Watch this video on Tshepo Baboa and Andrew Sehata, Engen Fuel Retailers
- Tshepo Maboa and Andrew Sehata
- Franchisees since: 2009
What made you decide to become franchisees?
Tshepo: I found it difficult to run a business from scratch having attempted to keep a laundromat and pub, among others, afloat before joining a franchise. I had all the business knowledge I needed to grow the businesses, but found myself lacking in terms of systems required to drive the business, and I learnt the hard way that it can be a dangerous combination.
Andrew: I used to be an employee at a fuel retailer franchise and my dream was always to be my own boss. By owning a franchise I knew I’d be able to create a steady income and help those in need of employment, as our country is facing an unemployment challenge.
How did you secure your first, and subsequently second, franchise?
Tshepo: I attended a lot of seminars and used any information I could get my hands on. The capital required is high, especially the unencumbered funds, so when Andrew told me he needed a partner for a fuel retail franchise he had been offered, I was already looking around.
Andrew: I think my journey from being a petrol attendant helped me to get to where I am today. I already knew the franchise basics so it became much easier for me to adjust to being a franchisee.
What has been the most challenging part of your journey?
Tshepo: Raising the capital to finance the business. Our first site was small, comparatively speaking, and we had to grow to acquire a second site. Rapid growth required a capital injection to keep up with the pace of growth. For example, our second site had a very primitive design when we acquired it, and with the revamp, the whole site had to be completely knocked down and rebuilt from scratch, and we added a fast food franchise in the process. All this was a very costly exercise.
Andrew: Money is tight all around, but more so in the township. This often makes it difficult to sell items in our area of trade. Sometimes we have robberies late at night and shoplifting is rife.
Why did you opt for a partnership?
Tshepo: Andrew needed a partner because he didn’t have enough cash to open a franchise on his own. I didn’t either, so it made sense to join forces.
Andrew: Tshepo helped in raising the franchise fees, and as you know, two minds are better than one. That’s why we are running two sites today.
How do you run the two sites jointly?
Tshepo: We have a 50% stake in both businesses. I manage the site in the CBD, because I live in Midrand and it’s easier for me, while Andrew runs the Mamelodi site as he lives in the area.
Andrew: We have been faithful to each, and sometimes we swap the running of the sites.
Why is it important for successful franchisees to have a strong relationship with their banking partners?
Tshepo: When we moved our banking from our previous bank, the funds needed for any upgrade were easier to acquire. Nedbank really understands the nature of our business. They have a team that specialises in fuel retail so it’s made it easy for them to ask the right questions.
Andrew: Nedbank has put some orderly daily systems in place to make it easier for someone to understand his business needs. They also provide you with a professional team of staff.