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Success Secrets of Taxi Lady Who Makes Sh7,000 Per Day

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Judy Wanjiru is a successful taxi driver based in Nairobi. She used to sell new and used cars in Mombasa and also worked as a part-time taxi driver. When she relocated to Nairobi, she had no car and started looking for jobs to sustain herself in the city. It was then that someone told her she could start a taxi business with a partner’s car. She took the advice and, after seeing how profitable the business was, bought a car in Mombasa on hire purchase.

“I met a man while job hunting, and I informed him about my part-time work as a cab driver in Mombasa,” says Wanjiru. “He advised me to pursue the same job since it was profitable in the city. So, for the first six months, I operated the taxi business with a partner’s car. Fortunately, I had savings of Ksh400,000 that I used as a deposit to acquire my hire purchase car with a monthly payment plan of Ksh32,000.”

According to her, this was a good deal as she has always been able to meet the monthly payments. She advises aspiring drivers to steer clear of zero deposit car ownership schemes. Wanjiru mentions that people who opt for zero deposit schemes sometimes fail to understand the harsh terms and conditions.

Individuals are enduring great hardships simply because they signed documents without seeking legal counsel to fully understand them, she observes. “These cars may look good initially, but after two months, they develop serious problems, and the payments continue relentlessly, with no reprieve,” she says.

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Wanjiru mentions a friend who took a vehicle under the same scheme, and the amount owed never decreased.  “His balance was always Ksh500,000. I believe it is better to buy a car from a dealership rather than getting into crooked deals.”

While many complain that the taxi business in Kenya is tough, Wanjiru asserts that she has no complaints. She attributes the struggles of most drivers to laziness, a lack of understanding of the business, and not building a good reputation with clients.

“I wake up as early as 4 a.m., and close in the evening at 8 p.m. On a good day, I make Ksh7,000, and on a bad day, Ksh5,000. The secret to taxi service is giving out your contact to clients who request long-distance trips outside Nairobi, where they pay upwards of Ksh20,000 per trip,” says. In a bad month, she makes upwards of Ksh150,000.

“Additionally, in the morning, don’t wait at home for requests; drive around the airport and SGR, and you might find long-distance clients who have just arrived in the country. I also have my regular clients whom I take to work and sometimes pick up and drop off their children at school.”

She urges women to consider taxi job, saying it is easier and offers good earnings.

Furthermore, Wanjiru says she never declines app requests, but instead talks to her clients, explaining that the payment might be too little for the ride. Some clients end up adding extra payment on top of the app earnings. “When I receive a client who wants to be driven to Nakuru, I tell them that the app revenues barely cover the cost of petrol, and some clients pay extra,” Wanjiru says.

She highlights some of the challenges faced in the business, such as clients refusing to pay upon reaching their destination or causing messes like vomiting in the vehicle for those who are ill or drunk. Some clients also act as backseat drivers, constantly correcting her movements. “The software only takes into account the customer’s comments when the client is in error you have nowhere to complain, customer’s comment  might lower your score total.”

In conclusion, she encourages women to consider taking up the taxi job, pointing out that it is easier and offers better earnings than staying at home all day. Wanjiru emphasizes the biggest factor of her success: “The secret  is giving out your contact to clients who request long-distance trips outside Nairobi, where they pay upwards of Ksh20,000 per trip.“

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Steve Wambugu is a journalist based in Nairobi.
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