How to Start a Motorcycle (Okada) Business in Nigeria

motorcycle business
Photo by Guduru Ajay bhargav

A long-standing business in Nigeria is the use of motorcycles, or “okada.” In these difficult economic times, starting an okada business might be one of the most profitable ventures. In general, most African nations value this business, particularly Nigeria.

This business is said to have started in Nigeria around 1990 and was solely utilized as a transportation alternative. With time, this developed into a sizable source of revenue for thousands of people. If you want to get into this business, the following advice can be useful. Let’s get to it.

Overview of Motorcycle Business in Nigeria

In Nigeria, okada business dates back to 1990. For a variety of reasons, including traffic, availability, and profitability, young people in Nigeria began using this vehicle as a substitute for other modes of transportation and even as a source of revenue.

Lagos had a lot of traffic because people were getting up early and racing to work. Motorcycles can fit in places where vehicles cannot because of their size. As a result, they could travel more quickly in both large cities and rural areas.

Another point is availability. Nigerian roads are seldom in great condition. On the other hand, okada riders can navigate these extremely difficult terrains and deliver you to your destination on schedule.

With careful use, the Okada business can be a gold mine, according to all of this. These cars are here to stay; people have grown accustomed to them and now prefer them to buses or cabs. I’ll explain why this company is a treasure for business owners like you as we proceed.

Last but not least, this business offers countless prospects and boundless riches. For 60,000 naira, a source purchased a reasonably used motorcycle and provided it to a driver with a weekly payment agreement of 7,000 naira until the driver made up the remaining 105,000 naira, plus a guarantor as insurance.

How to Start a Motorcycle Business

The fact that you don’t need a clientele to be successful in the motorcycle transportation business is something I adore.

#1. Study your surroundings and route

It can be a good idea to research the local population, traffic patterns, and desired routes. Compared to other routes, some might be more profitable. While certain routes might see more traffic, others might have a high crime rate or a lot of poorly maintained roadways.

Gaining knowledge about the business by getting to know the Okada Riders Union and Okada Riders in your area can help you obtain important information.

Investigate the neighbourhood and the business by asking questions. To find out how much it costs to travel on Okada along your chosen routes, you can also arrange for yourself to be driven throughout the region and routes. The key is research. You will be in a better position to make business decisions if you have accurate data and information.

#2. Invest in a quality motorcycle

In Nigeria, there are numerous motorcycle brands. While some brands are from Asia, others are from the US and Europe.

Asian brands are the most well-liked in Nigeria since they are less expensive. Bajaj is a well-liked motorcycle brand that many Okada riders in Nigeria use. The price of a brand-new Bajaj motorcycle varies based on the specifications, from N280,000 to N340,000. Although Bajaj is an Indian brand, Okada riders love it because spare parts are readily available in the Nigerian market.

It is always advisable to get a brand-new motorcycle. You can ride the bike for a good amount of time without having to take it to the technician frequently to get problems corrected.

If money is tight, there are still decent used motorcycles available for less than N120,000. Purchasing motorcycles for N40,000 or less is not advised because, in most cases, these absurdly priced vehicles are junk and would require daily repairs.

Some individuals purchase used, imported motorcycles known as “Tokunbo.” Tokunbo motorcycles are available in well-known Lagos markets, like Ladipo Market. Used motorcycles from nearby nations like the Republic of Niger and Benin can also be imported.

Purchasing a motorbike for less than N50,000 and having it repaired is an additional alternative. Nigeria boasts skilled mechanics who can restore a damaged motorcycle to almost like-new condition.

#3. Make an accessory purchase

Both you and your passenger will need to purchase helmets. Additionally, you might need to purchase boots, reflective jackets, and other items to make your job as an Okada rider easy and safe.

#4. File an Official Report with the Authorities

If you choose to purchase a brand-new motorcycle or Okada, you will have to obtain insurance, a license plate, a motorbike license, and police documentation in addition to registering the vehicle.

Obtaining a Rider’s Permit is required. You are allowed to ride a motorcycle on Nigerian public roads if you have a rider’s permission.

Members of Okada riders’ unions exist. You must sign up with one and pay the associated fees. This is necessary to prevent harassment because these unions typically deploy pushy salespeople to collect dues.

You might hear from certain people that you don’t have to register with the government. Not only will you be breaking the law by not registering your motorcycle with the authorities, but you will also face ongoing harassment from dishonest security guards and bribe-seeking touts. In the end, paying bribes can be more expensive than registering with the government.

#5. Get out of your Okada.

Now that you have purchased your motorcycle, you have registered it with the government. You can now start earning money by riding your Okada.

It is up to you to choose when you will ride your Okada. Will you ride every day during peak hours? When the traffic on the roads is reduced, will you ride? Will you go riding all day? Riding a motorcycle all day is not advised for health reasons.

Because of the heavy traffic, riding during peak hours can be highly profitable; nevertheless, the roads are always excessively crowded during these times.

It is your responsibility to follow all driving laws and guidelines. Breaking any traffic regulation might result in severe fines that could negatively impact your Okada business.

#6. Individual budgeting

Although it may seem improbable, some Okada riders make up to N10,000 a day. Some Okada riders in Lagos earn a staggering sum of money every day on specific routes.

Due to their bad financial planning habits, the majority of Okada riders continue to live in poverty despite the large daily revenues of the Okada business.

A N5,000-a-day Okada rider might be accustomed to winning the lottery, dining at fancy restaurants, and regularly indulging in excessive alcohol consumption. Financial disasters can result from these habits.

