The funeral home business is a lucrative venture but few dare put their money in it. For those who have ventured in this business-which is more of a calling-and done it well have made a tidy sum.
In this article, WoK take a look at Benjamin Kibiku who quit his marketing job to start Montezuma Monalisa funeral home.
Benjamin Kibiku Journey.
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Mr. Benjamin Kibiku began his career as a marketer for AIG Insurance Company in Nairobi. While working at the company, Kibiku saw an opportunity to thrive where few individuals dared invest. The opportunity was to start a modern morgue with word class treatment and facilities. At first the idea was quite insane to everyone he pitched to and this was his major obstacle since even banks were not willing to finance a funeral home venture. He however did not give up on the dream and continued saving money from his insurance job hoping one that one day he would realize his dream of joining the funeral home business.
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Establishing a Funeral Transport Company.
In late 1988, Kibiku approached a co-operative society group where he took a loan of Ksh 70,000. Together with his savings, he used the amount to acquire a second-hand pick-up that had been involved in an accident. He repaired the vehicle and eventually converted it into a hearse. While speaking to Business Daily, Kibiku revealed that starting the hearse business came with a bunch of challenges and struggles.
“I lost a lot of friends during that period but that didn’t bother me much. Getting a driver and parking space was also a big challenge. No one wanted to be associated with the job. I tried the space at my rented house but the landlord rejected the idea. Finally, I talked to a garage owner who agreed,” Kibiku revealed during the exclusive interview.
He began advertising the hearse business in a number of local dailies but the business did not pick up as expected. He then came up with an idea of advertising his business at burial meetings where he would pretend to know the deceased. He would then volunteer to offer his hearse for free but ensured the driver carried fliers to market his company at the burial site. The idea was successful and they began receiving bookings of the hearse. He began making some good money which he used to buy another second-hand van and started the coffin making business.
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Establishing Montezuma Monalisa Funeral Services Limited
In 1992, he resigned from his marketing job at AIG Insurance to fully focus on the funeral business venture. He raised funds from bank loans and personal savings which he used to construct small units of the morgue with a capacity of storing few bodies. He would later buy a prime piece of land situated along Mbagathi way (now Raila Odinga way) where he established an ultra-modern funeral home. Construction of the facility commenced in 2004 and it took him around 5 years to complete it and the rest as they say is history.
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Today, Montezuma Monalisa funeral services has grown to become the most respected company in terms of offering high quality hearses, coffins and services rendered to both local and international clients. The funeral home is a one-stop facility where clients can buy coffins and has a chapel where people can hold prayers before picking up the body of the deceased. The funeral home has a capacity of holding 100 bodies at any given time charging Ksh 2,000 per day.
Montezuma Monalisa Funeral home branches.
Montezuma Monalisa Funeral home currently has three branches; Nairobi branch which is the headquarters is located along Raila Odinga way (formerly Mbagathi way) opposite Forces Memorial hospital. The other two branches include Thika Road Branch located in Kabati opposite Shell Petrol Station and Machakos branch along Makutano – Kitui road just opposite the Governor’s office.
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