Muibi Kehinde Hammed is the Managing Director/CEO of Destiny Crest Engineering Services Limited. His extensive passion for uncompromised quality in the construction of housing and infrastructural projects has been awarded to his success in starting Destiny Crest, one of the fastest-growing building and construction companies in Nigeria. Kehinde shares insights on his experiences and journey into entrepreneurship and how he started his company with zero funds and grew his company to international standard, now dominating the building and construction industry. Fadekemi Ajakaiye reports
How would you describe your company in three words?
I will describe Destiny Crest Building Engineering Company as peculiar, flourishing and credible. In less than 2 years of operation, we’ve gotten more jobs than we imagined when we first began. We’ve also done pretty well in retaining a large percentage of our clients because of our quality service delivery.
What inspires the growth of your company?
Well, I will say we hire the best engineers. We don’t have so many technical staff but more than 75% of our engineers are certified and registered. Our staff inspires and aids our growth.
Give us a brief detail about yourself and early career life.
I was born on September 22nd, 1992. I’m a graduate of Mathematics and Statistics at Osun State College of Technology and Business Administration. I also attended IRGIB Africa University, Benin Republic. I started my career professionally as a banker, worked in First Bank, Nigeria and Skye Bank. My banking experience came with the responsibility of the implementation of new services, processes, advice on financial matters and building relationship with clients and later moved to Christal Homes a real estate and development company as the Executive Director and Chief Operations Officer for two years. Delivered six estates at Christal Homes and moved the company to profitability before my exit, I would gladly say all these experiences I acquired while working made transitioning as an entrepreneur a lot easier. It was a dream I conceived and nurtured growing up in my early years in school and here I am living my dream and doing what I have always loved which is building my own construction company.
What is your company’s structure in terms of personal, culture, competitive advantage, marketing strategy and branding?
Destiny Crest operates a well-structured model in terms of our organizational culture and strategies. One of our standards is to recruit experienced engineers with a maximum of 15 years of experience. We’ve also tilted towards strategic partnerships with various key players in other construction companies, private and public sectors as this has increased our client base and overall performance. We also understand that quality and timely delivery are key to how far and successful a construction company can go and we are not compromising on this. As a growing company, we continuously strive to improve and grow our brand and come up with better ways to build a positive, trusted brand that leaves every customer with an unforgettable experience that cannot be gotten elsewhere. By the year 2020, we would become a household name when it comes to a trusted construction company in Nigeria and in the diaspora.
Where do you envision your company in the next five years?
In the next five years, we want to be among the biggest construction companies in Nigeria and across the continent of Africa. Currently, we have offices in the southwest region; Lagos, Osun, Ondo, Ekiti, Oyo, and Ogun state. We also have offices in the south-south region – Delta, and Anambra. The goal is that by 2020 we would extend our borders to all the 36 states in Nigeria and be top in mind of contractors and architects both at the state and federal levels.
Tell us how you have leveraged technology in your business
Technology has made our work a lot easier and smarter especially at the preliminary stage of construction. With technology we can tell what comes into play during each phase of development, for instance, we can perform a thorough site analysis, site plan, construction limit and lay down areas, driveways, easement, and the lists goes on, which is everything that is put in place before developing an estate. As against the time when one has to rely solely on multiple personnel to work over a period of time. Even daunting tasks like taking a measurement with taps have now been replaced by smartphones, we can get angles, dimensions and meters or feet using a simple phone app. No matter how big a project is, the cost estimate for construction can be gotten within 24 hours.
How have you been able to sustain your business financially?
Destiny crest was completely bootstrapped. We have never collected money from any investor, we’ve been able to sustain the company with the contracts we get and deliver. We pay our workers weekly and our staff monthly and we just recently got our head office, a project that cost us over 20 million which was supposed to be our 2020 goal. We have 2 vehicles for site inspection and we are working on acquiring more so we can have accessibility to move around and ensure all things are working perfectly on site.
In terms of running the cost of your business are there decisions you would have made differently?
Not really, because I always take my time to think through before making any critical business decision. Sometimes It takes 3 – 4 days to decide on some matters, but in cases like this, I rely on the intelligent and smart people around me, my wife, my MD and other colleagues for advice. The only major challenge we’ve experienced in a while was during the last rainy season, we made the mistake of commencing a particular job in a swampy location just before the rainy season and we lost almost 5 million nairas as a result of the heavy downpour. That taught us how best to handle site work during the rainy season.
What’s the biggest risk you have ever taken?
The biggest risk I have ever taken was starting 3 jobs in different locations at the same time, we were constructing sugar land estate then, the locations were Epe, Ibeju Lekki and Osoroko and these projects were miles apart from each other. Right now, we have learned to go to the site and inspect it before anything else. Also, there was a time when I had to pay salaries with the last money we had in the company’s account, for 1 month nothing was added to it, but the following month we got a project of about 25 million. Taking risks sometimes is good but you have to be careful and properly weigh your options.
What sets you apart from others?
As I mentioned Quality job and prompt service delivery, we never stall on our work, we promise 7 weeks and deliver in 4 weeks added to the fact that we don’t repeat our designs, I personally sketch all our designs myself. Our clients are always amazed by our work. We are unique in our own way.
What is your definition of success?
Success to me is achieving my vision and goals to the fullest.
What advice do you have for aspiring entrepreneurs?
My advice to them is never to give up, Challenges will come but it would unlock the door to their next level. The hurdles they go through in business are what create opportunities and help achieve success.