I met Mang Armando a few years back when he was still working as a personal driver of a client whom I used to play billiards with. His boss was Caucasian and a very generous boss, I should say. When the time came that his boss has to leave the country, Mang Armando found himself jobless, and realized he’s too old enough to find another employment.

During a usual, casual conversation, Mang Armando all of a sudden asked me what advice I could give him so he can make his Php60,000.00 go a distance. I told him 60K pesos (less than US$1400.00) is not much – he has to spend it wisely otherwise it will disappear quickly. That was all the money he got – he told. After a few thinking, I gave him a very odd business advice: Start his own “pedicab” business but I gave some details though – out of nowhere.

I told him he can go back to his province – a few hours south of Manila and buy his first 10 pedicabs. For you guys who doesn’t know what a pedicab is for – its a mode of transport in the Philippines. So you can hire a pedicab, take you to some narrow or flooded streets and pay a few pesos for the service. Quentin Tarantino took a pedicab when he visited Manila the last time.

Okay going back to Mang Armando, who told me he doesn’t have the right education to manage a business, so I thought him going into the pedicab business might be alright (I swear I wasn’t sure he will make it though). Told him each brand new pedicab costs about Php4,000.00. He can charge daily rental of Php50.00 for each pedicab unit, so roughly he gets Php500.00 per day for the 10 pedicabs. Set aside 1o% to 15% reserve for repairs and maintenance so he gets about Php13,500.00 a month. He can even buy new pedicabs so he can grow his fleet.

What was funny and eventually scary – the poor old man took my advice by heart, went to his hometown and did what I told him. 4 years since, he called me and asked to meet him up. I was hesitant, I don’t know if the old man’s gonna stab me to death for giving out such a stupid business idea, but still, I managed to show up and lo, he gave me a tight hug and a great pat at the back.

He told me, over the last 4 years, he managed to grow his business, he has now a total of 150 pedicabs in 8 towns and is venturing to another business which he hoped, I would be willing to partner with. I went home mesmerized about the idea of how much the “old man” earn in a month. You do the numbers. Amazing, isn’t it?

(Image courtesy of Isnavera.blogpsot.com)