Low-Cost Business Ideas You Can Start from Home(PART 3)

#1. Day Care

Things were easier for working families in the past. Hiring a house-help was cheap, all you had to do was make a phone call, and a relative would send you a young house-help from the rural area. Such was the norm for many families, but things have changed today. If you’ve been following the news, house-helps have become very expensive because of the recently enacted law. Many parents are now shifting to daycare centers because of this. Don’t even get me started with rouge house-helps who abuse and even kidnap kids.

For the business-minded Stay-at-home mommy, this is a potential investment you can’t overlook if you live in an estate where there are many working parents with little ones. Why is it on my list? Well, unlike other business opportunities that require huge capital, starting a child daycare business costs next to nothing. Besides, all you need is a special liking for children and basic knowledge on early childhood development.

So I recently purchased a child daycare business plan prepared by Crack a Business Kenya because I wanted to understand more before I put my first foot forward. I must say there’s a lot to keep in mind before moving forward. Most families within Nairobi and its environs are desperately looking for the best daycare centers to take their children. Don’t trust my word? Go to Google and start typing ‘Daycare Centres.’ Look at the alternative keywords that people use to search the same information, and you’ll be amazed at how people are searching for daycare centers near them.

Starting out

Fortunately, you don’t have to lease a house to start out. You can operate a daycare business from your home, but you need to get legal approval on whether or not your home is suitable for operating as a daycare facility.

Registration

You need to think about getting the necessary licenses and insurance. Important licenses that you need to look for include:

  • Single business permit – from Sh4,000 to Sh15,000
  • Public health license – Sh3,000
  • Individual health certificate – Sh1,500
  • Education license (optional) – Sh9,000

Visit your county office to get all the information on licensing. You also need to think about purchasing a liability insurance cover to protect your house and the children.

Prepare your home and buy the right equipment

Hopefully, you have the phone number of an affordable carpenter and painter who can convert your house into a child-friendly environment. The carpenter can also help you make affordable equipment that you need to have.

Here is a list of commonly-used equipment in daycare facilities. Note that the prices depend on size and quality, so you don’t have to stick to my budget.

  • Mattresses – Sh4,000
  • Tables – Sh1000
  • Chairs – Sh500
  • Toys – from Sh50
  • Potties – Sh200
  • Assorted items like drawing books, charts and stickers
  • TV
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Utensils

You can buy these items from supermarkets or shops along Biashara street. Other places to consider are Kamukunji for plastic items and toys or Second-hand dealers in Gikomba.

Marketing

You need trust from parents so that they can entrust you with their kids. The best way to build a clientele base is through referrals. Network with parents and invest in business cards. Social media is also another great way to market your business, but you can always do this later on as you grow.

Additional staff

Your workload as you begin may not be a lot, but with time, you’ll need to hire additional staff to help you with the growing number of children. Make sure you do thorough background checks on applicants and let them produce relevant identification documents including a certificate of good conduct. The smaller the team, the better for your business, but make sure you compensate them well. You may need to hire:

  • ECD tutors
  • Cooks
  • Security personnel
  • Cleaners

Pricing

There is no clear formula for this. Before setting a price for your business though, check:

  • The competition
  • How much the parents are willing to pay per month
  • The quality of your facility and branding
  • The income level of residents in the area

Lower end daycares charge between Sh50 to Sh200 a day depending on the location. This is because most of these daycares are within low-mid level income estates and they tend to have basic facilities. There is less emphasis on aesthetics as long as the children feed and have someone to keep an eye on them.

Mid-level daycares charge between Sh200 to Sh500 while High-end daycares operating in places like Lavington and Nyari can charge up to a maximum of Sh2000 per day for their services. These daycares tend to provide extra services including insurance covers and on-call vehicles in case children fall sick.

Record keeping

Keep records of transactions and contacts of parents. You also need to have an exclusive business line where parents can call to check on their little ones.

#2. Hair Salon

A hair salon business can be a step in the right direction if you enjoy styling hair and performing manicures. It is the best home-based business to start on a low budget. You can start small with friends and family, build a clientele base and grow slowly as word about your excellent skills spreads.

A salon is a sensitive business venture because you will be dealing with products made from chemicals. You need formal training to be able to understand these products and how they react to different hair types.

Starting out

For a home salon, you need basic equipment like a blow dryer, combs, and styling products which can set you back approximately Sh21,000. If you are working on a tight budget, you may want to invest in services that are not equipment-intensive like plaiting.

