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How to Start a Small Iron Nail (Misumari) Factory

roofing nails in Kenya

With Africa’s rapid population growth, demand for housing and other infrastructure has increased exponentially. In Kenya, the construction sector contributes to 7 percent of the country’s GDP. Whichever way you look at it, demand for construction products is on the rise and that is why we are talking about nail production as a business you can engage in.

What if you could start a small nail production facility so you can be supplying this growing industry with normal nails, roofing nails, U-nails and steel nails? What if you could partner with those producing roofing sheets to explore a wider market? Indeed, the opportunities here are limitless; but first let us show you how to put this together.

Getting Started

Step 1: Know How Nails Are Made

Nails are made from wire, through a special machine that cuts it into the desired shapes and sizes. The machine comprises three main parts i.e. wire reel (wire drawing machine), actual nail making machine and nail washing machine.

So you simply roll the wire to the reel and then feed it to the nail making machine. You will collect your ready nails after they are taken through the nail washer.

You can adjust the settings of your nail maker so it produces desired size, shape and diameter of nails. Actually the whole process if much easier than it sounds. You may want to watch a few Youtube videos to get a hang of it.

Step 2: Acquire the Machine

Unfortunately, the machine is not available locally and that’s where access to the global marketplace comes in handy. You may want to go shopping on platforms like Alibaba and Ebay. Alternatively you can arrange to attend the annual Canton Fair to do some shopping (this will set you back Ksh187,000 typically).

A typical nail making machine will cost you Ksh400,000. The machine averagely churns out 700 nails per minute.

Step 3: Acquire the Wire

Q195 steel wire in Kenya

Q195 wire used as raw material to make nails.

Wire is the raw material for producing nails. Generally it’s recommended to go for the Q195 low carbon wire. This costs about Ksh30,000 per tonne.

Step 4: Set Up The Factory

Lease some land preferably in a place near a major town. If in Nairobi, you can think of places like Kitengela, Mlolongo, Ruiru and Athi River as perfect spots. Naivasha is also a nice place given its proximity to the Northern Corridor and the upcoming inland port.

Recommended Budget

The budget starts from as low as Ksh500,000 to as high as Ksh1,000,000. That of course depends on how smart you are in terms of leveraging on resources such as digital media and personal networks.

Expected Returns

A 50 Kilogram bag of nails goes for Ksh4,200. So one tonne of raw wire would give you back Ksh84,000. So if you manage to supply at least 50 hardware shops within your vicinity (and sell one 50Kg bag to them per month) you would achieve sales of at least Ksh210,000 per month. A well marketed nail production facility can rake in as much as Ksh5,000,000 per annum in sales revenue.

The good thing is that there are no limits to how many clients you can get. By simply using a couple of ingenious sales tactic you can easily attract a large number of recurrent clients.

Final Word

This is a great opportunity because first, it goes a long way in helping a country like Kenya realize it’s fullest manufacturing potential. Besides that, it is an opportunity that is scalable and interesting to pursue. But as usual, we leave it up to you to decide whether to take it up or not.

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