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Dry times

Gabs carwashes feel the pinch

Although the industry remains exceedingly popular, with carwashes seemingly sprouting up and down the country every week, those who have been in the business a while say revenues have dried to disastrous new lows.

As Voice Money discovered when we ventured out into Gaborone, it seems the industry is feeling the pinch like never before.

ZEIN MASALA, 33, (LEDUMANG)
I first opened a carwash many years ago.

Things were great as customers would constantly come to us to wash their cars.

I made a few bucks and that enabled me to feed my family as life went on.

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However, Covid-19 came to our shores and all that changed in a split second.

I could not feed my family as I was forced to stay home when the country went into lockdown.

Although the restrictions have long been eased, customers are no longer interested in washing their cars.

Money is tight, the cost of living crazy and unemployment sky high – people don’t have funds to spare for keeping their cars clean.

Nevertheless, I am hopeful things will get better provided the government also find ways to assist us as carwash owners.

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GLEN MAKGOKGOWE, 24, (BLOCK 6)
I recently rented this space and things have been going well thus far.

The carwash is situated near the flats and the people staying there are my immediate customers.

There is a bit of profit even though it is consumed by rent money but it is better than staying home doing nothing.

I will keep on working hard to make a living.

BATHUSI SENWEDI, 36, (LEDUMANG)
I have been in the carwash industry since 2018 and I have never seen the kind of struggles we are facing now.

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It is like I am running at a loss.

Machineries, such as generators, are always breaking and have to be fixed – it is a costly operation and when business is slow it is a struggle to make ends meet.

Moreover, the pandemic left us with a lot of debts as I had borrowed money from people just to get by during the trying times of Covid-19.

OMOGOLO MOTSUMI, 28, (BLOCK 5)
I entered the carwash industry back in 2018.

We began as a group; our main aim was to make an honest living and stay out of trouble and away from illegal activities.

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It started really well but when Covid-19 arrived things got bad.

We lost our spot and all the equipment we used as the owner parted ways with us but we worked really hard to replace and grow the business.

The five of us that started are still in it together.

TIRO LEKGARE, 24, (BLOCK 7)
I was introduced to the carwash business by my brother about four years ago.

Covid-19 struck us hard, this was our only means of income and when it stopped, we really struggled.

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Lockdown brought with it some dark days!

Prior to Covid-19, my brother and I could wash at least 10 cars a day and make up to P800 – clearly one can sustain a life with that.

Things are difficult at the moment though.

Our business has dropped by half and that is extremely disheartening.

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