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Erstwhile Brigade Road barber proves mettle in car rentals

Erstwhile barber on Brigade Road in Bangalore has become the owner of a million dollar car rental company with 154 imported cars, thanks to the boom in IT industry in the last two decades.

Ramesh Babu inherited a salon from his father who died when he was a teenager. When Ramesh finished his graduation from a local college, he began to do the family profession at the salon in 1989. But he had a dream and the dream is to own a car. Four years later, he bought a Maruti Omni for Rs. 1 lakh and started renting it out to earn side income. But the rental revenue engrossed him into expanding it, coincinding with the entry of major IT companies like Oracle and Texas Instruments which came to set up their offices in Bangalore in mid-1990s.

Ramesh’s passion for cars made him to buy the latest luxury cars like Honda, Ford and Mercedez to his fleet of cars and he takes pride to provide the qualitative rich experience to his clients which he named “Yes Sir” service.

His company Ramesh Tours & Travels currently grosses a revenue of Rs 100 million and its clients are major companies like Biocon,

Tata Elexi, Maruti, ICICI Bank and Jet Airways.

His USP remains margins than volumes and his strategy paid off in a fast developing city like Bangalore. He was not impressed by the market rate which remained at its lowest still. “When I first picked up the van it was Rs 12.50 a litre, now it is Rs 70, almost six times the rate. But still the price for the Maruti Van per km is only Rs 5,” he told CNBC in an interview.

The company is planning to expand across all major metros like Mumbai, Delhi and Hyderabad and Chennai. “Ramesh Tours & Travels offers not just a car but a complete solution, tailor-made to all your executive/guest transportation needs,” says their website. The company says they are also licensed to provide a “Self Drive Option”.

With over 1,500 million rupees (Rs 150 crore), the company aims big and assures quality to its clients. But Ramesh’s story from rags to riches shows the way India is moving ahead and those taking a plunge are not deterred to redeem their dreams to make it big.

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