Your equipment list can have things like:

  • Water heater – Sh3,000
  • Towels – Sh1,000
  • Flatiron – Sh3,000
  • Blow dryer – Sh2,000
  • Hair Dryer – 12,000

You can shop for these items in Supermarkets or Best Lady shops in town. Alternatively, you can shop online on sites like OLX if you want to reduce costs.

Do a good job and use the first few months to build a name for yourself. With time, you will be able to expand the business, rent a shop and hire more workers whom you can pay on commission.

Profit

A home-based salon can earn you around Sh.16,000 per month. This is enough income to help you budget and expand your business.

#3. Event Planning

Organizing events like weddings or corporate parties can be daunting. Instead of doing everything alone, many people hire event planners to help them. Event planning is a good income opportunity if you have the skills and passion. Event planning requires little capital to start, but you need to be comfortable in dealing with different people.

Start small

Most event planning businesses start from home enabling the mompreneur to save on overhead costs. When you start out, all you need is a laptop, internet connection, a mobile phone and a network of suppliers. With proper research, you can do so much with these tools. Eventually, you will be able to expand your business, but you need to be patient because this takes time.

Marketing

You can either choose to focus on the private market or the corporate market. The private market involves planning small weddings, reunion parties or family events. The Corporate market involves planning stakeholders’ meetings and trade shows.

Locate good suppliers

If you are working on a tight budget, you can negotiate with freelance suppliers who charge affordable prices for their services.

As an event  planner, you need to:

Possess good work ethics

Be flexible

Have great leadership skills

How do you start an event planning business with no clients?

Start using your contacts and email people you know. Your first job, no matter how small, is likely to be someone you know. If you do a good job, your skills will undoubtedly sell themselves, and the word will spread. Ask your contacts to recommend you.

#4. Laundry business

Many Kenyans are busy with their daily hassles that they don’t have enough time to clean dirty clothes at home. As a stay-at-home mom, you can start a laundry business and earn some good cash. This is a very lucrative business that is very profitable especially in mid-class estates and the leafy suburbs of Nairobi.

Starting out

You can wash your clients’ clothes manually or use a washing machine. This depends on whether you have enough capital to start out or not.

To start a laundry service business as a small home-based venture, you need a basic front-loading machine will get the job done. Buying a brand new machine that can handle 7kgs laundry load costs approximately Sh50,000. Aside from this machine, you need:

  • An iron box
  • A dryer
  • An ironing board
  • folding board
  • Detergents

You can buy these items at your local supermarket.

Standing out

As a home-based business, you need to stand out from the competition to penetrate the already growing market. You can offer door-to-door pickups for your busy clients or any other strategy you have up your sleeve to draw in and maintain customers. You can capitalize on social media to market your business or use word of mouth to get the word out.

As you grow, think about renting a room so you can have a small reception office and a large work area. Don’t forget to register as a single business entity.

#5. Cleaning Services

Yes, moms, there is money in this business – good money. Just like laundry, many people barely have enough time to clean their houses. They prefer outsourcing work to professional cleaners who can do an excellent job within the stipulated time. Aside from households, organizations like hotels, offices, and schools are willing to pay for professional work provided the job is done as per expectation. I love the cleaning business because it is very flexible. You can run it right at your home, but once you have a large client base, you may want to set up a commercial office in a suitable and accessible place.

What’s your area of specialization?

You can either choose to specialize in residential cleaning or commercial cleaning. Commercial cleaning is quite lucrative, but if you land a lot of household deals, that’s great!

Services

If you are sure this is the type of business you want to start, here is a list of what your clients expect you to do:

  • Washing floors
  • Cleaning the washrooms
  • Cleaning windows and doors
  • Emptying the trash cans
  • Arranging the office

Depending on the clients’ needs, you can render these services at least twice a week, over the weekend or in the evening.

Here is a list of items you need to have when starting out

  • Carpet cleaner
  • Vacuum cleaner
  • Bucket
  • Mop
  • Toilet brush
  • Spray bottle
  • Cleaning agents
  • Squeegees
  • Gloves and masks

Becuase you are starting out, you can rent some of the expensive equipment like the carpet cleaner and vacuum cleaner.

Marketing

There is demand for these basic services, no wonder I put it under the ‘Necessary Services’ category. However, you need to be patient and honest to thrive in the cleaning business. Ask your friends or family members for referrals. Facebook Ads are powerful and very affordable.

Pricing

Pricing depends on several factors including the market prices, the type of service you offer and the nature of the work. Before setting a standard rate, you need to make sure that the price you charge can cover your expenses while still giving you a good profit in the end.