges which affect every business.
This is a very straight-forward profession. You buy your equipment, you service it, you buy your paints and that will be enough to deter challenges.
The machinery is not that expensive. It lasts for years, hence the only challenges one may face will be self-created ones.
I have my own customers. They call me and they even invite more people to approach me for my services, so really, I can’t say I have challenges,” he says. In future, the Lobatse man plans to explore industrial markets, something that he says he can only achieve if he has an industrial space, hence the need to have one.
“In the next five years I want to have grown my business. My dream is to have my own industrial space and employ more people. Actually, I want to also explore auto-mechanics because those are some of the skills you learn alongside panel-beating and spray-painting. I want the business to grow. Actually, I am I’m process of opening a company for the business,” he said.
He encouraged all those who want to join the industry to do so because it has some good returns. “I would encourage whoever wants to join the industry to do it now whilst they still have a chance. This is a very simple job and it pays well, especially when you start to master it,” he said.
At his Pitikwe ward home, Molefhe offers full vehicle painting service, fixing accident damaged cars, crack filling and window tinting as well as minor auto-mechanic services.