Mkokoteni Sector: Puller Reveals Profits in Street Business

  • A handcart puller in Nairobi
    A handcart puller in Nairobi.
  • There are many businesses one can explore in Nairobi, with little capital investment needed to start. One such hustle involves ferrying goods in the city using handcarts.

    On the surface, it might appear to be a sector with little income as many may look down upon it as a menial job.

    However, has learned that the business has become a good money earner, earning those who ferry goods on mkokotenis in the city a decent living.

    Moses, a hand cart operator based in Gikomba disclosed that he charges Ksh50 to transport a bale depending on the distance.

    Handcart puller Moses during a trip in Nairobi.
    Handcart puller Moses during a trip in Nairobi.
    Stoney Moses

    Transporting shoes and mitumba bales for traders at the market, Moses maintains that he is able to make good money from the trade.

     "I normally charge Ksh50 per bale depending on the distance, and carry up to 30 bales. That totals to Ksh1500 per trip, and I make up to three trips per day," he stated.

    That means on a good month he earns an average of Ksh60,000. Moses added that he hires a mkokoteni at Ksh50 per trip, money he pays to the owner.

    "It's cheaper to hire a cart than to buy and even maintain one," he stated.

    He noted that despite the high competition in the sector, he had created a loyal customer base with hawkers in the market who contract him on a regular basis.

    "Pushing bales is not easy on a cart, so I usually call another person to help me push, and I pay him Ksh200 per trip," he added.

    He noted that there were a myrriad  challenges in the sector including shifting business environment.

    "There are times when the business is low, but still I can make at least Ksh1,000," Moses explained.

    It is estimated that there are over 2,000 such carts in the city centre alone, which are owned mostly by a cartels who control most of the operations.

    The handcarts and dollies are situated in strategic areas in the central business district including, Luthuli Avenue, River Road, Latema Road.

    A handcart is estimated to cost from Ksh40,000 which makes most puller prefer to hire the carts on a daily basis instead.

    DP Ruto donating handcarts to a youth group on September 30, 2020.
    DP William Ruto donating handcarts to a youth group on September 30, 2020.