Why many Kenyans have resorted to the car boot business

By Vincent Kejitan | Tuesday, May 26th 2020 at 14:22
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Times are tough and one’s adaptability to the current economic situation is key to determining how the next few months will be financially.

When starting a business, things like capital and location come into play and getting a good premise to house your business is a constant headache.

As you take a walk in your neighbourhood, you might have noticed an increase in the ‘car-boot’ businesses where people have turned their vehicles into shops.

From eggs to fruits, rags to vegetables, many park their cars on roadsides with stickers displaying what they sell and their prices.

I met one Joseph Mugo who sells eggs in Umoja Estate and he told me that he opted to start the business after the government ordered closure of restaurants.

Mugo worked as a waiter in one of the hotels in the CBD and he was forced to look for an alternative plan to make ends meet.

“Corona has messed up so many things and we have kids at home who need to eat. After I lost my job I had to figure out how I would survive.

“Initially I thought of selling shoes but I figured at the moment people need food more,” he says as he arranges eggs in a tray.

Although the business does not bring in much, Mugo is hopeful that it can sustain him before the country is reopened.

The fact that it is relatively cheaper to start and maintain, unlike a shop, also made it easier for him as his uncle offered him the car.

A fortnight ago KTN News also highlighted the story of Tony Makau, a Kenyan actor who sells fruits from the trunk of his car after all his gigs were cancelled.

Makau said he was tired of staying at home and enquired about how one can start the car-boot business.

“I got tired of just staying in the house…watching movies, eating and sleeping. I looked around my estate and a number of people were selling fruits.

“I asked them where they got their stock from and they directed me to Marikiti market,” he said.

The actor stated that he often gets to the market between 5-5.30 am and buys fruits in bulk at a wholesale price and later sells them in Kasarani.

Makau admits the curfew has affected his business to some extent but he has been forced to adapt.

“Initially we made lots of sales late in the evening but that has changed. I have loyal customers who always get fruits from me and it is my responsibility to ensure I give them the best,” he said.

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