By Prudence Minayo
The car dealership business in Kenya is a male dominated field with just a handful of women venturing into it. Wambui Gachoki is one such woman who is giving her male counterparts a run for their money and paving the way for her gender. She is the founder of Motor Shop Company Limited. The accomplished Businesswoman started selling cars even without having a single one. Today, her business has withstood the effects of the pandemic and she was one of the women whose success story was featured by DaDa.
Here is the story of Wambui Gachoki as told by WoK.
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Career and Business
Ms. Gachoki started as a saleswoman selling cars at a yard where she earned a commission for every conversion she made. She loved interacting with customers and learnt a lot about cars. At the time, she never imagined she would one day own a car dealership. However, she knew she wanted the interaction and the friendships with customers to continue. The entrepreneur also wanted to give clients what they needed and not what they wanted.
After eight years as a saleswoman, she quit to go out on her own. She did not have the money to start a yard hence she worked like a broker. She would partner with reputable car dealers and connect clients to cars.
“I actually never chose this path in life, it chose me. I started working as a sales executive eight years ago and I was that person people thought would amount to nothing because I wasn’t even that serious.
However, I soon realised that I loved interacting with customers and helping them make the right choices when purchasing a car. This is how I built my foundation“, She told the Standard.
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The first time she marketed her services she paid Sh8000. Steadily, she grew from just taking clients to buy cars and started her own dealership. The dealership has grown into a recognized car shop with operations being carried out at their location in Runda.
Starting the business
Ms Gachoki started her business with zero capital. She used to source cars from known dealerships as she told the Standard:
“Honestly, I started with zero. I didn’t have the money but I had the clients to get me from point A to B. What I used to do was to source cars from known dealers.
I would get a client then walk the client into another dealership because I didn’t have a location. Then I started investing in marketing. The first form of advertisement I ever paid was Sh8,000 and I just grew from there“, Wambui Gachoki said.
Advice to Entrepreneurs
Those who wish to venture into the business have to first identify their customers and the type of cars they want to sell, then source for the cars. For those wishing to be brokers, it is important to partner with professional and reputable dealerships. For those who wish to have a yard, capital and outsourcing the right location is important. If the target is high end clients, then the location needs to match and vice versa. Due to the competitiveness of the market, customer relations is also a very important factor. Another very important tip she gave to aspiring car dealers is that they must know cars. They cannot sell what they have no knowledge about.
The businesswoman also advises those who wish to venture in any form of business to just do it. They should not wait until another person does what they wanted to do for them to start wishing they should have started sooner.
One of the major challenges she has faced is inflation. The prices of cars have gone up forcing them to also sell the car for a huge amount. She has described that at times it is hard to explain to customers why their prices are high and cannot be reduced.