Laundry Service and Mobile Car Wash
An innovative business model
In October 2017 Zakes Miye attended a five day Socionext acceleration workshop in Umlazi. Umlazi is a large pre-urban township located outside Durban, KwaZulu-Natal.
Umlazi is known for its energy and vibrant entertainment scene. As a South African township though, there are very limited employment opportunities, especially for young people.
Even before the workshop Zakes knew that he wanted to be an entrepreneur. With limited resources he has started two distinct businesses which he both keeps running. Immediately after the workshop Zakes saw an opportunity to offer a laundromat service to his local community. This first business he started has come under pressure from competition in his immediate area. Zakes, however, saw an opportunity to branch out into a new field: a mobile car wash.
The success of Zakes’ car wash is in its innovative business model. He does not collect cash on delivery of his service, but he enters into longer term contracts with his clients. He arranges to meet them at their office park or another predetermined location once a week. The customer enters into a month-by-month contract and at the end of each month pays for the 4 washes.
For his clients this model provides flexibility and it means they don’t need to have cash on hand for each car wash. For Zakes, it gives him greater predictability of his cash flow and ensures he can ‘lock in’ his customers and build longer term relationships. This in turn improves the sustainability of his enterprise.
So what is Zakes' message to aspiring entrepreneurs? "Use what resources you have access to. Don’t think that you can only start by having access to large sums of money. Even with nothing in your pocket, you can still start and budget for what you need once your business starts moving."
Socionext provides a highly interactive, hands-on training in social innovation and entrepreneurship skills. Our program was developed over four years at the University of Amsterdam and at the Copenhagen Business School.