It is very rare and unique to find a Hausa woman in a car wash business as it has been a male-dominated line of work. Hajiya Asma’u Pate is among such rare women, she shares her experience with Kano/Jigawa Chronicle as a car wash businesswoman.
How did you start a car wash business?
The whole idea came up when I travelled to England to visit my sister. There was a day I was looking at the neighbourhood through the window. I saw a woman washing her car and I became interested.
One day we were discussing with my sister and she asked me whether I was planning for the car wash business, I told her yes I was. So we began to purchase some car wash equipment. Before I left England I bought all the equipment needed for the business.
When I came back, I kept the equipment in a store and started scouting for a location. One afternoon, while I was passing through this place I saw two young boys washing a car. The owner of the spot and I later signed an agreement in 2011.
When I started, I was the only person running the business. I usually open at 9am and close at 7pm. Later I employed more people who are helping me in running the business.
At the beginning, when people saw me washing a car they stopped and asked whether I am a Hausa woman or not? As they have never seen a Hausa lady doing such business. This is among the reasons customers troop to my place to see for themselves a Hausa lady doing car wash business.
What is the key to your success in the business?
The way a person relates with his customers is the way his business will grow. Good relationship is what keeps my business alive. On a normal day we wash about 40 cars or more, Alhamdulillah.
What are the major challenges associated with the car wash business?
The major challenge is with the people who bring their carpets and chairs to wash, but they keep them with us for a long time. They don’t come and pick their goods on time. You can see for yourself the heap of carpets and cushion chairs some have been here for two years or even more. And you can imagine when the owners come to pick their things they will ask us to rewash them and they are paying us once.
Despite all these challenges, I enjoy doing this business not because of the money I am making, but the pleasure I have in it by employing other people under me. I have many staff under me and everyone of them has family. This is the joy of the business. I am always happy when I put a smile on other people’s faces. Even if I am sick I will still come here to oversee my business.
What is the prospect of this business?
I am planning to establish a car wash for women only, where women can freely take their cars to wash and also be attended to by women.