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Help me refine my business idea  RSS feed

 
Posts: 1324
Location: Zone 5 Wyoming
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My husband and I have been processing our birds and those of family for many years now. We have all of the equipment and knowledge necessary to get the job done. People borrow the equipment from time to time, at no charge as they are only people we know well enough to trust several hundred dollars of stuff to.

So I've been playing with an idea based upon lots of stories I've been hearing this year. Lots of people in the area are getting into processing their own birds. Few of them have done a good enough job researching or purchasing equipment to make a good go of it. The horror stories I've heard, shudder.

So I've been playing with the idea of consulting. I bring the equipment and knowledge. I teach them how to process their birds the first time. My husband is very much against me renting equipment to people who haven't been taught to use it. So the consulting is REQUIRED the first time they ask to rent equipment. After that equipment can be rented out without me.

I thought I might offer a discount if people brought their birds to my land (So I can remain in my comfort zone and not haul a bunch of stuff around). I figured I would have to build a pen far from where I keep my own birds for this. Would this be a bad idea for bio-safety reasons? What would be the risk to my farm if I did this?

I also thought I'd start selling different services. Like I'd do all the processing for a price per bird. Or, since backyard chickens were approved in town, I'd offer rooster removal services. For $10 I'll take your rooster away. I figured this would need to be a pick up business because people have already started abandoning their roosters in the country and I don't want to give them my address so they just dump them.

So I'm not sure what to charge. I struggle because I feel like the consulting services would be priceless if it prevents the crazy I've been hearing. However, I understand that people processing themselves aren't going to want to pay a lot. So...what to even charge? Do I charge a flat fee for it? DO I charge per bird?

Ideas please

 
Posts: 3366
Location: Kansas Zone 6a
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First, check the laws.  Bringing the birds to you might nullify their on farm exemption and make you a processor in the eyes of the law.

Second, I would charge a set consulting fee for your time, a delivery/pickup fee for your mileage, and a per bird price for the equipment.  No idea what is a fair rate, depends on what processors charge there, you have to come in cheaper when considering the farmer's  time.
 
pollinator
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If you have all the stuff, then it costs very little to give it a go. Just get the word out.

My concerns would be the number of birds to make it viable for your customer.  And do your potential customers need that many birds processed. I would guess that people processing 50+ birds already have it handled.
 
elle sagenev
Posts: 1324
Location: Zone 5 Wyoming
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wayne fajkus wrote:If you have all the stuff, then it costs very little to give it a go. Just get the word out.

My concerns would be the number of birds to make it viable for your customer.  And do your potential customers need that many birds processed. I would guess that people processing 50+ birds already have it handled.



The numbers I've been hearing are around 8 turkeys. 14 chickens. Etc. Probably under 20. I wouldn't really be going for farming business. More of the beginner homesteader or city person wanting to get a home raised bird on the table.
 
wayne fajkus
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If the price you need to charge will make you and your customer happy (based on those quantities), do it.

Sounds like first trip (as consultant) will be higher, but repeat orders (equipment only) will be more affordable.
 
Posts: 170
Location: Denmark 57N
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If you have the equipment then it will not cost too much to try, you'll need to check insurance though it might be required. I'm not sure there will be much demand, but it depends on your area, where I am no-one would pay to have a bird processed, it would remove the point of raising it, but possibly town people think differently.
You could maybe do training days at your place? So 5-10 people come you provide the birds for them to practice on and they get to take home "their" bird as part of the fee? Might also get people who don't have chickens yet but are thinking about it.
 
