Wednesday, February 28, 2024

How taxi drivers make easy money from branding their cars

Since time immemorial, the taxi driving industry has been a mainstay, with millions of Kenyans hitting the roads in hopes of earning a living from it.

Around 2015, the local taxi industry was revolutionized by introducing ride-hailing apps like Uber and Bolt. Kenyan taxi drivers had to adapt to the new trend, joining these platforms to cater to the growing number of consumers embracing the technology.

Despite some Kenyan taxi drivers considering their work as a side hustle, some have generated large profits from the business every month.

A chunk of these drivers’ money is from branding their cars to show the companies they represent. In this article, we delve into the earnings of Kenyan taxi drivers who opt to brand their cars, using the Bolt app as a case study.

Kenyan driver, Mr. Njoroge, branded his car in the Bolt’s blue colours. He drives a Honda Fit hybrid model and has been in the industry for seven years, since 2017.

When starting, Njoroge worked under someone driving their car and would remit earnings frequently. In 2 years, he managed to save up and buy his hybrid car.

He explained that he prefers these cars compared to the 650cc vehicles because of their good fuel economy. On long-distance trips, he can get up to 22km/l. However, when covering short distances he gets between 16-18km/l. 

Njoroge explained that despite branding his car with Bolt’s colours, he also works with other ride-hailing apps like Uber and Little Cab. He shared that one needs to first get in touch with the company, in his case Bolt, and get instructions. 

He was directed to Upperhill where his car was branded free of charge. Once branded, Bolt updated their systems to indicate that the car displayed the company colors clarifying authenticity to customers. 

Drivers with branded cars are paid based on the number of trips they cover in a week. The amount will be deposited in their accounts every Tuesday. This is free money, that does not have any commission and withdrawal fees. 

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The amount due is calculated in three Bolt trip categories; 45 trips, 55 trips and 65 trips. When a driver with a branded vehicle goes for 45 trips in a week, they are paid Sh. 1,650.

The amount increases by 350 for the next 10 trips. For 55 trips one is paid Sh. 2000 and for 65 trips one earns as much as Sh. 2,350 money. 

He says that these trips can be attained even when working with other platforms. Any car can be branded so long as the driver is willing to work with a branded car. 

The disadvantage encountered is when he receives a ride request from Little Cab/Uber and picks it up, then arrives at the customer’s location in his blue-branded Bolt car. In such instances, he has to explain the situation to the customer.

“There was a time when a customer was close to cancelling the order. But when I explained to her that I am also an Uber driver, she was okay with it,” Njoroge said. 

Other times, people see him driving his car and immediately know that he is a taxi driver. Mr Njoroge noted that he is not ashamed to be doing this business since it is feeding him and paying his bills comfortably. 

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