Block making (commonly called block industry) business can be a very profitable venture. It is funny to me that some people still think that block making is a vocation for the uneducated and unskilled. To the contrary, it is a lucrative business that can be scaled to become a large employer of labour. Whether you are a school dropout, a graduate, a professional or a retiree looking for profitable business to engage in; block making is a venture to consider.
The block industry is growing rapidly, why? The simple reason is rising population and increasing housing needs.
Nigeria is estimated to have a population of 182 million people with an annual growth rate of 3 percent. The country is rapidly urbanizing with almost half of the inhabitants already living in cities. Some studies estimate that by 2050, seventy-five percent of the population will be urban based. Any wonder there is pressure on shelter. This, in addition to increasing government focus on housing development has defined the rapid growth in real estate.
Housing is needed for various purposes including shelter (residential accommodation), recreation, offices, places of worship, markets, schools, shopping malls, hotels, parks, amongst others. An essential component used in the construction of these properties is concrete block. For this reason blocks are always in demand. It therefore provides a good opportunity for investment. If you have ever thought of taking advantage of the ever expanding real estate sector, consider investment in block industry.
Block industry is a venture which involves setting up a facility to mould blocks of various sizes in large quantities and selling to people who are building houses or contractors handling construction projects of different forms. The types of blocks a block industry mould largely depends on the type of moulder installed.
The block making plant considered here is one that produces concrete blocks of 9 and 6 inches. The major raw materials required are sand, cement and water. The blocks are usually either hollow or solid as are commonly used in major building construction works. More sophisticated block industries can be set up to produce all types of blocks including hollow blocks, solid bricks, curbstones, slabs, retaining walls, etc. For this kind of output, a multifunctional block making machine will be required.
Now block making business can either be capital intensive or labour intensive depending on the amount of money you have to invest. A labour intensive model will require investment in the basic machines with a large part of the production process being handled by human labour. Most of the block making plants we see around adopt this model. With an investment as little as N500,000 or even less, you can set up your business on this scale assuming you already have vacant land. On this scale you will be producing between 200 to 500 blocks per day depending on your strength or amount of labour employed.
However setting up a complete line of block making plant with sophisticated equipment in a large expanse of land will require much more investment. On this scale, it is a very capital intensive venture.
My goal in this blog is to point my readers to ventures that can be undertaken in micro, small and medium scales. Block industry is one of such ventures. In whatever scale you are capable of operating, block making will make you some good money. A small block industry producing say 500 blocks a day can be making as much as N10,000 in profit if you are able to develop a ready market. This will translate to N50,000 per week for a five day working week and N200,000 per month net of all expenses. Isn’t that cool?
Read on to know What You Will Need to Establish Your Block Industry
This is the number one thing you will need to establish a block industry. A piece of land measuring 60 x 120 sq.m will be enough for a beginner. You can either buy the land outright if you can afford to or rent it or even partner with land owners. However, in acquiring your land, you must give consideration to the topography. Don’t site your block making business in a water logged area or swampy environment. This will affect your business because your block will continually be moist, or can be carried away by erosion and most importantly delivery will be affected because vehicles may find it difficult accessing your site to pick your blocks. For this reason, ensure that your plant is located on a dry land.
- Moulding Machine
The block moulding machine, perhaps, is the most important piece of equipment you will have to acquire to set up your block industry. There are locally fabricated machines that are manually operated. There are also automatic moulding machines and multifunctional machines that can be imported from China, India, Germany, etc.
- Standard Source of Power
You will need regular power supply to keep your vibrating moulding machine running. A diesel generator is highly desirable. Most operators use Lister engine. We hope there will be a time in Nigeria where entrepreneurs will no longer need to provide their own source of power.
- Construct a Shed
You will have to construct a shed to house your block moulder and your Lister Engine. This will protect these equipment from rain. The shed is a simple structure with four beams and without block walls but covered with a roof. If you have the resources, you can carve out an area with block walls within the shed to serve as your office, changing room for staff and a store to keep your raw materials, particularly cement.
- Source of Water
Water is a very crucial material in the production of concrete blocks and you will be needing it in very large quantity and regularly too. Water is needed to mix the cement and sand as well as to sprinkle on the moulded blocks to enhance its hardness. The best strategy is to dig a well in your site for regular water supply. If you have the resources then sink a borehole but a dug well will serve the purpose adequately.
- Delivery Van
An open pick-up vehicle is adequate to serve as your delivery van. You will need this van to enable you deliver products to your customers at their sites. A serviceable fairly used vehicle can serve this purpose and as you scale up your operations, you can acquire a suitable truck.
- Wooden Pallets
Get a carpenter to construct wooden pallets, as many as possible, depending on the capacity of your plant. The pallets are used to carry the moulded blocks to the drying place.
Other equipment you will need to work include shovels and head pans. The quantity you will buy will depend on the scale of your production and the number of hands working on your facility. These items are easily available at any hardware of building material market around.
A key success factor in this business is to locate your industry in a rapidly developing area with a lot construction works going on. This will not only ensure regular demand for your products but also make delivery easy because most of the people that will be buying from you are those building around your location. It is also essential to locate your block making factory on a dry land to avoid flood destroying your blocks and other raw materials, such as cement and sand. So it is important that before you set up your factory, you do a detail study of the environment to ascertain both the commercial and technical viability of your project.
Your success will largely depend on your organization skills, your capacity to reach out to bricklayers, building contractors and other people in charge of building projects. Reach it to these people and get them to patronize you with whatever incentive you can offer.
You will also have to make arrangement for regular supply of the materials you will need, especially cement and sand. There is nothing as bad as not being able to meet order because you are not able to source materials. You should develop good relationship with cement and sand suppliers so such that you can get these items on a single phone call whether or not you have the money to pay immediately.
Though many of the workers you will have will be daily paid labour, you will need to hire experience workers to operate the moulding machine as well as the sand and cement mixer. For these process, you will need people who have some experience to know the right mix of material to produce the quality of blocks required.
Depending on your scale, you will need an admin and account staff to help organize things around and liaise externally on corporate matters as well as keep the books. A marketing person may be required to manage relationship and develop business. These functions can be handled by you the entrepreneur if you have the necessary skills and operating on bootstrap.
Very important is the need to have a security guard to man the entire facility. This is important because your block making facility is usually open space and you will be needing somebody to ensure that your unsold blocks and unused materials are safe and secured and that your equipment is not vandalized.
Every business start up need to be carefully planned to ensure enduring success. If you are interested in starting a block moulding industry and require assistance with business planning, feasibility studies, registration of your business and/or the sourcing of equipment, feel free to contact us at kobotalk.
To your success as always!