The all-round workshop with a heart
If she had followed her father's advice or that of her vocational college, Sandra Wibbe would never have become a car mechanic. But she always had her own mind -- and loved working on cars as a teenager. The logical next step: learning to be a car mechanic! In 2006, she took over the workshop from her father and has been running it with two other car mechanics -- as well as looking after the petrol station and car wash alongside her mother. A real family business!
"Workshop with a heart"
Founded in 1983, Werkstatt Wibbe is situated in the the eastern Westphalian Mantinghausen, between Lippstadt and Paderborn.
"Heartily Westphalian" is always the manner by which Sandra Wibbe and her mother welcome their customers. "We call our workshop a workshop with a heart, since our customers value our sincerity. We try finding a solution for every problem so that the customers like to come back."
In her professional life, Wibbe has had to grapple multiple times with tired cliches. For example, when the customer wants to talk to "the Boss" and not the "female boss". "But overall, these types of question have become significantly less", explains Wibbe with a smirk -- and appreciates the humour in it.
However, Wibbe is still concerned about the rarity of women-led workshops, even in these modern times.
The same challenges as other workshops
This workshop boss must deal, after all, with all the same problems as pretty much any other independent workshop. "Just like our competitors, we struggle for our existence every day", says Sandra Wibbe. Every-new challenge due to the increasing complexity of the industry poses a new challenge to her and her team. And regular training is of course part of the business.
But also: "We increasingly experience customers that start repairs at home -- even for such safety-relevant components as brakes -- which they then have to abandon and come to seek our help." Sandra Wibbe remains cool even in those situations.
She has this "futuristic idea" where a car workshop is addressing women in particular. Starting with measuring the oil level, changing tyres and recharging an empty battery, she would like to increase the technical understanding of women.
"I fully have the backing of my team"
The fact that the boss is a woman -- for her employees, this is absolutely normal, Wibbe is convinced. "I have a great team by my side and know that I have their full backing."
Today, about 50 percent of her customers are female, she estimates. "Women, but also men, are probably more likely to ask us one or more technical questions", the workshop boss muses.
Her heart belongs to "youngtimers"
In Wibbe's private life, a car must, above all, be functional and provide sufficient space for necessary purchases and her two dogs. While she is actually not such a vintage car fan, she makes an exception for her carefully restored "Beetle" youngtimer. The 20-year-old car, which she also uses to advertise the workshop, gives her great pleasure to drive and can easily cheer her up.