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Start An Electrical Hardware Business

elecIf you have noticed, we have previously discussed general hardware business. Today, we want to concentrate on electrical hardware business. This is a hardware shop that deals mainly with electrical items. You can read more about starting a general hardware business here

With many people now building their ownhomes, electrical hardware items are in great demand. Items such as sockets, switches, electrical cables, bulbs and other electrical fittings are selling very fast. Setting up an electrical hardware business will therefore be a great idea for aspiring entrepreneurs. This business requires a very good knowledge of electrical items, types, brands and qualities.

Location

Before settling on any location for your electrical hardware business, visit areas that have construction projects going on and observe which electrical items are in great demand. Talk to fundis and electricians in these areas, visit large electrical hardware shops, both wholesale and retail and get a good idea of some of the items that sell and know the average prices in the location.

Having done your small survey, you will be in a position to decide on the best location to set up your electrical hardware business. Choose a location that will give you maximum visibility and accessibility. In addition, this location should also have many construction projects or should be in a place which has many shoppers already.

If you settle on a location that is outside town, you should budget about Ksh10, 000 or Ksh25, 000 – ksh35, 000 for places in town for rent. These amounts will depend on the size of your shop and location. You should check and confirm the exact figure for the exact location that you choose. Depending on the premises you rent, you may need a few renovations or alterations to accommodate your stocks. Ksh15, 000 – Ksh20, 000 should carter for such modifications.

Permits

Your electrical hardware business will need a business permit and a fire certificate from the county government. A fire extinguisher must be installed in the premises to qualify for a fire certificate.

Your budget for these permits will be Ksh10, 000 – Ksh20, 000 depending on the size of your business.

Supplies

Your location and budget will determine where you source for your supplies in this business. There are many wholesale shops which sell electrical hardware items. In Nairobi, majority of these shops are located around Luthuli Avenue, Accra Road, Taveta Road, Gaberone Lane, Cross Road, Kirinyaga Road and many other parts of downtown Nairobi. Your ground work will direct you to other places as you research on the market.

Electrical hardware shops, including those outside town, get their supplies from these areas while those operating as wholesale shops also import their stuff directly. Importation requires bulk orders, high capital and bigger markets. You may need up to Ksh1 million to import these items cost effectively.

If you are starting small, just visit the wholesale shops in the areas mentioned and buy according to your budget and your target market. You will have to carter for your own transport since these shops do not offer transport neither do they deliver the items to you.

Sales

You should target to stock common electrical hardware items such as sockets, switches, extensions, bulbs, electrical fittings, meter boxes, electrical wires and cables, fluorescent tubes and their fittings, fuses, electrical tools and instruments such as meters, screw drivers and testers in your electrical hardware business. These items sell fast and you will always be assured of sales every now and then.

Bulb holders will retail at about ksh45- ksh150 depending on type, manufacturer and seller while bulbs sell for between ksh50 – ksh250. Switches and sockets can sell for between ksh85 – Ksh150 and ksh 100 – ksh350 respectively depending on type.

Many electrical hardware businesses report that their best sales days are around end month when many items are bought. On average, retail shops record daily profits ranging from Ksh2, 000 to Ksh10, 000 depending on location and size of the business. Those who retail and sell wholesale at the same time pocket Ksh15, 000 to ksh35, 000 in one day.

Challenges

Majority of these electrical hardware businesses cite their customers as the biggest source of challenges in this business. Electrical items can be complicated and technical. Many customers do not know these items by name but can only describe them. This gives a big challenge while trying to meet such customers’ expectations.

Other customers buy items and expect to exchange them after using them for some time. Many electrical items are very sensitive to installation and use and that is why many electrical hardware businesses rarely accept the items back after use.

Some items may not be bought as fast as you may expect. This will lead to dead stock occupying your shelves, locking in so much of your capital.

Like other Kenyans, many customers expect to buy high quality items at a cheaper price. They may not value the quality of the item very much but will just expect a lower price for what they want. They will not accept that the quality of the item dictates the price. Electrical items sometimes vary very little physically but very different in quality.

Do not be surprised if your customers ask you to go and fix for them the items they have bought from you such as sockets, switches, lights or other electrical items. Ensure you have a contact of a qualified electrician to help with such cases.

Tips of Success

Despite all the above challenges, you can still make good returns from an electrical hardware business by carefully studying your market to learn what sells most and fast then stocking more of these. Keep up with the trends in electrical hardware and electrical items in general. Learn about what is new and familiarize yourself with what is current in the business to avoid issues of slow moving stock or plain dead stock.

Be friendly to your customers and offer to help whenever they seek advice or an electrician to fix their items. This will help ease communication between you and your customers, helping you to attract more and retain the ones you have.

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