Murungi started his ushering company from scratch, now he is reaping big!

Right from childhood to university, Asinani Murungi’s life has always revolved around mobilizing people.

That is why it is no surprise that when he chose to start a company, he settled for one which required mobilization of individuals.

Besides his day job, Murungi runs Dupree Ushers, a firm he founded in 2016 that provides ushering services for a wide range of clients.

“When I was beginning my leadership career, I was into a lot of mobilization and everything I did used to come out very well.  One thing I liked about mobilization was working with people and trying to demystify challenges. Then I gave myself a challenge where I could work with ladies. One time I saw a photoshoot of very many girls. This was the turning point as the idea of forming a company venturing in ushering services came into play,” Murungi says.

Speaking about the start, he says that the small savings he had accrued were used to get a few uniforms but to also feed his team members as they went for their first ushering event.

“It was an event where we had to usher in church. I asked each of my team members to pay for their transport to work. The function went on well and everyone liked our services.”

He says that from this simple beginning, he was able to grow the company gradually and as they say, the rest is history.

Between 2016 and 2019, all went well until 2020 when the Covid-19 pandemic hit the entire world and specifically in Uganda where public gatherings were banned.

This had big effect on Murungi’s ushering company whose life survived on gatherings.

 “Whereas business was moving well and we had got many clients, the onset of the pandemic had a big effect on us. There were just a few bookings,” he says.

Murungi says that despite the ban on public gatherings, there were a few people who would hold functions and these would hire his company for ushering services but this also proved risky and costly.

“Every time there was a rise in the number of infections, I would put the operations on hold. The girls would come from far and since public transport had been banned, commuting to work proved difficult to many of them since they come from different places,” he says.

He says that with time, their services were not needed as people were organizing functions with only a few people and this didn’t require ushering services.

Murungi, who holds a bachelor’s degree in Finance works at MTN Uganda as his full time job.

Business resumes

He says that following the full reopening, he decided to diversify to ensure that his business targets more clients.

To this end, he says he also ventured into events planning for clients who may not have time.

“We have friends abroad and most of them want to come when planning is done and we are fully doing this. We therefore plan and organize the entire function but also provide ushering services,” he says.


Murungi says whereas business has resumed, there are some challenges they face.

“The main challenge is transport since some functions are always upcountry. You have 20 girls and five boys and transporting them to venues upcountry and ensuring their accommodation is costly,” he says.

He says that on many occasions, they hire vehicles to help transport the employees but there are challenges when the vehicle gets mechanical problems.

“There are times a car gets mechanical problems and the client wouldn’t really count that on themselves. You have to dig deep into your pockets to pay for repairs.”

He says that delayed pay from the clients is affecting his business and the moral of the ushers who on many occasions want to be paid after working.

“You have to make sure the ushers are happy while working but this can only be like that if they are paid on time. On many occasions, clients choose to pay later after the function is done. If at all a function ends and the usher doesn’t get their pay, it feels bad,” he says.

As they say when the going gets tough, the tough get going, Murungi says he has now devised means of ensuring the company is paid some percentage before they work.

“We now negotiate 70% pay upfront so then I make sure most of these costs like payment for service providers and transport are covered,” he says.

He says in case the client doesn’t readily pay upfront, he uses his own money to cater for costs to ensure an excellent service is delivered.

Lessons learnt

After many years in the business, Murungi says he has learnt lessons and amassed experience at the same time.

He says he was also able to start a “small” branch in Kenya but acknowledges that the two markets are totally different.

“With this experience, I have started changing people’s perception about ushering. We are trying to make ushering a formal job since many people think it is for those who failed to find jobs,” he says.

Murungi adds that working with the young people is amazing and has made him learn new things.

 “It’s nice understanding what they like and how to deal with them. It’s a very beautiful experience and has made me acquire leadership experience more so, these are ladies. Sometimes you can’t go hard on them. Working with young people is something that enables you to acquire skills in conflict management and generally being inspirational and influential as a leader,” Murungi, says.

Since most functions are always on weekends and with his main job being one of a salesman, it is easy for Murungi to balance his main job and the side hustle.

“I am a person who moves. My formal job relates with the personal job that I do outside. I am not like a person who stays on my desk. So, it becomes easy,” Murungi says.

Today, Murungi works with 76 girls and 14 young men.

His says his ushering services start at Shs 700, 000 upwards, depending on where the function takes place.

This also depends on how the function looks so that they are able to plan better and also assign the right people to deliver the work.  


He advises young people not to give up because things will never be easy.

“Don’t accept giving up. The need for side income is real. A side income is a must. I started doing it when I was in S4. My sister had a shop and I bought airtime of 30, 000 that I left with her for sale as I returned to school. She would sell and when I was on holiday, I would come and get profit. I wouldn’t go broke at all,” he says.

He says that a side business is good, even if it rakes in Shs 100 a day.

Murungi said besides the ushering business, he also earns from voicing and producing audio adverts and animations.

He charges between Shs 200,000 and Shs 500,000 for each audio advert.

 “Don’t be over ambitious. Controlling expectation is key. The problem with young people is that they look at a deal and calculate what they get after. A real side hustle often starts small.”

Murungi cites his own example where success came two years after he started.

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