Worm Farming: What It’s All About
When you think ‘farming,’ you probably think of livestock or dairy farming. It’s not often that you come across a topic like ‘worm farming.’ This is ironic though because work farming is considered to be a growing business industry, not just a hobby. The humble worm was once just considered to be a creepy-crawler and no one really paid attention to it. Today it is making smart entrepreneurs thousands of dollars!
However, once people realized that these earthworms are essential for places like bait and tackle shops, these little critters rose in importance. People started breeding them in tiny enclosures just to sell and put bread on the table for the day. This led to all-out worm farms being set up as the vermicompost system became a legitimate business. And it has been thriving, not only in the US but, worldwide. According to ABC News, “one of Australia’s largest suppliers of worm farms is struggling to cope with an increase in orders.”
Read further to find out how you can set up your own successful worm farming business with minimal start-up costs and maximum profit! The future is made for worm farmers, after all.
Home Growers VS Commercial Farms
According to Amy Jeanroy of The Spruce, you can start worm farming at home. All you need is “room for a bucket or shoe box, then you have room for a worm bin in your home.” Home growers usually use their worms for compost material to grow their garden. On the other hand, commercial worm farms sell off their worms to gardeners and/or fishermen among other people. Commercial worm farmers usually breed red worms and mammoth Canadians as these are best to sell to both gardeners and fishermen alike.
The Farmers’ Market
The demand for worms and their by-products has increased in relation to the growth of industries like agriculture and crop farming. The worm farming industry will give you sufficient competition but don’t be afraid to break into this market. If you try hard and stay focused, you will be able to create a sizeable business to rival any of the established names in worm farming. These are:
- The Worm Farm
- Hungry Bin
- Silver Bait LLC
- Uncle Jim’s Worm Farm
- Wisconsin Redworms
- Clark County Crawlers
- Unco Industries Inc.
- Vermicrobe International
Furthermore, there is a steadily increasing demand in various sectors across industries. The demographics of the consumer show that worms are needed in government sectors, private homes, communities and by various hobbyists. Here are some organizations and people who you can easily sell to:
- Fish farmers
- Aqua Culturists
- Crop farmers
- Scientific labs
- University Research Programs
- Research institutions
- Organic Products Manufacturers
As you can see, there is a large market out there with a constant demand for well-raised worms. Now that you know the market trends, let’s discuss how you can go about starting your own worm farm.
Steps to Start a Worm Farm
Here are the steps you need to take in order to set up your successful worm farm.
The first thing you need to do is draw up a comprehensive business plan that represents what you aim to do. There are several niches within the worm farming industry that you can capitulate on. Your business plan should outline which niche you plan on developing and which kinds of worms you will be breeding, plus how many pounds of worms you plan to start with. Here are the niches you can explore:
- Worm Castings
- Worm Tea Production
- Worm Composting
- Worm Green Waste Recycling
Profit Potential for Worm Farms
Your profitability will depend solely upon the price you receive for your worms minus the amount of money you’ve invested for labor and capital. These profit margins will be different depending on your situation. Therefore, keep in mind that you research your costs thoroughly and review your potential profits.
Startup Costs and Ongoing Overhead Expenses
The cost of your particular worm farm will depend on what strategy you’re following. If you want to set up a smaller, home-based venture, you will find lower costs whereas if you want to buy a franchise model or start a commercial farm, you will have to pay up more. Here are some figures for you to look over:
- Incorporation fee in the USA: $750
- Insurance, Permits and License fee: $2,500
- Cost of your first worms: $1,500
- Purchasing your total equipment: $3,000
- Cost of a well-designed website: $700
- Misc charges: $1,000
Therefore, you can ascertain that the total cost can range from $5,000 to as much as $25,000 if you’re looking to invest in a larger venture. Plan your finances accordingly.
Local Regulations in Setting Up a Worm Business
You shouldn’t have to face a large legal hassle when you want to raise your red wigglers. Once you set out to raise earthworms, you’ll find it to be pretty straightforward. All you need to do is set up a limited liability company or corporation. If you want to register your business name, you can also do this with your local country clerk. In some states, you may be required to buy a business license before you can get started.
Selling & Marketing Your Products
There’s no point in raising worms full time unless you have a marketing strategy to sell them off as well. You should remember who your prime customer is and target them using the platform that they use.
The best thing for you to do would be to start selling your worms online. This is because most tackle shops and fishermen buy worms in large quantities and they will most likely search on online forums and websites for new purchases. Target these consumers through social media channels and a dedicated beautifully designed website.
A Typical Day in the Worm Farm Business
A typical day in the worm farm business will revolve around you answering a lot of queries and being vigilant on the phone. You will have several customers calling you up and asking about your product. However, if it is harvest day, then you will have to go out and harvest your worms early in the morning. Once a week, you’ll need to turn the worms’ bedding material over with a pitchfork and check on the worms’ conditions. Make sure you feed your worms and collect any organic waste that’s been produced.
Helpful Skills and Experience
It will be really helpful if you know the basics of farming. However, even if you don’t, you will eventually learn. The one thing you should know is how to handle customer queries and how to look for new business. Previous experience where you’ve used people skills will be very helpful for you.
Setting up your own farm is an exciting prospect and it’s one that you should explore right away. Now that you have gleaned sufficient information on the topic, you will be able to go into planning mode straight away. Good luck with your worm farming endeavors.
FAQs About the Worm Farming Business
Here you’ll find some answers to basic worm farming business questions.
You will certainly be able to turn a profit if you set up your business right. You need to have a solid marketing plan and strategy and know your consumers inside out. This way, you can target them and prepare a marketing plan to get their business.
Definitely. There are tons of gardeners and horticulturists out there who require worm compost as this is one of the better forms of compost out there.
According to experts, you can sell red worms for around $9 for 300 worms. If you sell them in bulk, you can charge around $30 per pound which means approximately $0.08 per worm.
All you need to do to become a worm farmer is passion and the right knowledge in this guide. Starting out is pretty easy: you need some shredded newspapers and some scoops of soil and your first batch of worms! From then on, you’ll expand and find it to be easy sailing.
You will need about ½ – 1 ½ lbs of worms per square foot to start with 2 lbs being the absolute maximum you can stuff in that space. You can order your worms in bulk online.
1 worm produces around 3 cocoons per week and each cocoon produces 3 hatchlings on average. Hatchlings take around 3 months to become fully grown worms.
Love nature? Get more agricultural business ideas here
Check out my guide on how to start your business right with tons of useful tips I learned by successfully starting, building, and selling multiple companies.