By Prudence Minayo
Wangeci Warui is the founder, director and Chief Executive Officer of Bright Steps Car Hire Services. She is a director at Vision Institute of Professionals where she heads the internal audit department and is also a tax consultant and a certified auditor at Wangeci Warui and Company.
The tax consultant’s journey to the top has been full of hurdles and she believes her success is because of her resilient nature. She believed her future was bright and no challenge could stop her destiny.
“It has not been easy but all I can tell you is that it requires you to be very passionate about what you want. People know I am a go-getter. I don’t stop at anything and I don’t believe anything can weigh me down and also I believe what a man can do a woman can even do it better,” she said in a past interview aired on KTN ‘Everyday Woman’.
Here is story as told by WoK.
Background and Education
She was born in Kirinyaga county and went to Kirinyaga Township primary followed by Kabare Girls High School. She then proceeded to Presbyterian University. She is currently pursuing a Masters degree in Tax and Administration at Kenya School of Revenue Administration (KESRA).
Growing up, life was not easy for her and she had to pass through numerous hurdles.
Her parents separated when she was in class Four. Her mother left and her father was an alcoholic so she had to stay with her grandmother. Clearing class eight was not easy due to the financial problems. After sitting for Kenya Certificate of Primary Education, she emerged a top student in Kirinyaga county but had no one to pay her school fees. When efforts to get into a school failed, she moved to Nairobi to work as a house girl. The family where she was employed decided to help her go to school and had her story published in the newspaper.
The story got a lot of responses with various people contributing towards her education. The contributions from well-wishers saw her through high school and university. She was so good that after graduating she was called to attend an interview so she could teach quantitative analysis or management accounting at the same institution. She told the management she was interested in taxation and that was how her career as a lecturer began.
The serial entrepreneur is a director at the Vision Institute of Professionals.
Car Hire Business
She ventured into the car hire business in June 2018. After her stint as a lecturer, she began working as a freelance tax consultant who did not have an office. During this process, she met someone who ran a car hire business and realized it was hard for the person to meet demand since it was too high.
She decided to give this business a try but a lot of people discouraged her. They told her it wasn’t something a woman could succeed at. With her mind made up, she conducted research and found out that most car hire businesses in the country don’t last past the third year. After research, she hired a system developer and they came up with a good contract and system and she was ready to begin.
At this time, Wangeci Warui had no office and no furniture. The businesswoman went to Paramount Plaza to talk to the owner since she did her CPA there and noticed there was a lot of space. She talked to the landlord and after a few sittings, the landlord agreed to give her space and promised not to charge her for the first month. She looked for furniture and started the business with only one car, a Suzuki SX4. She talked to a friend who had one car and started marketing her car hire services through Facebook and word of mouth. By the end of the month, she had four cars, paid the rent and convinced the landlord that she deserved the space.
The business has been doing well and it helps that she is a tax consultant. According to her, integrity is an integral part of any business. Since she hires most of the cars, she ensures the owners receive their cheque on the agreed time.
The business also comes with its own risks. In fact, she says car hire is the most risky business as it is a target for a lot of criminals. A car can knock someone or commit an offense only to get traced back to her. A client, for example, hired their car and disappeared with it. They had to involve the DCI and by the time it was recovered, the criminals had changed a lot of things including the number plate. Another time, she was called late at night when one of the cars had been found with bags of marijuana. To mitigate these risks, they do a thorough check before hiring out the car. They find out where the client lives, get their ID, take their photo and ensure there are cameras documenting the process.
During the pandemic, she ventured into the wholesale business. At this time, there was a lockdown and people couldn’t travel out of Nairobi except for cars that were carrying essentials like food. She had employees to pay and car owners who needed their money, hence a business idea developed. She started a rice mill and would go to Kirinyaga to pick rice, mill it, and deliver across the city. The demand became high and they delivered the rice using their vehicles. The customers began asking whether she had other things, like sugar and flour and this gave birth to the wholesale business.
Wangeci Warui believes in uplifting others and she helps a lot of people in business. To live to the fullest, she prays every morning, works out at least thrice a week, visits a psychologist when she wants to unburden and has a mentor. She believes having a mentor is one of the most important things for any successful person. Her mind is full of ideas and she plans to continue expanding her business acumen.