Name: Mr Panashe Kativu
Company name: CreoNash Investments T/A Wash My Ride
Business Location: 8 Campbell Borrowdale Behind Pamona Food Court; 2 Waxbill Helensvale, Harare
Products /Services: Car Wash Business
Years in Business: 9 months
Number of employees: 5
Phone number: +263717564607; +263772957586
Facebook Page: Wash My Ride-Pomona
Tell us your name, tell us about your business and where you operating from?
My name is Panashe Kativu. I run a car wash business that I started on the 6th of July 2018. The name of the car washes is Wash My Ride and we currently run 2 branches, number 8 Campbell Road, Borrowdale (Behind Pomona Food Courts) and the other one on 2 Waxbill Helensvale.
Okay, what led you to start the car wash business? Why did you decide to be an entrepreneur?
I started the car wash business because I realised the need for one in the area. I had travelled off road on a Saturday and on Sunday as I dressed up for church, as I was about to leave I realised I desperately needed my car washed but I then realised the closest car wash to me was close to town and that annoyed me but I realised it was a need and an opportunity to start one myself. I decided to be an entrepreneur after more than 4 years of working as an employee with no satisfaction or true happiness.
That’s impressive, what made you to choose your current business locations?
First branch was the need around that exact area and I also just knew it was a hub for lots of cars. And for my second location, I know there is an elite car wash around that same area for the high class and I planned a penetrating strategy to cater for the lower to middle class. Again it is a busy spot with more than hundred cars that pass through the Crowhill road.
How did you raise the startup capital for the business?
I had a bit of savings from my 4 years of working as a cashier and I also had partners that I am in the process of buying out hey.
That’s great, so what did you consider when you chose people to partner with?
I considered their ability financially and also the same idea and vision. They were family which I also thought was an advantage but I was proved wrong with time which is one of the reasons I am buying them out.
Okay, what lessons did you learn from working with relatives?
I learnt that with relatives it is hard to reach a certain level of professionalism and work ethic as a lot of operations are taken for granted and there are a lot of assumptions made due to issues and stances you may find hard to put across to each other. Despite the shareholding structures, relatives still demand respect and certain protocols which then hinder the proper principles of running a business.
How do you market your business? How do you find customers? What do you do to make sure they become repeated customers?
For marketing I have done banners 100m radius of my locations and I am currently working on putting more, I have done cycles of flyers with prices and contact information that we give out in fuel queues and around the village. I run a Facebook page that I am looking to sponsor and I also have a friend currently designing a website for me. Whatsapp statuses and groups have also gone a long bringing me clients. I do have a lot of repeated business and referrals and I believe it is a result of our customer service and the product we sell. Our cars always look great after we wash. We are passionate about cleaning cars.
Okay that’s great, have you ever turned down a customer, why or why not?
Not really turning down a customer but I have had a few misunderstanding customers that could come expecting the impossible on their old or paint scratched cars and they give you problems with payments. Other than that, we have never really turned down customers and I guess we are not crazily busy yet so we are always ready for our customers.
What are some of the challenges you face in your business? How do you overcome these challenges?
Some of the challenges I face in the business are with my staff. I have slow days where it is not necessary having 2/3 guys but if somehow it gets busy I will need all of them on the ground for efficiency. So sometimes I just have to pay them even for days they have not worked for. I also find challenges with staff loyalty; I am yet to have an efficient system in place to account for all sales especially when I am not on the ground 24/7 which is practically impossible with two branches running so I cannot account for exactly how many cars would have been washed. I am thinking of installing CCTVs which is still a bit of a mission financially but that is the plan.
What do you consider when recruiting your employees?
I consider age and maturity as I am a young entrepreneur. I also consider their residential areas for easy and cheaper transportation. I try my best to employ hardworking, honest and trustworthy guys which is key in my line of business.
What role does Technology play in your business?
Technology helps us to run the business efficiently from our machines to online advertising and learning new ways to clean our cars.
Okay, how do you see your business in the next five years?
I see expansion, branches in every city in the country and beyond. The vision is for Wash My Ride to have franchises around the world.
What advice would you want to give to Zimbabweans who want to venture into car wash business?
Patience is the name of the game, tough time to penetrate the market as people deal with bread and butter issues but it is possible. Provide a good service.
What products or services do you offer and how can our readers get in touch with you if they want your services?
We offer Quick Washes which is your outside wash and tyre polish. We do a Full Wash too which is a Full inside vacuum, dash board treatment, outside wash and dry. We offer a Full Valet, which is a thorough wash of the inside and outside, including engine and body polish. We also buff cars, removal of repairable scratches. Business Location: 8 Campbell Borrowdale, Harare, Behind Pamona Food Court; 2 Waxbill Helensvale, Harare. Phone number: +263717564607; +263772957586
What advice would you give to other Zimbabweans who are complaining of the tough economic conditions?
It is the situation we have, let us deal with it. We do not have options but to keep going. I see brand new cars at the village everyday, if someone is creaming in these economic situations, so can you.
How has the introduction of RTGS Dollars affected your business?
I have not really been affected by the introduction of RTGS dollars. We have just safeguarded ourselves by having USD prices along with variable bond prices.
What are your last words to our readers?
I am grateful to StartupBiz Zimbabwe, they grow me and I learn a lot. Come through to Wash My Ride for a great car wash experience. Keep going in whatever you are doing, these tough times can be conquered.