Often times many people dread going to city markets, especially the very busy ones, because of the commotion and crisscrossing tiny walkways in order to get what they want. Others avoid the possibility of falling prey to pickpockets in markets downtown.
Making the best out every situation, Eric Gidudu, 26, a vendor who has operated in Nakasero Market for five years, decided to venture into delivery of goods to customers who want to be free of the hustle and bustle of shopping.
The soft spoken young man says he started business by vending Kaveera (polythene bag) but along the way he upgraded to carrying luggage for shoppers.
He reveals that he ventured into the business after losing his father who was the breadwinner of the family. By then Gidudu was in Senior Two at Masaba Secondary School in Mbale.
“I had no one to give me fees, that is how my education was cut short. My father left three acres of land where I started growing beans, maize and cassava,” he says.
“During one of the seasons I made Shs1.5m and bought a cow which has since produced three calves,” he says.
Gidudu quit farming after he was promised a job in Kampala. “In July 2012 I was brought to Kalerwe, a Kampala suburb where I worked in a samosa, chapatti, and half cake (Mandazi) making business. I was earning Shs60, 000 a month, with free housing and feeding,” he reveals. In Kalerwe, Gidudu made acquaintance with a one Elvis who was vending kaveera (polythene bag) at Nakasero Market.
In May of 2013, Gidudu changed jobs and start vending kaveera at Nakasero with Elvis as his mentor.
“When Elvis took me to Nakasero Market he also housed me for three months. I started with a small capital of Shs6,000. Currently, I keep a minimum of Shs500,000 to use in my delivery service. ”
The Kaveera business
Although not very profitable, Gidudu says the Kaweera business moves faster and requires little capital.
“I started with one bundle of 50 pieces. I was selling each kaveera at Shs300. A bundle of 50 pieces costs Shs6,000. On busy days such as Friday and Saturday I could sell up to four bundles.”
Three months later, Gidudu became independent and had to start life on his own.
“In September 2013 I was able to rent a single roomed house in Kalerwe paying rent of Shs70,000 a month. I was frugal with money, moving when transport is at its lowest. I would spend Shs1,500 on transport fare. I always left home before 6am and returned after 8pm,” he narrates.
After more than a year of vending Kaveera, Gidudu started carrying shopping bags for the shoppers at a fee. “In 2015 one of my regular customers whose bags I used to carry, asked me to buy stuff and take to where she was,” he says.
Just like the adage goes one by one makes a bundle, Gidudu has built his clientele base to more than 15 people whom he supplies with goods and they pay on delivery.
“I do deliveries to different places, some people avoid the market because of no parking slots. Clients send a list of items and inform me where to find them within town. I also do offices and home deliveries. I have constant weekly deliveries to places such as Kiruddu on Salama Road, Ntinda and Kisasi,” he says.
Whereas one would think because the market is situated in the city centre customers flock the facility, Gidudu disputes this.
He says Tuesday and Thursday are the worst days for many people operating in the market as there are few customers.
“Days like Monday, Wednesday Friday and Saturday, you work and say thanks be to God. On Fridays and Saturdays I can go home with a minimum of Shs30,000 if the day has not been productive. On Mondays, Wednesdays and Sundays I get between Shs18,000 and Shs25,000.”
Every Friday Gidudu has two deliveries to make each worth Shs400,000, one in Kurudu at 8am, and another is picked from town at 2pm.
“For the afternoon delivery, the lady sends me a list of items and money in the morning. After verifying what I have bought she gives me transport and my pay,” he says.
For Saturday, Gidudu always has three delivers which cost Shs360,000 combined.
He says he sometimes invests his money and clients pay back after delivery.
His first delivery for the day is at Conrad Plaza on Entebbe Road, the mid-morning order is taken to Ntinda at 11am with the last one is delivered at 6pm on Kampala Road.
The only standing order for Sunday worth Shs83,000 is delivered in Kisasi by 11am.
Although Gidudu makes deliveries on Monday to Kitgum House, he is yet to find out the average money he makes as the lists of items varies most times.
On Wednesday, Gidudu says he has a permanent order of Shs80,000 which he delivers to Luwum Street.
“The biggest number of clients are women. Majority are corporates, others are in shopping malls, they direct me to their shops where I deliver. In between the standing orders I have I get calls where my clients have referred me to their friends who call me for the same service.”
He mostly buys food stuff such as matooke, Irish potatoes, a variety of fruits, meat and sweet bananas.
“There is only one customer whose order includes 20kgs of rice,” he says. On Tuesday and Thursday, Gidudu vends Kaveera and carries luggage for shoppers as he has no standing.
On handling dry days, Gidudu is quick to say he is not bothered as he relatively makes more on the busy days.
Having started out with Shs6,000 capital, Gidudu is grateful for what he has been able to achieve in the five years he has been around the market.
“I have been able to buy a piece of land in Nansana where I am planning to build, my wife and child are catered for. At least I make sure they have the basic necessities of life,” he reveals.
“I help my mother by topping up on the fees of two of my younger siblings. I do not want them to end up like me. I have also been able to buy some goats that I am rearing back in the village.”
Gidudu says the job has not been without challenges, he has had clients who get their deliveries and do not pay up.
“I made a loss of Shs620,000 when some Chinese and Sudanese clients did not pay me. They either shifted houses or left the country because their numbers are off,” he painfully says.
Gidudu says he incurred the loss and paid for the deliveries. “This work is based on trust. Sometimes I do not have enough cash, I get things from the stall owners on credit and pay later. Not to taint my good relationship with stall owners I suffer the losses.”
Nakaseero Market, where local and exotic foods are sold is patronised by natives and foreigners.
However, some of the foreigners neither speak English nor the local languages.
Asked how he deals with the language barrier issues, Gidudu says foreigners such as Chinese, Koreans, or Japanese come with photos of what they want saved on the phone.
“That is how we know what they want and help them out. When it comes to the price still the figure is typed into the phone,” he reveals.
GIDUDU’S FUTURE PLAN
General merchandise business. Gidudu does not see himself doing the same job for long. He is looking up to his mentor Elvis who now sells Irish potatoes on wholesale scale.
“I admire Elvis and I want to be like him, I am not going into Irish potatoes business but I want to make a wholesale shop dealing in general merchandise, mostly food stuffs,” he says.
Revisiting his humble beginning, Gidudu says with hard work no amount of money is too little to start a business and no job is bad.
“My appeal to the fellow youth, is they should stop despising jobs. There is no bad job as long as it gives you an income. All it takes is patience, being trustworthy and faithful in whatever you are doing, and not expecting to make a windfall in a day.”