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Tuesday, December 6, 2022

How Iqbal Thangal built Rs 5 cr offbeat business with used containers from Rs 3 lacs

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In 2009, Iqbal Thangal founded Techno Cap Equipment Private Limited, a container home / office company. The business now clocks a turnover of Rs. 5 crore.

Iqbal Thangal produced candles and perfumes in Class 12 and sold them to shop owners, without getting paid for them. It was a great disappointment for the adolescent, who lost all of his savings in the small business he had founded. However, but the bad experience did not put out the zeal in him, and he continued to cultivate his ambition of becoming an entrepreneur.

At the age of 27, Iqbal invested Rs 3 lakh in an unusual endeavour involving the construction of living spaces, residences, offices, and even swimming pools out of repurposed freight containers, which has since developed into a Rs 5 crore turnover company, Techno Cap Equipment Private Limited, based in Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu.

Iqbal, “Our customers exist in Tamil Nadu, Kerala, and Karnataka and they range from corporations looking to construct labour quarters or temporary offices to individuals looking to construct a temporary house in their farmlands.” Since their inception in 2009, they have constructed approximately 300 offices, 100 farmhouses, 100 shops and restaurants, and approximately 20 swimming pools “The temporary container homes have their own advantages, the most important of which is that because it is a temporary structure, no permits are required.

Iqbal, 40, comes from Thrissur, Kerala, where he grew up in a middle-class home with three other siblings. Projects have been completed by Iqbal’s team in Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, and Kerala. While pursuing his MBA, Iqbal couldn’t pass up another opportunity to be an entrepreneur.

After his first year, he began a three-month internship at Ma Foi Management Consultants, a human resources firm in Cochin (now known as Kochi). By the end of his internship, Iqbal was so fired up that he decided to start his own consulting with two other classmates, but he left the company in 2008.” Soon later, the company was closed.

But everything changed for the better when Iqbal noticed the movement of cargo containers, during his visit to the port city of Kochi. It sparked the idea for container dwellings.

He subsequently relocated to Coimbatore, a city he was familiar with during his graduation, and established his company Techno Cap Equipment in October 2009. But the work was difficult, and he had to learn everything from the ground up. Things became problematic because the job required technical skills that he lacked.

“Because I didn’t have an engineering background, everything had to be learned on the job,” he explains. His first substantial order was from a postal delivery firm in Coimbatore, which required a vehicle to be outfitted with a cargo container.

Iqbal struggled to complete the task according to the client’s requirements and spent more money on the project than he had charged.

He says, “The client fought me about the delays, and the project cost me twice as much as I was paid. But I very much wanted o learn, and after a delay of two months, I delivered the container-mounted vehicle.”

As the days, months, and years passed, Iqbal honed his craft and began to take on increasingly difficult assignments.

The container homes and offices are outfitted with all of the modern facilities required for people to live in them.

Iqbal introduced container swimming pools in 2014. That was something new, which has piqued people’s interest,

“”A conventional 20-foot-by-8-foot swimming pool can cost roughly Rs 7.5 lakh,” he adds, adding, “We just erected the largest container pool in an international school in Kottayam, Kerala. It was 60 ft by 30 ft in dimension, which is nearly triple the size of a standard container.”

He claims that a container office can be built for Rs 6-12 lakh. A one-bedroom container home can cost between Rs 12 lakh and Rs 16.5 lakh, depending on the amenities included.

Despite the staggered periods of Covid shutdown, Iqbal had a successful fiscal year. Techno Cap Equipment clocked a turnover of Rs 5 crore, up from Rs 3 crore the prior year.

Iqbal Thangal, says, “Business was marginally higher as those with farmlands wanted to build a temporary house to stay in during the lockdown.”

Iqbal claims that prices have risen, and that a 20-foot container now costs roughly Rs 2 lakh, and a 40-foot container costs Rs 4.5 lakh.

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