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All This San San Business…

How Mathematics graduate is making money by selling sand
If you are one of those who see sand as just one of the most ordinary things in this part of the world, then a visit to any ‘sand market’, especially in Lagos, will disabuse you of your no­tion. You will only need to behold the buzz and beehive of transactions going on in a sand market to understand hid­den treasure in the business. Those who are engaged in it are surely smiling to the bank with good returns. Feyijimi Omoniyi, a graduate of Mathematics from the Lagos State University, is one of them.
When he started, Feyijimi didn’t think or feel that sand business was what he was going to do for long. He thought it was a stop-gap – until he secures a good paying job. After all, he is a university graduate. But he got enmeshed in it, when for years, he couldn’t secure a white-collar. Not only that, he was making good money from the enterprise. So, he settled down to it and this saved him from the pangs of poverty and deprivation. Today, he is forever thankful that he took to trading in sand.
When he started, according to him, he had just one boat. Five years down the down the line, Feyijimi has multiplied it to three, valued at N500,000 each. His sup­plies range from filling-sand, sharp sand, laterite to plastery sand.
According to him: “When I came back from youth service in 2009, I actually searched for a job, but the ones I was able to get downgraded my qualification. So, I started considering going into sand busi­ness. Dealing in sand has been something that I have been using to sustain myself when I was in school. While in school, I was more or less a labourer. So, I decided that since I have rounded off my education and have become more enlightened than before, going into the business full-time is what I must do and then package the ven­ture well,” he recounts.
He explained that the business is so prof­itable that one is tempted to be extravagant. This, he said, is essentially caused by the high level of illiteracy among many sand dealers. “Sand business, I can say, is profit­able and it is also sensitive. Sensitive in the sense that if you are not careful with the way you spend, you are going to run bank­rupt. It is a lucrative business and the profit is very high. I believe that is why most of the people in the business can spend mon­ey recklessly.”
He hint that, for anybody to stake a claim in the business, it is important to un­derstand the various textures of sand and where to source them. Second, one also needs to have the idea of how to manage a venture.
He also advised that a personal convic­tion is needed. “If you have the personal belief that you can do it and succeed, then there is no problem. All you need is time to learn the trade, get the experience and orientation, then start up and start making money.”
One of the major factors that fuel the boom of this business is the high activities in the construction sub-sector of the econ­omy. In various states of the federation, lo­cal and international construction compa­nies are seen tucked in various sites with their heavy machinery executing stipulated master plans. Little wonder sand markets around many major cities could easily be mistaken for construction sites.
Delivery of the tons of sand to customers could be a major hurdle for a sand busi­ness owner. According to Feyijimi, say, the prices of sand types per tipper-load vary due to their quality. Also, the distance or location, coupled with whether a customer is purchasing double loaded-truck or single tipper and whether the truck is the long or short type, will further determine the price. Many operators advise that having a truck is needful, but Feyijimi was quick to add that not having a truck should not deter anyone that wants to do the business.
“Trucks are never a problem at all,” he said. “Even if you don’t have trucks, you can survive in the business and still make good profit. I don’t have a truck, but I sup­ply to people a lot and I get my goods de­livered on time. The way I go about it is that, I do business with several truck-driv­ers. If I call one and he does not come, I will call another. We have fixed prices for every destination, so if anybody calls me to supply sand, all I need do is call a truck driver to come take the sand and supply it to the client. All you have to do is to pay the driver and you pocket the balance.” Feyijimi believes that this method is bet­ter than contracting just one transportation firm.
He said one can start sand business on a small scale with room for expansion, just as he wants youths to learn from his ex­perience of how he deployed his academic enlightenment in his venture.
He equally advised: “One needs to be accommodating as a businessman, to ac­quire the knowledge of negotiation and to know how to associate with your custom­ers. When I started this business, I had no customers at all, because when you are new in any line of business, everything would seem strange to you. But with these three key ingredients, things began to turn around for me. Another fourth piece of advice I will give is that they should get their business properly branded. I say this because branding helps your business to stand out from the rest.”
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