Wednesday September 13 2017

Earn tidy profit from metal workshops

A worker welds metal frames at a workshop in

A worker welds metal frames at a workshop in Kampala. One should master the required skills before investing in this business. PHOTO BY RACHEL MABALA 

By Dorothy Nakaweesi

A business can be profitable if you manage your accounts well, do research and have good customer care among other qualities.
Starting a metal workshop can be a profitable business according to experts. This is an idea premised on setting up a metal workshop to fabricate different items for stocking for any buyer to pick at will and also to fabricate on order.

Investment capital
Mr Newton Buteraba, the chief executive officer-House of Wealth, a local firm offering business advisory services in an interview with Prosper magazine, says: “Ideally, one would require a starting capital of about Shs2 million to buy the machines.”
Starting small means you can start from your home and then market your products to your neighbours and family.
However, if you want to go it large scale, Uganda Investment Authority (UIA) report shows that you would require an estimated fixed capital of $3,016 (Shs10.8 million) and operating costs of $119,612 (Shs430 million).

This is expected to generate revenue worth $164,786 (Shs593 million) in the first year of operation.
The workshop would be able to fabricate a variety of items as demand dictates such as doors, windows, beds, chairs, and gates.

Production process
According to UIA, the process involves cutting plates, tube pipes, angle lines, hollow sections and bars for a particular item and assembling them into an article, welding and grinding them.
Then, filler paste is applied where necessary and thereafter the article is sprayed.

Marketing
The market potential is great because the construction industry is among the fastest growing sectors of our economy.
There is a lot of demand for doors, gates, windows and burglar proofing.

Eventually, when you start the business, Mr Buteraba advises that you discover your target market.
Mr Buteraba says: “One needs to identify the target market first because it is key in this business. Will you be producing products for homes, schools, town council or you want to produce for the general market?”

Location is the other important aspect in this type of business.
Experts say you should establish this kind of business alongside roads which have a lot of traffic.
“Busy locations will give motorists a chance to glance at your products. This usually attracts them to branch off to check or buy.”
He, however, cautions: “Be mindful of the road reserve when establishing your business structures.”

Advice
Mr Buteraba says you need to acquaint yourself with the required skills before investing in this business. You will need at least a year of training to acquire the skills of the business from those in the market.
“You may not be earning but this experience will introduce you to the technicalities of the business and customers,” Mr Buteraba explains.

Creating networks will open up to the basics of the business and helps especially if you have a big order or if you have run out of some items.
Keeping records which showcase your designs is the other important aspect you should look at when investing in this kind of business.
He adds: “Avoid getting loans when starting this business and invest the little you have. If you are constrained, borrow from a friend who will not ask you for interest.”

Incentives
According to UIA, government is encouraging whoever is setting up any production unit especially if jobs will be created.
“The trade and commerce policies are all attuned to support any form of investment,” UIA report says.
Through the Private Sector Foundation Uganda’s project dubbed ‘Skills Development Facility,’ you can apply and get resources to acquire skills that will help you grow the business.

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