Lockdown protocols suck in vacuum cleaning business
A wits engineering student who successfully pulled his family out of poverty with his ingenious vacuum cleaning business has taken a huge hit to his booming business because of Covid-19 protocols.
Thabang Nkanyane, 22, who vacuums student accommodations in Braamfontein, Johannesburg, has now gone from having 10 customers a day to only four a week because he can no longer enter many of the premises.
He told Sowetan that last year he was making up to R150 a day and R500 on weekends, but now he is lucky to make even R40 a day.
“The business has been slow since I can’t go inside the buildings because no visitors are allowed in. Many students are complaining to me that there is no cleaning services,” he said.
What makes matters worse is that Nkanyane had to leave his residence in Soweto where his business is based to go to Braamfontein daily.
“When the lockdown hit people went home, so it’s only now that some students have come back to the area,” he said.
Although some students are back, many of the residences around the area are not allowing any visitors.
“What I do now is rent out my vacuums but it’s difficult because security won't even let me wait at the door to drop them off. So I have to meet my customers on the street and they have to carry the vacuum cleaners inside,” he said.
But some customers are not interested in carrying the vacuum and clean their carpets themselves.
Nkanyane said although business is bad his family survives on his mother's UIF payouts, while his sister and uncle also make sure they are taken care of.
He now rents out his vacuums to car washes in Soweto and rents out four fridges that he bought with the money he had saved.
“I want to have 10 fridges by January so I can rent them out," he said.