Monday, 4 January 2016

Ramesh Babu - Billionaire Barber from Bengalore

Leonard Willoughby said, “As you begin to live according to your own guidance and your own daring everything changes completely.”

Life was not always perfect this man. His father died when he was 7 years old. All that his father left behind was a run down barber shop. With her husband no more, Ramesh Babu's mother had to work as a cook to help feed her children and give them a decent living.

Since she couldn't run the barber shop, she rented it out for Rs 5 a day. Ramesh recalls that their family survived on one meal a day.

Encouraged by her mother, Ramesh decided to earn a diploma course in electronics. His father's shop was still being rented out for meagre amounts. He then decided to run it himself and in 1989, he began working at the salon .

In 1994 Ramesh decided to buy a Maruti Omni for personal use. But since the car was most of the time idle, he decided to lease the car. One of his mother’s employers advised him to lease the Omni to Intel, the company she worked with.

It all began from there and, by 2004, I had six cars all engaged in the same business,” Babu says.

Eventually, the car rental drew in customers from the travel and tourism industry. With the help of a bank, he bought seven more cars between 1994 and 2004 and his company was now known as Ramesh Tours and Travels.

In 2004, Ramesh decided to penetrate the luxury car segment and bought a Mercedez Benz for Rs 4.2 million. After that purchase, his car rental literally mushroomed. As they say, the rest is history. Ramesh now own a fleet of 154 luxury cars - Toyota, Volkswagen, Mercedes Benz, BMW and a Rolly Royce. With a crew of 60 drivers, he rents out his cars for as low as Rs 1,000 a day to Rs 50,000 a day.

Today, his fleet consists of around 200 cars, including imported vehicles like Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost, Mercedes C, E and S class and BMW 5, 6 and 7 series.
Despite of this success, Ramesh still cut hair in the barber shop from 8 am to 10 am. From 10 am to 4 pm, he works at his car rental office. At 4 pm, he goes back to his saloon and works there till 7 pm Thereafter, he comes back to the rental agency and stays there till 8.30 pm.
He is as happy to receive the payment from his customers in the barber shop the way he did when he first worked as a barber. Ramesh charges male customers for Rs 65 a haircut and ladies’ are charged Rs 150. There are five more people working with him. 

He says “This is my way to remind myself of my humble beginnings.

Ramesh Babu still keeps his Maruti Omni but he does not rent it out anymore, the car now a lasting monument to his success, showing that one good choice coupled with hard work can lead to success.

Somehow, things have clicked for me,” says Babu, whose clients include politicians, police officers and film stars such as Salman Khan, Aamir Khan and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan. With a film on his life — expected to be released in three languages — in the pipeline, his Bollywood contacts may come in handy.

Ramesh, who speaks Telugu and Kannada at home, says, “There’s a phrase in Telugu which basically means that don’t forget your past, even if you reach the highest milestone in life. I truly believe in that.

Ramesh, a +2 dropout, who later finished a diploma in Electronics from Industrial Training Institute, has been a lucky man. Be it from his children, who are always in awe of their dad, or the elders in his family, Ramesh has always found encouragement.

Ramesh Babu reiterated the simple message to entrepreneurs that he told students to follow in his TED talk.
Work hard. Be Humble. Anything else is just luck.

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