Posts: 25
Location: Nevada City, CA
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I think consulting / teaching would be a valuable service with harvesting animals - at least in my area. Sounds like a good idea worth trying. What is nice about your situation is there is little investment needed as you already have the skills and tools. You just need to get the clients.
 
elle sagenev
Posts: 1324
Location: Zone 5 Wyoming
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So I did a test run on this concept and it went really well. I mean I definetly need to get a few more things. My husband and I split duties when we do our birds so I wasn't completely prepared to do the killing, scalding, plucking. I should have brought buckets, a spray nozzle for the hose and a few other things. So I think I can comfortably do this. Also I decided to charge by the hour. The first hour will be $100. It includes the set up, equipment and teaching. I'm confident that I can do that in an hour. After that my presence is a luxury item as I am pretty efficient at the whole thing. So I am debating what to charge for each additional hour. I also think charging by the hour is a good idea. Then if the people procrastinate or waste time doing other things I am not standing around for free.

Did have a few things that were interesting though. We plug our plucker and the scalding pot into the same outlet. Doing that at the test house blew the breaker. Took longer to set up because of that. Had to run more extension chords. We did 16 birds in about 4 hours but that was with set up and tear down included, problems and all.
 
Skandi Rogers
Posts: 170
Location: Denmark 57N
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elle sagenev wrote:
Did have a few things that were interesting though. We plug our plucker and the scalding pot into the same outlet. Doing that at the test house blew the breaker. Took longer to set up because of that. Had to run more extension chords. We did 16 birds in about 4 hours but that was with set up and tear down included, problems and all.


Just remember to ask what size the breaker is next time, in my house they are all 10 amps so that would happen here! (we only have two circuits)
 
pollinator
Posts: 1977
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Skandi Rogers wrote:

elle sagenev wrote:
Did have a few things that were interesting though. We plug our plucker and the scalding pot into the same outlet. Doing that at the test house blew the breaker. Took longer to set up because of that. Had to run more extension chords. We did 16 birds in about 4 hours but that was with set up and tear down included, problems and all.


Just remember to ask what size the breaker is next time, in my house they are all 10 amps so that would happen here! (we only have two circuits)



Yes but your outlets are 220 volt aren't they, where as ours are 110 volt? That would account for the lower amperage.

 
Travis Johnson
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I forgot to say Elle, that I am really glad that it is going well for you.
 
garden master
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Assuming that the wiring is done correctly, you should be able to tell by the outlet if it is a 15 amp or 20 amp outlet.  15 is standard for more locations in a normal US house, 20 is used for larger loads, often in garages, and I think it should be enough for both of your devices.  I wire all my outdoor outlets for 20 amps.  Here's a picture of the difference.  The little horizontal bit is what gives it away.  The plug doesn't have that bit, just the outlet.
outlets.jpg
[Thumbnail for outlets.jpg]
 
pollinator
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I find $ 10 for a rooster too little unless the rooster is brought to you. Then I would increase the whole earning by consulting everything around chooks, selling fertile eggs, scaly legs and the like. Maybe you can sell as well chicken houses and tractors, feed.
 
pollinator
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Yes a nest to casserole ( cradle to grave ) service might work well
 
Travis Johnson
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Mike Jay wrote:Assuming that the wiring is done correctly, you should be able to tell by the outlet if it is a 15 amp or 20 amp outlet.  15 is standard for more locations in a normal US house, 20 is used for larger loads, often in garages, and I think it should be enough for both of your devices.  I wire all my outdoor outlets for 20 amps.  Here's a picture of the difference.  The little horizontal bit is what gives it away.  The plug doesn't have that bit, just the outlet.



I do the same thing Mike. I have found the cost of wire for 20 amp outlets is not that expensive compared to that of 15 amp wire, but the outlets are. They tend to be over $2 where as the 15 amp outlets cam be had for 70 cents. Still how many does a person really buy, and the lack of frustration from tripping breakers is well worth the few extra bucks.

My sheep shearer runs into the same problem that Elle has run into, tripping and very few breakers to choose from. She loves my barn saying it is the best for shearing because electrical outlets are numerous. I HATE searching for an outlet! I also hate breakers tripping.

I know some people are scared stiff of wiring, but there is no need for such fear. It is almost mind-numbing easy to do.
 
Posts: 609
Location: Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada
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This idea reminds me a lot of Farmstead Meatsmith. They do a very similar thing with pigs. If you don't know about them, check them out.
 
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