Before moving to Somaliland to open Botan Car Wash, Botan explored several industries in the Netherlands. He first started studying at a traditional university but quickly traded it in for maritime school so he could work with ships. Botan worked in the largest port of Europe – the Port of Rotterdam – before making the step into a new industry. This time Botan threw himself into the hospitality industry, working in numerous hotels in various locations across the Netherlands. With time, Botan learned the ins and outs of service businesses and began imagining his own. Wanting to do it right, Botan first spent a long time researching the market for viable business opportunities before pursuing his goals of running his own business.
Botan researched the area where he owns family land in Hargeisa, Somaliland and soon realized that there was no car wash in the vicinity. In fact, the nearest car wash was in Kaah, some considerable distance away. After completing his research and acquiring the necessary capital, Botan officially established Botan Carwash in August 2014. Although the first 6 months were difficult as running a startup proved to be a learning experience, Botan Car Wash has now become a profitable business and will continue to be so as the business expands to other locations.
What is your personal ambition?
My personal ambition is to see Botan Car Wash continue to grow more and more and be successful as well as maintain our position as the largest car wash in the Calaamadaha area of Hargeisa.
What impact do you see your business making?
Considering that before Botan Car Wash, the nearest car wash services was located relatively far, my business has made the lives of people in my community more convenient as they now have quality car washing services closer to home. The more Botan Car Wash grows and expands, the more job opportunities it will provide. In terms of staff, we have come to learn the hard way the importance of recruiting the most talented staff. To expand our operations, we have to have more skilled staff and at Botan Car Wash we see the value of providing intensive training and support to our staff to ensure greater productivity and reliability.
How do you see the future of your business?
Botan carwash has a comparative advantage because of our strategic location. As mentioned earlier we are the largest car wash in the Calaamadaha area of Hargeisa. Our competitors operate small scale car washes, so we’re able to capitalize on our size and the equipment we have at our disposable. This in itself sets us up for a bright future and gives us a head start. Although we have a large advertising placard outside the carwash, which gives us high visibility from the passing traffic on the busy Airport Road and have also distributed advertising materials across the city spreading the services available at Botan carwash, in the near future we would like to like to advertise on a larger scale such as through television and radio, so as to generate even more publicity. Currently the carwash is located in a large plot of land. There is potential to use the land for expansion purposes as the carwash only utilizes one part of the land. Ideally, if the capital was available, we would like to expand the carwash, by having different washing bays as well as provide different service packages for our customers. In the future I would also like to purchase solar panels to help reduce electricity usage. At the moment we are using too much energy and it costs a lot of money. I want to use more energy from solar panels (at least 70%) to power the generator, water pumps, compressors and the hydraulic pumps. Furthermore, as already mentioned, we would like to use the huge land to build a fuel station and a small cafeteria. These two expansion projects are complementary to the carwash. The research and business expansion plans are already complete and we hope to start work on their development very soon.