Beginning a Taxi Enterprise in Uganda? There Is Extra Than Meets the Eye

A typical investor within the taxi enterprise in Uganda goes to come across two key points even earlier than they begin making their first shilling. I clarify these points beneath.

Once I first purchased a used taxi from my grandparents, I took it for restore to a mechanic within the Wandegeya suburb. He “over hauled” it and instructed me it was in excellent situation. One week later, the differential had developed just a few issues. Subsequent the crank shaft had just a few points. I ultimately over got here these points however then got here the witchcraft story.

A typical Ugandan reader might be shocked that I have never raised the problem of enterprise and witchcraft earlier than. It appears many Ugandans firmly imagine that going to the witch physician and giving your final white goat(and with no spot of black) goes to show your corporation into an in a single day success even in the event you can not differentiate(no pun supposed) between money as revenue(which you should utilize as dividends) and money from gross sales(which you shouldn’t use till all bills are settled).

So the witchcraft story is that this; I employed my cousin John [not real name for obvious reasons] to work because the taxi’s first conductor. He in line with the household hearsay mill “bewitched” the taxi as a result of:

*Day 1. The suspension broke.

*Day three: The crank shaft developed additional issues.

*Day 5. The differential was shaking once more.

*Day 7: The taxi knocked somebody crossing the highway at Ndeeba.

Within the 1 month that the taxi was in enterprise, I made solely Shs 7,000! Oh, I used that to bail out the driving force on the police station. I’m not one to think about the validity of the witchcraft story however that brings me to the taxi enterprise and components to think about if you’re to put money into it.

First the CONS (after all)

1. Mechanics with out ethics

There’s a risk that once I took the taxi for refurbishment, the mechanic to whom I entrusted the restore supplied me with a pro-forma bill for elements he did not set up, obtained them second hand or third hand and even that he did not perform all the required repairs. How might I confirm that with no data of the intricacies of a automobile, not to mention a second hand taxi from Bungokho?

You’ll be able to after all get spherical this difficulty by as a substitute taking your Toyota Hiace (the predominant mannequin used for taxi enterprise in Uganda) to Toyota Uganda’s restore workshop. Do not anticipate after all to pay Shs. 7,000 for restore. They use computerised diagnostics and their mechanics use a logging system to invoice you by the hour. Oh and naturally they use new and real elements so overlook that used crank shaft your mechanic Kakooza will discover you from Kisekka market. As per the Toyota Uganda web site, you possibly can anticipate to begin paying for servicing for a Toyota Hiace Mannequin from Shs. 183,900.

2. Issue of income verification

Until you might be driving the taxi your self or set up cameras similar to the London Buses or Nationwide Specific buses within the UK, it’s just about unattainable to establish passenger numbers on any given route at any given time. I do know many a enterprise proprietor will circumvent the problem by not paying the driving force/conductor wages an as a substitute demanding a set every day/weekly sum say 6 days per week with Sunday being the “driver’s day”. The driving force’s day being the day he would not pay you as all income will go to wards incomes their maintain. This may increasingly work to an extent till the driving force/conductor tells you:

“Mukama wange, Stroll to work etuletedde bizibu” [My Lord, we were unable to make sufficient money today owing to the “Walk to work” demonstrations].

He then proceeds at hand you half the agreed payment. How do you confirm that driver’s story?

Oh there shall be quite a few of these tales. Subsequent time it is going to be that Uganda Taxi Operators and Drivers Affiliation (UTODA) is fleecing them and so they have fought again, then one other day; Site visitors Police “search and cease” operations have resulted in large delays adopted the subsequent day by a strike by drivers. In fact you as their “Lord” can’t be inhumane and proceed to demand the mounted sum are you able to?

Like I’ve hinted, if you’re critically contemplating investing on this sector, maybe you could find a provider for on board cameras. Nevertheless for simplicity and line with the norm in Uganda, I’ll subsequently suggest that the potential investor persist with the frequent observe of agreeing with the driving force a set “contractor” price for a given route. I’d nonetheless suggest that this price be verified via corroborating with totally different drivers of the route the taxi will ply.

three. Beginning capital and price of financing

Owing to a car being thought-about to be a key asset in Uganda,it’s fairly frequent for this funding to be financed by a business financial institution mortgage or lease financing from firms reminiscent of DFCU Leasing Restricted. As well as many automobile sellers are glad to supply mortgage financing. You will get an honest used taxi (full with stripes and stuck seats) for about Shs 17m going by my analysis data from

Now the important thing difficulty in respect of value of financing. Following the current improve(November 2011) by Financial institution of Uganda of the Financial institution Price to 29%, I can anticipate that the business banks will improve their lending charges to a mean of 31%. The Financial institution price is the speed at which business banks can borrow from the Central Financial institution as a lender of final resort. The numerous value of financing will as we will see in a while may have a major influence on anticipated return on capital.

four. Lengthy interval over which to grasp profitability and to get well your funding

I now set out my evaluation of the estimated profitability for this enterprise.

I’ve estimated that the investor is buying a taxi to ply any certainly one of Kampala and its suburb routes. I’m utilizing the commonest mannequin which is the “contractor mannequin”. The mannequin being that the driving force offers the investor with a set agreed every day sum for 5- 6 days per week with the seventh day for the driving force/conductor to earn their maintain.

