Fred’s carwash, creating jobs one wash at a time

03 November 2017

When Fred Ndlovu served coffee and cake at Barclays Corporate Investment Bank five years ago, he may not have seen the potential in himself to one day head up a growing business. He was just passionate about creating the best coffee he could and serving his many customers with a smile each morning.

One of those customers was Jon Couret, an executive at Barclays. As he got to know Fred’s constant pleasant demeanor and tenacity, he saw that his potential went far deeper than a brilliant cappuccino. He enlisted the help of his peers within the business to help get Fred started on the path to becoming a small business entrepreneur.

Their assistance, combined with his hard work, has resulted in a thriving car wash business operating on the Barclays Campus in Johannesburg. The campus sees over 3 000 cars a day, most of which sit in the basement for the day, so his bright idea has a steady stream of willing clientele.

The real shift in his business came with the help of Jon and his colleague Joss Jowett from Barclays Corporate Real Estate Services (CRES), who were instrumental in arranging Fred a Payment Pebble – Absa’s mobile card machine solution – which ensured his success in this largely cashless environment.

Fred was one of the first merchants to plug in the Payment Pebble to a smart device. This was central to his success, as his customers can pay via debit or credit card in a way that is efficient and secure. He has also become one of the first merchants to use the completely new Payment Pebble Handset and his feedback is encouraging so far.

The business is not only benefitting Fred. From its humble beginnings with two staff members just over a year ago, he now employs 10 people. Nine of these staff members have families that they are able to support and children they are empowered to educate through the regular salary they receive each month. Like the people at Barclays who believed in him, Fred also sees his business as an opportunity to transform the lives of those who work for him.

“I am dedicated to empowering women in my business,” he says, “In fact, both my supervisors are female! As I grow I would love to grow the number of women I employ, and even have a vision of starting a car wash run only by women one day!”

The business has grown from approximately eight cars a day to 50 on most days at his one site, and he plans to keep growing.

“In the short term, I will be growing my business to two other buildings in the Barclays Campus in Gauteng. This promises to double the amount of staff I currently have.”

Once he has taken on Gauteng, the possibilities are limitless. Fred’s sight is set on growing nationally, across Africa, and eventually, the UK.

“I have big dreams,” he says. “I want to grow this business, open up other sites and provide many more people with work opportunities. I want to help them achieve their ambitions. I want to help create more Freds.”

Jon and Joss embodied the Absa ethos of seeing the human behind the numbers, and their potential to prosper. This authentic warmth is something that Fred deeply appreciates.

“I can genuinely say that I’m part of a big family at Barclays. As much as I loved making coffee and cake, I was so lucky to have someone recognise my potential and take a chance on me. Not many people get that chance. As I always say to my friends and family, I was not only in the right place, but with the right people.”

Disclaimer: The advice contained on this blog is for general purposes only and does not take into account individual circumstances, objectives or financial needs. Accordingly, readers are advised to seek appropriate advice from licensed professionals prior to making any investment, or taking up a financial product or service.