and backed by our quality service. We have been in the industry for 13 years and have our own maintenance team in-house. We regularly service our vehicles and ensure they are meticulously maintained so that you will be safe on your journey. We buy new cars every season and keep our fleet up to date, and on trend.
for all our customers. We would hate for you to ruin your holiday by being stuck on the side of the road, so we have put measures in place to ensure that if something were to go wrong, help is at hand as soon as possible. While we do our best to keep our vehicles in tip-top condition, things do happen, and so it is great to know you are covered 24/7 by our team.
In November 2006, my German neighbour approached me, requesting if he could “borrow” my old Golf for a few days. He offered to pay me R100 per day. I was smiling and so was he. My friend returned a few weeks later, inquiring for the “Cheapie” ... for R100/day. I thought, mmmmmm... “Cheapie”. He carried on talking, but I couldn’t hear a word he said. My mind was blurred, in slow motion, in the zone. All I could hear was the word ... Cheapie, Cheapie, Cheapie! In that moment I saw it... cars and cars, hordes of them being rented out to young European kite surfers and visitors looking for a cheap runaround. Unbeknown to my friend Rentacheapie was born in my mind as he was busy negotiating the next deal.
I enthusiastically shared my ideas with Lorna, my Canadian wife and we decided to cash in on our small pension and purchased 3 Chico Golfs, cleaned out the double garage of all the surfing paraphernalia and whoopa, Rentacheapie was a GO.
Chris from the Surf Hostel was a key part in getting us up and going, he sent us all his valuable wind surfing and kite surfing clients that were looking for wheels. Flamingo Street in Bloubergrandt would have lines of Cheapies, heaped to the hilt with surfboards and windsurfing equipment. This really put us on the map. The popular surf spots and beachfront areas were littered with Cheapies. Our growth exploded.
We knew clients wanted cheap, reliable, clean cars with friendly ‘do what you say’ service. At first we delivered on all of that except “reliable”. Man, did we get trouble. The phone calls would come all hours of the day. “De car won’t start,” in heavy German accent was a heart sinker. From Elands Bay to Witsand near Mossel Bay we did recoveries. We realized we needed to buy better cars and hire a proper mechanic. Along came Oliver Kabongo with a real knack for fault finding and fluent in French. He fitted in so well with his easy going style and our Parisian clients loved him – By the way, did you know that a Chico Golf is a fashion statement of some sorts in Paris? They just love the old Chico – Cheap and reliable was back and “bang” we had the winning formula.
Suddenly we were running 50 cars from a double garage and a 9 meter square office! We loved it. My neighbours loved it less, however we never had one moan from them. My debt to them is a deep hole. We soon relocated Rentacheapie to a suitable premise in Woodstock.
With growth comes new challenges and invisible ceilings to conquer. The administration was a big giant that seemed to have a life of its own, growing bigger, demanding more and more, especially tax and being compliant.
The legalities of becoming vat registered, returning vat, paying provisional tax, personal tax, UIF, SDL, submitting EMP201s and EMP501s, and the list goes on and on, was a huge battle... I basically had to learn how to become a mini accountant with a flair for tax. A very steep learning curve for someone who never even understood debit from credit at all during schooling years, never mind balance sheets! In my schooling years I lived for surfing. Often I would be seen in class with a blank faraway stare, as I used my accountancy class to fantasize about endless perfect waves, interrupted only by an occasional timely nod, keeping my monotone accounting teacher, Mr. Owen, happy. He had this habit of raising his voice, “Gentlemannnnn……and others!” Often in frustration or anger. The way he said “Others!” would suddenly bring me out of a deep blur. I would now rate my accounting skills as a possible modest “A”. Once you understand the basics of debit and credit, you could teach anyone to apply common sense and do accounting well. Mr Owen, I am sure would turn in his grave if he heard me say this!
From accounting and tax to tracking stolen vehicles in Khayelitsha, we learned about negotiating good deals with crafty second hand car agents, signing property rentals, hiring new staff, encouraging staff, firing naughty staff. Keeping in touch with clients, keeping suppliers in check with prices, paying the bills and salaries on time all were part of the big mix. A mixture of fun, pressure, pain, but eventually new solutions and enjoyment. It is a wonderful experience when there is life on something and it begins to work even beyond your own ability, capacity or input. We now are a well-established car hire option in Cape Town.
Probably, our greatest accomplishment so far, has been about creating employment for our 30 staff members. It has been a privilege for me to work with our team at Rentacheapie, to grow with them and see them grow as people. Their willingness to increase in capacity and advance their skill level has not ceased to amaze me.
Yolanda is one of our brightest stars. She came to us as a casual cleaner 2 days a week. Her cleaning was so effective, we took her on full time. Soon, the place was bristle clean and she had time on her hands. I saw in her a trustworthiness and handed her the petty cash to count and the responsibility of purchasing milk and bread for the business. Her attention to detail was impeccable and we gave her the petty cash to administrate with a small increase. Her hunger to learn opened doors, and invoicing of clients, following up with suppliers and administrating the petty cash became her regular job description. We made a decision after the pain of hiring and kindly letting go more than one bookkeeper, that our new bookkeeper would be Yolanda. We hired the best contractor we could find, Victoria Bodley, an expert in financial systems, management and bookkeeping to mentor and train Yolanda, simultaneously sending Yolanda to a reputable business school to be formally qualified. Our cleaner has now become our Bookkeeper and Financial Manager. She is incredible. Loyal, trustworthy and gets the job done with excellence. You have done us good, Yolanda.
Fani and Lucky Dita are brothers and have been part of the team almost from the beginning. Fani anchors our front desk team, hosting our clients and administrating the quick release of vehicles. Lucky manages the wash bay and makes sure the many bumps and scratches get repaired well by our vehicle body repair team, keeping those cars looking new.
Our newly appointed Administration Manager, Annuscha van Dyk has risen through the ranks of the business with her likable personality and faithful hard work. She has made her mark through great team management and encouragement. Her team love her. Hannes Herbst from Pretoria, our Operations Manager is a champion and manages more than half the staff and just less than 400 vehicles.
Then, a game changer, Nick Sophos joined me as a partner in October 2015. Bringing with him A level management and Sales experience from a large corporate company. Nick has imprinted most of the business with upgraded systems and operational efficiencies, strengthening the foundations on which we will continue to build.
I could include all our staff members as each contributes in a very meaningful way. I intend to keep this page alive, by hopefully including each member’s story in our unfolding tale.
We have ten years behind us now. We plan to continue offering cost effective, reliable cars, with friendship and integrity.
Viva Rentacheapie! Yours in car hire,