Engineering student's vacuum-cleaning service a winner

Thabang's business has been well received by students
Thabang's business has been well received by students
Image: Supplied

An electrical engineering student from Wits University has successfully started a booming vacuum-cleaning service for students living in an outside accommodation in Braamfontein.

Thabang Nkanyane, 21, said after his mother lost her job in 2018 as a manager for a parking lot company, he was fearful that his family would suffer economically. This was a wake-up call for the Soweto-born entrepreneur.

“When she lost her job I was worried because I had grown up with her having stable employment. I really went through a rollercoster of emotions,” he said.

Nkanyane said he decided to buy a vacuum cleaner to hire it out after realising that many students were complaining about difficulty in cleaning the carpets in their rooms.

“Last year I decided to start a side hustle to make extra money. Although I have a bursary and I get a stipend, I wanted to make sure that I could cover all my costs and I didn’t want to depend on only my bursary,” he said.

The young businessman said he started off by hiring out his vacuum cleaner only to students in the building he was residing in.

“At first, business was slow and then immediately after I changed my marketing strategy money started coming in. I think I made R300 in the first day because people wanted me to come and vacuum immediately,” he said.

Nkanyane said he started off charging R10 for the vacuum, but now charges R20 for a single room, R25 for a sharing room and R30 for a room with three students. If a student wants him to vacuum the room, he adds R5 to the base fee. After saving money, he later bought a high powered vacuum that sprays water and gets rid of stains

“I now make about R150 a day during the week and up to R500 during the weekends,” he said.

He said because he has only been living off of the money he makes from the business, he has saved R20,000 from his stipend. Nkanyane said his mother is currently living off her retrenchment package and wants him to focus on building his wealth before sharing it with his family.

“My plan is that I will invest all the money I’ve saved in companies on the JSE,” said Nkanyane.

The young student said he plans to approach private accommodation companies to make his small business an official partner.

“To be honest, I want a company. If I work hard to get enough equipment and hire people from my community, I’ll be happy. I’ve already calculated and I think I could make up to half a million a year,” he said.

“I don’t see myself working for someone after my mom lost her job.”

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