The financial needs of a taxi entrepreneur don’t fit the banks’ view of vehicle finance.
For 34 year-old father of two, Mcintosh Radingwana, who runs two minibus taxis covering the Pretoria CBD and Attridgeville areas, insight by his vehicle financer into the particular issues confronting the industry has been of greater value to him than the loan provided.
He saved money from his salary as a branch librarian at Unisa to pay for his route licence and borrowed money from a bank for his first vehicle. He financed his second 22-seater minibus through SA Taxi, the industry’s only specialist financer and the only company in South Africa to be certified as a developmental credit provider.
“I changed to SA Taxi because they understand better than the banks do the business I’m in,” Mr Radingwana says.
“SA Taxi knows that a taxi operator’s cash flow changes from month to month. If there’s too little cash in one month, they allow you to change your repayment arrangements, in consultation with them, and catch up with payments when business is better.
“They understand that your vehicle is your only means of making money and that paying your instalment in a bad month when you haven’t collected enough fares means you can’t put petrol in your taxis for next month – and that puts you out of business.
The banks, on the other hand, don’t care about how your business is doing. They just want their regular repayments, regardless.”
Mr Radingwana is a member of SA Taxi’s Shayela rewards programme, which also provides taxi operators with support for their business. Members can earn cash back on monthly credit instalments by ensuring that their instalments are up to date, they have taxi insurance, their drivers have attended the Go-Shayela training course (or they have a budget for their business), they have a working CarTrack Fleet unit, and, that they are keeping their Shayela promises, as displayed in their taxis.
Additional Shayela benefits, designed to help taxi operators with the management of their businesses, include a toolkit for their taxis, 5% cash back on purchases at Autozone, and the ability to earn up to R1 900 on adverts placed inside the taxis.
In Mr Radingwana’s case, Shayela pays up to R8 000 a month cash back in return for keeping his vehicles well maintained and, therefore, his passengers safe and his business operational.
“The R8 000 reduces the amount of my instalments significantly,” Mr Radingwana says. “It therefore makes it much easier for me to make my repayments and meet all the other costs of running my business.”
Mr Radingwana has also attended the free business skills course offered to Shayela members and one of his drivers attended the free professional course for drivers.
“The courses helped me and my driver realise that he isn’t just an employee. He’s a colleague who has as much responsibility for keeping the business running as the owner.
He’s the person handling the taxi and dealing with customers. As a result of what we learned on the courses, we improved our own relationship and we’re both doing better for the business.
“I also found enormous benefit in being able to talk to other owner operators on the course and exchange information about how we handle challenges and get up to speed on what’s happening in the industry overall.
“It’s easy to feel alone in this business. So, it’s important to take advantage of specialists in the industry, like SA Taxi.”