Setting aside some of your daily income in a bank or other financial institution is a wise habit. A powerful ocean can be created from tiny water droplets. Your daily savings as an Okada rider will grow into a substantial amount that can be utilized for many purposes, such as home construction, purchasing additional motorcycles, and bond or stock investments.

#7. Getting your motorcycle registered with logistics firms

In order to prevent your motorcycle from being taken by men in uniform, it is imperative that you register it and get a new license plate number. Since you will be using your license plate for work, make sure you obtain a public license plate (numbers are written in red) rather than a private one (numbers are inscribed in blue). In Nigeria, a new license plate costs approximately N5,000.

Purchase the Okada/Motorcycle Riders’ sticker that is in use in the region in which you intend to operate.

It is imperative that you receive this as well in order to prevent any issues that may develop from the association in that particular location. Learn as much as you can about the area you want to operate in, then join the association and settle any outstanding fees they may have. You shouldn’t pay more than N1,500 for this; however, depending on the locality, it might cost less.

Methods of Running a Motorcycle Business in Nigeria

Below are the various methods by which Okada and motorcycle businesses are being run in Nigeria:

  • Self-operating method
  • Hire-purchase method
  • Daily/Weekly Delivery Method

These three approaches are typical for running an Okada or motorcycle business in Nigeria. Allow me to clarify now.

#1. Self-Operating Technique

In Nigeria, this is the most popular and practical way to operate a motorcycle business. With this approach, you take complete control of your motorcycle, and since you ride it alone and keep all the money you earn, you won’t have to worry about being duped by someone. Because of this method’s bad image in the community where they reside, most people dislike it. However, some people would like to utilize the hire-buy or daily delivery approach because they are concerned of the potential for accidents.

#2. The Hire Purchase Approach

This is a type of arrangement where a motorcycle owner lends their vehicle to a reliable individual. They decide on a particular sum of money, which will be paid to the owner once a week until the balance is paid; at that point, the motorcycle will be his. As an illustration, let’s say you paid N250,000 for a motorcycle.

Next, you and a reliable, well-known individual decide how much you want to lease it for when you buy it outright. You can state that you wish to sell it for N350,000 and that N15,000 should be paid each week. He, therefore, has the total right to it as soon as he pays you the remaining N350,000. After that, you will give him the paperwork, and the motorcycle is his. In other words, you turned a N100,000 profit in a few months.

#3. Mode of Delivery: Weekly or Daily

This is a technique where a motorcycle owner lends out his vehicle to a reliable person in exchange for that person sending him a set amount of money each day or each week. The vehicle stays on the owner’s property, though, and may be retrieved at any moment. For instance, if your motorcycle was purchased for N250,000, you may lease it to someone to receive N1000 per day or N7000 every week, including on weekends. That is, on top of any other income you may have, you may be earning an additional N30,000 each month from your motorcycle.

How Profitable is Okada Business in Nigeria?

In Nigeria, the motorcycle business is incredibly profitable. There are a number of causes for this, but the demand for okadas is the main one. In Nigeria, okadas are a common mode of transportation used by people of all backgrounds.

Because there is a constant need for more okadas due to their great demand, the business remains lucrative. However, depending on the region, the Okada business’s profitability may differ. For example, regions with high population densities and well-developed road networks tend to yield more profits from okadas.

The low costs of the motorcycle business are another factor contributing to its enormous profitability. Entrepreneurs find it appealing because it is inexpensive to start. Okadas are reasonably priced to purchase and keep up with. They are an affordable mode of transportation because they require less gasoline to run.

How Much Does Okada Cost in Nigeria?

This question lacks a conclusive response. The price of a motorcycle in Nigeria varies based on the type, make, and particular dealer or vendor. Having stated that it is reasonable to conclude that a motorcycle in Nigeria typically costs between NGN 300,000 and NGN 500,000.

For people searching for a more affordable choice, used motorcycles are also for sale. These will be far less expensive than a brand-new bike. There’s probably a motorcycle out there that meets your needs, no matter how much money you have to spend.

How Much Do Okada Men Make Daily?

Motorcyclists known as “Okada men” are frequently seen weaving through traffic in Nigeria. These men transport passengers through crowded cities, which is a vital service. Furthermore, it has prevented people from wasting a great deal of time. However, what is their income?

A typical okada guy makes between NGN3000 and NGN5000 each day, according to research. Although it might not seem like much, for many households in Nigeria, this is their main source of income. In addition, a lot of okada men might earn extra money via tips.

Therefore, even though they might not be making a lot of money, Okada men are vital to the Nigerian economy. Many would be stuck in traffic for hours without them.

What is the Best Motorcycle for Okada Business?

Honda is the motorcycle of choice if fuel efficiency is your top priority when purchasing an Okada. This Honda bike is robust, long-lasting, and excellent for riding in Nigeria. If there’s a problem with the Honda motorcycle, it’s likely because replacement parts are harder to come by than they are for other models.

Why is Okada Called Okada?

Most likely from a formal name. Etymon: Okada Air is the full name. Most likely, the name of Okada Air, an airline that flew from 1983 to 1997 out of Nigeria, refers to motorcycles as a quick or, depending on the safety record of the airline, a possibly hazardous mode of transportation.

In summary

For many Nigerians, okadas are the preferred form of transportation due to their speed and convenience. Consequently, there is a great need for Okada drivers. Having read this text and wanting to start a motorcycle business, you’re well on your way to becoming a profitable okada rider. I appreciate your reading!


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