How to Start a Hardware Business In Kenya: Full Guide

Invest at least KES500,000 so that you can manage to purchase important inventory

Carson O.
10 Min Read
FILECourtesy -
  • Do an extensive research
  • Know your market location
  • Gather enough capital
  • Specialize products that are fast selling

Starting a hardware business in Kenya is a very cash-intensive deal. To have a reasonably profitable business, you will have to invest at least KES500,000 so that you can manage to purchase important inventory. You can, however, choose to start with only KES50,000 and specialize in minimal inventory. This article will, therefore, guide you on how to start and run a hardware business in Kenya.  

What is a hardware store?

A hardware store is a shop that specializes in selling housing or construction materials. Such materials include cement, iron sheets, nails, hammers, wheelbarrows, saws, spades, spirit levers and many more.

With definitions out of the way, let’s dive into more important information…

Requirements needed to start a hardware business in Kenya

1. Get a Business Plan

Business plans are essential for a hardware business in Kenya because of the following reasons:

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  1. It provides a roadmap – A hardware business plan helps you identify your goals, determine the resources you need, and plan your strategies to achieve those goals.
  2. It will help you secure funding – A hardware business plan is often required when seeking funding from investors or lenders. A well-crafted business plan can help convince them that your business is a worthy investment and that you have a clear plan for how you will use their money.
  3. Identifies potential challenges – By conducting a market analysis and identifying potential challenges, a hardware business plan can help you prepare for and overcome these obstacles. It can also help you identify new opportunities and adjust your strategies accordingly.
  4. Improves decision-making – A hardware business plan requires you to think critically about various aspects of your business, including market trends, customer needs, and financial projections. By doing so, you can make more informed decisions that are grounded in data and research, rather than relying on guesswork or intuition.

Purchase our comprehensive hardware business plan today. Take the first step towards building the successful hardware business of your dreams.

2. Know your market location

Starting hardware is like any other business that needs a solid market. You will need to identify a good place where there are construction sites within a 10km radius.

You can also inquire if there are people purchasing land in the area. People often buy land to build family homes. In places near or within business districts, land acquired will most probably be used to build offices or any other real estate.

Another way of finding out if a target location has a market is by assessing whether there are other hardware stores. If so, go and talk to the store owner. Subtly bring in the topic, being careful not to expose your ambition of being their competitor.

3. Gather enough capital

A good hardware store will require KES500,000 at least. Anything less than this means that competitors will outsell you.

This startup capital will enable you to pay rent 3 months in advance, purchase inventory, market your business and get the necessary licenses needed for your hardware store.

Potential sources of capital include loans, savings and money from friends and relatives. To access loans, you will need to have a good credit report. More about credit reports and scores here.

4. Specialize in products that are fast selling

As soon as you start selling, you will notice that some products sell faster than others. For example, nails are used in bulk and will probably sell more than any other inventory. You see, these nails are not only used in construction but also in carpentry.

Stock enough of these fast-selling products so that your customers know that they can rely on you for any product they need.

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You may also specialize in major products such as cement or iron sheets. In this case, you will be able to make relationships with suppliers and this will help your business grow.

5. Find a suitable means of transport for the hardware products

Starting a hardware business means that you will need to supply your products to construction sites. Things like cement or iron sheets will need you to look for a means of transport.

Although the person funding the construction should have figured out how to transport the material, having a ready solution goes a long way toward customer satisfaction. Alongside this, you can make more profits from selling that transport service,

You may choose to have your lorry or pickup deliver the material or choose to talk to other truck owners.

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Having a transport solution that customers can rely on is key to maintaining smooth business operations.

6. Marketing

Marketing is paramount in this business niche.

A good question to ask yourself; Why would a customer choose my store over a competitor?

Marketing expands your customer base. More contractors know you and in a few months of advertising and investing in social media and Google Search Engine Optimization, your conversions will spike.

Utilize platforms like Facebook and Instagram that have affordable ad placement prices. Maximize on location and target audience as you select a favourable ad option.

7. Business management and customer service

You need to keep a record of the material that is selling daily and how much you are making from each sale. Proper record-keeping will help you identify possible opportunities and threats to your business in advance. It would help if you used good record-keeping software such as Tally in your hardware.

If you plan on having an employee or two, you need a good business management strategy.

Your employees should have the power to grant customers discounts, without the need to call you every time. Of course, these discounts should be limited to prevent loss.

Train your employees on how to treat customers and offer good customer service. If your employees mishandle clients, you will have no one to sell to.

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This step is just as important as any other in this article. You need to create a business till number from Safaricom so that your clients can pay without having to cater for transaction charges.

After creating your till number or Mpesa Pay-Bill, link it to your bank account so that money flows directly. This goes a long way toward creating a good credit score and report so that if in future, you require funding to expand your business, (which you will need) you will get the loans without a lot of trouble.

All businesses in Kenya should be registered and approved by the necessary government agencies. You will also need to purchase a single business permit.

For more information about licensing, your local huduma centre will give you the latest and most credible advice.

10. Invest in security for your hardware

Hardware businesses are prone to theft, especially at night. For this reason, you need to invest in security.

Purchase good doors and grills for your windows. Good padlocks and antigens will help secure your business. You may also consider hiring a guard. This, however, is for larger enterprises.

Invest in alarm systems that alert the police and other people when burglars attempt to steal from your store.

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how to start a hardware business in Kenya

11. Planning for Growth

Once established, you can expand into additional locations, widen your inventory selection, and invest in a delivery truck. Opening other branches requires sizable capital, so pursue financing options as your business matures. Introduce new product categories gradually based on local demand. For delivery services, consider purchasing a truck or partnering with a logistics company. Growing sustainably relies on recruiting and training more great employees too.


Despite being cost-intensive, a hardware business reaps a lot of profit if you follow the above guidelines for starting and running a successful hardware store. ­

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I am a multi-faceted professional with a strong foundation in Business and Finance, honed since 2020. Additionally, I possess a deep passion for automobiles, serving as an avid car enthusiast. In parallel to my diverse interests, I am also a dedicated student pursuing a career in the medical field.
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