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Business idea - need BYCer Wisdom

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by highcountrychickens, Jan 15, 2010.

  1. highcountrychickens

    highcountrychickens Head Rooster Jouster

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    Aug 28, 2008
    Jackson Hole
    Hi all -
    Well in tough times, creative ideas are the ones that we need to pull through... and I have one that needs your help.
    I live in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, where there are still ranching families, but the valley has become so wealthy around us that rents have skyrocketed and many businesses that ordinarily would be here, simply can't survive. So, despite the countless people with horses, and backyard chicken flocks, and goats and the like... we don't have a farm feed store. I have to drive to Driggs, Idaho for the average stuff, and to Idaho Falls or Thayne WY for anything of substantial quality - 2 hours and 2 mountain passes away.

    SO, I would like to get into the feed business - small at first, focusing on the contingency of folks here who have backyard flocks - with delivery and a lot of service and advice.

    I need a broader view of poultry feed, and the collective idea of the very best organic and non organic feed out there ... best supplements... best things to sell for the well being of small flocks (in a very cold climate) Any thoughts about what you love or would love to have both in quality feed brands or service?

    I can run it out of a storage unit or my garage for the time being - but would love to grow into something special that would be a great community thing.

    Ideas? Thoughts? Insights? Wisdoms? Admonishments?

    Highest gold standard feed? Best nutrition products?

    What do you think??
     
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2010
  2. tryingtohaveitall

    tryingtohaveitall Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 17, 2009
    SW Ohio
    I don't know how helpful this will be, but I'll throw it out there.

    In my community, there is an older gentleman (pretty sure he's a retired farmer) who has a Kent Feed Barn (franchise?) on his property. He has a decent sized storage building with a smaller attached "store" area and carries quite a few different items. Some of the things you find there are heater water dishes, feed buckets, dog and cat supplies, fresh eggs, etc. He'll also order for you things that you need. We now buy all of our dog, cat, chicken, and rabbit food from him. That's also where I bought my chicks last spring. It's handy for me, I like supporting him, and on most items, better quality for a bit less.

    Amazingly enough, he only is there to run it in the afternoons. Otherwise, he leaves the door open and runs it on the honor system. Who knew such things still existed in this day and age?

    Hope this helps!
    Jo Ann
     
  3. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    It sounds like a good idea if you could make it work.

    As far as *whether* you could... I would think the first two things you *must* find out, in detail, are:

    -- how will this affect your taxes and insurance (are you zoned to be allowed to do this, will part or all of the property now be taxed at commercial rates which are *much* higher than residential rates, what additional insurance will you need and will your current homeowners policy drop you if you add a business to the property); and

    -- talk with various large feed suppliers about the economics, what prices you would be paying for what size orders how often and whether you would have to be contracted for X minimum amount or whatever. I would think that if you called the big suppliers (purina, etc) they could transfer you to someone who could transfer you to the person you should be talking to about this [​IMG]

    On the one hand, a feed store type business has the advantage that you needn't invest huge capital into lots of shelf inventory just to get started (a dress store, for instance, needs to buy a whole lotta dresses to put on the racks just to be able to *open*; whereas you should be able to some extent to just order what you need).

    On the other hand, businesses of that type typically do poorly (if at all) when they're small, because they end up having to pay nearly full retail price and have only the most miniscule of profit margins unless the local market will bear a huge markup (which is very rare). The more volume you buy in, the lower prices you get, and for some things (and I believe commercial feed is one of them) the minimum volume for getting significant discounts below retail si pretty darn large so you'd better have a LOT of customers.

    Definitely something to look into anyhow. If the area is wealthy and still doing pretty well despite the economy and people have lots of hobby animals and there IS no local feed store, there might indeed be a niche you could fill. But you'd want to look into the zoning/tax/insurance implications and get a sense of what profit margin you could expect on a given volume of sales, first.

    Good luck, have fun,

    Pat
     
  4. highcountrychickens

    highcountrychickens Head Rooster Jouster

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    Aug 28, 2008
    Jackson Hole
    Oh thank you SO much - what a lot of thought that is SO appreciated!!

    Honor system... can you imagine? There is hope [​IMG]

    okay... now for the slow, fine toothed comb with these thoughts - Thanks so much
     
  5. Whitehouse Quail

    Whitehouse Quail Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 1, 2009
    Michigan
    If you're really ambitious, you could try grinding your own.

    There are some great recipes online, and there are inexpenseive ($500-800) mills on the internet. Not bad for a startup of a business! Then you can call it whatever you like and sell for quite a high price (which would still be fair, and your customers' would know it!)
     
  6. milestoog

    milestoog Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 29, 2009
    Raleigh, NC
    I have opened and operated a couple retail stores. If it helps I will tell you what I would do to get to where you want to be. First I would establish a corporation, you normally do that thru the Secretary of State's office, I have done this without the aid and expense of a lawyer, it was fairly simple, I downloaded and printed all the forms, filled them out sent them in to the sectary with a check for $ 125.00, in a week I had a corporation. As soon as you have that secured, get a Sales tax license from the State were your business is located, normally a small if any charge. I walked my last one through, got there early had it in 10 minutes. Rent a P.O. Box to have a secure place for all your business mail. Now you have everything you need to start. You can probably do all of this for under $300.00. If you decide not to continue, the corp. and state tax licenses are easy to close at no cost. Contact the companies you wish to buy from most have a section on their websites that say something like, " If you want to be a retailer". They will either contact you or have the Rep contact you normally fairly soon. In your email state your name, location, include your sales tax number, and corporate name and federal E.I.N. The E.I.N., employer identification number, can be gotten on-line from the IRS at no cost. Ask your Accountant the best way for you to setup the corporation, i.e. S corp. or C corp. By having all of this in place the manufacturer knows that you are ready to do business and not a gross waste of their time. Ask about opening order quantities, some companies have a fairly high one to keep the people you just want to buy wholesale at bay. Shipping with kill you on heavy items like feed, get FOB pricing. Once you have the wholesale price you can compare and see if you are competitive. Most people will not drive 2 hours to save a dollar a bag, 5 dollars a bag, maybe. Hope this helps you some.

    NT
     
  7. tulie13

    tulie13 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    NW Florida
    Other thing to keep in mind is biosecurity - you will be having lots of other chicken owners walking onto YOUR property tracking all of their chicken diseases in. If you do this, make sure you have a good "safe zone" around where your chickens go, keep them AWAY from where the feed customers would all be.
     
  8. jmagill

    jmagill Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Western Wyoming
    The feed Store in Etna delivers to Jackson and I think that service might be free.

    The feed store in Afton is worth the drive if you are buying in bulk because they mix their own chicken feed.
     
  9. Sugar Sand Farm

    Sugar Sand Farm Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 24, 2007
    North Florida
    checkout this website its Liongripe.com It has alot of organic chicken feed recipes I was going to try to make my own as prices around here were getting ridiculous. I found a feed mill that grinds its own and I now buy in bulk. Its a 2 hour trip one way but it is worth the time and energy to get a better feed. If you have a feed mill near you check with them I can get chicken layer feed for .12 a pound when I buy it in bulk It still comes in 50# bags and its a better feed than the feed stores are carrying. I know of one man that buys it in bulk and has started up a delivery service around his hometown He works 3 days a week and is making more money than when he had his own storefront.
     
  10. Lensters

    Lensters Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Find out what mills are close and work from there. I know you want to provide "the best" but realistically "the best" is probably not an option if you have plans on making money.
     

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