For many Kenyan women, the car wash business is not an attractive venture and is considered a “man’s job”.
However, for 22-year-old Lucy Nanjala, it is her full-time hustle. The woman, who resides in Bungoma town has been in this business for five years, three years working for someone and two years self-employed. Her motivation to venture into the car wash business was to prove to her fellow youth that there are jobs in Kenya for those who would wish to get into it and to show women that what a man can do, a woman can do better.
Nanjala finished secondary school in 2017 but was unable to further her studies due to a lack of fees. That is when she opted to look for a job to cater to her needs and those of her parents.
“After Form 4 things got tough and at that young age I was forced to look for an income-generating activity to pay family bills,” Nanjala tells City Biz.
She continues: “So I got employed at a certain car wash in Kanduyi where I worked for three years as I saved up from the little I was earning to start up my own business.”
She eventually bought her own car wash machine in 2021 and opted to be self-employed, which she says is better than working for someone.
Nanjala is an encouragement to many Kenyan youth, some with university degrees, waiting for job opportunities from potential employers.
“The youth should be creative and open their eyes to entrepreneurship, which actually pays, instead of whining the whole time about how the government is not providing jobs for them,” she said.
Being a woman, she attracts a lot of clients, some of whom she says come with an intention of making advances on her. She explains that the profit is good as compared to when she was employed.
“Here I am the boss, I enjoy making decisions for myself and also take all the profits as well, it is fulfilling,” she said.
For each car she charges Sh200, it doesn’t matter the model or size. On a good day she gets seven to 10 clients. In a month she says she makes more than Sh20,000 profits.
When asked if she encounters any challenges in her business, she said, “Each business has its own challenges. I come across some rude clients who get mad when I don’t give them my number, some fail to pay me, saying they don’t have the cash and that they will send it later. However, there are genuine ones who actually come back and pay, but through these shortcomings, I grow stronger.”
Nanjala hopes to go to college and further her studies, saying she is currently saving for it.
“Growing up I hoped to become a nurse and I would love to see those dreams come true.”
She however plans to expand her small car wash business to offer jobs to others like her.
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