The furniture business is one of the profitable ventures in Kenya with less competition. Finding a suitable business location and a reliable source of timber can help you increase your revenues. I quit my work as a primary school teacher to venture into the furniture business. If you wish to know how to start a furniture business, you can learn from my experience.
How I started My Furniture Business
It was challenging to decide whether to quit my job and focus on my business or retain my job and forego it. I started my furniture business while working as a primary school teacher. Most of the time would attend to my business after leaving work in the evening and on weekends. I didn't have much time to interact with customers and also market the business. The business was doing fine, but I knew it would make more money if I could run it.
I had hired a carpenter who would make furniture that I stocked in my business. I paid the carpenter per item he made. I would then sell the item at a profit. I also hired a salesperson to customers and also market the business.
My father was a carpenter and I had spent most of my time helping him in furniture making. I needed no more skills since I would make quality and beautiful furniture. On average, the business was making Ksh 20,000 profit. However, the business had more potential. After six years of teaching, making Ksh 21,000, I decided to call it a quit to concentrate on my business.
How I Doubled My Furniture Business Profits
Quitting my job gave me ample time to spend time on my business. It also helped me get rid of most expenses, like hiring a carpenter to make furniture. I started making furniture by myself and I would make more items than the carpenter I had hired. This helped me to stock more furniture that was in demand in my business. I was also interacting with my customers and they would tell me how they would want their items made. This helped me develop a good relationship with my customers, who helped me market the business through customer referrals.
Is Furniture Business Profitable in Kenya?
Yes. Many people are making a living from the furniture business. Furniture business revenues depend on your business location. People in the furniture business within town centers are likely to make more than those in rural areas. It is because the demand for furniture is high in towns due to the high population. Also, quality and beautiful furniture is a factor to consider in the profitability of the furniture business.
Challenges I Face in Furniture Business
The major challenge I face in my furniture business is the high prices of timber. Since the government discourages people from cutting trees, it becomes difficult to get timber. The available timber is very expensive, which makes the price of furniture also expensive. This discourages customers from buying furniture. In my rural home, I have a tree plantation and when the prices of timber go extremely high, I cut down a few trees and use them for my business.
The other challenge is that customers want furniture made from hardwood. Finding hardwood is challenging since hardwood trees take longer to mature. In such cases, I have to travel long distances to get hardwood. However, I’m hoping to buy a pickup to bring down the cost of transporting timber.
Read also: How I started a profitable barbershop.
Tips to Help You Start a Furniture Business
If you want to start a furniture business in Kenya, you need to ensure no competition. Ensure that the business is far from other furniture businesses. This will help you have a pool of customers who refer their friends to your business.
You also need to know your customer's taste in furniture. It is best to speak to your customers before making furniture. Get to know how they would want the furniture made and the type of timber to use. Hardwood is the best for furniture, but it is expensive, thereby increasing its overall cost. Some customers are willing to pay any price for good quality.
Stay updated with trends in the furniture business. Now and then, there are trends or and customers always want furniture with current trends. This requires you to up your skills and keep interacting with other carpenters to l new trends.
Get reliable and cheaper timber suppliers. Every business looks for ways to minimize expenses and maximize profits. As such, get suppliers who can supply you with timber at lower prices.