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How to Start a Hardware Business in Kenya

Vincent Nyoike
Vincent Nyoike Kenyan SMEs

With increased construction, you can start and run a successful hardware business in Kenya. Starting a hardware business can be challenging, but with the right information, you can succeed. You need to grasp some secrets in the hardware business and be different from your competitors. This is how you can start and run a hardware business.

Carry out Market Research

Knowing the market segmentation before starting a business is critical and helps you prepare and overcome challenges in the market. It also allows you to identify the needs of the market and know how you can satisfy them.

For instance, you get to know fast-moving products to stock and how you can blend with trends. With proper market research, you can also identify the startup capital for the hardware business.

Read also: How to start construction equipment leasing business. 

Draft a Business Plan

You need to write an excellent hardware business plan. From the market research, you conducted, write a business plan indicating the following.

  • Startup capital for the hardware business
  • Hardware products to stock
  • Business location.
  • The strengths, weaknesses and business risks
  • How to counter the competition in the market

Read more: How to write a business plan. 

Places to Start and Run a Hardware Business

A hardware business thrives in places with construction activities. You need to find fast-growing areas to open and operate a hardware. You also need to counter check that the location has customers with high purchasing power to avoid making losses.

If you are in Nairobi, the best places to set up a hardware business are along Kangundo road and Magadi road.

Read also: How to start tents and chairs leasing business.

Secure Necessary Hardware Business Permits

To start a profitable hardware business, make sure that you have the necessary hardware business permits to avoid harassment from the authorities.

You need a single business permit. You can get it from the county offices for Ksh 10,000 every year. You also need to have a KRA ETR machine to make sure that you pay your business taxes.

Identify Hardware Products' Suppliers

You should get reliable and cheaper suppliers to retain higher profit. Most suppliers provide transport services to businesses and, as such, look for one that meets your needs.

Products to Stock in Your Hardware Business

You need to stock your hardware with fast-moving products. You do not want to stock products not in demand and keep them for too long. You can stock your hardware with the following products. 

  • Nails
  • Cement
  • Roofing sheets
  • Steel bars and rods
  • Nails
  • Plumbing pipes
  • Gutters 
  • Tiles

The best practice is to start small and grow your business over time. You can stock your hardware business with a little stock and keep adding more as you watch the trend and the demand. Identify those products that your customers are asking frequently.

How to Win the Competition

Many people have realized that the hardware business is profitable in Kenya. Many hardware businesses are established daily. Therefore, to win in the competition, it is essential that you:

  1. Set low and fair prices for your customers. Give your customers discounts for bulk purchases.
  2. Providing all the necessary products is that your clients have a one-stop-shop. This minimizes the chances of them shopping elsewhere and sticking there.
  3. Avail different modes of payment. For bulk purchases, customers avoid paying in cash. Instead, some may prefer to pay using card or money transfer services like M-pesa.

Read also: How to start a movie shop business. 

Start-Up Capital for Hardware Business in Kenya

The startup capital for a hardware business depends on location and the size of your business. To start a small hardware business, you need at least Ksh 600,000. The following is a capital breakdown.

  • Cement stock (400 bags) - 200,000
  • Steel bars and rods - 200,000
  • Rent and deposit - 50,000
  • Roofing sheets  - 250,000
  • Others - 100,000
  • Business permit - 20,000

Is Hardware Business Profitable in Kenya?

Yes. Generally, hardware is a lucrative business when you have customers. The profit margin is usually 10 percent of the sales. If you sell Ksh 50,000 daily, it means you get a profit of Ksh 5,000. However, profits can vary based on your profit margin.

How to Run a Hardware Business

You need to have proper records of all purchases and sales. It is important to monitor how much profit your business is making and identify fast-moving products.

You also need to have some knowledge of running hardware. You need to be familiar with your stock to advise customers about the best products and how to use them.

Read also: How start investing in the matatu business.


It is important to market any business to get customers. You can place adverts on social media by posting them in construction groups. Also, make sure that you have posters and business cards to give to your customers and through them, you can get customer referrals.

Final Word

With this, you should be able to start and run a profitable hardware business in Kenya. It is a profitable business and there is a high demand for its products since many Kenyans are building.