Young and enterprising
In only four years, Wafula’s car hire business has grown in leaps and bounds to become one of the most reputable operators in its line of business
Nowadays, you do not necessarily need to own a car to chauffeur yourself or enjoy a comfortable ride. Car hiring companies have provided a solution.
Richard Wafula, the managing director at the African Bulls One Stop Car Hire Solution, began his journey in 2012 when he leased his personal car to a friend for one month.
With that single experience he saw an opportunity which he wanted to explore. As a rookie he was apprehensive about the risks involved but dared to dream. A few weeks into signing his first deal, he got another. He then realized that he can give it a shot. African Bulls One Stop car hire solution was therefore born.
By then, he was a program coordinator at International Youth Network-Kenya and had to juggle between his full-time job and the newly launched enterprise. The latter took better of him.
Focusing all his energy on the new venture, he bought another car after only six months. While at it, the experience was tasking in terms of time and energy.
One of his cars was stolen. “It was stressful considering that I had just quit my job. I was however determined to make it a success,” he recalls.
Change of strategy
After that horrible experience, Wafula discovered that he did not need to own many vehicles to stay in business. He started leasing vehicles. This saw the business grow and stabilize.
Currently the firm has a fleet of 15 cars and six employees. Among them is a risk management personnel whose role is to verify the documents presented by clients to make sure they are valid.
The leasing model is mostly used by car hire agencies that contract vehicles without owning them. Through an agreement, they pay owners a fee for using their vehicles.
Today, the firm has grown in leaps and bounds to become one of the most reputable operators in its line of business. It targets individuals as well as corporates. The type of services offered include chauffeured taxis, airport pick-ups and vans for safaris.
KENGEN, Keroche Industries, Panari Hotels and Tuskys supermarket are some of the clients that the firm has been fortunate to work with. “We also chauffeured delegates during the sixth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD) conference held in August 2016 in Kenya. This was not only a motivation that we are on the right projectory, but it also opened doors to other corporate organizations,” says Wafula.
“We value customer satisfaction. Our cars are of good standards and clean, with well trained drivers,” shares the entrepreneur.
Despite these successes, Wafula reveals that the car hire industry comes with its own share of challenges. There are high risks involved, delays in payment especially from corporate clients, while others fail to return the cars on time.
Having tried his luck on hawking by the roadside, selling mitumba clothes and running a training institution −failing every time, the youthful entrepreneur is happy to be home. He is optimistic to see the company succeed and be the car hire of choice in Kenya and beyond.