Inside the Profitable Business of Nairobi Mama Fuas
Laundry ladies popularly known as ‘mama fua’ are among the many Nairobi citizens working in the informal sector. These are women, young and old, make a living by doing laundry and other basic house chores for pay.
Little is known about mama fuas as the majority of them simply come to do their work, get paid and move to the next client. However, some have devised means to survive and even thrive in the business.
Speaking to Kenyans.co.ke, a mama fua from Kibera slums Mary (not her real name) talked about her journey and how she manages to make a killing from the business.
Mary revealed that her greatest secret is to earn the trust of her clients. She explained that the majority of her clients are part of Nairobi’s working class.
She explained that she establishes trust among her clients who allow her to do their laundry and clean their houses even when they are not around.
“Clients at times leave their keys at designated spots. I come, find the key, do my job and leave without touching anything,” she stated.
Apart from trust, she also has a good work ethic. Mary elaborated that doing a thorough job is of great importance and almost guarantees that the client will call her again and again whenever they need laundry services.
Mary, a highly sought after mama fua, disclosed that she also creates a good rapport with her clients. She added that although she gets numerous calls from clients, she prioritizes clients with whom she has worked with for a while.
In addition, she is always punctual and whenever she is held up, she recommends another lady, whom she trusts to her client. Mary takes her time and emphasized the need to get the work done well rather than getting paid after a job.
On average she cleans three houses a day from 7.am to 7 pm, six days a week. She charges Ksh1,000 per household which translates to Ksh 3000 per day.