If you are looking to start a lucrative business that would provide you with a constant source of income, then deer farming is a good business option if you have the right knowledge and skills.
Deer farming business gives you the opportunity to earn better livelihood and it also helps to create good employment. Deer is among the most beautiful wild animals of nature. Deer is loved by most people for their beauty.
The population of deer in the wild keeps reducing, and this has brought to the fore the need to rear them domestically for commercial purposes, and also to keep them from going extinct in the wild.
Deer farming guarantees a good source of income for farmers. You should look at starting a deer farm because there is a high demand and high market value for deer products.
It isn’t enough to just plunge into this business without doing the needful. The needful includes that you start out armed with the right information. This is exactly what this article proposes to do- to give you a detailed account of what the deer farming business is all about.
Steps to Starting a Deer Farm
1. Understand the Industry
Deer meat popularly called venison is a highly priced meat in big-city restaurants and it is also in high demand in more modest restaurants. Statistics show that the U.S. consumption of deer meat increased by 30% from 422,000 kg in 1990 to 597,000 kg in 1991. The best cuts of the deer which is about 30% of the whole body yield up to $13 a pound for the owner.
There is a potential increase in the consumption of venison yearly with the current average consumption of venison among Americans pegged at 0.003 pounds of venison a year. About 85% of the current American consumption of venison is being imported from New Zealand, while Americans also rear red deer like cattle. The red deer is being sold as fresh meat in America while it is imported frozen from New Zealand.
For deer farmers, they can expect to get about $3 per pound for the deer meat. Currently, there is no established marketing structure in place for commercially produced venison, but deer farmers have formed smaller cooperatives for marketing purposes.
2. Conduct Market Research and Feasibility Studies
- Demographics and Psychographics
The demographic and psychographic composition of those that require deer meat and its other products cannot be restricted to a particular set of people. It transcends geographic locations or age groups.
Though venison is more expensive than cow meat but people still prefer it because of the health benefits of lean meat. So, if you are looking towards defining the demographics of your deer farm business, then you should endeavour to make it all encompassing.
3. Decide What Niche to Concentrate On
The deer farming business has several areas you could diversify and gain patronage from deer product lovers. Virtually every part of the deer can be utilized to make profit. Deer hide and skin is of great economic importance to those that have a deer farm. You may want to specialize in that also.
It is quite important for you to understand your niche. This will enable you focus more on it and also develop your marketing plan to go in line with it.
To create a niche for yourself, you could focus on any of these:
- Hunting Ranches
- Sales to other farms for genetic enhancements
The Level of Competition in the Industry
There is no doubt that the deer farming business is a business with huge growth potential because of the increase in demand for deer farming professionals as against the traditional way of deer farming. This also makes the industry more competitive. There are also no known entry barriers and anyone can go into this business.
It is also worthy to note that distance is never a barrier in this business when competing for customers as you can also farm deer from your home. Ensuring that your price is reduced to that of your competitors is definitely a plus for your business.
Once your customers have been satisfied with your quality of service, you would enjoy more patronage which would guarantee more profit.
There are several other deer farming businesses scattered all over the United States of America and throughout the globe. So, if you want to start your deer farming business in the United States, you will meet stiffer competitions not only amongst deer farming businesses in the United States but all over the globe.
4. Know the Major Competitors in the Industry
In every industry, there are always brands that are well known because they offer quality products to satisfy their customers.
Some of these brands have been in the industry for a long time and based on this, they have created a good name for themselves in quality product and service. Here are some of the well-known deer farms in the United States and all over the world;
- Up On the Ridge
- Windy Acres Whitetails
- Odekirk Deer Farm
- Smoking Gun Elk
- Forest County Deer Farm
- Whitetails of a Lifetime
- RC Ranch LLC
- JB Elk Ranch
Before starting you deer farming business, you need to properly carry out feasibility studies. These will highlight all the key areas that are necessary for the success of this business. One of the most important factors you will have to pay attention to is how you will ensure that your business stands out from other competitors.
You would need to find strategies that would ensure that you get a market share of the deer farming business by branding your products and making it attractive to your potential customers.
Another thing you should consider is your source of finance for the business. This is important as most banks and financial institutions will not be willing to lend a new comer in the business. They would prefer to lend to established and well known deer farm businesses.
5. Decide Whether to Buy a Franchise or Start from Scratch
Starting a business is a major personal decision you must make in life. You have only two choices to choose from, these are starting your business from the scratch or choosing a franchise in the industry you intend to venture into. Both choices have its own advantages and disadvantages. Once you have made your choice, the next puzzle you need to answer is the type of business to choose.
The deer farming business will benefit you more if you start it from the scratch. You should get sufficient knowledge and passion while you set out to start up on your own. You should equally learn from other people’s experience and gradually build your farm. You would learn better when you start from the scratch instead of buying a franchise.
6. Know the Possible Threats and Challenges You Will Face
If you decide to start your deer farm business today, one of the major challenges you are likely going to face in this lucrative business is the fact that commercial deer farming is being prohibited by the Government of some countries.
So if you are planning to start your deer farming business, you need to make proper plan and contact the wildlife service center near you to inquire if commercial deer farming is permitted in your location.
7. Choose the Most Suitable Legal Entity (LLC, C Corp, S Corp)
When you are considering starting your deer farm business, you need to carefully choose the legal entity you would subscribe to as it could go a long way to determine the overall success of your business. Generally, you have an array of options to choose from namely; limited liability company (LLC), general partnership, sole proprietorship and corporation.
Sole Proprietorship is the most common legal structure for start-up businesses like the deer farm business. This is because it is the easiest and less expensive business to start.
The only disadvantage is that you are just an individual and also the business owner. This means that any liability incurred in the course of the business may also affect your individual assets. A sole proprietorship can be a good choice when starting up this business.
