Starting a photocopy business in Kenya, all you need to know


You may confuse it with a cyber cafe business which is in another league all together. For a photocopy business, the main equipment you need to start is a photocopier and a computer.

It is one of the businesses that was feared could be wiped out by the emergence of the digital era which was poised to do away with paper work but a walk in busy streets of Nairobi, for example, you will realise that the centuries old business is still viable.

Leave alone the busy Nairobi CBD where the business can be spotted in multiple numbers in almost every building, it has also continued to pop up in every area countrywide due to its easy-to-start nature and limited barrier to set up.

111. Printer

However, its simplicity to start should not lead you to invest blindly. Always strive to know some few basics that will lead you to running a thriving business as listed below.

Acquiring a license

License is one of the most important things to think of before any other step in starting a business as it keeps you at peace with authorities.

Here, you need the local authority license which is a requirement for all businesses. The cost varies from county to county with the average cost being Sh3,000 for a standard business.

There is also a kopiken license from the copyright body which costs Sh1,500 for a 3 in 1 small office printer, Sh3,500 for 1 to 2 normal size copiers, 3 to 5 normal size copiers Sh5,000, and Sh7,000 for 6 to 10 normal size copiers.

Remember not having the required license attracts penalties hence it is better to be safe than sorry.


Just like in every other business, photocopy business needs strategic positioning.

Places experiencing high human traffic such as in buildings and highways can be ideal. You should also consider surrounding facilities such as campus or technical institution targeting students who are the most consumers in this area of business.


As mentioned earlier, the main equipment needed in this business is a photocopier and a computer.

Being one of the basic equipment, you should be very careful when choosing a photocopier to work with and in this case, you need to factor in factors such as:

-scale of your business, 

-the ease of maintenance and repair. Do not buy a photocopier whose spare parts cannot be easily found.

-printing speed



-user friendliness, etc

Photocopiers come in different types namely, 3 in 1 with a printer which comes with a copier and scanner, HP Deskjet 2050A which is an all in one printer costing between Sh5,000-8,000, and HP 2515 going for Sh16,000.

You can also get the machines at a reduced cost when you buy second hands but ensure you source from a trusted dealer to avoid any inconveniences.

For the computer, any standard one should be able to connect with your photocopier and do the job. It is advisable to go for good processing powers, depending on the other services you may offer.

Your photocopy business may be in a cyber, which means you need a computer that connects easily to the internet.

Luckily for you, the prices of computers have greatly decreased yet all the computers have basic functions.

You will also need a scanner of which a good one will cost you roughly Sh7,000-14,000 but is you have a 3 in 1 printer, this won’t be necessary as you do no need a scanner.

A laminator is another required thing. Most people will come to laminate A4 papers but if you can buy a laminator which can do A3s the better. A standard laminator in Kenya costs Sh4,000 -7,000

You also need a binding machine which is purchased based on how many pages it can bind at go. Most colleges only need to bind 50 to 70 pages at a go.

And finnally on the equipment, you need supporting tools that include stationery, staplers, spiral binders, flash drives, etc.

Possible returns

Like any other business, the goal when starting a photocopy business is to make a profit.

The price of photocopying a single page in black and white usually ranges from 1 shilling to 5 shillings.

When it comes to printing, the cost ranges from 3 shillings to 5 shillings.

If the page is colored, it goes up to 20 shillings per page.

For glossy pages, the prices vary from 5 shillings to 50 shillings per page. If you still want to make more, try a bigger paper size and you can charge more.

Remember, the factors that will influence your pricing include the quality of printing, location, market demand, and demographic.

Finally, it is always important to find your niche in your business and extra services such as offering public services such as KRA pin registration, having a typist to type documents, etc will give you an edge over your competitors.


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About Kuza Biashara

About Kuza Biashara

Starting a business is a leap of faith even in the best of circumstances. We at Kuza Biashara are focussed to encourage these daring small business owners who have the potential to innovate and change the world by contributing to the nation’s economy and livelihood.