Mobile carwash offers convenience
Young entrepreneurs take headache out of waiting in queues by bringing their professional service to your home or workplace
A year after matriculating, teenage entrepreneurs Freddie Robberts and R-Miguel Mostert started their mobile carwash business – bringing the service to their customer’s homes and offices.
The two 19-year-old’s said their aim was to relieve customers of the frustration of having to wait in long queues. How and when did you start your business?
After matriculating in 2017, we both had the same vision – we wanted to start our own businesses.
On The Move Carwash was started in 2018 and we now have a 50/50 partnership in this business venture, which operates in Uitenhage.
How did you come up with your business idea?
Robberts: My mom always complained about spending too much time on weekends waiting in queues at a carwash.
She once mentioned that it would be great to have your car washed by a service provider that came to you.
This idea stuck – the seed was sown and we have grown from there.
What do you think makes your business unique?
We take away the frustration of waiting hours in line with your car by bringing the service to your premises.
We come fully-kitted with a trailer equipped with a water tank, cleaning materials, portable vacuum cleaner and generator.
So while you sit in the comfort of your office (or your home) we clean your car to the highest standard.
We also have an Absa payment pebble available for easy card payments for customers who don’t always carry cash.
If someone wanted to take one key lesson from your business model, what would it be?
Be different and creative and think out-of-the-box.
When you work hard and are dedicated to what you are doing, you will achieve.
What are some of the biggest inhibitors your business faced before getting off the ground? Getting the financial support we needed, as well as building the customised trailer.
What are some of your biggest challenges in day-to-day business operations and your particular industry?
For our business, the weather plays the biggest role.
It isn’t always easy to work in direct sunlight and if the temperature exceeds 35°C.
On the other hand, customers aren’t really willing to have their cars washed on rainy days.
These then tend to be our only days off. What is the best advice you have received about success? A business owner, one of our dedicated customers at RKA Industrial Park in Uitenhage, once told us to never be ashamed of what we are doing because our ultimate aim is to achieve success.
Nothing in life comes for free and you will only come out on top if you work hard and believe in yourself and your abilities.
How do you measure or define success in your business?
Since starting, we made sure that we cleaned every single car until it was spotless.
This has significantly paid off for us as we now have a list of regular and happy customers.
What are some of the best practices that have made your business successful?
We don’t take any shortcuts. We work well as a team, we are in a rhythm and each one of us knows exactly what needs to get done.
We also use a high-quality car wash wax soap and ensure we are on time for each of our appointments.
What kind of advertising do you do?
Most of our business comes from word-of-mouth and referrals have really helped us grow our customer base.
We also occasionally hand out flyers and post updates to our Facebook page.
Our customised trailer also has some signage.
What are some of your highlights in running your business?
It is always satisfying to see our customers happy after we have cleaned their car. How many people do you employ?
We currently employ one other person who also matriculated in 2018.
But we are in the process of expanding, and with a second “On The Move Carwash” we will add three more people to our team.
How do you motivate staff?
If an employee works hard, we will promote them to be able to manage their own teams and equip them with a On The Move Carwash kit.
How did you acquire funding for the business?
Our parents gave us a loan to acquire all the equipment and consumables we needed to start our business.
We are currently paying them back on a monthly basis.
Once you had funding, what was the first step in launching your business?
We needed to get customers.
But we were fortunate in that we were busy from the get go.
What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned from your business journey so far?
It’s not just about washing cars. It’s about ensuring our customers are happy with us and our service.
You have a responsibility. You need to be on time and communicate well with your customers.
What have been the greatest challenges and advantages of running your business in Nelson Mandela Bay?
Challenges: It was new to the community and they often only realised how professional we were once they saw our mobile set-up and experienced our service.
Advantages: We provide a unique service in our community.
What do you think are the three key traits of successful entrepreneurs?
Persistent, hard-working and dedicated.