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Using a franchise to build a business

Oct 24 2013 10:40
Shane Ritchie, owner of ACD Ritchie Car & Bike Services in Bethlehem in the Free State, has always had a dream to have his own business.

He patiently investigated the options until he felt the time was right. Fin24 found out more about his journey as en entrepreneur.

How did you approach your career path?

I started my apprenticeship at Vrystaat Ford, a car dealership in Bethlehem.

I qualified as a motor technician in 1985 at Kosmos Motors Bethlehem, where I worked for 21 years.

Since 2006 I ran my own business and became part of the Midas Group in 2008.

During this period I was the ACD Franchisee of the Year in 2011, one of the technicians was the second runner-up for Technician of the Year for Chery SA and ACD Ritchie Car/Bike Services was one of the winners in a Ferodo competition.

How did you start your business?

It was always my dream to have my own business and I continuously revisited my dream and weighted the options until the time was right.

When the owner sold the motor dealership (Kosmos Motors) where I worked for 21 years, I decided that this is the opportunity to start my own business due to my experience, expertise and qualifications.

I started Ritchie Car/Bike Services in January 2006. In 2008 Louis Bles of the Midas Group approached me.

He wanted to know if I would be interested in an ACD franchise to strengthen my own business and to give me more negotiation possibilities on vehicle parts.

Midas Group’s Auto Care & Diagnostics Workshop (ACD) brand is a network of independently owned workshops specialising in vehicle service, maintenance and repairs.

In October 2008 I officially became part of the Midas Group as ACD Bethlehem Ritchie Car/Bike Services.     

Do you have tips for entrepreneurs?

It is very important to do research in the area where you would like to start a specific business.

Make sure that there is a need for this specialised service or product in the target area.

You should have the applicable knowledge and expertise. You must be committed, hard-working and self-motivated to achieve success in a business.   

What are the challenges for an entrepreneur?

Getting financial support and building up a regular client base.

Keep your cash flow healthy and regularly follow-up on creditors to be in a sound financial position.

How do you deal with challenges?

Compile a sound business plan to negotiate financial support at financial institutions and build a good financial track-record.

Do good marketing by advertising and offer quality and professional service.

Employ skilled, disciplined and hard-working staff and regular training is a necessity.

Enroll personnel for relevant apprentice ships and send technicians on all applicable refresher courses on the different brands serviced.

Make it as cost-effective as possible for the customer and negotiate the best price and best product for the customer.

What is your recipe for success?

The recipe for ACD Bethlehem Ritchie Car/Bike Services’ success is the level of expertise available in the business.

I am hands-on in all areas of the business. One must be hard working, committed and have self-discipline.

I am passionate about the service rendered and about delivering on time and I motivate my staff.

I could not have done all this without the support of my wife, Elaine, and my children David and Marcélle.


In my view it is recommended for a new business to be part of a franchise like ACD, because this puts you in a position to negotiate for the best spare parts and prices for your business.

As part of a franchise like ACD one can also negotiate on bank fees, be listed on the RMI service list as well as have more visibility for your business due to national advertising in papers, magazines and on TV.

- Fin24

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entrepreneurs  |  franchises


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