Energy

4 Important Steps To Setup A Profitable LPG Plant

Profitable LPG plant
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If you want to setup profitable LPG plant in Nigeria, you might as well read this now. There’s no science or mystery behind a profitable LPG plant. I often get this question about how profitable is LPG plant?

 

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Although, I have tried to always assure my clients about the potentials and profitability of an LPG plant, but there are just 4 things that are responsible for that kind of success. It’s these 4 things I want to share with you.

If you pay close attention to these things and do them as I have advised, you will have the most lucrative LPG cooking gas plant in any location you will ever choose.

You may ask, how can I be sure that these 4 things are what’s important to setting up a profitable LPG plant? I’m telling you from experience, as a cooking gas consultant, and from working on several gas plants setup and the things I always advise my clients to do and it has worked 99% of the time.

If anything worked 99% of the time, it’s sure proof that it works every time. That’s why I can guarantee that it would work for you. And don’t just take my word for it, I will clarify it as well so you can see why it has worked and why it will work for you.

Profitable LPG Plant Analysis

As you plan to setup a profitable LPG plant, your first concern should be how profitable is the business? Don’t just assume it is, even though it’s actually very profitable. But there are reasons its profitable. You need to know those reasons.

That doesn’t mean every cooking gas plant in the country are profitable. There are lots of unprofitable LPG plants all over the country. So, just because cooking gas is in high demand doesn’t mean every LPG plant would be profitable.

It’s the same reason every petrol filling station is not profitable, even though oil business is a major revenue earner for the country. There are reasons you will succeed or fail in this business and that’s what I want you to know above other things.

For most startups in the LPG plant business, their interest is more on the profit margin than on the volume sales. The profit potential of LPG plant is not only on its high profit margin but majorly on volume sales.

A little calculation would help clarify this theory. Imagine if the retail price of cooking gas is N280 per kg, and the profit margin is N100 per kg, if the volume sale is just 100 kg per day that would be N10,000 profit daily. In a 30 days period it would be just N300,000.

While another plant could have the same margin but with 3,000 kg sales per day, which is N300,000 profit, and a monthly profit of N9 million. The only difference between this two examples is not about marginal profit but volume sales. Volume is key when planning a profitable LPG plant.

Problems Of Profitable LPG Plant

As a consultant, I deal with startups on a daily basis. One of the major problems of every business startups and not just for LPG plant startups is financing. They don’t have the required capital to venture in the business.

Profitable LPG plant

An LPG plant on construction

I often get this question, what does it cost to setup a profitable LPG plant? It’s usually the number one question I’m being asked everyday. By now, I know even Google is tired of answering this question, because the answer is simple yet most startups keeps ignoring it.

Most often, the reason people ask this is because they don’t have the money to setup the business. Or they have a wrong idea of what makes a Profitable LPG plant. If you don’t focus on the primary reason LPG plant would be profitable, you shouldn’t even venture into the business.

The problem with the financial requirement is that most startups don’t know where to invest much of their finances to start a profitable LPG plant. In fact, they disregard expert advise and prefer to cut corners to save cost. There’s only one cost investment that impacts in the overall profitability of LPG plant.

Problem Number One: Picking The Right Location

A profitable LPG plant location is not a mystery. You must know from the beginning if the location is right before setting up the business there. Although most people already have a location they have purchased before consulting an expert.

If you have already gotten a location purchased, don’t rush into the business without verifying if that location is right for the business. Your cooking gas plant location is the number one reason the LPG plant will be profitable. If you make mistake about this, you have failed from day one.

There are two reasons your location may not be right. The first one is if it doesn’t meet DPR approval requirements. That is the first stage, and it’s critical to setting up any cooking gas plant anywhere in Nigeria. The location must conform to DPR guidelines.

The second reason is the profitability of the LPG plant. You don’t want to only meet DPR approval requirement and not ensure the location would be profitable for your business. That’s why I strongly discourage setting up cooking gas plant in a deserted location.

You have to pick the right location for the business. I recommend you work with your consultant when buying the land. Get a cooking gas plant consultant to do site visitation and confirm it meets DPR requirements and will be profitable for your business.

Problem Number Two: Location Assessment

The assessment of the location before setting up an LPG plant is very important. It’s the first step in picking the right location. This assessment looks at the DPR approval requirements. This may look insignificant to you but the reason is to save you over N1 million cost in licensing if your application is rejected.

