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There was a time when traveling to the Eastern Nigeria used to be a journey to remember. Those days of brand new, high speeding Marcopolo Luxury Buses! Sitting in those buses while cruising the Ore-Benin road used to be like a dream come true to many travelers. It used to be almost the same as taking a flight; the sheer beauty, the comfort and luxury is considered as second to none.

In those days, traveling with luxurious buses was like Christmas. You would have so much fun traveling that you wish to travel again and again. Whenever the coach made a stopover at filling stations, you see well dressed passengers coming out of the buses crunching bottles of Eva water, looking as if they just alighted from Emirates A360 jetliner.

With the pleasure and comfort it offers, you don’t care how much you pay. Everyone else in every other parts of the country had no choice but to either respect the Igbo travelers or envy them because of their mode of transportation and the plenty ‘Swagger’ it carries. Gradually, the buses began to die off and what used to be “The Pride of the East” now turned to “The Disgrace of the East”.

What Happened to The Beautiful Buses?

Is it that the transport business is no longer profitable? Some, especially the operators would want to blame it on bad roads and high cost of fuel and diesel. They would want you to believe that the cost of running the business far outweigh the profit. That the buses costs a lot of money to acquire. These are valid reasons but in business sense, no reason is valid enough to get a viable business grounded.

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Granted, the Marcopolo bus cost about N80 Million which is quite a lot of money to buy a bus considering the condition of Nigerian roads. Prices of some classes and chassis of Marcopolo even goes as high as a hundred and twenty million. Below is the average price I am able to get.

The Price Factor

Prices of the bus and the general road condition may probably be one of the reasons for it’s dead. But the truth is that the transport business is still very profitable, far more profitable than the average businesses in Nigeria. So, I don’t believe that the price is what killed the fleets.

Bad Management Factor

What killed those luxury buses is the same thing that kills everything in Nigeria – bad managements, poor maintenance culture, and greed. At a point in time, these transporters began to exploit their passengers. Instead of rendering consistent good and quality services that guarantees sustained patronage, they resorted to taking advantage of their passengers.

First, they would adjust the seats and add extra line of seats, making it highly uncomfortable for the average legs, let alone the tall ones. They would have you pay for a comfort ride only to over load the coach with traders consignment of goods just to make more and more money while their passengers are left to suffer for it without qualm nor care about the complains.

Traveling with the Marcopolo buses becomes sources of disappointment and regrets. You take the bus only if you wants to sleep on the road or get to your destination too late at dead night.

SEE ALSO: How to Setup a Lucrative Taxi Company Business in Nigeria

Breaking down on the roads becomes their major identity. Some even catch fire on the road or loose control and fall into the rivers and ditches because of very poor maintenance.

They starts discriminating against their own people – brand new buses will be put to Abuja while the old rickety ones goes to the East.

Passengers Started Deserting

Steadily, passengers starts deserting the once loved luxury buses, preferring the smaller better maintained Toyota 14 seater buses. And the small buses simply took over and doesn’t seem ready to give up the lead anytime soon. It’s convenient, fast, and offers better customer services in some cases.

Judging from the Luxurious bus transport scenario, it would be easy to conclude that there is no profit running transport business. Some will argue that if transport business is truly profitable, that these Luxurious buses should still be in service and going stronger.

Some Who Have Excelled in Transportation Business?

Transport business is still one of the most consistent business in Nigeria anytime. If you really want to make money in bulk and make it fast, one sector you must seriously consider investing into is transport sector. If well managed, this business has what it takes to make anyone a millionaire starting from almost nothing.

SEE ALSO: Make More Profits In Your Transportation Business

Some have been able to make it big in this business. Though most of them are politicians who have access to government funds. Nevertheless, following their footsteps in transport business management certainly will help you excel in the business.

ABC Transport

Probably the only transport company in Nigeria that have gone public. ABC Transport PLC has taken transport management to the next level and is widely regarded as the best transport company in Nigeria, raking millions of naira on daily bases from their operation throughout Nigeria and West Africa.

ABC Transport is said to provides friendly and reliable services to the Eastern, Western, and Northern parts of Nigeria, as wTransportation business in Nigeriaell as to the West African sub-region, from Lagos (Nigeria) to Accra (Ghana) through Benin Republic, and Togo. Though many people may not quite agree with that but judging by the standard of other transport companies, we can say that ABC really standout.

