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SMEs work on residential estate

Hiring the right SMEs to work on a residential estate

Can small companies deliver on big contracts?

By Zeenat Moosa Hassan

, |

Hiring the right SMEs to work on a residential estate

Can small companies deliver on big contracts?

By Zeenat Moosa Hassan

, |

3 min read

Despite being small Ronewa Creations – a Gauteng based landscaping company owned by aunt and niece duo Dinah Kgeledi and Lesego Seloane – has ongoing contracts at several residential estates, including Eye of Africa, Waterfall Estate and Serengeti.

So, what is the secret to their success?

Big on trust not price

These days, estates are looking at more than just their bottom line when they subcontract. They are putting their brand on the line when they align to a certain company, so trust is crucial – you need to trust their ability to get the job done and done well.

‘As an SME, we cannot rely on our reputation like the bigger companies do,’ says Kgeledi and Seloane. ‘Instead, we must prove our worth in other ways. Our top piece of advice is to always make sure the subcontractor shows that they have attempted to understand your estate. Not all estates are the same, so it is important that they understand who your residents are as well as your requirements.’

With trust and understanding also comes flexibility and differentiation. As the owners explain, it is usually a long and sometimes painful journey before an SME acquires an estate as a client.

But there are advantages to hiring SMEs. ‘Smaller companies like us have more scope to change and adapt our service offering, which is great for the estate as it means we can be more creative and attentive and offer a tailored service, with a special personal touch for every client, regardless of how much they are paying us,’ says Kgeledi and Seloane.

Cut out the red tape

When it comes to outsourcing, you want to make sure you are getting value for your money, as well as the attention and help needed when things go wrong.

‘As owners of an SME, we are actively involved in every step of our business, so estate managers get to engage with us directly,’ says Kgeledi and Seloane. Not only does this mean that they are able to foster a comfortable working relationship with each other, but more importantly, it means that estate managers know exactly who to call when something goes wrong.

‘Estate managers appreciate that they have direct access to us, rather than escalating issues or complaints through different ranks of a big corporate.  The potential loss of a contacts can have an astronomical hit on our pockets, so it is crucial that we are on hand to resolve these issues quickly and efficiently,’ they say.

It is important to note that things are bound to go wrong with smaller, less experienced companies. Unlike larger companies that have more capacity with bigger staff complements and the benefit of years of experience, refining their systems and service offering.

Another disadvantage is that an SME is often challenged by tight financial margins and limited resources. Nonetheless, they still must be as efficient as larger competitors, and this sometimes causes errors.

‘We lean on our strong and honest relationships when things go wrong, and hope estate managers are realistic and understanding,’ say the ladies.

Be on the same page

These days, running an estate is not just about profits and bottom lines. Estates play a pivotal role in their local community, and it can be especially rewarding to work with local companies that share the same values as you and your estate.

‘We might be small, but we still place strong emphasis on our company values of integrity, having strong partnerships and expert services and being eco-consciousness,’ say the owners.

The entrepreneurs go onto explain that it is important for them to have clients who understand what they are trying to build, who appreciate the great outdoors and who want to foster sustainable solutions when it comes to landscaping.

‘We find our values alight well with residential estates because estate managers appreciate the value of green spaces. Our relationships are strengthened by the fact that we both want to keep tenants happy with beautiful outdoor areas,’ conclude Kgeledi and Seloane.

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