On this mannequin, the driving force/conductor subsequently incur all everyday bills that’s; gas, every day and month-to-month UTODA charges, loading charges,KCC charges, stage charges et al. The proprietor will nonetheless incur prices of repairs and upkeep in addition to insurance coverage prices.

Abstract of revenue place:

Income monthly: Shs 750,000 (estimated at Shs 30,000 per day for 25 days)

Repairs and upkeep monthly: 183, 900 (estimated from Toyota Uganda workshop data)

Financing prices: 439,167. (estimated on rate of interest of 31% on a 17m automobile. The speed is estimated on Nov 2011 Financial institution of Uganda Financial institution price plus a 2% margin)

Insurance coverage(third occasion): four,167

Month-to-month internet revenue: 122,767

Annual revenue(A): 1,473,200

Capital value(1994 Toyota Hiace, used)(B): 17,000,000

Return on capital(B/A): 11.54 years!

As may be seen from the above evaluation, overlook your cash on this sector. You’ll be able to after all now at this stage in the event you like go go to the witch physician who will maybe use his spells in order that prospects desire your taxi to all others and he will even magically my evaluation above to offer a return in maybe 1 month. [Please note that the last statement is made in jest and I wouldn’t expect a serious investor to consider witchcraft for business success].

5. Saturation of the market and associated strikes.

There are too many taxis in Kampala or nearly wherever else in Uganda. It appears each the place you flip there’s a taxi and so I do not even want to enter the small print of this however it’s definitely value noting the development for this sector. As there are too many taxis in Uganda, judging by a number of stories from UTODA, ultimately the politics surrounding this business shall be performed out after which the a number of authorities initiatives to attempt to de-congest the brand new and outdated taxi parks in down city Kampala; and as a substitute transfer taxis to out of city satellite tv for pc taxi parks like Ndeeba will turn into a actuality. Alternatively we might lastly see a transfer to commuter buses as a substitute of taxis as promised by former Mayor Nasser “Seya” Sebagala.

And Now the PROS

1. Honest return on capital, assuming no financing.

The principle benefit for this sector subsequently is for the investor who’s going to take a position with out incurring the price of borrowing. I set out beneath the projected return on capital with out the price of financing:

Income monthly: Shs 750,000 (estimated at Shs 30,000 per day for 25 days)

Month-to-month Repairs and upkeep: Shs 183, 900 (estimated from Toyota Uganda workshop data)

Insurance coverage(third occasion): four,167

Month-to-month internet revenue: 561,933

Annual revenue: 6,743,200

Capital value(1994 Toyota Hiace, used): 17,000,000

Return on capital: 2.52 years

As may be seen from above, the return on capital with out value of financing reduces to a 2.52 years from the onerous 11 years within the first evaluation.

2. Safety for additional financing

Assuming you haven’t borrowed to buy the taxi then an additional benefit is that in Uganda, autos are most well-liked belongings to make use of as collateral for borrowing owing to the fluidity of the used automobile market.

three. Different one off makes use of

The benefit of the taxi after all is that you should utilize it for one off makes use of like non-public charters or for instance for personal makes use of of benefit to the investor for instance; taking the youngsters to highschool, for funerals or; like me in Uganda who in 2005 mustered the braveness to take the taxi on a check drive within the evening by going to go to that “Mzungu” woman I needed to impress.

I believe John’s witchcraft was already at work as a result of once I returned dwelling from visiting the woman, I crashed into the neighbour’s wall as I attempted to reverse the taxi in order to make the tight flip into the house gate. I insist it was the witchcraft at work and naturally not the truth that I had no expertise by any means in driving a protracted car!


First the numbers.

On the premise of my evaluation:

*Capital funding(A): Shs 17,000,000

*Income per yr: 9,000,000

*Revenue per yr (income excluding all bills and curiosity) (B) is Shs 1,473,200

*Return on capital(years to get capital again) (A/B) is 11.54 years.

*In case you nonetheless do not incur the price of financing then this return interval is estimated at 2.54 years.

Now the fundamentals you should get proper earlier than investing:

*Analysis on a good contractor price. As the popular mannequin in Uganda is to rent out your taxi to the driving force/conductor, it’s value spending time talking to numerous drivers and even perhaps UTODA to ascertain a good value to your route and guaranteeing you get the agreed price with none “mukama wange” tales.

*Think about cheaper financing choices. Too typically we ignore the benefit of pooling funds say from members of the family and buddies. This will present fairness financing(curiosity free credit score) somewhat than the crippling business financial institution loans.

*An honest and reliable mechanic is a should. Better of luck!


By precept I’m cautious of enterprise fashions the place you might be unable to grasp or confirm the intricacies of the income recognition and may hardly confirm the prices to ascertain efficiencies and so forth that foundation, for me this is able to be a “no-no” sector.

It nonetheless has the important thing benefit of simplicity of income stream and maybe that’s the reason this has resulted within the over funding on this sector together with by [financially] illiterate folks.

If you’re subsequently drawn to the simplicity of one of these funding plus the benefit that the car is safety for additional borrowing then by all means put money into it after which all you need to guarantee is that you don’t hear tales from Kakooza of the “differential is shaking.”

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