Wednesday January 8 2014

I started with Shs2m, now my house is almost done - Bugingo

The front of comedian Hannington Bugingo’s

The front of comedian Hannington Bugingo’s house.  

My name is Hannington Bugingo. I am a comedian, businessman, a father and husband. I conceived the idea to start building about five years ago but I knew I had to start somewhere.
I began with a plan to buy land in 2005. The land I had my eye on was in Nalumunye, an estate Jomayi had opened at the time. A plot of land was Shs6.5m. I did not have that money. But I was determined to start making deposits that year. So here is how I went about it.

Buying the land
I had just graduated from university in April that year and was with Theatre Factory. We were just starting out.
Our pay in the group was not standard. Sometimes we would get only Shs10,000 after the show. The pay depended on the turn up of people, but we had projects we would get, thanks to our group director Phillip Luswata.
These were projects with Unicef where we trained peer educators throughout the country. We earned between Shs500,000 and Shs600,000 a week. After removing the amount I would need for my upkeep, I would save the rest.
I was saving for land but was also saving to buy a car. However, when I talked to a friend about this he told me that if I bought a car, servicing it would be expensive since I was not earning a lot. He was also going to buy a plot of land in Nalumunye.

Making headway
I had been putting all the savings on my bank account and when I accumulated Shs2m I took it to the Jomayi Property Consultants office in Nabugabo at the time. This was the minimal deposit Jomayi had asked for. I had Shs4.5m to go and wondered where I would get it from.
Slowly our names got familiar with people in wider circles and more gigs started coming our way. At every such performance I would earn between Shs200, 000 and Shs300, 000.
I made a promise to myself to make more savings from all these earnings. I would pay the money to Jomayi and they would give me receipts.
I have 10 or 12 receipts from the instalments I paid before I completed the full amount. It took me about a year to complete the Shs6.5m.

Now that I had the land, I relaxed a little. At that time, we were coming up as comedians and more people had started coming to watch us perform. Mirinda started sponsoring us and we started getting some money.
My conviction in buying land had been strengthened in December 2005 when my girlfriend became pregnant. I needed to have some security for the future. Now that I had it, I felt secure enough to buy a car. At the end of 2007 I bought a car, an old corsa- fourth-hand

Planning for the house
In February 2008, I got a job with Scanad Advertising. At the time, I was earning Shs1.5m as salary. This was good money so I started saving for the materials to start constructing my house. I would save between Shs800,000 and Shs1m.
After a year, I had saved Shs15m, so I got a salary loan. I got a total of about Shs35m. I did not want to start building, reach half way and stop and wait so I looked for an architect who drew a plan for me.
I then looked for quantity surveyors to give me the right estimates of building the house up to the roof. Then I started looking for a builder and my friend Innocent Nahabwe, the proprietor of Club Amnesia, put me in touch with a builder he had used called Martin.

We started the construction and built the house till the top and even roofed at house. The shell cost Shs35m.
With the first phase down, I started saving again.
The house was a shell and inside I was stepping on soil so I had to look for money to do the floor.

After about two years, Metropolitan Republic, an advertising agency, gave me a job and my salary increased to a net of Shs4m. this was good money and I was also doing some commercially rewarding side jobs.
I was doing some adverts and I earned Shs15m for this. I deposited all of it into construction. I constructed in phases and I had a budget for each phase.
I had a book where I wrote how much I was spending on each phase and the materials and I always supervised the work myself so no one could cheat me.
Other work deals were coming in and I increased my savings to Shs2m per month. After two years at Metro I started KIB Advertising, with my \partners.
Sometimes I would get a net salary of Shs8m to Shs10m a month but I continued living within my means.

The phases
I needed doors on the house shell and wanted good ones. That is how I ended up at a Chinese company Yung & Yen in Kawempe, located before the police post. They make very good doors. These cost me Shs15m. They also make some good windows and these cost me Shs6m.

Soon, I was ready to start plastering. I saved more for this phase because this cost me Shs12m. Slating and working on the compound required another Shs20m.
I wanted to enter the house when it was completed but I was not sure if I would manage. The tiles only cost about Shs10m. Even then, the house was not getting completed.
With time, the house was coming along but it was in the open and I needed a fence and particularly wanted to fence with 9X9 bricks. I spent about Shs15m on this.

Most of the stuff was in place and it was time to get started with the painting, which was also expensive. The painter charged Shs1.8m for his labour while the paint and other materials costShs5.2m.

I also put pavers which cost about Shs5m. I used to go with all these people –the painters, builders, to make the payments to avoid being cheated.
At the time I was still renting and I was spending Shs340, 000 every month minus the electricity bill. My house just failed to get completed. The wiring was so expensive; I had to buy good quality wires and they cost me Shs5.5m. The lights were expensive.

At one point, I found an electricity bill of more than Shs1m at the house I was renting and could not believe it because I was diligently paying my landlady her rent plus money for the bills.
I got crazy that evening. I entered my house, told my wife we were packing to go to our house and she was happy. I actually entered the house without some chandeliers in the siting room.

Work in progress
And here I am today. All the construction was in a space of three years, until this year, and I am not done yet.
I have to finish a few more things in the compound. I plan to use paint for the finishing on the walls of the house, just like the one that was used at Serena Kampala Hotel.
I was told I need about 40 jerry cans and that each costs Shs180, 000. There are certain stones I need to fix in the compound and I have not put all of that.

Lessons learned
But along the way I have learnt a lot. It is important to save, be patient and research and be able to consult different people, get quotations from different builders and go with the best.
It is also good to supervise a lot, be present at the site and be more vigilant. Otherwise you will get fed up of building because the cheats are there and they are smart too.
I will organise a house warming for all my friends early this year.

learning points
Hannington Bugingo shares what he has learnt while constructing his house, with tips on how you can follow his example:
Plan then save. Work with a quantity surveyor who will give you estimates. The beauty of working with figures provided by a quantity surveyor is that it helps you when you are saving because you know the items you are saving for.
This way I was able to get enough money to complete a particular phase. The time I spent saving depended on how much was needed.
Pay attention to prices quoted. I wrote down how much I spent on each material, which means I was able to follow up on them.
Prepare for cheats. Besides the cost the construction was also emotionally draining. There are cheats everywhere.
The person who was supposed to make the gate really stressed me.
He said it would be ready in two weeks’ time but it was not ready even after a month. He kept telling me of no power but when I went to the workshop I would find him busy welding.
When he eventually brought it he had not fixed some things at the top. I later reported him to the police and then let it go.