Most customers like to get their things done but then paying for the services becomes such an issue; and this is hampering small- scale businesses in the country.
Ernest Phiri who runs a small-scale enterprise in Blantyre, Ernest Car Seats, has somehow come to conclude that customers are only sweet when they are bringing their items to be fixed as sometimes firms go for months before getting their payments.
It has been 15 years now since he ventured into this business. The former soccer player went to Lilongwe Technical College where he studied trimming and upholstery and now he trim and maintains car seats along with his partner, Robert Magombo.
“It is just the two of us in the business. All 15 years we have worked in partnership. My partner was plying the trade at Wenela at first before we came to work together. It is manageable that way because no matter how little we get out of our works, we share between us,” he said.
The partners share in the wishes of many other small- scale businesses in the country, in terms of boosting capital to grow their businesses.
“We would like to grow the business further, but our income base is not very strong. Our wish is to have a workshop and a show room in town where people can easily find us. Apart from that, we only have one machine currently and this proves a challenge when we have a number of customers at once,” said Phiri.
With materials available, Magombo says they can make chairs for two minibuses in a single day.
“Some people bring worn- out car seats and we remake them, but for others, we start from scratch making the seats. We start off by making a frame and then we cut plywood and connect. We put hardboard under the seats and then dress them with flexafoam and cover with lexin or velvet. Having worked in this area for this long, we know the exact number of seats required for each vehicle,” he says.
Phiri has achieved a number of things through the business, and singles out a house he has built and a car that he bought from the earnings.