Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Making Money From Mealworms

One of the few disadvantages of raising your own mealworms is that very often, you end up with too many worms and not enough pets to feed them to. While freezing the worms for later use is possible, the quality of frozen worms is somewhat different than fresh, and many birds and other animals won't eat dead food. You can throw them out, of course, but a better option may be to make a little extra cash from your bounty.

If you have a good relationship with local pet shops, consider selling mealworms to the shops themselves. Many shop owners pay to have worms delivered fresh every month from worm farmers, and in some cases, they would welcome the chance to buy from a local source. Consider posting an ad on the shop's announcement board as well as selling to the shop itself.

Another potential customer is your area bait and tackle shop. Mealworms make great live bait for bass and other small fish. Locally owned shops are more likely to buy from another small business, so look for bait shops that are family businesses.

Pay lakes, personal lakes, koi pond owners, and other pet breeders are also potential customers. Consider making up a few business cards and leaving them in places where they are likely to be found, such as landscaping businesses, feed stores, and small grocery stores frequented by avid fishermen.

When starting a worm farm for profit, examine your market very carefully. Identify potential customers, competition, and advertising methods that are most successful in your territory. If you have several competitors, examine the both the most popular and the least popular businesses. You want to identify what makes the competition succeed and fail.

In addition to looking over the market and competition, think about how large you want your business to be. While it is doubtful that you will become a mealworm millionaire, you can probably make a little extra cash to pay bills or put in savings without too much effort. If you have the time and desire to make a full time business out of worm farming, make sure you understand that running a large scale worm farm will likely take over your life for the first few years.

Make sure you have all the legal permits and paperwork in order before you sell your first batch of worms. While your customers are unlikely to turn you in for running a business without a license, your competition will have no problem reporting you for it. You may also need a special permit from the county health department, especially if you live in an urban area and run your farm from home.

Hobby mealworm farmers can expect to make between a few hundred and a few thousand a year. Very large scale operations earn hundreds of thousands of dollars per year. It takes a lot of time and effort to grow a worm farm to a full time source of livable income, but it can be done.

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