The business partners of Dals Libertas in Cape Town have taken the liberty to do things their way – and set new standards in the automotive body repair industry.
Panel beating operations at this Goodwood business are a far cry from a rustic scrapyard environment where vehicle owners have no choice but to bring their vehicles and hope for the best. The state-of-the-art premises echo that of any kind of client-focused operation aiming at not only offering the best service but do so with enough pride to back up their work by a three-year guarantee.
Malcolm Collins, previously from Gqeberha “when it was still called Port Elizabeth” and Gauteng, runs a pristine auto repair operation – one of four in the Dals Group.
“My wife and I relocated to Cape Town after our son was born in 2016, and I started on 1 April 2018 as general manager at Dals – and believe me, that was no joke,” says Collins while fielding questions and requests from staff who pop their heads into his open-door office with a clear view of the main workshop.
“I was appointed by partners Jason Carstens and Elvin Nel – Elvin is the CEO and Jason the MD – while they have a partnership with Therese van Wyk, a director.”
One of the outstanding features of Dals Libertas is that they handle their clients as if they were in the financial industry.
“Zokwanda Tshonti calls our would-be clients on a regular basis, and Tharwa Schuller handles email communication. Once the clients’ vehicles arrive, we give daily feedback on the process – something clients really appreciate,” explains Collins.
“We are doing everything we do with the aim of putting the client back in the same position he or she was in before the accident – we aim to repair the vehicle to the same condition as before; sometimes even in a better condition.”
Dals Libertas is accredited to do repairs for all the major manufacturers and importers in South Africa. “Our repair work carries a three-year guarantee and paint work a lifetime guarantee.”
“When a vehicle comes in for a quote, we get authorisation from the owner’s insurance company, double-check the paperwork, order parts – normally it takes 2-3 days – and only then do we book in the car,” explains Collins. “We then start stripping and check everything against the parts that have arrived, which would have been ordered on the VIN code, so we double-check that everything is correct as some components might have changed, like before and after minor model upgrades.”
All repairs are done in-house, including the straightening of the chassis. “We replace parts if they cannot be repaired. The insurance assessor decides whether we should repair or replace, but sometimes this changes after stripping. Safety critical components are mostly replaced, but dents are repaired. We have some advanced dent repair equipment.”
What makes DALS different? “We work very hard to always have the right team – in administration and reception, as they are the face of our business, and in the workshop, as they are the reputation of our business.”
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