5 manufacturing business ideas with low investment

6 min read
Digvijay Singh

Do you want to quit your 9 to 5 job and start a small business? If you are bitten by the entrepreneurial bug and looking for business ideas, then read on. In this article, I have put together five profitable manufacturing business ideas that you can start with a low investment.

Manufacturing is the golden path to economic growth and a developed nation.

India is expected to become the fifth largest manufacturing country in the world by 2020.

The growing middle class and the surge in international demand for goods are some reasons behind the growth of this sector. Along with Make in India, the government has rolled out many sector-specific policies and schemes to support small startups.

5 manufacturing businesses with low startup costs

When we think of manufacturing, we often think of large buildings with expensive machines. But not all manufacturing requires heavy investment. Here are five examples.

  1. Candles.
  2. Soap and detergent.
  3. Agarbatti (incense sticks).
  4. Paper plates.
  5. Organic farming.

Let us dive into the details of each small manufacturing business.

1. Candles

When you think of starting a new business, this idea comes to mind naturally because:

  • It is one of the easiest options.
  • Involves minimum investment.
  • There is a constant demand of candles throughout the year for religious, festive, decorative and celebration purposes.

The process of candle manufacturing business is simple. There are candle making machines (manual, semi or fully automatic ones) that are readily available in the market and could cost between Rs. 35,000 and Rs. 2,00,000.

Apart from the machine, you will need wax, colours, wicks, moulds, dyes, lustre sprays etc. Simply put the wick on the indicated spot and pour melted paraffin wax on it. Within minutes the wax coagulates. As per the requirement, you can colour and scent the wax before pouring.

You can manufacture a variety of candles ranging from straight white candles to small twisted ones that are used on cakes. You can even produce pillar candles that are used for decorating your living room.

Learn more about how to make, pack and sell candles here.

Related: Where to find SME business loans

2. Soap and detergent

Organic and homemade soaps with beautiful shapes are in trend not just for personal consumption but for gifting purposes also. Making soaps and detergents is an excellent manufacturing business idea.

This can be started from your home and later can expanded to a full-blown manufacturing unit.

For this, you just need:

  • Oils
  • Scents
  • Moulds
  • Colours
  • Heating equipment

Although there are several big and small players already in the market, but you can still add a differentiating factor by focusing on the natural and organic ingredients like glycerine, herbs and natural oils in place of chemicals like sulphates or parabens.

Although there are no stringent rules and regulations for soap manufacturing in India, you might still need a manufacturing license as mentioned in part XIV of Drugs and Cosmetics Rules.

Here’s a detailed guide on how you can start your soap manufacturing business.

Related: Business name ideas: before you choose, take these steps

3. Agarbatti (incense sticks)

This might come to you as a surprise, but incense sticks are a big market in India. In fact, the Indian dhoop and agarbatti market is estimated to grow with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of more than nine per cent through 2023.

Since early times, dhoop and agarbattis are consumed in almost every household, for religious and social purposes. Several big and small players are manufacturing agarbattis not only for domestic consumption but also for exporting them to 90 other countries.

More than two-thirds of India’s agarbattis are used by local buyers. They prefer rose, lavender, sandal, champa, jasmine and mogra scents.

You can start with the easiest method of agarbatti production: the hand rolling method. It is as cheap as investing Rs 1,000 to 5,000 only. A fully automatic agarbatti machine costs around Rs 50,000.

Here is where you can learn more about how to start an agarbatti business in India.

4. Paper plates

This is amongst the best low-cost manufacturing business ideas.

As more and more people are getting aware of the disadvantages of using plastic plates, the popularity of paper plates is increasing. Whether at a social gathering like a picnic, birthday party, family get-together or your favourite street-food vendor, chances are you’ll be served food in paper plates.

Paper plates are not only cheap and disposable but also eco-friendly and non-toxic.

All you need is a space with basic amenities like electricity and water, raw material and machinery.

The price of the machine varies with output efficiency of the machine (i.e. the number of plates it can produce per hour).

You could choose to start this business from your home but be sure to check for any licence that is required according to your state government laws and regulations.

Related: How to write a business plan

5. Organic farming

As harmful pesticides are increasingly used in agriculture, people are suffering from diseases which were uncommon before.

Children are getting more prone to cancer, autism and rare diseases like ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder). This has led to a surge in demand for organic fruits and vegetables.

To understand the nitty-gritty of this business idea, you can visit a nearby organic farm.

The Indian Government’s National Project on Organic Farming (NPOF) can also help you learn the proven ways of organic farming. NPOF offers funding (CISS) in the form of grants and loans for setting up organic farms.

Selling your products

In today’s time, promoting your product has become much easier with the popularity of social media and online marketplaces. You can easily tap on to the online market by registering on Amazon, Flipkart or other marketplace. Better yet, sell on Amazon and from your own Online Store as well.

These manufacturing business ideas are worth a look

Manufacturing can not only help you become self-sufficient but also help India build trade capabilities by exporting goods. Development of service sector is also dependent on the manufacturing sector. That's why, the present Government had so much emphasis on developing India into a manufacturing hub by rolling out Make in India initiatives.

In the past few years, the Indian Government has launched several schemes to help families and individuals start manufacturing in India. MUDRA (Micro-Units Development and Refinance Agency) provides loans that caters to the micro-business units with small amounts.

We have discussed several potential manufacturing business ideas that you can consider for starting your own business. Become a part of this initiative and avail yourself of all the subsidies, aids and facilities, open to you.

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