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Waterless car wash gives entrepreneur a sparkling future

Written by More Matshediso

Nqobile Rathebe (23) of Protea Glen in Soweto, Johannesburg, is running a waterless car wash because she wants to save water while earning an income and satisfying her clients’ needs. Nqobile Rathebe, who could not find a job after graduating, has started a business that sets her apart from competitors.

She is the owner of Nqotrends (Pty) a mobile car wash that uses chemicals to wash cars instead of water. 

Rathebe’s business sets her apart from her competitors because she is focused on trying to help South Africa save water.  

She says water is only used to rinse the cloths, adding that the chemicals they use to clean and polish the cars cause no damage to the paintwork and leave their clients totally satisfied with their work.

Rathebe registered her business in 2018 and started operating at the beginning of 2019. Initially, she was using buckets of water to wash cars like most car washers because she did not have the equipment to run a waterless car wash. However, this changed when she received a R41 978 business grant from the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA). 

“My dream of running a waterless car wash came true within two years of operation,” she says. “It takes me 15 minutes to wash a car and I go to my clients instead of expecting them to drive to me,” she says.

Rathebe has always had a business mind. When she was a financial management student at Westcol Technical and Vocational Education and Training College, she used to wash rubbish bins for her neighbours to earn an income. 

“After graduating, I could not find a job so I decided to register a business and create employment for myself,” she says. 

She approached schools in her area and started washing the cars of staff members once a week and slowly she built up her business.

Unfortunately, Nqotrends was negatively affected by the national lockdown and Rathebe had to let some employees go. However, she hopes to re-hire as the business regains momentum.

For more information about the NYDA, call 0800 52 52 52 or email info@nyda.gov.za