WINDHOEK, June 19 — As competition for the business of washing cars grows in Namibia’s capital city Windhoek, Chewan Coetzee has found a way to beat the competition with his use of colourful soaps to wash cars, which has pulled a crowd and made him a household name in the car washing industry.
The 22-year-old man grew up around car washing establishments where every second house has a car wash. When competition is just next door, one has to think outside the box to manage to remain in business.
“I started the business as a mobile car wash but when my clientele grew I found it hard to keep up then I decided to look for central premises to rent that was accessible to all my customers,” he said.
At the same time, COVID-19 has made it the perfect opportunity to sit back and do extensive research while the whole world was on lockdown, said Coetzee.
Coetzee then started Dumiza car wash but he knew for him to prosper, he needed to have a pool that would not only allow him to maintain his usual clients but also attract more.
“I started researching on the internet to see how car wash businesses in other countries were doing it and I discovered that there was a new craze of using colour soaps. It was not just innovative but it was also fun and it presented extra benefits as it not only cleans the car but also gives it an extra shine,” he said.
That discovery lit a fire for Coetzee and made him even more curious that he got to work and used the internet to learn how to make the soap. It took him a while to get it right but he was determined.
“It was not easy, I spent a lot of money just to perfect it but it was worth it. I finally got it right and I have managed to recover the money I used to learn how to make the soap,” he said.
After perfecting his soaps, Coetzee was ready for business and he officially opened the doors to his car wash last year, as he predicted, the colour soaps pulled in a crowd and he has not looked back ever since.
“I make different colours including blue, pink, yellow and green. People usually choose which colours they like according to either the colour of their car or their favourite colours. Some will even request that we mix the different colours to make it more colourful so that they can take pictures and show their friends,” he said.
Social media has helped in growing his business and word of mouth which he says has been the biggest pull.
“You will be surprised how much people love their cars, they want the best and I guess the soaps are the best, ” he said smiling.
Coetzee employs four people at his car wash. He says entrepreneurs like himself are doing a good job because they are helping to reduce the country’s high unemployment rate.
He says per day, they can wash up to 30 cars and they charge between 2 to 12 U.S dollars per car depending on the size.
When he is not washing cars, Coetzee is an accounting student at Namibia University of Science and Technology where he is doing his final year.
“My first love is accounting, so hopefully I will be able to use that knowledge to grow my business and open other branches in other towns,” he said.
Coetzee gets hustling his drive from his father who he says saw him build a successful business out of nothing despite several failures.
“I would see how my dad worked growing up and that is what motivates me to want to be better at everything that I do. I have my dreams, people think it’s easy but it is not. It took a lot of effort, time and sacrifice. While other young people of my age are going out and having fun, I am here working,” he said.
As unemployment rises in Namibia, Coetzee encourages young people to follow their passion and become entrepreneurs.
“Start as small as you can and build your dream,” he said. (Xinhua)