Brocker.Org: Starting a Taxi Business in Uganda? There Is More Than Meets the Eye


A common investor in the taxi company in Uganda is going to come upon two crucial problems even right before they begin earning their first shilling. I reveal these problems down below.

When I first acquired a utilized taxi from my grandparents, I took it for repair to a mechanic in the Wandegeya suburb. He “over hauled” it and advised me it was in ideal situation. A person 7 days afterwards, the differential experienced made a couple of troubles. Upcoming the crank shaft experienced a couple of problems. I eventually over came these problems but then came the witchcraft story.

A common Ugandan reader is probably shocked that I haven’t lifted the issue of company and witchcraft right before. It looks numerous Ugandans firmly believe that that going to the witch medical doctor and giving your past white goat(and with no spot of black) is going to transform your company into an overnight accomplishment even if you simply cannot differentiate(no pun intended) among cash as profit(which you can use as dividends) and cash from revenue(which you need to not use right up until all expenditures are settled).

So the witchcraft story is this I employed my cousin John [not true identify for evident good reasons] to do the job as the taxi’s first conductor. He according to the family rumour mill “bewitched” the taxi because:

*Day 1. The suspension broke.

*Day 3: The crank shaft made additional troubles.

*Day 5. The differential was shaking once again.

*Day seven: The taxi knocked anyone crossing the street at Ndeeba.

In the 1 month that the taxi was in company, I produced only Shs seven,000! Oh, I utilized that to bail out the driver at the police station. I am not one particular to look at the validity of the witchcraft story but that brings me to the taxi company and factors to look at if you are to spend in it.

First the Negatives (of class)

1. Mechanics without the need of ethics

There is a possibility that when I took the taxi for refurbishment, the mechanic to whom I entrusted the repair provided me with a pro-forma bill for areas he did not set up, obtained them 2nd hand or 3rd hand or even that he did not have out all the important repairs. How could I verify that with no know-how of the intricacies of a motor vehicle, permit on your own a 2nd hand taxi from Bungokho?

You can of class get round this issue by as a substitute taking your Toyota Hiace (the predominant product utilized for taxi company in Uganda) to Toyota Uganda’s repair workshop. Will not assume of class to shell out Shs. seven,000 for repair. They use computerised diagnostics and their mechanics use a logging program to invoice you by the hour. Oh and of class they use new and legitimate areas so fail to remember that utilized crank shaft your mechanic Kakooza will discover you from Kisekka industry. As for each the Toyota Uganda site, you can assume to begin shelling out for servicing for a Toyota Hiace Design from Shs. 183,900.

two. Issues of earnings verification

Except you are driving the taxi oneself or set up cameras just like the London Buses or Nationwide Specific buses in the United kingdom, it is practically unachievable to ascertain passenger quantities on any presented route at any presented time. I know numerous a company owner will circumvent the issue by not shelling out the driver/conductor wages an as a substitute demanding a fixed day-to-day/weekly sum say 6 times a 7 days with Sunday getting the “driver’s working day”. The driver’s working day getting the working day he isn’t going to shell out you as all earnings will go to wards earning their preserve. This could do the job to an extent right up until the driver/conductor tells you:

“Mukama wange, Wander to do the job etuletedde bizibu” [My Lord, we had been not able to make ample money these days owing to the “Wander to do the job” demonstrations].

He then proceeds to hand you fifty percent the agreed rate. How do you verify that driver’s story?

Oh there will be a lot of of all those tales. Upcoming time it will be that Uganda Taxi Operators and Drivers Affiliation (UTODA) is fleecing them and they have fought back again, then another working day Website traffic Police “look for and halt” operations have resulted in enormous delays followed the subsequent working day by a strike by motorists. Of class you as their “Lord” simply cannot be inhumane and keep on to need the fixed sum can you?

Like I have hinted, if you are very seriously contemplating investing in this sector, perhaps you can discover a supplier for on board cameras. On the other hand for simplicity and line with the norm in Uganda, I will consequently suggest that the likely investor adhere to the popular practice of agreeing with the driver a fixed “contractor” level for a presented route. I would however recommend that this level be confirmed by means of corroborating with unique motorists of the route the taxi will ply.

3. Commencing cash and price of financing

Owing to a motor vehicle getting thought of to be a crucial asset in Uganda,it is really popular for this expenditure to be financed by a commercial lender financial loan or lease financing from businesses these types of as DFCU Leasing Limited. In addition numerous motor vehicle dealers are pleased to supply financial loan financing. You can get a first rate utilized taxi (finish with stripes and fixed seats) for about Shs 17m going by my analysis information and facts from

Now the crucial issue in regard of price of financing. Pursuing the current boost(November 2011) by Lender of Uganda of the Lender Fee to 29%, I can assume that the commercial financial institutions will boost their lending charges to an normal of 31%. The Lender level is the level at which commercial financial institutions can borrow from the Central Lender as a loan provider of past resort. The important price of financing will as we shall see afterwards on will have a important effects on anticipated return on cash.

four. Extensive time period over which to realise profitability and to recover your expenditure

I now established out my investigation of the approximated profitability for this company.

I have approximated that the investor is obtaining a taxi to ply any one particular of Kampala and its suburb routes. I am utilizing the most popular product which is the “contractor product”. The product getting that the driver offers the investor with a fixed agreed day-to-day sum for 5- 6 times a 7 days with the seventh working day for the driver/conductor to make their preserve.

