Self-employment is good. It is the only thing you can do day and night and feel contented, that you have done something meaningful. You cannot compare employment and business. This is because with a business you are your own boss, but with employment, your boss is always on your neck regardless of the effort you put in.
Business is however not for everyone, especially not for the faint-hearted.
Small-scale businesses have been on the rise in our country, especially due to the high cases of unemployment. If you are thinking of starting something, then the smokies and eggs business is a choice you might want to consider.
First and foremost, you need capital, less than Ksh.10,000. For starters, you need a smokie grill or trolley that goes for around Ksh.6,000, a supply of smokies and eggs and of course a source of the fire.
For smokes, you can get them at the nearest Farmer’s choice Shop, where a packet of smokies, containing 22 pieces goes for Ksh.330. As for the eggs, you can get supplies from your nearest shop or source from friends, where normally a tray goes for Ksh.300 or Ksh.280, depending on your supplier.
A strategic location to locate your business is also necessary. You need to place your business where people can easily access it. For instance; near bus stops and stages, around learning institutions, around bars and clubs, around places hosting social events, or generally any other place you think people can easily access.
The profit margins in this type of business are huge. Allow me to take you through.
When you buy a packet of smokies at Ksh.330, with 22 pieces, which means each piece goes for Ksh.15. So how about you sell a piece at Ksh.25? You automatically get a profit of Ksh.10. And if you are in a highly-populated area where you can sell like five or more packets, you get very high returns.
If you manage to sell five packets a day, with each packet containing 22 pieces, you will have sold 110 pieces. If you sell each at Ksh.25, you make Ksh.2,750. The expenses you will have used that day are averagely 330 X 5 = Ksh.1,650.
Plus kachumbari cost which is averagely Ksh.100 for tomatoes, onions and dhania. That adds up to Ksh.1,750. Total profits from that sale will add up to Ksh.2,750 – 1,750 = Ksh.1,000. Simply put, you will make a profit of Ksh.1,000 in a day.
If you decide to sell eggs as well, your profit will be elevated. Take for instance you sell averagely 2 trays of eggs per day. That is 60 eggs, with every egg costing Ksh.20, thus making Ksh.1,200 a day.
The expenses involved for eggs per day are Ksh.600 for two trays of eggs. That means, the profit you will make in a day for eggs is Ksh.600
The best part is here… If you decide to do both eggs and smokies, your monthly profits/income estimates will be Ksh.48,000 in a month.
And just in case you do not have time to run the business due to other engagements, you can hire someone for the day at Ksh.200 per day. You can also invest in more than one smokie and eggs business and employ people to work for you.
Most people do not want to venture into this kind of business because they feel it is of those who are not educated. How about you give that a second thought now? You can actually do this as a side hustle.
For instance, if you are a regular student in college, you might need an extra penny at the end of the day and this might be a good idea for you. After classes, you can do this in the evening till late in the night. Even if you are already employed you can do this alongside your full-time job.
Roasting and selling smokies is also stress-free. It only requires basic culinary skills, and of course marketing and communication skills to keep your customers and get new ones. You can do it on a part-time basis or even consider full time.
Damaris Ndinda, 38, has been in the business for the past eight years. She was initially a tomato vendor but poor returns forced her to venture into the boiled eggs and smokies trade.
The low capital required to start the business was a boost for the single mother of two who lives in Shauri Moyo, Nairobi.
“The biggest expense goes into buying a trolley,” Ndinda says.
“Today it costs Sh.5,000 but when I started the business it costed Sh.3,000. I could not afford a trolley then, so I rented one for some time until I saved enough to buy my own.”
She wakes up at 4:30am and leaves for Gikomba market, where she buys six trays of eggs at Sh.1,620 and five kilos of smokies at Sh.1,100.
She also buys onions, tomatoes and pepper needed for kachumbari and kicks off the business at her workstation at Muthurwa market at 6.am.
“Peak selling time is from 6.am to 8.am and 5.pm to 8.pm. Many Nairobians, especially men, eat boiled eggs for breakfast. They prefer eggs and smokies because they can eat them on the move,” she says.
On a good day she sells all the five kilos of smokies and the six trays of eggs, but on a bad day she sells four trays of eggs and three kilos of smokies.
With a profit of Sh.220 per kilo of smokies and Sh.300 per tray of eggs, she makes between Sh.1,800 and Sh.3,000 in profits daily.
The business pays her rent and puts food on the table for her two children.
“I have educated my eldest daughter through high school thanks to this business. I plan to do the same for my younger one, who is in Form One. The business also supports my mother and younger siblings back home.”
She remembers a friend advising her to consider starting another business because her friend thought selling eggs and smokies would not earn her enough to put her child through school.
“Whenever I meet the friend I remind her that I am still in the same business. I fail to understand why some people look down on such businesses yet they pay more than some office jobs.”
Her trolley, she says, has been a game changer in the business. Its transparent glass advertises the tasty snacks within. The trolley also harbours a jiko that keeps the eggs and smokies hot, making them tastier.
Ndinda also appreciates the trolley’s portability, which enables vendors to move around with ease in search of customers.
She says that without the trolley her job would be difficult. Hard work and resilience carry the day, she says. She urges unemployed Kenyans to try out the business.
“Don’t let lack of money discourage you, I began with a rented trolley and now I own my own,” she says.
If you are there and wondering what to do with the little capital you have, here’s an option for you. You can try this out and see how it turns out.
Written By Justine Nyachieo
Business Man & Mentor