As a farm owner, you will be aware of how today’s tough market is affecting your industry. Supermarket chains try their best to get as much produce from you without paying much. And consumers loathe the idea of buying fruit, vegetables and dairy products from places far away.
Because of these tough trading conditions, many farmers feel as though they are on the verge of bankruptcy. If you don’t want to give up on your farming business, the good news is there are some creative ways you can boost your profit. Intrigued? Some of the best ideas are as follows:
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Open a farm shop
If your farm usually deals with trade customers only, you are missing a trick by not selling direct to the general public! You might not realise this, but plenty of consumers would love the chance to buy fresh produce from a local farm.
They want to support local businesses and eat delicious food. They also want to get better value for money than they would through a national supermarket chain.
Opening a shop on your farm isn’t as an expensive or impossible idea as you might think. As you own your farm, there will be plenty of land for your customers to park their vehicles. You can use an old farm building and convert it into a friendly, welcoming shop for visitors.
You can get family members to help run the shop with you. And the best bit? You won’t have to go far to source products for your customers to buy! To keep costs down, you could start operating as a cash-only farm shop. Once you’re making a healthy profit, invest in debit and credit card facilities to attract more customers.
Replace your ageing machinery
You will doubtless have an array of machinery at your disposal. The trouble with farm machinery is that, after a while, they become unreliable and need constant repairs. If that sounds like a problem you’re having, get onto the Autotrader Farm website and buy some newer replacements! Fastline also offers a broad selection of used tractors and other farm equipment.
OK, so that idea involves you spending money. But here’s how it will help you make money:
- You can get things done quicker during the day;
- You don’t have to waste time fixing machinery that breaks down;
- You can meet delivery deadlines to your wholesale customers;
- You will have less stress in your life!
Productivity and efficiency are two important aspects of any successful business. If there are things that take away your attention from generating income, you could end up in financial hot water!
That’s why it’s important to invest money in your farm by replacing unreliable machinery. Newer, reliable farm equipment is a sure-fire way to guarantee an efficient business.
Rent out your spare land
As a farm owner, you will have acres of land at your disposal. But it’s not uncommon for farmers to not utilise all the land they’ve got. After all; there are some parts of your land that won’t offer the best conditions for growing produce or keeping livestock.
The good news is that this otherwise unusable land is perfect for other uses! For instance, it’s not rare to find farmers renting out some spare land to other people. Take Michael Eavis, for example. You might not have heard of him, but he’s the farmer who owns the land that hosts the Glastonbury Festivals in the UK!
But what if you don’t want your fields full of revellers? You could always rent your land out to people that wish to set up workshops in a safe and quiet environment. Many people build workshops on farm land for repairing and storing classic cars, for instance.
If your farm is in an idyllic location, another option is to section off part of your land as a campsite during the warmer months of the year. The investment from your point of view is minimal. That’s because as you only need to rent portable toilet and washing facilities for your campsite users.
For the best chance of growth in this sideline, you should set up a website where people can book places at your campsite. You can also use this as an opportunity to sell your produce to campsite customers. It enhances their experience at your farm and adds an extra source of revenue!
Set up a boot sale each weekend
Some people call them “swap meets” while others prefer the term “boot sale.” In a nutshell, these are gatherings for individuals to buy and sell unwanted items from their homes. People love to get a bargain, especially in the austere times that we live in these days.
All you need to do is organise a safe and level part of your land for buyers and sellers to park their vehicles. In an ideal world, you might want to cover the area for your boot sale with asphalt or concrete. The reason for doing that is simple. If the weather is bad, you won’t have to cancel your boot sale. People will still go bargain hunting in the rain!
You can advertise your boot sale in local newspapers. And online, through social networking sites like Facebook. Buyers can go to your boot sale for free; it’s the sellers that you make money from, as you can charge them a “pitch fee” to set up their mobile shop.
Diversify into animal care: open some dog kennels at your farm
Your main “bread and butter” is selling produce and livestock you’ve grown at your farm. But if you’ve got the space, and you’re running low on profit, there’s another thing you can do. With any spare space at your farm, you could set up a dog kennel!
People always need somewhere safe and reputable to send their pampered pooches when they go on holiday. You could hire trained individuals to manage the kennels for you. Because you will have plenty of land on your farm, you can section off some extra space to take the dogs in your care for a walk each day.