In this product, the driver/conductor consequently incur all working day to working day expenditures that is gas, day-to-day and month-to-month UTODA expenses, loading expenses,KCC expenses, phase expenses et al. The owner will however incur prices of repairs and upkeep as well as insurance prices.

Summary of profit placement:

Income for each month: Shs 750,000 (approximated at Shs 30,000 for each working day for twenty five times)

Repairs and upkeep for each month: 183, 900 (approximated from Toyota Uganda workshop information and facts)

Funding prices: 439,167. (approximated on fascination level of 31% on a 17m motor vehicle. The level is approximated on Nov 2011 Lender of Uganda Lender level as well as a two% margin)

Insurance(3rd occasion): four,167

Regular monthly internet profit: 122,767

Yearly profit(A): 1,473,two hundred

Money price(1994 Toyota Hiace, utilized)(B): 17,000,000

Return on cash(B/A): eleven.54 years!

As can be seen from the previously mentioned investigation, fail to remember your money in this sector. You can of class now at this phase if you like go pay a visit to the witch medical doctor who will perhaps use his spells so that customers desire your taxi to all other folks and he will also magically my investigation previously mentioned to give a return in perhaps 1 month. [You should notice that the past assertion is produced in jest and I wouldn’t assume a major investor to look at witchcraft for company accomplishment].

5. Saturation of the industry and connected moves.

There are way too numerous taxis in Kampala or virtually wherever else in Uganda. It looks just about every in which you transform there is a taxi and so I really don’t even need to go into the details of this but it is certainly well worth noting the trend for this sector. As there are way too numerous taxis in Uganda, judging by various stories from UTODA, eventually the politics encompassing this field will be played out and then the various governing administration initiatives to check out to de-congest the new and previous taxi parks in down city Kampala and as a substitute move taxis to out of city satellite taxi parks like Ndeeba will turn out to be a fact. Alternatively we could eventually see a move to commuter buses as a substitute of taxis as promised by former Mayor Nasser “Seya” Sebagala.

And Now the Execs

1. Honest return on cash, assuming no financing.

The principal advantage for this sector consequently is for the investor who is going to spend without the need of incurring the price of borrowing. I established out down below the projected return on cash without the need of the price of financing:

Income for each month: Shs 750,000 (approximated at Shs 30,000 for each working day for twenty five times)

Regular monthly Repairs and upkeep: Shs 183, 900 (approximated from Toyota Uganda workshop information and facts)

Insurance(3rd occasion): four,167

Regular monthly internet profit: 561,933

Yearly profit: 6,743,two hundred

Money price(1994 Toyota Hiace, utilized): 17,000,000

Return on cash: two.fifty two years

As can be seen from previously mentioned, the return on cash without the need of price of financing lessens to a two.fifty two years from the onerous eleven years in the first investigation.

two. Safety for additional financing

Assuming you have not borrowed to buy the taxi then a additional advantage is that in Uganda, automobiles are favored assets to use as collateral for borrowing owing to the fluidity of the utilized motor vehicle industry.

3. Alternative one particular off employs

The advantage of the taxi of class is that you can use it for one particular off employs like private charters or for illustration for private employs of advantage to the investor for illustration taking the small children to school, for funerals or like me in Uganda who in 2005 mustered the courage to get the taxi on a take a look at travel in the night time by going to pay a visit to that “Mzungu” girl I wished to impress.

I think John’s witchcraft was by now at do the job because when I returned home from browsing the girl, I crashed into the neighbour’s wall as I tried out to reverse the taxi so as to make the limited transform into the home gate. I insist it was the witchcraft at do the job and of class not the truth that I experienced no knowledge by any means in driving a prolonged motor vehicle!


First the quantities.

On the basis of my investigation:

*Money expenditure(A): Shs 17,000,000

*Income for each calendar year: 9,000,000

*Income for each calendar year (earnings excluding all expenditures and fascination) (B) is Shs 1,473,two hundred

*Return on cash(years to get cash back again) (A/B) is eleven.54 years.

*If you however really don’t incur the price of financing then this return time period is approximated at two.54 years.

Now the principles you will have to get ideal right before investing:

*Exploration on a truthful contractor level. As the favored product in Uganda is to retain the services of out your taxi to the driver/conductor, it is well worth investing time speaking to different motorists and perhaps even UTODA to create a truthful selling price for your route and making certain you get the agreed level without the need of any “mukama wange” tales.

*Consider more affordable financing choices. As well frequently we disregard the advantage of pooling resources say from family users and close friends. This can supply fairness financing(fascination no cost credit history) fairly than the crippling commercial lender financial loans.

*A first rate and reputable mechanic is a will have to. Very best of luck!

Last Phrase

By basic principle I am cautious of company products in which you are not able to understand or verify the intricacies of the earnings recognition and can barely verify the prices to create efficiencies and so on that basis, for me this would be a “no-no” sector.

It however has the crucial advantage of simplicity of earnings stream and perhaps that is why this has resulted in the over expenditure in this sector including by [monetarily] illiterate folks.

If you are consequently drawn to the simplicity of this type of expenditure as well as the advantage that the motor vehicle is safety for additional borrowing then by all signifies spend in it and then all you have to ensure is that you do not listen to tales from Kakooza of the “differential is shaking.”