“I used to supply sand, ballasts, stones from Ndarugu quarry and from the little earnings, I was able to raise Sh300,000 savings,” said Mr Kamau, adding that in 2009 a piece of stone was going for Sh36 and he would sell about 1,200 units in a good day.
Armed with his savings, Mr Kamau bought a two-and-a-quarter-acres at Makongeni, in Thika at Sh3.5 million. He paid Sh350,000 deposit and after sub dividing it, he sold the plots, paid the land owner the balance and made Sh3.5 million profit.
At the age of 27 years, Kamau built his first residential house, a two bedroom unit, which he later sold at Sh1.6 million. Today, Mr Kamau, 31, is the brains behind Green View Apartments, Diamond Heights in Kikuyu, Mashariki Park Project, Mazuri site Apartments in Thika, Kajiado and a multi-million shillings 36 house units project at Thindigua on Kiambu Road.
Kamau also started a real estate company called Dinara Developers Limited, with co-director Francis Wachira Muguku, apartment prices range between Sh2.5 million for a one bedroom house and Sh12 million for a three bedroom unit.
“I make between Sh20 million and Sh25 million per month. Real estate is the place to be and I want to remove this notion among young people and the old generation that one can only be a millionaire and own a house at a certain age,” he said.
Last year, when he went searching for land in Kiambu County to put up houses, he bumped onto a landlord who was selling a three-quarter acre at Sh70 million. However, to his amusement the seller refused to accept his cheque. “She looked at me and asked, ‘young man, when did you start working to amass such wealth?’ he narrated.
Kamau said this was one of the most irritating question he keeps getting while transacting millions of shillings business, especially with the old generation.
Mr Kamau attributes his success to having a stable family: “My wife, who was my client before I married her, has contributed immensely to the success of this firm. When I am faced with tricky business challenges she is always there to listen to me. Beside a strong family support i believe honesty is vital. If you say the size of the house is 100-square-feet, you must deliver that size because anything short of that is outright theft so doing a clean business is what makes me keep going. Without being honest, you won’t last long and this is what I strive to achieve every day. I value my customers and their feedback.”
His future plan is to develop an owned office block as they pay sh400,000 a month for the office rent. Surprisingly Kamau says they have never secured a loan for development.
“We plough back our profits. We have deliberately avoided bank loans because of the high interest rates, which will obviously be passed on to the customers. In the past two years we have earned very little as a company because huge chunk of Sh300 million profits we make per year is invested back in our projects,” he added
Like any other business, Dinara Developers is dealing with inadequate skilled manpower. The company started with three staff and now has employed 40.
However, its biggest challenge has been unplanned change of policies by corrupt county government officials.
“One day a county official tells you that your lorry should not carry more than 20 tonnes of stones beyond a certain point. The other issue is the re-zoning, which has disrupted our building plans, costing us millions of shillings,” he added.
The most unique hurdle, however, is the lack of trust from land owners, who dismiss him as a young person not worth conducting huge business.