Evaluating the cost of Mattress Production in Kenya


Foam Mattress, a common product used in our beddings is a major high income earner for local industries. This household item maintains a balanced steady market for the few manufacturers present in the country, thanks to the millions of consumers who pursue comfort in their homes, schools, hotels and in the upholstery industry.

Unbeknown to the common Kenyans who are relentlessly looking for a workable project to embark on come 2019, the Mattress industry is one big income earner- both to the retailers and manufacturers. The manufacturers carry the biggest chunk of the robust profits.

But what is it with the logistics of the business? As a foam mattress production trainer, I managed to share my experience with a local supplier of the 4 major chemicals used in foam mattress production. And it was an enlightening moment for her when She realised that not only can she supply the chemicals, but she can also venture into the manufacturing business herself. Come 2019 (10 days from today), she will consult me in the formulation techniques, which have been kept a major secrete between the few manufacturers we have in Kenya.

Before I throw a piece of in-depth knowledge on the costing (foam production, Cover sewing, tailoring, etc), let me start by highlighting this: That the foam mattress comes in different sizes and densities. These physical variations make the foam mattress cost differently both at the point of manufacturing and the point of sale. Size wise, the foam mattress (for adults) have one common length-6 feet or 72 inches. That is the standard length of the bed. Therefore, variations in size are in Width (2.5 ft., 3 ft., 4ft, 5ft, and 6 ft.) the hight may range from 2 inches to 10 inches. Different households will prefer different sizes according to individual comfort and the buying power. Nevertheless, whichever size the mattress is, the margin profits will still be impressive for the manufacturer.

The figures I am going to discuss here are based on wholesale prices of the chemicals used in foaming. The cost of production for a small scale foamer (manufacturer) who buys the chemicals from retailers will spend something small on top of the original figures, but all in all, the profit margins are nevertheless big.

A large scale manufacturer will need to spend approximately 300,000 for all the raw materials needed in foaming. The batch size of the medium size mattresses will be 1,113 pieces BUT not all the raw materials will have been spent since in formulation of a mattress block, some major chemicals will be utilized in larger amounts and other chemicals such as the activators, fillers and stabilizers etc. will be needed in extremely small amounts. But it is in buying the whole lot that will cost you the 300k. this therefore means that in subsequent refills, you will not need to buy all the the chemicals. It also means that you may refill several rounds (more than 1000 rounds) without the need to buy the catalysts, fillers and activators that coincidentally are more expensive than the major reactants. In essence, the initial purchase of the raw materials that will cost you 300k, will make a staggering profit of 11 million shillings. The subsequent refills which may cost only 193,000 shillings will make even more profit (over 15 million shillings) since you won’t be buying the catalysts, fillers and activators.

How about the small scale producer?
With approximately Ksh. 28,000, you can start off with a block of 9 HD mattresses, whose retail price is anything between Ksh 9, 800-14,000, per piece. These figures tell us that the initial capital for the production of one piece of a HD standard size Mattress is about 3,000. And with the margin profits of such a piece of mattress ( factoring in the costs of Mattress Cover, Sewing, Labour and transport) being anything between 6,000-10,500 Kes, a small scale manufacturer of mattress will climb the ladder by producing a few batches. Each batch of 9 pieces of mattresses can bring an income of Ksh 108,000!

Herman, a commissioned industrial consultant, says: “This is an opportunity that an individual can grab. The huge local market for the mattress can propel a family to refocus their thinking on starting a family project in Foam Mattress manufacturing” . Herman further advises that if 4 individuals come together, borrow Tala and Mshawari Loan amounting to 40,000, all the group needs is to invest on a cheap wooden molding block, raw materials and a sewing Machine.

The ‘wastes’ or cut offs can be chipped and joined together to make compact blocks of seat cushions-another booming business in the upholstery industry. Generally, there are no wastes in Foam Mattress manufacturing. It is also a low risk business since the start-up capital is relatively low both on Medium and Low scale. Challenges are benign and manageable in case of their emergence.

Betty of Betty Industrial Industries had this advice to other African Nations: Let us industrialize our own Mother Africa. Supposedly, rich big nations like Angola, Mali, Tunisia, Zimbabwe etc. rely on imports of some products which the locals can wake up one morning and make them. It can be noble venture for countries like Burundi, Malawi, and especially Ghana because the market there has a promising future with less competition.

For business proposals, enquiries, training etc., please feel welcome to team up with Cosmetics & Detergents Kenya Institute. Call us on Tel no. +254 723424240. We welcome South Sudan Citizens, Ugandans, Tanzanians and the charges will be local rates. See the video links below for foam mattress making classes


  1. This is an impressive write up. But as a non nationality can i attend the training and what is thd cost for a Nigerian incase i want to? Reply through my email. Thanks.


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