Monday March 31 2014

Quantity surveyor who pockets Shs20 million every month


William Matovu’s approach to business is not only humbling but also exciting.
In about five years from now, he believes Imat surveyors, where he is a director, will be at the top of providing surveying services.
Already he is on the right footing, given the strings of his clientele and the income he taps. This implies that his dream to be the best among his peers is an ambition that is not far-fetched.


That experience, which he is determined to achieve, could be realised by how fast the land registry familiarise itself with the computer system installed to get rid of fraud and other related messes in title deeds.

Also, not all clients keep their word despite entering agreements or initial plans. Some of them do not easily clear their outstanding balances, making it difficult for a surveyor to run operations as he would have loved.

Coupled with expensive surveying tools and exorbitant interest rates on loans, entrepreneurship or business can only be negotiated by people like Matovu whose will for success is resolute despite the risks that come with it.

Future plans:
We intend to expand our human resource by 10 more professional surveyors in the next three to five years. And in 10 years, we shall have a team comprising of engineers, architects, and valuers. All this is in search of what Mr Matovu refers to as a complete experience, a one stop-centre of sort.

Matovu’s qualifications enabled him start:
Matovu incorporated his firm called Imat Surveyors in 2007. Although he was a university student at Makerere University then, it speaks volumes about his vision and entrepreneurial traits.

After completing his degree in Surveying, he opted for employment to get experience, exposure and raise initial capital that would later see him establish Imat surveyors.

“I worked as the staff surveyor for KCC (now KCCA) and benefitted a lot from the tutelage of George Waseli—who was my supervisor then. He is one of the very few in the business whose mentorship and experience you can be proud of.”

He continued: “By 2009, I had gone solo and also became a registered member of Uganda Surveyors but I continued consulting Mr Wasali.”
After being admitted into the surveyors fraternity, Matovu could practise his trade.

Most of his initial capital came from his personal savings which was minimally augmented by other sources.

When he ventured into business, it was a risk for he did not know how it would turn out.
All he had was faith, creativity and hard work. It did not take long before his work started paying off.

For example, he gets paid a minimum of Shs500,000 whenever he uses his professional skills to determine the extent of encroachment on a piece of land. Technically, this exercise is known as boundary opening. And depending on the size of the field the price could rise.

When surveying sub-divisions where one buys a piece instead of the entire field, he walks away with Shs1.8 million.
For topography survey— an exercise preferred by the developers— will see him part with at least Shs1 million.

The amount of money he rakes in a week ranges, depending on the number of the customers. In a good week he fetches between Shs5 million and Shs10 million.

His first clientele, whom he has since established a relationship with to date, is the proprietor of Movit Products whom he described as very resourceful. He processed him land title deeds which he submitted to the land board in 2007.

The maker of the herbal jelly then introduced him to a series of his friends and confidants who in turn gave Matovu additional business deals, prompting him to establish a surveying firm.

His mentor, Mr Wasali, introduced him to so many other property owners, including Mr Hamis Kiggundu and Lady Sarah Kizito who later introduced him to their circles of friends/property owners.

Why he ventured into business
Like a typical entrepreneur, he saw an opportunity that many don’t often s see and those who see it do nothing about it.
“I carried out a research and found that most survey firms collapse because they lack organisational structure,” Matovu told Prosper in an interview recently.

He continued: “Most survey firms do not have permanent staff, something I have tried to avoid.”
Currently, he has nearly 10 employees with five of them holding degrees in surveying and others are supporting staff while the rest are called upon when work accumulates, demanding an extra pair of hands.

Matovu’s achievements
A fully computerised land registry is a big move in the right direction.
However, his admission among the industry peers and establishing Imat surveyor remains one such a fulfillment that will take him ages to forget.
He is now looking at making at least Shs50 million monthly after setting the ground.

“We understand the clients much better than competition,” said Mr Matovu.
He continued: “We give tailor made solutions to our customers, we help them manage their property properly, we have a proper data base for all our customers and we are very loyal. These are things that you don’t develop overnight—and our customers appreciate that.”

PSFU and other voices:
The private sector foundation, the apex body of the private sector is full of praise for Mr Matovu. “This is the way to go—creating employment for yourself and others,” the PSFU executive director, Gideon Badagawa, said in an interview.

The executive director of Enterprise Uganda, Mr Charles Ocici, said the future of the country and the economy depends on the hands and innovation of entrepreneurs like Mr Matovu .

Other responsibilities
Mr Matovu is a family man. He is also a member of an entrepreneurship and a commercial farmer. Together with a group of friends they lend money to those in need.

To Start
What it takes to start such a business.

The highly professional and specialised business dictates that not anybody can venture into it as there are legal and professional requirements that must be fulfilled. Those requirements can be achieved by those who are interested because there are opportunities to prosper.

Potential of land surveying.

With the economy growing the fortunes in surveying—all kind of surveying can only get better. In addition to the growth of real estate/construction industry, the demand for surveyors and related services can only expand.