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Profitability Of Concrete Block Making Business In Nigeria

olaolu-abidoye

Profitability Of Concrete Block Making Business In Nigeria

Profitability of Concrete Block Business

I welcome you dear friend.

I would like to unleash the profitability of this concrete block business to you by starting with my experience in the business as a teenager. 

My dad happens to be an artisan skillful in welding and iron/metal craft business. Along the line, he saw an opportunity in the building construction industry and being a business minded person, he quickly maximized the opportunity by setting up a concrete block production business. He started the business on a small portion of land serving as setback to our residential building at that time. Within a year in this concrete block business, he acquired another plot of land beside our place of residence, bought a delivery truck and also went into cement business. This concrete block making business was really the stepping stone to his financial breakthrough. 

As fate would have it, my dad has two male kids, myself and my elder brother who also have passion for the business. We were very vast in the concrete block business because we made ourselves available during some weekends and vacation periods in order to support him in concrete block production and consequently reduce labour cost.

In the same vein, after my graduation in school as a Civil Engineer, I had the plan of setting up my own civil/building engineering firm by starting with a concrete block production business. I prepared an award winning business plan on this concrete block production business which made me to acquire the basic equipment necessary for launching my concrete block production business idea.

As a result of my experience and exposure in the construction industry, I realized that some of the causes of building collapse cases prevalent in our society are result of inferior, low quality and substandard construction materials being used by most builders and contractors of this age. The concept in this book also addresses the solution to housing deficit in the society by making you know how to reduce the cost of producing concrete blocks for your house building project or customers and consequently make home ownership affordable for all.

I have put in place a strategy to reduce building collapse cases due to low quality concrete blocks and at the same time reduce the cost of producing the concrete blocks.

In our company we always advice our clients to allow us manufacture on their project sites all the concrete blocks we would use for their construction/building projects. This strategy has really helped us in executing quality and safe civil/building projects and also reduced construction material cost for our clients. 

If you are also out there looking for a profitable business to venture into, concrete block production business is a good one for you considering its profitability with the fact that we are in a developing country where the need for civil/building structures are on increase for residential, commercial, educational or religious purpose.

If you are a builder, civil engineer, real estate consultant, architect or you want another source of income, I would like you to consider this business and join me in the race of reducing building collapse cases and tackle housing deficit challenge in our society.

I am always available to give you the necessary support in making you record success in this business. 

Success Factors for the Offsite Concrete Block Production Model

A key success factor in this business is to locate your industry in a rapidly developing area where a lot of construction work is 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. (Because, location is key and very important for the on-site production model)

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 out 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 for materials.  You should develop good relationship with cement and sand suppliers so that you can get these items on a single phone call whether you have the money to pay immediately or later.

Though, many of the workers you will have will be daily paid labour, you will need to hire experienced workers to operate the molding machine as well as the sand and cement mixer.  For this process, you will need people who have some experience to know the right mix of materials 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.

Likewise, you need to have a security guard to man the entire facility.  This is important because your block making equipment is usually in the open space and you will need someone to protect your concrete block site, to ensure your unsold blocks and unused materials are safe and secured and that your equipment is not vandalized.

HOW TO SET UP YOUR OFFSITE CONCRETE BLOCK PRODUCTION BUSINESS IN NIGERIA

1. Acquire a Land space: The landed property on which to produce your concrete blocks for sale is the determinant of your success in this business. As a newbie in this business if you cannot afford a larger expanse of land, I will advise you to get at least a plot of land measuring 60fts x 120fts in a developing area where home building activities is on increase.  

Developing areas are good location for this concrete block business and also ensure your land space is by the road side as this will enhance the visibility of your business and patronage than the one located in an obscured area. Make sure the land is not a swampy or waterlogged area because, this can affect the quality of your concrete blocks and deter curing process. Swampy and water logged area would likewise cause vehicle to sink, it will not be a palatable experience delaying the delivery of concrete blocks especially when there is an urgent need to make supply to customers, as this will affect your reputation and integrity and this is tantamount to poor service delivery. So, you need to strategically look for a dry land in good location for your concrete block production business. 

2. Buy Moulding Machine: The quality of your molding machine has a great contribution to how well your concrete block will come out during concrete block production. 

A good molding machine will have a 9” and 6”molds that can produce good shaped concrete blocks and also have the ability to vibrate well, because a poorly vibrated concrete block will lack the required strength for building construction purpose, so be guided when buying your molding machine. I will advise you to buy your molding machine from a seasoned fabricator and go with someone that already knows the pros and cons of the concrete block business who is not a newbie like you.

3. Buy Diesel Lister Machine: This will be used to power your block molding machine.

 There are single and double cylinders, go for the single cylinder because the single one consumes lesser diesel and can power all your equipment effectively. 

You can use it to power your molding machine and your pumping machine. Ensure you get the original, if you don’t know how to identify the original, take someone that knows better along with you while going. 

