By the end of the year 2023, it is estimated that the number of Mpesa customers will exceed 60 million. As of March 2022, the number of customers using Mpesa was 52.4 million. This was a significant growth from the yesteryears but do you know what else this means?
It means that there is an increase in the demand for Mpesa services and if you have the money to start a Mpesa agency business, you can still make money off this venture. If you are interested in starting a Mpesa agent shop in Kenya in 2023, read on for advice on how to get started but first, let’s learn how the Mpesa agency business works.
Here’s How the Mpesa Business Works
Starting a Mpesa agent shop in Kenya is a relatively easy process. All you need is a good amount of money for float and the right location, or even business connections and you are good to go.
As a Mpesa agent, your job will be to receive deposits from customers, register customers for Mpesa, and also help them withdraw money when they want.
You can get into the Mpesa business as a super-agent if you can maintain a float of KES. 500,000.
Or, you can join the business as an Agent/Aggregator.
Should you join the Mpesa business as an aggregator, you will also be responsible for: –
- Recruiting sub-agents
- Helping sub-agents meet conditions of operations laid out by Safaricom
- As well as operate several tills
But hey, you don’t have a minimum of Kshs. 200,000 mandatory capital to run the M-PESA Agency business, do you? Don’t worry, you can still operate as a sub-agent and start your business under another agent.
Below is a breakdown of how much you would need to start a Mpesa shop under another agent.
How Much does it Cost to Be a Mpesa Sub-agent?
The cost of starting this business depends on the size and type of shop you want to operate. However, it is usually not too expensive to get started.
The first step in starting an Mpesa agent shop is to find a location. Most prime locations for Mpesa agency businesses don’t cost more than 10K but hey, that’s on the upside and assuming you have a good float for the business.
You can find a good location for your Mpesa business by focusing on areas that have high foot traffic, businesses, government offices, and institutions among other places that seem lively either at night or during the day.
Once a location is chosen, it is now time to find an agent who can have you under them. Most agents will charge you between 5K and 15K for the Mpesa agency line. And since you will be working directly under them (Safaricom), there is no need to incur the cost of business registration unless the agent specifically asks you to register.
In which case, it will cost you around Ksh. 850 to register a business name of eCitizen.
Other costs that you might incur if you are starting a sub-agency business for Mpesa are furniture costs (Ksh. 750 for a plastic chair) and around Ksh. 5,000 for painting and finishing.
Finally, you will need to have a float of at least Ksh. 30,000 if the area you have targeted has low traffic and at least Ksh. 200,000 for high-traffic areas.
But really, you don’t need so much money for starters. My advice, start small and continue adjusting to the demand for the service in your area.
Costs summary for Starting a Mpesa Sub-agent Business
- Mpesa float – Ksh. 30,000
- Rent – Ksh. 3,000 – 10K
- Branding – Ksh. 3,000 – 5K
- Goodwill for a non-aggregated till – up to Ksh. 15,000
- Employee wage – Ksh. 4,000
In other words, you need an average of Ksh. 55,000 to start a Mpesa – sub-agent shop.
How Safaricom Expects Mpesa Sub-agent Stores to Work.
- The sub-agent is recruited to work under the agent but; his line is aggregated — meaning the sub-agent shop is registered directly by Safaricom.
- The Sub agent then gets a till to carry out Mpesa transactions.
- Sub-agent is then required to get store management till which is used to manage the float. You can get this at KCB bank. Note — Safaricom will deposit your monthly commissions in this account.
- You need to maintain a minimum float of Ksh. 30,000.
- You get 80% commission while the agent who recruited you gets 20%. These commissions are sent directly by Safaricom.
How Mpesa Sub-agent Shops Work Instead.
Mpesa agents recruit sub-agent stores and treat them as their own.
They deliberately fail to register sub-agent shops with Safaricom.
This takes away the privilege of sub-agents receiving commissions direct from Safaricom which now means that agents become bosses to sub-agents.
They decide what to pay sub-agents.
It could be anything from 60% commission to 80% but it is mostly 70%.
Disadvantages of not Having Your Line Aggregated by Safaricom
- Agents decide what float they want you to maintain. Often Ksh. 100,000 per sub-agent store
- You lose control of your float as it is managed by the Agent
- If an agent is found on the wrong side of Safaricom operation rules and the till is closed; your float gets locked in too
- Agents charge goodwill to give tills to sub-agents. It could be anything from Ksh. 15,000 in Kisumu to Ksh. 100,000 in Nairobi.
Things to Keep in Mind when Starting an Mpesa Agent Shop
When starting a Mpesa agent shop, there are a few things to keep in mind.
First, it is important to find a good location. Second, it is important to set up the shop correctly with branding and employees with the right attitude. Finally, it is important to have good working capital.
When choosing a location for a Mpesa agent shop, it is important to consider the population and demographics of the area. The shop should be located in a populated area where people have access to mobile phones and businesses seem vibrant. If you can’t get such a place and you don’t have good startup capital either, then start your business in the estate near you.
It is also important to set up the shop correctly. The layout of the shop should be designed so that customers feel protected when withdrawing or depositing money and you also feel comfortable serving clients. You can use either glass or metal bars for partitioning.
Finally, it is important to have good working capital and employees with the right attitude. Good float means that your clients will get what they are looking for when they need it and a good employee attitude means that you can retain most if not all clients who come to your business.
How to Make Money as an Mpesa Agent
As mentioned earlier, you will make a commission when clients deposit money through your business, when they withdraw, and through Safaricom line registrations.
In summary, if you’re considering starting a Mpesa agent shop in Kenya, it is still a good business to start except, you should pair it with other businesses like a general shop for maximum profitability.