Using motorcycles popularly called Okada as a means of transportation in Nigeria is an age long business. The chaotic nature of Nigeria’s road coupled with the ingenuity of people to make money have made the Okada business a popularly one among the young and old in Nigeria.
You will find Okada in every nook and cranny of Nigeria, from Aba to Ibadan, Maiduguri to Lagos and Warri to Ogoja. Almost all towns and villages in Nigeria have people who are engaged in the Okada business.
The barrier of entry of Okada business is extremely low, you simply buy your motorcycle, get it registered and you can start work.
Okada business has solved unemployment issue for many people in Nigeria. It is no news that university graduates even ride Okada to make ends meet.
How to start Okada business
Research your area and route
You may want to check the population and traffic in your area and the routes you wish to ply. Some routes may be more profitable than others. Some routes may be more prone to traffic while others may have a lot of bad roads or high crime rate.
Going round your area, familiarizing yourself with Okada riders and Okada Riders Union will make you get vital facts and data about the business.
Ask questions about the area and the business. You may also get yourself transported around the area and routes just to know what the pricing for journeying on Okada in your preferred routes is.
Research is key. Having good data and facts will put you in a better position to make informed decision about the business.
Buy a good Motorcycle
There are several brands of motorcycles in Nigeria. Some brands are from the US and Europe while others are from Asia.
Asian brands are cheaper; they are the most popular in Nigeria. A popular make of motorcycle used by many Okada riders in Nigeria is Bajaj. A brand new Bajaj motorcycle ranges from N280,000 – N340,000 depending on the specification. Bajaj is an Indian brand but very popular among Okada riders because of the availability of spare parts in Nigerian market.
Getting a brand new motorcycle is always the best option. You are sure of riding the bike for a reasonable long time without frequent visits to mechanics to get faults fixed.
If your budget is low, you can still see good second hand motorbikes below N120,000. It is not advisable to buy very cheap motorbikes (N40,000 and below), in most cases, these ridiculously priced motorcycles are scraps which will make you spend money on repairs almost every day.
Some people buy imported used motorcycles popularly called Tokunbo. You can get tokunbo motorbikes in popular markets in Lagos like Ladipo market; you can also get imported used motorbikes from neighboring countries like the Republic of Benin and the Republic of Niger.
Another option is to buy very cheap motorbike of below N50,000 and get it refurbished. Nigeria has good mechanics who can turn a bad motorbike to near brand new state.
You will need to buy helmets for yourself and your passenger. Also, you may need to buy reflective jackets , boots and other accessories that will make your work as an Okada rider and easy and safe job.
Register with the Authorities
If you decide to buy a brand new motorbike or Okada, you will need to register the motorbike and get a license plate, motorbike license, police documentations and insurance.
You will need to get a Rider’s Permit. The rider’s permit authorizes you to ride motorbikes on public roads in Nigeria.
Okada riders have their unions. You will need to register with one and pay their dues. This should be done to avoid harassments because in most cases, these unions use aggressive touts to enforce payments of their dues.
Some people may advise you that you do not need to register with the authorities. Aside committing illegal acts for not registering your motorbike with the authorities, you will constantly be harassed by rogue security officers and touts for bribes. At the end of the day, cost of paying bribes may exceed the cost of registering with the authorities.
Start riding your Okada
You have now bought your motorbike and registered with the authorities. Now, you can start riding your Okada and make money.
You will need to decide the time of the day you will ride your Okada. Will you ride at the peak hours every day? Will you ride when the roads are less busy? Will you ride all day long? For health reasons, it is not advisable to ride a motorbike all day long.
Riding at peak hours can be very profitable because of high traffic; however the roads are always too busy during these hours.
You should endeavor to obey all traffic laws and regulations. Flouting any traffic law may lead to huge fines which will affect the state of your Okada business.
Some Okada riders earn up to N10,000 per day, this may look like a lie but it is a fact. In Lagos, some Okada riders on some routes make incredible amount of money daily.
In spite of the high daily earnings of the Okada business, most Okada riders still live hand to mouth due to their poor financial planning habits.
An Okada rider earning N5,000 per day may have the habits of playing lotteries, eating at expensive joints and daily binge drinking. These habits can ruin your finances.
It is a good habit to save a part of your daily earnings in a bank or any other financial institution. Little drops of water can form a mighty ocean. The little savings you make as an Okada rider everyday will turn to big sum that can be used to build a house, buy more motorbikes and invest in bonds or equities.
Registering your motorbike with Logistics Companies
Some logistic companies like Uber accept motorbike owners to help them in delivering goods to people. They pay you based on the distance you covered. You will only carry goods on your motorbike.
This is a very lucrative approach to doing Okada business.
Are you unemployed? Are you an unemployed graduate with a motorbike? Do not let your ego kill you. Self pity will do you no good other than driving you to a state of depression. You can use that motorbike to make money.
With time, if you have a good personal finance skill, this business can lead you to bigger businesses. Think outside the box, you can innovate and turn that Okada business to a multi-billion business.
Are you an okada rider? Do you want to start Okada business? Do you want to invest in Okada business? What are the challenges you envisage? Discuss these challenges in the comments section and stand a chance of winning a token of N20,000.
Why not share this article on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.