CHISCO Transport

This is one transport company that have maintained some level of sanity is a sector that is marred with low reputation and miscreants. They ensures that touts are kept away from their parks and their vehicles are well maintained. CHISCO has been in business for years and is reputed to be one of the biggest transport company in Africa, making millions of naira daily.

According to one of the customer’s review – “Traveling with Chisco is not just traveling but traveling in comfort. The vehicles are always serviced before leaving the park, the drivers are always cautious. But their vehicle is slow and their park looks so unkept.”

G. Agofure Motors

I traveled to Warri Delta state through public transport sometimes ago. The bus I entered belongs to G.U.O Agofure Moter. At their head office in Warri, I notice how profitable a transport business could be if properly managed. The bus station there is the best I have ever seen anywhere in Nigeria. Well arranged passengers departure hall equipped with large screen TVs with DSTV for all round customers entertainment. So comfortable that some passengers who wants to travel very early used to move in and sleep there.

Everything is done in order and according to plan and the result is influx of customers. It is probably the busiest transport station anywhere in Nigeria despite that they charges higher than other buses. Good management is no doubt the lifeblood of any business and that is demonstrated with the Agofure motors.

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You can see that transportation business in Nigeria is viable and can not be saturated no matter the number of vehicle on the road. There will always be huge demand for means of movement in every city and villages in the country. The only thing that is capable of taking you out of business sooner than you started is lack of proper management. G. Agofure Motors is believed to make about N10 Million naira daily.

How to Start Small and Grow Big?

From the above examples of successful transport companies in Nigeria, you know there is big money in transport business. But how can someone with little means still enter transport business and make it? You don’t have to go for a big coaches such as Marcopolo Paradiso 1800 DD that cost nearly N150,000,000. A Tokumbo Toyota bus or smaller sedan is just enough for you to start.

1. Buy a Tokumbo Bus

A fine tokumbo bus with AC cost about 1.8 million – N2.5 million. That’s the type you’d need if you intend to run far distance Lagos – East. Be sure to get a very clean one as passengers judge the condition of your vehicle and the quality of your service base on the look of your vehicle.

2. Register with the Unions

Except you wants to operate as a registered limited liability company, you may not be allowed to operate properly as individual transporter if you did not register with the transport unions.

3. Get a Qualified Driver

I recommend that you drive it yourself, that is the best way to start. Driving your vehicle yourself when you have only one ensures the highest return on investment. But if you can drive it yourself, get a very good and experience driver who understands the road to drive it while you monitor him.

Profit Potential in Transportation Business

Minimum transport fare from Lagos to East is N2,500 it can be as high as N5,000 sometimes. A 14 Seater bus with full load to East would be making N2,500 x 14 = N35,000. Put out N15,000 for fuel and other expenses, you’d be left with N20,000 daily.

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On a smooth month that nothing hinders your services, you would be making the minimum profit of N20,000 x 25 = N500,000. With this calculation you find out that it will take you just five months to get another bus.

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43 Comments

  • Anonymous January 30, 2014

    Darlington, your analysis come so true, but you will be deceiving more people into losing their hard earned money. what happens to all other expense both seen and un-seen; extortions, nigerian worker syndrome which will eventually leave you with debt to even move a fully loaded vehicle instead of your expected =N=20k per bus.

    Reply

    • Darlinton Omeh January 30, 2014

      LOL… iF transport business is such a disaster as you want me to paint it, then why are untold number of Nigerians into it? Everything boils down to management and careful planning. Make no mistake about it, there is great profit in transport business in Nigeria. It may not work so well and smooth for foreigners but for citizens who understand the in's and out's of Nigerian system, it does! Forget extortion, we're used to it 😀

      Reply

  • Anonymous February 1, 2014

    Darlinton, do you know I have been thinking about starting a transport business & I also made the exact analysis that you did. Going by the analysis & holding every other things constant, I can tell you that transport business is very very lucrative in Nigeria. The problem is I don't have the money to get a bus, If I hit on just 1 bus that means I have hit the jacpot.

    Reply

  • Anonymous February 7, 2014

    Darlinton, you are absolutely right. I went into it starting with a Nigerian used bus to Tokunboh buses and now Trucks. Management is the main issue, buh with God leading the business, all things work smoothly.

    Reply

    • Darlinton Omeh February 7, 2014

      Nice to hear that… keep it burning my bro. At least we know it's not absolute nonsense as some people are making it to look like.

