EDDIE ANAYO, 28, is the founder of Phiaton Travels Ltd. He shares his experience in business with MAUREEN ODIWUOR
What do you do for a living?
I run Phiaton Travels Ltd, an umbrella body of Phiaton investment which majors in car hire, air ticketing and offers tour packages.
What does Phiaton Travels do and when was it formed?
I quit my first job in 2007 and started Phiaton Travels in 2008. I registered it as a tour firm. I had no vehicles of my own then and used to sub-hire. In 2009, I started buying cars for the business. We are top in the market in Kisumu with the highest number of cars. The firm has more than 50 employees.
How many cars does the firm have now?
I manage a fleet of 40 high-end cars, which are mostly hired by VIPs. It is the only company in Kisumu that has a VX. We do not invest in small cars to elude the possibility of robbers hiring cars to conduct shoddy activities.
I am the first born in a family of three boys and one girl. I was born and bred in Nyalenda slums of Kisumu. I attended Joel Omino Primary School and Kanga High School. I did a diploma in Insurance at College of Insurance and a course in Business Management at Kenya Institute of Management. I am currently pursuing a degree in Bachelor of Commerce at the University of Nairobi.
Any challenges in the business?
Car hire is a risky affair. There is a time we got into trouble when one of our cars was hired by highway robbers.Â The poor road conditions are also another headache as they damage the cars and are also bound to cause accidents. At some point, I became too ambitious and expanded the business to Nairobi, Kisumu Kakamega and Eldoret. The company lost Sh4 million and had to shut down the Eldoret and Kakamega branches. Another hitch is that half of my employees are older than me and at times we differ because they feel they are more experienced. I also find it hard to reprimand them at times because I feel like it is disrespectful.
Any prominent people who have used your vehicles?