By: Tebogo Mokwena
Piet Semusa is one of a few young, black entrepreneurs to own a motorbike shop, and he believes that this will pave the way for many other young like-minded people to do the same. His journey started in the garages of well-known car companies, and he considers himself a rising star in the automotive industry. Semusa said that before he established his business, Fleet Builders which trades as Hero Centurion earlier this year, he had worked extensively in the automotive sector.
“I started working for Nissan in 2008 where I worked in the parts department,” he told Vutivi News. “I worked my way up to being appointed parts manager and I learned that I excelled in sales. “I then worked for another major car manufacturer, and it was while I worked there, that I got the idea to buy motorcycles and lease them out,” he said. Semusa said there was a growing interest in motorbikes in the country.
“I saw that delivery businesses were booming and the need for motorcycles was increasing,” he said. “My initial plan was just to buy motorbikes and lease them out, but I saw an opportunity to open my own dealership instead of just renting them,” Semusa said that he used his credit card and some money he had to buy the initial stock and found a place to trade in an industrial area in Tshwane.
“In the first month I sold 18 motorbikes and in the following month I sold 70,” he said. “Business became so much better that I was able to relocate to the automotive side of town where all the major car dealerships operate.” The business employs nine people. They also assemble, sell and service motorbikes used for delivery services. His clients include Debonairs, Navigators Pizza, Infinite Mobility and Ampath Laboratories.
Semusa said that he was ready to do business with larger companies, but his challenges included advertising and financing. “One of my biggest challenges is having the budget to market myself enough to be able to reach bigger clients,” he said. “I also need the financial muscle to be able to supply government and private firms with more than 50 bikes per order, as I am fully compliant and in possession of all the necessary compliance certificates.” However, he is making other plans in the meantime. He wants to open a dealership in Johannesburg next year.