‘Working as a partnership is good for us’
2007-05-03 15:56:06 -

In the latest instalment of Metro Eireann’s Meet The Boss, SANDY HAZEL speaks to Victor Oigbochie, who co-owns of Shine Xpress Mobile Valeting with Clement Nwagiriga 

“People spend so much time in their cars now that it is only right the car should be maintained and kept as clean as one of your rooms in your house,” says Victor Oigbochie. He has a point. We not only use the car to get us to work, school and shops – we also use it to make business calls, some of us eat our breakfast and lunch there, and many other things besides.

Oigbochie, along with Clement Nwagiriga, has set up Shine Xpress Mobile Valeting to service the many people who want their cars cleaned but who are too time-poor to do it themselves. Oigbochie is originally from Nigeria and has been in Ireland for seven years. “I chose Ireland as I already knew plenty of Irish friends,” he says. “I was educated by Irish Catholic missionaries in Nigeria and felt quite at home here.” He originally trained as a chef and worked in the catering industry for a couple of years. “I enjoyed it, but myself and my friend [Clement Nwagiriga, also a chef] wanted to set up our own business. With our experience we thought about opening a restaurant but when we researched we discovered that there were a lot of regulations involved and we would have needed a substantial amount of capital.

“So we looked around Dublin. What we saw were a lot of cars, and we saw that these cars were not always very clean. People do like to have clean things – a clean car is healthier, too – but they don’t always have the time to do it or the time to bring it to a car wash or valet. If a person will pay someone to help them with their housekeeping, then they will also pay for someone to help them keep their car clean.” 

The firm, Shine Xpress Mobile Valeting, will come to your car and do all the work, inside and out, with mini valet sessions starting from as little as 13 euro.
So how did the pair set up? Oigbochie and Nwagiriga used some savings as capital and invested in some state-of-the-art cleaning equipment as well as a dedicated van, complete with logo and company identity on the sides. The company does some advertising, but does not always find a good return on that expense.

“Advertising has gone too expensive, I’m not always sure that it is good value,” explains Oigbochie. “We do flyers and we also find that word-of-mouth recommendations are by far the best way to get business. We are now getting regular customers.” 
Shine Xpress also endeavours to get in contact with owners of car parks to offer the service to clients. However this is not always an easy task. “Trying to get these guys on the phone is impossible, even to arrange a meeting to discuss the plan,” says Oigbochie, “but we’ll keep on at it.” 

One of the problems encountered by the company so far, he says, “is when a car we are valeting is parked on property that is not the car owner’s. Maybe we will come across a hostile person who will say ‘you don’t have permission to do that here’, sometimes in car parks of apartment complexes.

“If there is any concern over where we need the car to be parked then we will usually have our client sort this issue out, as they are very keen to have the service, so it’s less of a problem now.” 

Plans for the future include the possibility of a premises where the company can valet more cars. Oigbochie and Nwagiriga are looking for a location now. The business is doing well and the partners are at the moment able to do their own assessments to Revenue, but they will employ an accountant when the books get bigger. 

“Working as a partnership is good for us” says Oigbochie. “We have known each other a long time and are friends. But we are also aware that everything needs to be 50-50, with investment, time and of course profit. There needs to be a balance.”
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