A consultant would help you assess the location before you start processing DPR approvals. If you don’t want to use a consultant, you can get someone from DPR to visit the site and give you the go ahead. It will cost you around N50,000 to N100,000 for this assessment.

I recommend that you use a consultant. It’s not because I want you to hire me. A DPR agent would have been better for this job but the problem is that they would only look at DPR requirements. But a consultant would also look at its viability, and you will still pay the same amount.

A location can meet DPR requirements and still not be a profitable LPG plant location. Understand the difference between DPR requirement and the viability of your LPG business. DPR is not interested in your business profitability. It’s not their job. It’s your job to ensure your business location will be profitable.

In reality, DPR agents don’t know about LPG plant location viability. You shouldn’t rely on their advise because it’s not their job. Their primary assignment is to check the land size, landmarks, government infrastructural installations that may be at risk if your plant is setup there, and how it puts others or businesses or residence around the area at risk.

Profitable LPG plant

Problem Number Three: Cooking Gas Viability Analysis

The second part of location assessment is the viability analysis. This should be part of the business plan feasibility study. In the location assessment the consultant would give you an observatory assessment of the location. But in a viability analysis, real data would be used to assess its viability.

Here the real location study is conducted to assess number of households within your target location that can purchase cooking gas from your LPG plant. A good viability analysis is not based on assumptions but real and authentic data.

There should be accurate data about number of households within the communities your LPG plant would be covering. A consultant should know how to get this data. And to be sure of the profitability of your cooking gas plant, ensure this data is made available to you in the viability report.

It doesn’t come cheap and you shouldn’t be stingy here. Pay the cost to get real information that’s not based on assumption. It’s between N150,000 to N300,000 depending on the size of your LPG plant.

Don’t be deceived by those selling copy and paste business plan feasibility report. Those report are based on pure assumption. I won’t advise you to risk your investment on someone else assumption. A profitable LPG plant is based on real verifiable data.

Problem Number Four: Expert Consultation

However, most of the real problems affecting LPG plant startups is lack of expert advise. Most startups don’t see the need to use the knowledge of a consultant. The only time most Nigerians pay consultants is only when they are terminally ill and are advised to see a medical consultant.

A startup is like a child who needs parental care. So, you should get a consultant to guide you so you don’t make mistakes. If you make a mistake at the startup of any business, that business is bound to fail sooner or later.

The Nigerian mentality of what is he going to do for me is costing startups more than they would pay a consultant. Imagine you want to invest N10 million to N50 million in an investment and you can’t pay ordinary N1.5 million to a consultant to guide you properly. But you can afford to risk and lose tens of millions because you don’t want to lose ordinary N1.5 million to someone whose only intent is to help you succeed.

You can’t build a profitable LPG plant on ignorance. A client refused to pay N100,000 for location assessment and ended up losing N1.8 million when DPR rejected its request for a licence. He thought he was wiser but became foolish at the end.

Don’t make costly mistakes. No one is after your money. We buy shoe to protect our foot. The shoe cobbler wasn’t stealing from you. The same way a consultant is just helping you. Think twice and don’t be misled by your own understanding.

Profitable LPG plant

Feasibility chart

Conclusion

There are two important things I want you to take out of this post. The first one is that a profitable LPG plant is primarily built around the choice of its location. It’s not on the amount of your investment. You can invest N100 million and still fail.

But your LPG plant location is key to your success. To solve this, you may need to buy choice location in your city for your LPG plant setup. This may cost more, but it’s worth it. Don’t ignore this advise, take it more serious than the actual plan to setup your LPG plant.

Finally, think of a consultant as your investment guide. A cooking gas consultant is not after your money, even though you pay him or her for the service rendered. He or she is there to help you succeed. And don’t be afraid of the cost. You can pay a consultant on the need to use basis.

That means, you can only pay him or her when you need to use them achieve something. It doesn’t cost so much to use the services of a consultant as you think. Just be clear about what you want and a consultant would give you an affordable rate for it.

 

Chinedu David
Chinedu is a business consultant with experience in oil & gas, hospitality, IT & telecom, consumer products, business strategy, marketing and distribution. He was the telecom editor for SuccessDigest for over a decade. And founded Mystore, one of the indigenous online marketplace in 2013. Drop a comment below and he will respond to your query. He can also be reached via email: nedu@myblog.com.ng or Call/Text/WhatsApp: 07087770518
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