How to start a low cost pure water business in Nigeria [Interview session with Mr. Peter Nweke]
May 17, 2021
How to start a low cost pure water business in Nigeria [Interview session with Mr. Peter Nweke]
Pure water business is undoubtedly one of the fast moving consumer goods in Nigeria, which to the best of my knowledge has not been maximized to its full potential.
In the past, the need for table water in the market places and busy environs led to the invention of the then popular “Ice water,” which today has been overtaken by merchants who ventured into pure water business.
Necessity they say is the mother of invention, this took toll on ice water over time as the need for a more clean/ treated pure drinkable water became necessary.
Given this, several people have ventured into pure water production to at least provide clean water for all.
You can attest to the fact that pure water is not only sold outdoors, but now the major source of table water in various homes in Nigeria.
Given this necessity, the need for pure water has been on a constant rise without an end in view.
That said, if you’re a business man who wishes to venture into pure water business, I make bold to say this is the best guide that’ll aid insight, perfect understanding and success into the business.
Why exactly did I say so? I have gone out of my usual routine to interview an industry expert and consultant with over 25 years’ experience in pure water business.
He knows this trade from the ground state to the advance level. He is a master strategist with record success of setting up several pure water factories to his credit over-the-years.
There is this parlance that says “The best way to learn a trade is to ask someone who has been a success in the same trade.”
Why start a pure water business?
- It’s a fast moving consumer goods that must be purchased by every household
- The market is large enough to accommodate every merchant, with population of over 200 million people one could hardly have an issue of who to sell pure water to
- There’s huge profit to be made from this business
- Existing producers are not enough to make products that will meet the existing population.
I can go on to mention several reasons you should venture into this business, it’s far from being saturated.
With that out of the way now, let me hand you over to an interview session with Mr. Peter Nweke a pure water producer and production specialist, expert and consultant.
Can we get to meet you Sir?
My name is Mr. Peter Nweke Ngene. A consultant in pure water manufacturing, both bottle and sachet. I have over 30 years-experience in the field.
I’ve set up a lot of companies within Anambra, environ and beyond. I’ve done that in Asaba, Enugu and Owerri, I’ve consulted for several people, and their business is going on so fine.
To my experience is a lot of seminars and workshops organized by NAFDAC and Standard Organization of Nigeria.
You appear to be quite experienced about pure water production business, can you tell us about this business?
Pure water business is a lucrative one depending on how it’s being managed, the most important thing in this business is the quality of the water you produced, that’s what will lure people to buying the product in large quantity.
You also need expert advise on how to manage the factory itself.
That said, for you to have a good water you must have a good borehole certified by NAFDAC, you don’t just use any water. Depending on the geographical area, where you have hard water that contains iron, you will require a lot of treatment to come up with good water fit for human consumption.
Assuming someone wants to go into the business, is there specific budget for it?
Well, because of the present situation of dollar in Nigeria everything has gone up, apart from the infrastructure to set up the place, #7,000,000 can give you a medium sized factory, but for a top standard factory in this essence you should be budgeting #15,000,000.
From this point you then grow and even expand the business. To produce bottles for example, you’ll need machines that’ll do it. For the machines you will have to get the washing machine, the filling machine then the cocking can be done with hands.
For bottling alone, you should be looking at #3m to #3.5 million naira for a standard machine.
Assuming someone wishes to produce sachet water first then take off from there?
You may start with one machine which costs about #1 million naira, you buy the jumbo material waterproof for packaging, you have had your design printed. You’ll buy packing bags and filter.
Let’s talk about siting the factory
It doesn’t require a large building depending on the money at your disposal, you may put up a big warehouse if you wish, you may build on a single plot of land, get the architects to give you designs then push it from there.
Is there preference for location?
Exactly, you must not locate your borehole close to a soak away pit, it could be located within residential opulence, industrial layout is also good.
Advise on possible equipment on pure water production please?
The basic equipment are,
- Water treatment plant, very necessary. To be recharged at least every six months. The expert will give directives on how to recharge it, after sometimes your workers can learn and take over from there.