4. Buy an Electric Concrete Block Molding Machine: Electric concrete block making machine is now a substitute for the conventional molding machine and lister machine discussed above.       

A complete electric concrete block molding machine comes with a molding machine and a rotor engine with a power generator capable of powering the molding machine when electricity supply is not available. The electric concrete block molding machine is cheaper compared to the conventional molding machine and lister engine. 

HOW TO SET UP THE ONSITE CONCRETE BLOCK PRODUCTION MODEL

The Onsite Concrete Block Production Model is the new way of making money from Concrete Block Business in Nigeria. This model allows you to transport your concrete block production equipment down to your customer’s site and you will produce all the special and standard blocks needed for the construction work of your clients.

This model requires minimal capital to setup compared to the Offsite Model whereby you produce and stock concrete blocks on your production site and wait for customers to come and buy from you.

The Onsite Concrete Block Production Model makes use of the electric concrete block making machine which is very easy to move from one site to another. 

Current Equipment Cost of Starting The Onsite Concrete Block Business Model

1) Electric Concrete Block Molding Machine: #400,000

2) 3.5kva – 4.5kva Generator: #120,000 to #150,000

3) Hard Wooden Pallets: 350units @ #500 per unit

4) 5,000 Litres Drum: About #140,000

5) Shovels, Wheelbarrow, Cutlass and other small tools: Budget #50,000 for this.

Budget between

#750,000 to #800,000 for this Model

Features and Advantages of the Electric Concrete Block Molding Machine over the Conventional one that uses lister engine.

The benefits of this Electric Block Molding Machine to the success of your block molding business are enormous and cannot be overemphasized.

Now,

Advantages of Electric Concrete Block Molding Machine over the Conventional Moulding Machine;

 It was on a fateful Sunday evening that my dad needed to kick start the lister engine of his moulding machine so as to confirm whether the lister mechanic did the repair work perfectly before the following day which was Monday,  we suddenly heard him scream for help, egbami o, Tayo, Olaolu, talo wa nile ooo.  (please help, who is there? Olaolu, Tayo, come and rescue me)

Before we knew what was happening and got to the point where he was trying to kick start the concrete block lister engine, the agbada that he wore on that day had almost cut off his neck in his effort to rescue himself from the trap of the lister engine whining gear.

My experience on that day as a little boy (I was just 10years old then) seeing my dad been rescued from the point of death made me hate that Conventional Block Molding Machine.

That said, permit me to quickly run you through other advantages of this ELECTRIC CONCRETE BLOCK MAKING MACHINE.

FEATURES OF ELECTRIC CONCRETE BLOCK MOLDING MACHINE.

* It is cost effective: Good Electric Molding machine costs –N400,000 

*Electric Generating plant to power the electric molding machine costs: N120,000

Total cost: N520,000

* It is easy to operate. 

* It is a mobile concrete block machine, i.e. it is easy and economical to transport to client’s site for concrete block production. 

* It is faster in concrete block production.

* It does not require water drum for operation like the lister engine.

* It hardly develops fault while production is ongoing.

* Even if the power generator develops fault, getting a generator mechanic is easier or you can quickly source for another power generator in a situation where there is no supply of electricity.

FEATURES OF THE CONVENTIONAL LISTER MOULDING MACHINE

Molding machine costs: N320,000

Lister engine costs: N250,000

2 water drums for cooling the lister engine: N20,000

Total cost: N450,000

The lister engine is difficult and risky to kick start and operate.

It is not easy and economical to transport to client’s site for concrete block production

It is not fast as the electric concrete block machine

The lister engine requires water drum for cooling.

The lister engine often develops faults especially when it’s getting old, and can waste mixed concrete block materials if not fixed on time.

5.  Sink A Borehole/Well: You need plenty of water in a Block Industry; apart from the water for mixing the sand and cements, you will need water for watering the molded blocks as well.

 Concrete blocks need to be watered on the first day, 2nd & 3rd day of production to enhance the quality. So, a good source of water is necessary for the success of this business. Nevertheless if you are starting on a low budget, you can dig a well as this is cheaper to the cost of sinking a borehole. 

Buying water will not be cost effective in doing all these, so the best choice that I recommend is to dig your own well or borehole. But if you can’t, then make do with buying water for the main-time.

6. You need a set of wooden pallets: – This is the wooden flat object used to carry the block from the molder to the drying point. It is constructed by the wooden pallet experts.

Without it, nothing can be done. You need a very durable wood for it. They are very important, you can’t mold the block on ordinary ground because concrete blocks need to be seated on something and that is where the wooden block carrier comes in handy.

A set of good wooden pallets consist of 500 pieces of pallets. It’s made of durable hard wood and it averagely costs N250,000 @ N500/pallet.

7. Buy a delivery truck: Delivery truck required to move the product from factory to customer’s site. A good delivery truck cost up to 1.5-2million Naira.

The common brand of truck in use is Nissan Cabstar. The brand is tested and trusted. The capacity should not be less than 3 tones, and maximum of 5 tons.

