Running one business in Nigeria is hard enough. Imagine running two at the same time. It takes guts to leave a paying job, which is probably more secured than most, to work in the transportation industry. It is a move that comes with so much uncertainty, not to mention the risks involved in dealing with strangers on a daily basis. But Oyekoya Olamilekan has found a way to make it work. In this interview, he speaks on how he operates with Uber and Taxify, as well as what people should do before following suit.


Q: Mr Oyekoya, Tell us what your business is about.

A: My name is Oyekoya Olamilekan, I used to be the business development manager for a business management software developing company in Lagos. I resigned last year October to venture into transportation fully by partnering with Uber and Taxify. I also have a marketing company which a freelance for companies offering products and services. Presently I am accredited by a Health Management company for sales and marketing.

Q: Why did you decide to leave paid employment to venture into transportation?

A: I had to leave as I realised that we have over-hyped paid jobs in this country in the name of "I’m building a career" and yet, you are still poor.

Q: Uber and Taxify. What's your business interest here? What ignited that drive, considering the fact that transportation sector is dicey?

A: Truly the Industry is dicey but we all need at least a good understanding of any Industry you want be in as I believe all industries are dicey in this country. This is not my first time in the industry as I had practiced being in it while I was in school. Thanks to the likes of Uber and Taxify, who have made transportation digital, and with a good level of dignity for people like me to engage in. I believe more of such are still coming to Nigeria soon.

Q: Still on that question though. Describe what you have with both Uber and Taxify.

A: I have a partnership with them to use their mobile app to render service by picking a passenger from one location and dropping off safely at another location before I get paid.

Q: I hear it’s not as lucrative as before (i.e Uber/Taxify) and a lot of stories that touch. Is this true?

A: That was what I was told but lucrative is relative. When I started, I made more than my salary every month, and I didn’t leave the house until 10am or 12pm; Monday to Saturday. I used a Toyota Corolla 2004 which cost me 4,000 naira (for fuel) everyday and I was going home with an average of 13,000 naira. Also, I have people that book me based on referral or through my online adverts.

Q: What advice do you have for someone who was to give a vehicle out for Uber?

A: My advice for such a person is that if you want to go into the business:
-          Get a Toyota corolla car (between 2003-2006model); Preferable 2003/2004 as it is cheaper.
-          Your driver must be a referral from someone that can stand in for him or her.
-          Register the car with your bank details and just synchronize the driver's account with yours.
-          Ensure the car is serviced every month;don't tell the driver to take money and service.Tell him to take it to your own mechanic and ensure you have a trusted mechanic.
-          Don't over-bill the driver; ask him to deliver between 30,000 and 35,000naira per week.Anything above that will stress the driver.
I’m working towards getting a loan to procure another car by next quarter. My target is to have 5 cars on the road by end of the year.

Q: What's the Price Range?

A: The foreign used Toyota Corolla model is between 1.5-1.7m naira.

Q: What about car theft?Who shoulders this risk?

A: I will advise the car be insured; a comprehensive one, not 3rd party. Like I said, don't give the car to a complete stranger.

Q: Your marketing company. Why did you venture into marketing?

A: I’ve been a sales and marketing person for almost a decade in different industries and I still have passion for it.

Q: What about Uber/Taxify’s cut? Is this after or before deductions?

A: The commission is an automatic deduction. The driver should make above 10,000naira everyday after Uber/Taxify’s deduction.

Q: What are the challenges? It can't always be smooth

A: It's never always smooth for any business, no matter the inflow.
-          The tear and wear of the vehicle as you will find yourself in some areas that you will be angry.
-          Lagos traffic and traffic officers. So you need to know how to drive well with the knowledge of traffic rules and road signs.
-          Network issue; so I advise you have data in two networks.
-          Parking for hours before you get a passenger.
-          Rude passengers but you remain calm as your aim is service and the exchange in value.

Q: You drive or you give cars to drivers?

A: I’m driving one on Uber and I manage one for a friend on Uber and Taxify using a driver.

Oyekoya can be reached for more information on 08034100931 or 08187188562. He’s ready to work with anyone looking to venture into transportation, especially as regards Uber and Taxify.

The SME 1000 Hotseat is a weekly interview organized for SMEs under the Red Star SME 1000 platform. Business owners face questions from others in the group about their business. The session is aimed at providing avenues for collaboration among the businesses under the platform.

SME 1000 is an initiative by Red Star Express Plc to bring SMEs under its umbrella. These SMEs stand to enjoy logistics support and services of Red Star Express Plc. They will also have access to special offers regarding the products and services of the company. These SMEs will also be first in line for special business seminars and events organized by Red Star Express Plc.


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