Taking calculated risks pays off for Jay–Jay

By Sibangani Dube
September 2012
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Being a Government employee is the most envied status as it comes with numerous perks including a steady and guaranteed income, knowing Government will never go broke, and you know you’re guaranteed a pension, to name but a few.

Leonard “Jay-Jay” Moses, now a very successful and famous businessman in the panel-beating industry, left the Government’s nest when circumstances ejected him and threw him on the entrepreneurial path that would completely redefine the quality of his life and that of his family beyond his wildest dreams. To cream it off, he is an insurance-accredited operator of Auto Body Repair, giving him an envious position in this lucrative business.

His skills in the panel-beating business date back from when he was a prison warden in 1994 in the Ministry of Prisons and Correctional Service where he was responsible for supervising the panel-beating workshop.

His job description brought him closer to what would be his business today as he learnt the finer details of the job even without formal qualifications.

In 2003, out of the blues as he went about his duties, he learnt about his looming transfer to Divundu for an office job.

Petrified by the sudden turn of events, he approached his superiors for an audience to reverse the decision, in vain. While still hopeful for a compromise, he asked for a study leave to go and study panel-beating (despite being a supervisor, he did not have formal qualification but still his plea fell on deaf ears).

It finally reached a point where he had to give up being a Government employee and tendered his resignation to head to Bellville Technical College in Cape Town. There, he acquired a formal qualification in panel-beating and spray-painting.

After graduating, he came back to Namibia broke as he had spent all his savings on the studies. Before long, he identified a hopeless place at the City of Windhoek’s industrial stalls in Katutura and business started. Since he was broke, he went around asking for money to buy a compressor, “Most people did not understand me as they thought I wanted to by a ‘Mercedes Benz compressor. It is only now that they put the pieces of the puzzle together of what I actually meant then.”

However, his wife came to his rescue by giving him N$1500. With this money, he went to Cash Convertors and bought a set of tools and a compressor for the business - Jay-Jay Panel Beaters came to life.

Today, eight years later, Jay-Jay’s Body Repairs cc is a far cry from the humble beginning in Katutura and an expensive rented premise in the Northern Industrial Area.

Jay-Jay now operates from his own up-market business complex - which he completed in April 2010 in the Northern Industrial Area - equipped with the latest state-of-the-art equipment including a computer-operated spraying booth.

He offers services exclusive to panel-beating and spraying which include auto body repair, spray painting and colour coding, bumper repairs, polishing and detailing. The company also provides customised repair services and auto dealings as per the tastes of the customers.

His clientele-base which includes the City of Windhoek, Government Garage, Santam, Hollard and Mutual Federal, to name but a few, speaks volumes about his professionalism and for him, the sky is the limit.

His work and outstanding performance has never gone un-noticed as he won the Best Service Entrepreneurial Awards (SNIEDA) in 2006 as well as the Outstanding Business Performance for the 2007 in the annual Mutual Enterprise Awards.

Despite his successes, Jay-Jay still wears the blue overall and works like any other handyman. Starting off as one man, he now has 20 full-time employees.

He is not yet done as his eyes are now set on the towing industry to diversify his business portfolio. PF