Most Despised but Well-Paying Jobs in Nairobi

  • Some jobs tend to attract very few applicants because they are perceived by many to be backward and lacking in status.

    Thousands of youths who have studied to the level of colleges or universities and nursing ambitions of securing well-paying jobs avoid these jobs like plague.

    Sadly, the majority end up toiling and moiling on the streets in search of jobs in order to earn a lucrative income in vain.

    A few, however, have folded their sleeves and taken up these despised jobs, and they are doing just fine. takes a look at such neglected jobs which earn a profitable income.


    Hawking is one of the most underrated businesses that can earn one a good income. Selling commodities such as second-hand clothes, kitchen appliances, food commodities can lead to profitable earnings. For instance, a street vendor can earn up to Ksh 3,000-Ksh5,000 a day on average but this also depends on the choice of location.

     A spot check around the busy streets of Nairobi on areas around the Agha Khan walk, Tom Mboya, Mama Ngina, reveals scores of Kenyans selling various commodities in a bid to make their daily sales. 

    For instance, a university student took to social media to disclose that through hawking, her father has been able to pay her university fees alongside those of her two younger sisters.

    Vendors selling food along Nyerere Avenue in Mombasa on October 4, 2016.

    Vendors selling food along Nyerere Avenue in Mombasa on October 4, 2016.

    Garbage Collection

    Arguably one of the most overlooked businesses, the garbage collection industry has been a source of hope for youths who lacked employment opportunities. Many have ended up making very good bread from the business.

    Joyce Ngatia, a lawyer who doubles up as a garbage collector, revealed in a past interview with KTN News that she earns on average Ksh 500,000 a month from collecting garbage from ten estates in Nairobi. Some of the estates he mentioned included Syokimau, Westlands, Imara Daima.

    Armed with only two trucks and eight personnel, she begins the work at 4 am and ends at 1 pm when she finally dumps the garbage at Dandora.

    Her experience mirrors that of Grace Wangechi, an aeronautical engineer who admitted that lack of formal employment forced her to venture into a different field. She revealed to that she pays her three employees on average Ksh 800 daily.

    Garbage collection exercise in Nairobi in January 2021.

    Garbage collection exercise in Nairobi in January 2021.


    Car wash

    A recent survey carried out by, in estates such as Westlands, Huruma, Ruaka/Gachie, and parts of Pangani revealed that the car wash business serves about 100-300 cars in a day bringing in a daily income of Ksh13,000-Ksh20,000. 

    On average a motorbike is charged between Ksh80-Ksh120, matatu from Ksh150-Kah300, and lorries between Ksh1,000 and Ksh2,500.

    The survey, however, attributed the success of the business to the location, the size of the yard, and the number of personnel to ensure that the customers aren’t kept too long.

    “When considering location, it should be next to a busy road, clearly visible and easily accessible and not far from residential areas with many cars,” part of the survey read.

    Car wash

    File image of a car at a car wash



    Known for its wild and rowdy nature, touting is a lucrative venture that the majority of youth tend to opt for, a worthy business but not for the feeble.

    The transport sector mainly thrives due to city residents having to move to and from their workplaces. Reports indicate that some touts earn between Kh2,000 and Ksh4,000 a day. 

    For matatu owners, due to the Covid-19 restrictions, they can earn on average Ksh6,000 a day as opposed to Ksh8,000 they used to earn daily before the pandemic.

    Joining the fray are Boda Boda riders who also churn out a great income. A past Business Daily report revealed that they make over Ksh2,000 daily, which translates to approximately Ksh 60,000 a month.

    A tout stands watch at the matatu doors armed with a hand sanitizer, sterile gloves and a mask.

    A tout stands at a matatu door armed with a hand sanitiser, sterile gloves and a mask.



    Those in love with art tend to sway to the lucrative venture that is sculpting. This involves crafting various sculpts from stone, metal, ceramics, wood, and other materials. 

    Kioko Mwitiki, a Kenyan youth living in the United States of America detailed in a past interview, that his sculpts earn him up to Ksh10,000 on a daily basis.

    The sculpts can range from various items such as animals, appliances, or various human personalities which might be curved upon the request by a customer.

    An undated file image of a sculpture.

    An undated file image of a sculpture.


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