With the establishment of a cleaning company by Mr. Jakob Wagner in 1903, the success story of a family business began, which Mr. KR Viktor Wagner, grandson of the founder is telling today as follows:
"On 29.October 1903 my grandfather Jakob Wagner laid the foundation stone of today’s REIWAG. My father believed that in view of the economic situation after the 2nd world war, cleaning companies would not have a promising future. He therefore recommended to become a civil servant.
I followed his advice and joined the Zentralsparkasse, a bank in Vienna. There I received a short but intensive training in financial matters which I would not like to have missed. One of my former colleagues was Gerhard Randa.
Upon the recommendation of the mother of a friend of mine, I flew, as a nobody to New York where I hardly could afford one meal a day. I called upon the Austrian Trade Delegate and asked him if he could provide me with contacts in the building cleaning trade sector. He kindly did so and next day I met with Mr. Norman Davis, Vice-President of National Cleaning with app. 10.000 employees. In a short time I learned about management, know-how and organisation. Filled with entrepreneurial expectations I returned with the low cost airline Loft Leidier in a condensed water dripping DC 8 via Rejkjavik to Vienna.
Thereafter I asked my father to allow me to establish my own company under his trade license. Additionally I was allowed by my then supervisor in the Zentralsparkasse to start my business while still working at the bank. I hired my first window cleaner for my newly established company “Viktor Wagner Junior”.
It was a blessing in disguise when I had a traffic accident with no fault of mine. The insurance company paid me ATS 20.000 (which would now be EUR 1.450,-) and this was my starting capital. With this money I purchased an old VW beetle, a suspension fitting for ladders and removed the passenger seat. From then on I had an operative/useable company car.
I approached several shops and businesses on the Vienna Ringstrasse such as Alitalia, Enit etc. which subsequently became my first clients. Soon thereafter the first cleaning machines were bought and the first cleaning lady joined the young company.
My business aspirations particularly benefited from the fact that at that time my competitors hardly had the knowledge about work scheduling, organisation and know-how I had studied in the USA. I therefore was able to generate more profits than my competitors while asking for the same price. In addition, I was favoured by the fact that an economic boom has started in 1968 resulting in construction of a number of new office buildings.
From now on things are loading up and after a short time span I could make my father the proposal to merge his company (with app. 7 employees) into mine, making him at the same time the head of the office. Unfortunately, only a few years later, my father passed away but he could witness with pride the advancement and the validity of this vision.
In the course of the years we continuously expanded: In 1990 we established our first subsidiary in the Czech Republic. We were awarded in 1991, as one of the first companies, the coat of arms of the Republic of Austria. On 25 November 1998 I was honored by the Federal President of the Republic of Austria with the title “Kommerzialrat”. The REIWAG Facility Services Group was given 6 times the Europe’s 500 award as one of the 500 most dynamic enterprises in Europe (measured by profits, employee quotas, turn over trends, equity capital) As well as some other distinctions we expanded our service activities to facility services which means to offer our clients the entire maintenance of buildings in one company.
Specially to be highlighted is a more than successful Private Public Partnership (KOMWAG Prague a.s.) which we, entered into in 1996 with the city of Prague in a joint stock company for street cleaning and garbage disposal. Also this company is flourishing and its profits surpass the forecasts each year.
In the meantime, as can be seen from the organigram, the REIWAG Group is successfully operating in many sectors and countries. And all doors are open to a healthy growth in the future."
KR Viktor Wagner