      Reply

    • paul onyeoka July 6, 2016

      good day bro, please can u give me your phone or email, i want to communicate with you as i have plans to go into the business soon.

      Reply

  • jacob Blessed March 24, 2014

    thanks for ur post…but i gat ar question, after buying the bus , registering with transport union hope is not difficult…will u be allowed to operate at there domain conveniently

    Reply

  • Ifedi Emmanuel U. April 10, 2014

    I have plan to buy a toyota sienna 2005 or 2006 model. I intend to ply abuja lagos road. How do I start? Where do I register and what do steps do I take. Please I need direction.

    Reply

  • Anonymous April 10, 2014

    I intend to buy a toyota sienna 2005/06. I want to ply lagos abuja road but I don't know which union to join and how top register and hope one can operate from their park.

    Reply

  • Ifedi Emmanuel U. April 10, 2014

    I have plan to buy a toyota sienna 2005 or 2006 model. I intend to ply abuja lagos road. How do I start? Where do I register and what do steps do I take. Please I need direction.

    Reply

    • Darlinton Omeh April 12, 2014

      National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) is the number one union I know of. You can ask people around the root you intends tp ply to put you through in this. Thank you

      Reply

  • Anonymous January 8, 2015

    I do have a transport biz and it's running well by the grace of God. Getting a good driver is a critical success factor in this biz. Also note that you might not get passengers everyday due to the number of buses/cars at the park. Overall, its a good biz. I will advice anyone in the biz to install a car tracker. With this, you can track the number of trips and determine if your driver is faithful or not. In addition, endeavor to have a personal mechanic and prohibit maintenance and purchase of spare parts without owners approval.

    Reply

    • Lekan Agunbiade February 9, 2015

      i am planning to start a transport business in Nigeria as well, would be nice to get in contact with you for some advice. Thanks

      Reply

  • Giwa Adekunle February 25, 2015

    i need some help to . can someone help me through this

    Reply

  • Titi Lailai May 16, 2015

    I am a USA citizen, and I plan to start a transportation business with my friend in Nigeria. Could you advise me please?

    Reply

    • MOSES GABRIEL Lawani May 19, 2015

      bus luxury buses, the returns is high and okey

      Reply

    • MOSES GABRIEL Lawani May 19, 2015

      Connect with Sputnik International Executive Express Bus Service to run a smooth transport business in Nigeria. They manage Federal Assisted Public Mass Transit Buses ( Known as ABUJA GREEN BUS).

      Reply

    • victor amanluoghe May 25, 2016

      i need you to partner with me to start a transport company in nigeria. i have more than 30 years experience in the transport industry

      Reply

    • victor amanluoghe May 25, 2016

      i need you to partner with me to start a transport company in nigeria. i have 30 years experience in the transport industry

      Reply

    • oloyede azeez olamilekan January 30, 2018

      I’m in Nigeria I can help you to manage the transport company thanks.

      Reply

    • Obinna July 20, 2018

      Please do not rely on most of these Nigerians soliciting your partnership, it’s next to impossible to run a business in Nigeria while over here in the states. Transportation business has a reputation of only the strongest survives, so unless you’re in Nigeria, please don’t commit to it. I stay in the U.S. as well, I want to go into transportation, but I am planning on going back home to Nigeria. I’m thinking of having a fleet of five cars for Uber and then take it from there while exploring what I need to do next. Please don’t listen to anyone who tells you they would help you manage it… You’ve been warned!!!!

      Reply

  • Tasha Lyons July 7, 2015

    Wonderful article about setting up transportation business. Its definitely a great news for the Nigerians to have a luxurious journey to the places around. All the best!

    Reply

  • Adefunke adefunkeadegbola80 December 11, 2015

    Am interested in the biz.Would have started a long tyme ago, but as a lady, would it be easy to run without problems, I mean dealing with drivers and mechanics!

    Reply

  • Smart O January 10, 2016

    I wanted to start a transportation business with toyota sienna 2011 model, but how do I raise the money to start off? Or is there any bank that can give loan to a starter like me? Pls help.

    Reply

  • M. C. N January 27, 2016

    Thanks for your impressive post! I have been in this business (only in Lagos) for sometime now but the touts and LASTMA officials on the road daily reap off everything and make the business unattractive. Now I have 700k and I need 300k to make up for the toyota hiace 2002 I want to buy (though fairly used under one year in Nigeria). Pls can I get any bank or mortgage bank to grant me the 300k loan to buy the preferred bus to further boost the business. Thank you.

