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Daring investor sees a fortune in risky roof cleaning business

By Esther Dianah | August 28th 2021
By Esther Dianah | August 28th 2021

Clean Roof Masters technician at work. [Courtesy]

Cleaning a building’s exterior is something many will shun, but for one Brian Mark Ogutu, this was a business opportunity. 

Clean Roof Masters is a registered startup company that started in the middle of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020 when everybody was in despair and seeking answers.

Ogutu saw an opportunity after he noticed many businesses had neglected the cleaning role as they switched to survival mode. “I noticed a gap in the market and decided to fill it,” he tells Money Maker.

So how did he get to learn about the business idea?

Market research

After graduating from the university with a degree in commerce and finance, Ogutu while reflecting on his next course of action, stumbled upon the cleaning job idea. 

“I ventured into outdoor cleaning because cleanliness and everything clean is what everybody wants to be associated with.

"Hygiene is an everyday thing and therefore demand is always there. Because buildings and spaces get dirty every day, cleaning services will always be needed,” says Ogutu.

Having done his groundwork, he started with Sh700,000. The daring entrepreneur says the capital was loans from friends and previous savings from his side hustles after university.

Capital intensive

He used a large share of the money to buy the cleaning equipment from local stores.

He offers services like cleaning roof tiles, exterior walls, clogged gutters, runways, pavements, exterior chimneys, parking shades, driveways, sidewalks, solar panels, commercial water tanks and cabros.

Clean Roof Masters is a registered startup company. [Courtesy]

Ogutu whose business slogan is; our business is making yours shine’ admits that it has not been a walk in the pack breaking new ground.

“It has been tough but we are moving on. First, buying the cleaning equipment which are heavy duty and expensive was not easy.

"Even though I managed to raise the initial capital, I still do not have all the equipment that I need. We are still injecting capital into the business from our profits,” he says.

Risky job

Other than capital issues, he has also faced other hurdles.

“Finding the right personnel to deliver was also a challenge since this kind of job is risky and tiresome. Actually, some employees quit along the way because they deemed it risky and others couldn’t perform to meet my expectations.” 

Ogutu’s team of employees is mainly his friends and classmates from campus.

Right marketing strategy

“I called each one of them and asked for their help. They came on board and are helping me build the company,” he says.

Finding the right marketing strategy was also a problem.

“We moved door to door in search of clients and I remember a certain day while on our hunt, German shepherds chased us away,” he recalls.

“Another challenge is lack of access to gated communities which is a potential target market.”

That the idea is fairly new has also posed a challenge. 

“This job is seasonal, sometimes we get many clients, other times we get not a single client. A month may pass without a single job.”

Of all the spaces they clean, the roof tiles are tedious because it has to be cleaned nicely without any breakages or leakages. The roof is also more expensive as it requires a lot of attention.  

 Despite the odds, he sees the opportunities that lie ahead.

“From our wide range of services, we have served several clients in different places. Our goal is to spread our wings in East Africa.” 

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