“I am not a morning person, so apart from the days when I have early rolling orders, I like to sleep in a little bit. This morning, I woke up with my daughter at 6.30 to play with her for a little bit before I set off for work.
“I run Teke Teke Services, a delivery service. I like to think of it as a network. A courier company without a fleet of cars. Instead of having a list of employees to send out to make runs, I prefer to use a loose network. I refer to them as ‘teke tekes’; they are people out there with a little time on their hands, people with free lunch breaks, idle taxis or taxis on their return trips. I connect my clients to the delivery agent nearest to them. The client gets their needs met and the agent gets to make an extra shilling on the side.
“Each day at work is never the same as the last because my clients are varied. There will be someone who wants flowers delivered to a hospital, someone who is at home but wants meat delivered from a particular butchery or someone who wants us to shop for a particular item. Many things could go wrong in this business. We have agents on foot, motorbikes and even cabs, but the Nairobi traffic is still a challenge we have to work around. We do shopping for some our clients meaning that the responsibility of ensuring the quality of goods often falls on us.
“I often do not get to meet my clients face to face. The agents are the face of the company. It has been an uphill task these past months putting together a list. I need to do background checks, ask for a certificate of good conduct and know the residential address of each of them. I have learnt to rely on my instincts. If a person doesn’t feel right, I let them go. When it comes to safety, you can’t be too careful. I am working on what I term as the company’s greatest achievement – A mobile phone application that will connect people by making known their needs and their physical location. This will make it easier for those making runs to know who they can attend to fastest and most efficiently. That is my dream: A large network of clients, suppliers and delivery agents that can connect with a click of a button.
“My days end when my client’s needs are met. Some days, like today, are easier. I was able to make it home by 6pm in time to give my daughter a bath before she turned in for the night. Then I prepared dinner. Before I had my daughter, I read to relax, but now, I find that cooking therapeutic. When I finally slept at 10, I worried that my body clock might fail me in the morning.”