The Business of Space
Proper warehouses are a necessity for businesses, however a growing problem for many businesses in Kathmandu is the lack of proper warehouses. For such business, Godam Sewa could be the solution. As Ram Krishna Manandhar, the Co-Founder and Executive Chairperson of Godam Sewa puts it “Godam Sewa is the first warehouse service provider in Nepal.”
There were warehouses in Kathmandu before Godam Sewa came into the scene. But these warehouses were not made according to the needs of the customers, nor did they lessen the strain of Kathmandu’s increasing traffic problem. “Right now, business are using empty residential or commercial property as warehouses. But this practice causes many problems” shares Ram Krishna. In such buildings, heavy merchandises can only be stored in the ground floor to avoid causing damage to the building. Plus, the business would have to compromise on certain things due to lack of free space, “such problems not only affect the business but the buildings as well. This is the reason why many landlords do not want to rent buildings as warehouses.” However, it is not only the the lack of buildings that trouble business but also the location of the said buildings. “The basic requirement for any warehouse is ease of access. The location should be easily accessible to the 10 or 12 wheelers bringing the merchandise. But currently many of the warehouses are inside the Ring Road and in the city. Large trucks are not able to go inside the city during the day nor are there parking spaces where they can unload the merchandise” clarified Ram. These large trucks that are stuck in the Kalanki junction, a prime entrance point to Kathmandu, are also causing problems as Ashmita Manandar, the co-founder of Godam Sewa, pointed out. “There are a lot of trucks stuck in Kalanki because they cannot go to their warehouses. This causes traffic congestion, pollution and extra expenses for business because the trucks are idle, and still in their payroll.”
Ram Krishna Manandar has always maintained that Godam Sewa was the result of being a good businessman, and making use of opportunity when it presented itself. Initially, Ram and his partners had planned on opening a restaurant in Satuangal; however, one partner dropped out, so he made other plans for the space. Seven ropani of land was already on lease, and a 4,000 square feet building was already constructed. So, when people started to inquire about the possibility of renting the building out, he went ahead with it. “Right now, in about three and half years, I have built nine warehouse that are all outside the Ring Road, and with easy access to the road” proudly stated Ram. Currently, Godam Sewa is renting out warehouses – both pre designed and customized ones. But, later he plans on “building larger warehouses so there can also be a stacking and/or a hydraulic system. And in the next phase I want to have a warehouse where people can store their personal belongings.” He further added that the customers sign a contract spelling out the terms of the lease- the annual rate of rent increment, the responsibility of paying tax and doing the maintenance to name a few. This contract is not only to protect him but to also give the business a sense of security since they will not have to “fear that the landlord will increase the rent in six months because they felt that the tenant was doing well.”
In a city teeming with business and lacking any professionally built warehouse, Godam Sewa has no shortage of customers. Via the Rockstart Impact program Ram Krishna wants to grow the business and expand the business by building more warehouses. He also wants to be able adopt international standards for his future warehouses with things like cranes, forklifts and pallet movers.
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