Former travel firm driver who is now running a construction equipment for hire company shares his success story
Joram Ngahu would probably be at the centre of his former employer’s success story if he hadn’t quit his job.
But the exposure he gathered in the J vibrant tourism business and the huge amounts of returns that his boss was making challenged him to start thinking smart about his future.
At the start of his three-year employment of organising safaris for foreign tourists visiting parks in Kenya, Mr Ngahu knew little about the money changing hands.
But a few months down the line, he learned a lot through experience and looked forward to the day he would make his millions. And true to his dream, Mr Ngahu who then worked as a driver resigned in 2002 to launch his business, Rhino Tours, which has gradually evolved into a multi-million enterprise.
Despite the rather poor perception of his maiden car, Probox, it became years into the travel business. “I created a website and it became easier for tourists to reach me as all they needed were my contacts,” he states.
“This was better than depending on referrals from previous customers.
Going online expanded my customer base,” he adds.
But Mr Ngahu is no longer depending entirely on travel industry. He has diversified, investing in bigger and expensive vehicles and equipment with a view to get a slice of the huge profits in mega capital infrastructure projects underway in the counties.
He is the man behind Ngahu Engineers Limited, a company registered in 2013. The firm leases out vehicles for use in road construction. If you are a road contractor and want tipper trucks, graders, front loaders, rollers or any of his six double cabin cars; he is at the ready to show you how quick of ut with so much ease and calm tempting one to draw the conclusion that acquiring them was too easy. This is not so, he notes.
“I first bought a tipper truck for Sh6 million, an amount raised through loan and savings. And it is has yielded enough to enable me buy the other vehicles,” he says.
Mr Ngahu who comes across as skilful negotiator, aggressive, and optimistic businessman finds business
Mr Joram Ngahu specialises in leasing road construction equipment and vehicles in the devolved units. He also runs a travel firm, Rhino Tours.
opportunities in the increasing number of road construction projects being undertaken by county governments. At the moment, he has business agreements with Narok, Bomet and Laikipia counties.
So, is it that easy to get business deals? “No,” Mr Ngahu says, adding that it is very tough to get a contract since it requires a lot of negotiations.
However, once you get the contract, he says, it becomes easy to sign another from the same organisation or even get a referral.
As for Mr Ngahu, he says his fees gives him an edge over rivals. To hire any of his vehicles for a month, a contractor should be ready to part with between Sh600,000 and Sh1 million depending on the type of vehicle sought.
Working to his advantage is also the element that he services his vehicles regularly, he notes.
“Assuring your customers of the good state of your vehicles is one thing that builds their loyalty in your services. Nothing can kill your business as when your customers take your word for rumour,” he notes.
Not yielding to his current millionaire status, Mr Ngahu has a new list of clients that he is planning to win — Tullow Oil, the multi-national oil and gas exploration company and Kenya National and Kenya Electricity Generating Company Limited.
Mentorship Among the strategies that have worked for Mr Ngahu in advancing in his business is planning and getting mentorship from well-established businessmen as well as using competition as a yardstick to improve on his startup’s inadequacies.
“Each day, there is something changing in the business environment and it needs not just thinking but strategic minds to succeed. If not so, you cannot break through the stiff competition,” says the father of one.
Patience and commitment are the virtues that the businessman says a person starting off cannot ignore to take into account in order to eventually make progress and fetch good returns.