- Then the machine for both sachet and bottled water as you can afford
- Design your sachet according to your brand, which NAFDAC should have come for inspection.
- You need trucks that’ll be taking the water out to the retailers and final consumers
- You may engage the services of independent marketers who’ll bring their vehicles, go out and sell the water then receive commission for sales made
Are there requisite recommendations for water treatment?
Yes, you have to treat your water, an expert will tell you what to buy for this purpose. You don’t just open your water and poor it into a bottle or sachet then package for sale.
The treatment is usually scheduled within 3-6 months as the case may be, if you’re lucky to site around water from the rock, treatment will be minimal.
Certain chemicals are used in treating water, you can use chlorine to sanitize your vessels, overhead tank, you can use soda ash to purify the water, you can use idolite depending on situation of things around the factory.
Are there regulatory requirements knowing that you are in for edible products that could impact health?
That is why you must go through NAFDAC process, they are the sole experts that’ll supervise your factory for health compliance and all that. They’ll ensure your environment is super neat to serve the market. Standard Organization of Nigeria (SON) comes in too, they certify your factory and issue you certificate too.
NAFDAC as well issues certificate having certified your water process from the borehole to the overhead tank and other routines like the machines, filters, etc ok.
They regulate it, if you fail in this area you cannot get approval whatsoever.
At what stage of the factory setting is the regulatory requirement necessary?
Once you’re done building the site, put up your machines, it’s time to invite NAFDAC to come and see what you have done so far.
You need an office for raw materials and finished goods in place, you should be ready to provide answers on staffing. A quality control manager is necessary at this stage who studied Microbiology, Industrial Chemistry, food science and tech as a staff that’ll be looking after the water on daily basis before production takes place.
You have to do the flushing, test the water with PH meter, you should have a mini lab where the quality control officer works from.
Ones the PH is below 6, it’s obvious the water needs treatment to conform to consumable standard. A PH from 6-8 is ok for consumption.
How difficult is it getting NAFDAC approval for a pure water production business?
The problem with our people is that they don’t like following constituted rules and policies, getting NAFDAC approval can be pretty easy than you may have been told.
They like short cut, some don’t even like seeing NAFDAC in the first instance, NAFDAC is friendly, their job is health motivated and that must be followed to a logical end, people died of fake drugs syndrome in Onitsha sometime a go and you know how bad it’s.
Just follow their process, you’ll get to understand that the devil is not as bad as it’s being painted.
How much could be spent in getting NAFDAC approval?
There’s no specific amount given the scheme of things but there’s a specific amount for registration, consider logistics, transports and basic amount should not be above #300k – #400k thousand naira, except you’re going through a consultant.
What do you have to say about CAC?
That’s where you get your business name registered, Corporate Affairs Commission.
Your business should be legal in its sense for government to recoup its tax, otherwise you are just a mushroom business risking closure.
What does the marketing dynamics looks like in a pure water production business?
A good marketer ensures you get good packaging which increases your acceptability in the market.
Packaging is very important since people love what looks nice, we have a big market and presently Nigeria do not have enough pure water producers.
There are villages and towns without pure water companies, while urban areas have several factories, the question is, what about the rural dweller?
Is there ideal season for pure water business to thrive?
Normally people do not perspire much in rainy season so they do not need much water at that time, it’s natural. Body fluid is intact unlike the dry season when sales soar to high heavens.
What is the profit potential of this business?
Every business depends on management, if you manage it well you maximize your profit, if you do not manage it well you lose.
Some people establish business and put members of their family there, that’ll not go well.
Some do not cost well, how would they maximize profit?
If you manage it well you’ll make profit, there are so many companies making it while others fold up because they jump into it without requisite knowledge on managing the business.
Kindly advise on workers and staffing please?
At times workers run down factories, especially drivers, they are the most difficult set of workers in any organization per my experience, because they play a lot of tricks.
A dubious driver always look for a way to extort you.
On general staffing, pure water business does not require much educated fellows, drop outs are ideal for the business, this is where you get cheap labor.
You should only go for educated people at the managerial level.
