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From 24,000 to 8 crore... A journey of a Lorry driver

A person who started his business with an investment of only Rs 24,000 through his sheer hard work is now having a turnover of Rs 8 crores. If we learn about the journey of Raghu who has been managing Everest Cement Pipes Company in Perungalathur, Chennai it would inspire every one of to be motivated by the fact that hard work will always fetch great progress. Let us listen what he tells us.

Raghu - Lorry driver turned Entrepreneur

“My house in Oragadam is a small hut. My parents were illiterate. But they ensured that I get educated. At the time of my schooling, the ceiling of our hut will leak during rains. Unable to sleep we would be hiding in the corners of our hut. I used to think ‘when others are living safely in their terraced roofs why we should be suffering like this. This condition should change’.

After completing my tenth standard, I applied at Chennai Leather Institute to study further. I was asked for community certificate. I applied to Taluk office, as I didn’t have a one. They declined to give me that saying ‘Usually, Irulas will be residing in the hilly regions of Ooty and therefore we would not be able to give a certificate for you’. I struggled for four years to get a community certificate. But by the time I changed completely.

I learned car driving as I felt I should do any kind of work. Then I began to drive a lorry. My job was to carry and deliver materials for various companies. Some of the companies who witnessed my sincerity offered contracts to me.

While doing that job I learned how to make cement boards. After having learned it thoroughly I started a company making cement boards in 2009. The investment for the company was my hard earned money of Rs 24,000. With that amount, I bought a mold to make cement boards at a cost of Rs 20,000. I kept the balance amount of Rs 4,000 for buying raw materials and other contingencies.

At the beginning, whenever I came to know somebody is building a house I would approach them and request an order for buying cement boards. Many declined it. But some offered the order. As I delivered the product with good quality I kept getting continuous orders.

At the beginning of my business, I earned Rs one lakh from an order received from Villupuram. When I approached Indian Bank, I was told that only when I opened a current account I would be able to realize the cheque. When I was ready to open it I was told to have two recommendations from the existing account holders in the bank. I was in search of finding those two recommenders for four days. In the end, the owners of the company where my wife was working agreed to recommend me. As there would be a delay in realizing the amount of Rs one lakh, the branch manager offered me a loan of Rs 50,000. This was a success to my patience.

As my income was gradually increasing, I utilized the earnings only on my business. During this period I would not take non vegetarian food at home on Sundays. Even if my kids insisted to have it I would manage to avoid it by saying ‘it is a sin to kill an organism’. From the beginning, I used to deliver the goods on time, be it a day or night. Someone would ask me to ‘deliver the pipes within two hours’ on Sundays. As Sundays are holidays no workers would be present. But I would get somebody’s help to load the cement pipes and I would drive the lorry to deliver the goods.

I registered myself with MSME in Chennai in 2013. When I decided to expand my business, training and guidance were provided by Barathiya Yuva Sakthi Trust. Not only that, the Trust helped me to get Rs 10 lakhs overdraft facility from Indian Bank as well. I could manage to repay the loan amount within 18 months. I could get additionally a new loan amount of Rs 44 lakh as I repaid the earlier loan on time. There will always be bank support if we repay the loan on time.

Raghu - Lorry driver turned Entrepreneur

Though I studied only up to tenth standards there are four engineers working with me. The annual turnover of my company has reached to Rs 8 crores. It should reach ten cores by next year.

Last year I was able to get an award from the International Mentoring Summit 2017 in Delhi only because of the efforts by Barathiya Yuva Sakthi Trust. Raghu concluded by saying ‘what was so memorable with that award was that I could get directly from Prince Charles’.

Break the obstacles and create history. This slogan is the most appropriate for Raghu.

(This article written in Tamil by S Balasubramanian for Naanayam Vikatan magazine dt 18/2/18 has been reproduced in English by V Amalan Stanley)

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