    Reply

  • osereme March 27, 2016

    Transportation business is like blood money. Only and if only you drive yourself people must surely move because after food is transportation even if u don’t v were to sleep u must transport yourself. I am in my early twenties a graduate from reputable university. But I don’t give a damm. I m going into transport big time. I just pray d loan I apply for. Works. Out. And again u must enjoy driving to start with. May God bless us all and Nigeria our beloved country.and the man that wrote this articule

    Reply

    • oluyomi martins May 22, 2016

      Ose if you are a graduate and still interested in transportation business we can talk. I don’t know if you have your loan yet though but I have opportunities for you. You can email me and I will give you my phone number.

      Reply

      • Anthony May 28, 2016

        Am a graduate and will like to get your contact so that we can discuss on transportation business thanks.

        Reply

      • Samuel Olasunkanmi July 3, 2016

        Dear Oluyomi,

        Am Olasunkanmi by name, I read your post and will like to explore opprtunities with you.

        I currently work but transport business has been a passion I have been trying to express for years. I have written business proposal to several people, no funds were coming from banks to start also.

        I will be please to meet you and discussed this if given a chance.

        Reply

  • akin. April 24, 2016

    On the other hand, what if one can buy a bus and resell on Hire purchase to an Intrested buyer. Would there be room for profit making?

    Reply

  • Celestine April 24, 2016

    Sire i admire ur optisimism, its somtin to write home about. But i ve 1 questn plz. Most of al dis drivers r liers nd cheats, dey neva balance nd r always complain. I lost about 300k (my entire life savings ) wen invested on keke business. So i wud love to point out dat its nt dat simple to implement. So wat wud b ur advise to som1 like me who lost everytin but stil has interest( but no capital)

    Reply

  • Seriki April 27, 2016

    Thank you very much for your post. I have this advice for anyone who intend to go into business either transport or other kind of business, the number one thing is the knowledge of the practice,dont be too big to bring yourself down to those in the business for instance “Agbero” in the case of transport business,one of the best way to treat the driver is to get a driver, sponsor him to a good driving school, take care of his welfare and he will be easy to deal with

    Reply

  • uche May 20, 2016

    Hi,

    This post was two years ago in 2014. Are you still in the business?

    Reply

  • onyebuchi collins May 23, 2016

    Darlington Omeh,

    please kindly advise me i really want to go into this transport business i need guidlines on how to operate because i planned to start with 4 Buses, what i need is how to plan my routes and union registration this is email address. your response will be highly appreciated.

    Reply

  • Samuel Owolabi July 26, 2016

    Pls i presently ve a car precisely volkswagen sharan. What i need is a reliable driver who can take it on hire purchase. Itz available now. Kindly contact me via my mail:

    Reply

  • NaturallySmart October 17, 2016

    Transportation business has always been my dream business since my undergraduate days. which prompted me to do a lot of research on it and even worked at a transport company for my industrial training. Now I have graduated and recently registered my transport company. By the grace of God, I’m at the last stage of getting a loan from BOI to start up the business in Edo state. I just completed my business plan. Will be interested in partners anyway if there is any.

    Reply

  • tayo February 28, 2018

    Really cool business.

    Reply

  • Isioma Isichei May 23, 2018

    Transportation is very cool business. Is there any one interested in partnership?

    Reply

  • Peter May 23, 2018

    I have been driving on uber but on rental basis for 2 years now.I want to go interstate by Gods grace.my vehicle is on the way( tokumbo).Give me two years I will double the vehicle.Am going to drive it myself.Covenant of tithing, and walking in Gods guidance I will become a Transport Giant too in Jesus name

    Reply

  • Bobly Asoronye May 23, 2018

    Hi, I want to go into transport biz. I need partners as I want to begin with Jos – Abuja and Jos – Lagos . Anyone interested should kindly contact me asap. I’ll start by driving myself from Jos – Abuja.
    Thanks

    Reply

  • Tomori Tomiwa Fredrick June 4, 2018

    Good morning, a nice piece I will say with good mathematical calculation. I will like t ask what do you think will be the problem as per to those starting from the scratch.
    And ways to solve this problems.
    Also , which is far better, to register as a limited liability or with a union

    Reply

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