Look for strong and healthy people, do not employ people who have skin disease, arshmathic patients are ruled out, cough is too bad for the production sanity and neatness process.
People with contagious diseases should not be employed at all.
Do not overstaff your company, do not employ on sentiment and sympathy.
What number of workers is required in a mini startup factory?
If you are producing only sachets with two machines, two vehicles two drivers, an operator to man the machines, the packers, you’ll need an average of 10 workers for such factory.
Can you categorize the sections?
Drivers, the sachet machine operator, packers, store keeper, loader, manager and cashier.
So what average salary goes for a manager?
It’s a private establishment depending on the size of a factory, a manager earns 30k-40k, operator 25k-30k, other workers 10k, drivers may be on commission based on how many products they sold.
It could on #5 per bag commission basis. A driver could maker over #40k monthly depending on how hardworking he is.
Could the commission scheme be better for all workers?
It depends on the owner, some drivers could be enterprising by selling about 1000 bags in two days, you do the math and see for yourself on #5 commission basis. (5×1000)= #5000 in two days
What about electricity supply?
That’s the major industrial problem in Nigeria, power generation takes about 40% of your monthly income. You need a standby generator.
Are there risks and problems associated with pure water business?
Of course there’s, every business has its own risk, there could be risk of fire outbreak at the installation point with the wires and switch, fault can occur.
A machine can develop fault and injure the operator, at times it causes amputation which is severe damage to human you know.
Your trucks could have accident, government agencies may stop you and collect money for writing your business name on the truck, they’ll charge you for that advert and all that.
Wrong packing at certain places can cause hoodlums to vandalize your vehicle and beat up your drivers.
Given this, it’s important to belong to a union usually Association of Table Water Producers, well registered in Nigeria. The union will help in solving most of the problems.
The union meeting/members can help in sourcing staff.
React to the recent hike in price of sachet water
Materials are quite expensive now, a bundle of packing bag that was usually sold for #3k is now #9k.
A kilo of jumbo used to be 350 but it’s now sold for #1,500.
A bag of pure water should be sold at minimum #150, so that the retailer can sell at #200 and a sachet should be #20. Everything has gone up in Nigeria not only pure water.
Can you help upcoming businesses set up a factory from the building, NAFDAC registration, production and marketing?
I’ve done that for countless number of times, big factories are existing today on my solo effort from the building, NAFDAC registration, water production, staffing, marketing.
I have been doing consultancy services for about 30 years now, people consult me when they have problems in their factories too.
I am not new in the business, I can mention factories even.
Can you please mention these factories?
Costal water by Omata holdings, Luis carter industry table water, Tonimas table water, kebbs table water, pinna table water, Asthana table water. I started from the building, NAFDAC approval to water production, marketing, etc.
These are just to mention few of over 40 factories to my credit well flourishing.
Would you be willing to work with new clients if any?
Of course yes, I’ve been to Lagos, Abuja, Jos, etc.
Anywhere my job takes me I’m willing. I do visibility studies and get paid, if you want me there present I’ll be available.
At the moment my hands are filled up with clients, but that’s is not to say I am not open for new clients.
Give one or two advise to upcoming businesses on a final note please?
You do not have to depend on government to provide all the needed jobs, I will advise successful business men to establish at least a cottage industry, no matter how small.
Employment offered to 10 persons is reducing unemployment figure. Pure water business has not been thoroughly utilized, people drink unhealthy waters resulting to typhoid disease.
We need more of well packaged water in this country.
Thank you so kindly for your time Mr. Peter Nweke
Mr. Peter: You’re welcome.
That was reading directly from an expert, consultant in pure water business.
His experience says it all and top-notch.
With the right information, capable hands and professionals, I don’t see how you won’t be making real money from this business.
Like he said, there’s need for more factories in the Nigerian market, a lot of people are not selling quality water, they are only after money.
Mr. Peter Nweke is routing immense support for the production of quality table water that guarantee’s good health.
He’s available for consultation and travels vastly in case you need his expert advice and services to get started.
Are there questions and concerns you’d wish addressed on this topic, do use the comment box below. We’ll contact you for further arrangement.
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