Meet Mike Ridderhof, Director at Mickor Electrical Ltd., born and raised in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Here's Mike's story... At the age of 16 he left school and started working as an electrician apprentice. A year later he was called up for compulsory national service with the army for a year, however he served 2 years (must have really liked the army).
Mike left the army and carried on his apprenticeship with only practical experience behind his name, no theoretical qualifications. He had been trying to get qualified for a few years but kept pushing it back.
He started Mickor in 1987 in between army camps but decided to go back to working for a boss because his wife was concerned about not having medical aid for them and their 2 young kids. In 1991 he started up Mickor again and went into business with a silent partner who was a qualified electrician.
Mike started running with a mate who owned and ran a pharmacy, was studying to be a doctor, doing his internship and training for the Comrades, an 89km ultramarathon. After completing the Comrades he realized if he, as someone who was never a runner, and his mate, who had so many things on the go, can train and run the Comrades there isn’t anything he can’t do, so he went on to study further and get his wireman’s license.
The company started with just Mike. He made a rule that he was not allowed in the house during working hours unless he was making a phone call for work (there were no cellphones in those days). So, he spent his days going door to door, looking for work and doing small jobs on the spot, quoting on new work and eating lunch in the car in his driveway.
He started pursing one of the largest banks in South Africa for their insurance claim work, and 2 years later he landed the contract. He also landed a contract with one of the bigger supermarket chains in South Africa. A contact from the supermarket contract moved to Telkom (Telecommunication company) and asked Mike to quote on some work. There was a bit of building to be done which he subcontracted out, but the subbie didn’t do the best job. So, the next contract that came through Mike decided to do the building himself. This was the start of Mickor Building division. A few years later Mickor branched out again opening a flooring division, installing carpets and laminated wooden flooring.
By the time Mike decided to immigrate with the family in 2013, Mickor had 30 full-time employees, 10 sub contractors, 7 vans and large premises where 13 of the full-time employees were based.
Once in New Zealand Mike opened Mickor Electrical Ltd. with his son
Ryan and they started the recipe he followed previously, door knocking,
building up contacts, tendering to large construction corporations.
Through this, Mike and Ryan have built the business to where they are
now, conducting million-dollar contracts with construction companies for
Ministry of Justice and Ministry of Education nationwide.