You have probably come across ads on WhatsApp indicating how you can buy airtime for any network using Ecocash. It is what you hear titled Hot Recharge. Obviously the convenience to be able to buy either NetOne airtime or Telecel airtime using Ecocash is most welcome. Often time people seek this service from Hot Recharge agents. These are essentially people who would have registered for Hot Recharge and can now sell airtime. There has usually been a misconception by many to think that being a Hot Recharge agent is the reserve of a few people. However, anyone can be a Hot Recharge agent; in fact, the registration process is quite simple. Herein I will discuss how Hot Recharge works, how to register and other important details.

How To Register

For you to be able to register you must have an Econet line that is registered on Ecocash. To start the registration process you simply send a message to 180. The message will be in the following format: Reg Full Name National ID Number e.g. Reg Clive Masarakufa 22334455A8. You will then receive a message like this: “Registration Successful. Your PIN CODE is 1234. Remember your code and delete this message. Further instructions will be sent to you shortly. HOT Recharge”. After that, you will receive this message: “To Recharge send HOT AMOUNT MOBILE PINCODE to 180. Example HOT 5 0772259165 1234”. At this point, that means you will be all set to start transacting.

How It All Works

From the registration process, I have already indicated how you recharge someone’s line. You do that by sending HOT Amount Mobile Pincode to 180. Remember there that the Pincode in question there is the one you received when you registered for Hot Recharge. An example of the message would be Hot 20 0716629094 1234. Supposing you have been advertising and someone comes to you wanting airtime, the mobile you put there will be theirs. If you want to fund (i.e. to put money) into your Hot Recharge account you send Ecocash Amount to 180 e.g. Ecocash 50. Upon doing that you will be prompted to enter your Ecocash pin. So that is the basic framework of how it all works. It is quite possible to register for Hot Recharge just for personal use. Some register with the aim of wanting to realize a profit – which is the core focus of this article.

Where Is The Profitability?

I have spoken to many people trying to establish how people realize profit as Hot Recharge agents. I have gotten varying explanations on this aspect but I will try to discuss it in a holistic manner. From what I have established, the things one must first of all bear in mind are the recharging and the funding element. I will use some real-life examples so that you get the sense of what I am driving at.

Someone had RTGS$933.96 in their Ecocash wallet. They then funded their Hot Recharge account with RTGS$50. Looking at the initial and ultimate Ecocash balance it turns out the funding transaction cost RTGS$3.14 to do. So Ecocash charges are a factor to consider. In essence, this means that for that transaction it cost roughly 6 cents to purchase each dollar of that RTGS$50. Why am I pointing this out?

It is a factor to consider in your pricing element when selling the airtime. When recharging you get a commission, for instance, it could be 5%. Real-life example following our earlier transaction: You have RTGS$50 in your Hot Recharge account right. You recharge someone with RTGS$20. You then get a 5% commission meaning that transaction will be charged at RTGS$19 instead RTGS$20. Thus your Hot Recharge account balance will become RTGS$31.

At this point let me introduce another dynamic central to your profitability. When someone approaches you and says they need airtime you ask them the amount they need. Then you tell them how much they should send to your Ecocash. For instance, the Hot Recharge agent I usually used to request airtime from would say RTGS$1.20 (a mark-up of 20 cents) per every dollar thus for the earlier RTGS$20 recharge I would send RTGS$24.

Thus, the commission and the mark-up placed for when someone requests for airtime are what accounts for profitability. What I find interesting is the various pricing models that Hot Recharge agents use. Some charge at RTGS$1.20, some RTGS$1.10 and so on. I remember one who would charge at RTGS$1.30 for any airtime request be it RTGS$5 or RTGS20 and the like. This somehow suggests that pricing models can vary from one agent to the other. What I have realized from some remarks from Hot Recharge agents is that profitability is a function of high volumes. So pushing to get as many airtime purchases as possible is what guarantees profitability.

If this is the kind of business you feel you could do then go for it. I would encourage you to get to comprehensively understand it first before embarking on it. As I pointed out before, pushing for high volumes is what is important; you can leverage on your social, work or business circles. Obviously this business calls on you to extensively market and also to come up with competitive pricing approaches to lure customers.