After roaming along the streets of Kisumu town as a hawker for many years, Peter Omollo Osano can now afford a smile since he no longer treks under the scorching sun of the lakeside town anymore.
As a hawker, Osano would be grateful for a few hundred shillings a day from selling electrical appliances and assorted items. Today, he counts himself as a businessman of repute.
A patient saver, he says it took him years to save Sh25,000 part of which he used to get a stall in 2003. Now, he has two shops and runs a security firm Chakra Company Limited that offers security services and dogs, and has employed over 150 people some of whom were his fellow hustlers.
He says his motto is: “Spend less and save more.” The businessman says when he first got the stall, he did not know if he would eventually pay the Sh150,000 required.
“I got it from a civic leader in Kisumu. I always set challenges for myself and I don’t let the fear of failure cloud my judgement,” he says.
Osano says his business grew beyond expectations and after four years he bought eight housing units six of which were semi-permanent in Manyatta and converted them into rental houses.
His initial investment was Sh450,000, money he had saved from his electronic business and rented each out for Sh4,500. However, he says he got a rude shock because some of the tenants refused to pay rent. “I opted to seek the help of an assistant chief to recover my rent, but that move backfired,” he says.
Osano says he was arrested following his attempt to recover his rent. “I was told the method I used was against the provisions of the rent tribunal,” he says. He settled the matter out of court. After this episode, he started a rent collection entity because he realised many landlords were losing money to some cunning tenants.
“I was surprised that many landlords were suffering silently. When they heard about my idea, they were excited,” he says. This became the birth of his bigger security enteprise in 2009.
In 2012, using his savings from his other businesses, he set up a security company and employed 120 guards to start with. Initially, while he was still hawking, Osano kept a dog, but did not see a business side until he started the security company.
“When the idea hit me that I could also provide security dogs, I did my research and was amazed to find out that there was unmet need in Kisumu,” he says. Now, he has a dog unit with 46 canines. He keeps several dog breeds including German Shepherds and bulldogs.
“Security comes in a full package. I invested in two dogs to start with,” he says. Osano also trains and breeds the same at his facility in Manyatta. His security business provides services in Kisumu, Siaya, Homa Bay and Kakamega. He has employed 150 workers.
Clients pay between Sh7,000 and Sh50,000 depending on their security needs. Osano says he would have loved to expand into cash transfer services, but the requirements are stringent for him. “One must deposit Sh200 million as security before they can venture into that business,” he says.
He sells puppies for Sh45,000 and charges the same amount to train them. He has seven dog handlers and three trainers. Osano still runs his electronic shop at Ambala Complex and at the main Kisumu bus terminus where he started his long journey to success