Watermelon is one of the most popular fruits in Nigeria. It is eaten by the young and the old. Watermelon is succulent and reddish with a lot of water. Go to any town or city in Nigeria, you will see traders hawking watermelon fruits in small retail packs.
Watermelon is grown in all parts of Nigeria, though there are more watermelon farmers in northern Nigeria. During the period of scarcity, watermelon is imported from countries like the republic of Niger, Chad, Cameroun and the Republic of Benin.
In Lagos, it is not uncommon to see young Hausa traders making a turnover of over N10,000 a day just hawking fresh watermelon with their wheelbarrows.
Uche, a young National Diploma holder makes N500,000 every month by selling fresh watermelon fruits in whole and cuts.[irp posts=”490″ name=”Cucumber Farming – Farmers’ Automated Teller Machine (ATM)”] [irp posts=”487″ name=”Sharwarma – How to make money from this business”]
How did Uche start his watermelon business?
Location: Uche rented an open place in the front of a building in Mushin, Lagos. The area he has his business has a very high foot traffic.
Uche had been jobless for 3 years before he decided to start selling watermelon. He was encouraged to start the business when a young Hausa boy told him that he makes about N10,000 monthly. Uche was shocked when he heard the earnings people make from this business.
Stall: Uche hired a carpenter to construct a stall or shed in the space he rented. The stall has tables meant for the display of watermelon and seats for people to sit. Uche bought a small musical system which he used for playing hip pop songs to the enjoyment of his customers.
Watermelon Supplies: Uche started the business by buying fresh watermelon from Mile 12 market in Lagos. He usually buys in bulk and sells at a margin of 40%-100%. When Uche expanded his business by having branches in more locations in Lagos, he decided to be going to Sokoto to buy a truck load of watermelon balls. His watermelon business grew significantly within 12 months.
Uche travels to Sokoto once every two weeks. He does not buy from Sokoto markets. He goes to the farms in Sokoto villages to buy watermelon for rock bottom prices.
He has developed a strong bond with the farmers, if he does not physically travel to Sokoto, he pays cash into the bank accounts of the farmers and they will send the watermelon balls to him in Lagos without any hassles.
Staff recruitment: Uche preferred to hire young men from the Republic of Benin on a yearly contract. He pays them about N150,000 every year with free housing and feeding.
Watermelon Farm: Uche tried owning a watermelon farm but he could not manage the farm well so he closed the farming business. He preferred buying watermelon balls from farmers in Sokoto and Niger states.
Business Incorporation: This ought to be Uche’s first step but he left it till when his watermelon business boomed. He incorporated his business as a limited liability company when his watermelon business expanded to 3 stalls scattered around Lagos.
Banking Services: Uche has a bank account with one of the banks in Nigeria, his daily sales are deposited into his bank account.
Today, Uche makes over N1 million from his watermelon business monthly and he is able to convert 50% of the sales to profit.
Banks are now asking Uche to seek for financing so that he can further expand his business.
How can you start your own watermelon business?
You need to find a suitable location like Uche did.
Find a place to get a regular supply of watermelon. If you can have your own watermelon farm, you will be able to have better margins than those who buy from farmers.
Develop a good relationship with your customers. You can print business cards and give to your customers.
Find customers you can be supplying fresh watermelon fruits to everyday.
You can use the digital marketing power of mobile phones to market your products to your customers.
Continue to invest in your watermelon business. Always have the plan to expand the business.
Never look at the business as a dirty business. It is better than you staying at home looking for jobs that are not available.
Incorporate your business and have a healthy relationship with your bank.
Do not be afraid to ask for a loan from your bank if you need it for expansion.
The dirty looking young man that you see pushing watermelon cart around may be making over N10,000 a day while you are sitting at home without N100 in your pocket.
Start your watermelon business today and make money. If you can add differentiation and innovation to your watermelon business, you may be the next millionaire in town.