8. Employ Workers – Five workers are usually needed for one machine, One operator (the person who will be handling the machine) two mixers who would be responsible to mix all the cements and sands that goes into the molders, two boys who would be carrying the block (as it is being molded) from the molder to the drying point. Most times, 3 people also handle this, whereby there will be an operator, a mixer and a carrier. You may need additional hands such as the cashier and supervisor or you can handle that sensitive part. 

Likewise, you can get a driver and two Loaders. This will depend on whether you own the loading truck or it is hired. If you own your truck, the driver and the two loaders will be your direct employees. But if you hire truck for your supply, in that case, you won’t need to hire the driver and the loaders as they come with the truck hire.

9. Set Up A Small Shed/Office – This is the roofed shed where you will have the concrete block production machine set up and operated from. To avoid the machine being beaten by rain, you will need a roof over it.  The shed is a simple structure with four pillars 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.

10. Get A Good Supply of Cement – Cement is your number one raw material, you will need it in good quantity as it is not advisable to buy every day. Your supply should be able to last for a week before going for another one. And not all types of cement are good for commercial block production; you need the type that dries quickly such as Dangote Cements. 

Build a shop that you will be used as store house for your cement and possibly sell to others from there. Most of the cement blocks industry owners do sell cements, if you can afford enough supply you can sell as well. Most times, you may get the cement suppliers who will supply you cement on credit and collect the money later if you are a reliable person.

11. Sand Supply – You need sand too on a stand by! Three types of sand are mostly used for concrete block production: The sharp sand, the stone dust which is residues from granite and gutter sand. Your choice of sand is determine by the quality of product you want to have at the end of production process because the cost of each type of sand differs.  

 The mixture of any of these types of sand together with cement and water in adequate proportion results to the commercial block that is sold out there.

12. Diesel/Petrol Supply – You will need about 10 to 15 liters of diesel or petrol to fire up your machine almost every day depending on how long your machine works and what it is used to power. In any case, you would need a good and standby supply of diesel/petrol as part of your raw materials.

13. Buy Shovels and Head pans: Shovels are for mixing and placing of sand while head pans are used to pack debris and carry broken blocks for recycling purposes.  

2 shovels and 1 head pan will go a long way.

14. Wheelbarrow: This serves the purpose of measuring the quantity of sand to be used for concrete block production. It is also used for carrying cements and broken blocks to designated areas on site.

FACTORS THAT CONTRIBUTE TO HAVING QUALITY CONCRETE BLOCK

Actually, the type of building block that is popularly used in Nigeria is Sandcrete Block; meaning that the materials used for the production of such block includes sharp sand, cement and water.

Concrete Block is believed to be more stronger due to the materials and good mix ratio adopted during its production.

Concrete Blocks are produced with cement, sharp sand and or stonedust/crushed granite, thoroughly mixed with adequate quantity of water.

Besides the mix ratio/batching, several other factors contribute to the quality of sandcrete/concrete blocks among which are:

– The quality of water, sharp sand or stonedust  used for production:

Some people use river/salt water, while some use sand with so much plant roots without removing the roots. Some even use top soil for block production. These are bad manufacturing practices.

The competency of the production team:  This affects how they batch, mix and vibrate the blocks before final production. Use of competent production crew is very important, they save you a lot of stress.

– The mold size and capacity of the vibrating machine (the block molding machine). As your molding machine must be able to vibrate and compact thoroughly.

Use of competent production crew is very important, they save you a lot of stress.

– Proper mixing of the materials is as well a factor to consider.

Regular maintenance of the molding machine will add to the strength and quality of the finished product.

– Adequate wetting is key to having a good quality block.

Again, some manufacturers neglect this or wet inappropriately. Wetting should be done 3days 

consecutively, morning and evening. After air-drying for 12 or 24 hours (based on weather conditions.

STANDARD BLOCK MAKING PROCESS

Two and half wheelbarrows of sharp sand and one and half wheelbarrows of stone dust with a bag of cement will produce 28 pieces of 9inches blocks while two and half wheelbarrows of sharp sand and one and half wheelbarrows of stone dust with a bag of cement will produce 36pieces of 6inches blocks.

The following day, all the pallets will be removed from the blocks and all the blocks would be wet with water thoroughly in the morning and afternoon respectively.

We will allow the blocks to dry well for 3 to 4 days so that the blocks can be strong before stacking and usage on the site or delivering the blocks to various sites.t 

All the blocks produced with the above specifications meet the requirement of Standard Organization of Nigeria (SON) by Lagos State material testing laboratory.

Ready to Start Your Concrete Block Industry?

With all these in place, you are as good as a cement block industry owner, ready to start raking in millions. But, do not forget you will need to do some forms of marketing. However, in block business your number one marketing tool is quality; make sure you do not trade good quality for gain. Lives are involved as well because, if your blocks are not strong enough, the resultant building constructed with the blocks would also be weak and you know what that means. Always ensure you do not over mix the cement with sands.

 

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