South Africa: Dunoon Suit Salesman Becomes Successful Bin Cleaner

Siyanda Nohashe is making a business out of servicing rubbish bins

For ten years Siyanda Nohashe used to sell South African design suits. But in 2018, at the age of 30, he quit his job and swapped the suits he wore for a pair of blue overalls. Nohashe started a business cleaning municipal wheelie bins.

He says he wanted to earn more and work for himself. “I resigned. I said to my boss I want to start my own business,” says Nohashe.

Initially he thought of opening a car wash, but “everyone was doing it”.

“I wanted to do something unique,” he said.

With no capital and only a 20-litre bucket and a broom, he started cleaning municipal wheelie bins after they’d been emptied on refuse collection day for people living in Dunoon.

Charging just R5 a bin when he started, he soon had 30 clients.

But he there was social stigma to overcome. He said people had seen him in suits, and now he was wearing dirty overalls and they were quick to judge him. Some people thought he was a drug addict. It “killed me emotionally”, he says.

He now has hundreds of clients and is doing well. He has moved from a backyard shack to an apartment with indoor plumbing and hot water. He has registered his business and he has one permanent and one casual employee.

He has recently introduced recycling for his clients. He buys clear refuse bags and hands them out so that people can separate recyclables from the trash that goes to landfills. He sells the recyclables to three companies in Montague Gardns.

When wheelie bins are damaged, Nohashe helps his clients apply to the City of Cape Town to get new ones free of charge.

Mawawa Dyobani, who has been a client for the last three years, says Nohashe provides a service he doesn’t have time to do himself.

“He cleans them with chemicals and afterwards they smell nice,” says Dyobani.

Nohashe’s next goal is to buy a bakkie and a high pressure cleaning unit so that he can expand his operation to other areas.

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