How to Start a Welding Business in Kenya

Welding

With the boom in real estate sector, many houses and business premises are coming up all over the country. New buildings need doors, windows, grills, gates and other fittings that are normally made out of metal (steel). Repairs of these steel products must also be done regularly.

As a potential entrepreneur, you will never go wrong when you start a welding business in the right location. Demand is high in areas where houses and other buildings are coming up. Set up a welding business and meet this ever rising demand for metal fabrication and repairs.

Location

As we have already indicated, a welding business will be very suitable in an area where many buildings are coming up. Your welding business should also be highly visible. Those passing around the area should know what you do and see some of your products displayed. This is free marketing. You can rent a room and work from outside in the open or talk to a business owner to allow you to operate your welding business in front of their shop.

Licensing

A welding business will normally require a business permit from the county government. Depending on the size of the business, the permit cost may vary from about Ksh7,000 to ksh20,000 or much more. Since welding is a very dangerous activity, you may need to comply with fire risk rules/certification. Please ensure that you confirm this requirement with your local county government. Different counties may have different laws. It is your duty to comply with the local laws.

Equipment

In welding business, the main equipment at the heart of this business will be the welding machine. There are very many welding machines in the market with different models, capacities and ratings. The prices equally vary depending on these parameters.

There is no ‘best’ machine. The type of work you plan to do and the capacity of your business will determine the type of machine you require. There are smaller machines suitable for light works and much bigger ones that can do heavy jobs. Select a machine which is best suited for the kind of welding works that you plan to do.

These machines are available in major hardware shops in Nairobi industrial area such as Aquva Agencies, Alibhai Shariff, Car and General, Elite Tools and many other industrial and electrical supply shops. Some shops in downtown Nairobi also stock these machines, especially along Kirinyaga and River Roads.

Apart from the welding machine, you will also require other portable power tools such as a grinder, a drilling machine and other basic hand tools such as files, hacksaw, hammers and consumables such as welding rods. Depending on the jobs you get to do, you may need to buy more tools as you progress with the business. Do not forget to buy safety gear (goggles, hand gloves, shoes, clothes) since welding can be very dangerous.

Materials

The amount and type of material to buy will depend on the items you need to make. Since your products will be made on order and customer specifications, there may be no need of stocking materials initially. The metal/steel used for making the products such as gates, doors, windows and other door parts come in different sizes and prices. This can range from Ksh300 – ksh500 or more per 20ft.

Services/Jobs

The types of services you can offer in welding business include making doors, windows, gates, metal grills, metal chairs and tables and many other types of metal furniture. You can also repair these items and other metal products. In addition, you can also fit the doors, windows, gates etc.

Making and fixing these items ranges from Ksh5,000 – ksh10,000 for windows and doors and as high as Ksh200,000 for gates. Repair depends on type of damage and distance from your work site, but can be Ksh1,000 – Ksh5,000. You can also make other metallic products such as containers, boxes etc. If you are located near a motor garage, you will also get welding jobs from car owners.

Profits

Many of those carrying out welding businesses take home between Ksh5,000 – Ksh10,000 on average. However, it could be less or more on some days. This will depend on the size of your business and your location.

Challenges

This business can sometimes be seasonal, affecting your cash flow. Prolonged power outages can also affect your operations. Sometimes machine breakdowns can cripple your business. Depending on the work, electricity usage can be about 15 units per day for larger businesses and about 6 units for smaller operations in a day. Electricity usage needs to be carefully monitored and controlled. Electricity costs can be a very big expenditure in welding business if not controlled.

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