However, the Limited Liability Company (LLC) is gradually becoming a very common structure among start-up businesses.
This is because the Limited Liability Company does not offer you the ease of ownership that a sole proprietorship or partnership guarantees but it limits the liability. This means that the business owners’ personal assets are protected in the case of loss.
8. Choose a Catchy Business Name from the ideas Below
- Flint rock farm
- J.J Thompson farm
- Rhindeer farms
- Tail tuck deer farm
9. Discuss With an Agent to Know the Best Insurance Policies for You
In the United States and most countries, it would be impossible for you to successfully operate your business without having some necessary insurance policy covers in place.
Therefore, you need to include the cost of insurance policy in your budget. While planning for this, you could also consult an insurance broker to offer you a professional guide on the best and most suitable insurance policies for your deer farm business.
These are some of the insurance policies that you are expected to acquire for you to start your own deer farm business in the United States of America;
- General insurance
- Liability insurance
- Payment protection insurance
- Workers compensation
- Overhead expense disability insurance
- Business owner’s policy group insurance
- Farm Equipment and Auto Insurance
- Commercial Agribusiness Insurance
- Health insurance
10. Protect your Intellectual Property With Trademark, Copyrights, Patents
If you plan to start your own deer farm, you may not bother about filing for intellectual property protection/trademark. This is because the nature of the deer farm business allows you to run your business successfully without going into any legal issue with anyone as regards making use of your business intellectual properties.
11. Get the Necessary Professional Certification
There is no professional certification required to run this business.
12. Get the Necessary Legal Documents You Need to Operate
It is very important for every business owner to have the necessary legal documents in place before starting their business in the United States of America. It is well known that you cannot successfully run any business in the United States without having the proper legal documents to back it up. If you start a business without it, you would soon be caught by the long hand of the law.
These are some of the legal documents which you would need to have in order to run your deer farming business in the United States of America;
- Business Plan
- Business License
- Non – disclosure Agreement
- Business and liability insurance
- Employment Agreement
- Employee’s Handbook
- Assistant’s licenses for assistants
- Health inspection Certificate
- Operating Agreement for LLCs
- Proof of ownership and vehicle license
- Insurance Policy Certificate of Incorporation
- Tax Payer’s ID
- Farm Partnership Agreement
- Fire certificate Appropriate
- Driver’s licenses for drivers
13. Raise the Needed Startup Capital
When it has to do with financing a business, you have to first consider writing a good business plan. With a good and workable business plan document in place, you would find it much easier to convince your bank, investors and friends to invest in your business.
Below are some of the options to explore when sourcing for start – up capital for your deer farming business;
- Raising money from personal savings
- Raising money from the sale of properties and personal stocks
- Selling shares to interested investors
- Raising money from business partners and investors
- Applying for agricultural loan from your bank
- Pitching your business idea and applying for seed funding and business grants
- Source for soft loans from family members and friends
14. Choose a Suitable Location for your Business
The deer farm can be started at your backyard where you can build a pen to accommodate your deer. But most of the times, there isn’t sufficient land space for those who want to rear it at their backyard especially if you are hoping to start deer farming for commercial purposes.
You would need to rent/lease a ranch or a space sufficient enough for your deer and also get some equipment that you might need for deer processing.
Needless to say, your deer farm needs to be accessible by road and also it should be close to a grazing area; this is because your deer can feed predominantly on grass for the whole year. If it is not close to a grassland, then you will need to plant grasses around your deer farm.
15. Hire Employees for your Technical and Manpower Needs
When it comes to choosing a place for your deer farm, you should consider long term lease of a large expanse of land that will also contain grazing land. The size of the land depends on the size of deer farm you intend to have. And also your finance and budget will determine the size of land you acquire for the business.
The other aspect you need to take note of is the manpower aspect. As regards the number of employees you would need to kick start the business with, you would need to put your finance into consideration before making this decision.
You would need a farm manager, an assistant farm manager, Accountant, Marketing officer, farm attendants, driver and security personnel. Over and above, you would need a minimum of 7 key staff to effectively run a start-up deer farming business.
The Service Delivery Process of the Business
To start your deer farm, the first thing you need to do is to visit an existing deer farm to learn all the rudiments of this business.
It is very important for you to learn from their experiences and how they have been able to deliver excellent products to their customers. After that you then learn how to start your own deer farm. Decide on how many male and female deer you intend to start with.
When you have a mature deer for the market, you must have skilled butcher and scaler who would help you butcher and cut it to size while the meat is being weighed and packaged for sale. The venison meat will be cut into sizes according to the market demand.
Also a customer can also request for a specific part of the deer which would be extracted for the customer. To ensure an excellent customer service delivery, you must always put your customers at the heart of whatever you do.
16. Write a Marketing Plan Packed With ideas & Strategies
As a deer farmer, you would need to prove to everyone that you have the business acumen to manage a deer farm and also consistently produce deer products in commercial quantities. So, if you plan to start your deer farming business, you will do well to first build your holding capacity before seeking for customers you would supply in large quantities.
When you are drafting your marketing plans and strategies for your deer farming business, make sure you create a compelling business and personal profile.
Aside from your experience and qualifications, it is also important to state in clear terms what you have been able to achieve in the past as regards to the industry you plan to start your business in. This will further boost your market opportunities in your deer farm business.
Here are some of the platforms to utilize when marketing your deer products;
- Introduce your business by sending letters of introduction alongside the service you render to households, hotels, restaurants, food processing and packaging companies that need a steady supply of venison meat and other deer products
- Promptly bidding for deer supply contracts
- Launch your deer farm with a party in order to capture the attention of residents and passers-by that are your first targets
- Engage in road shows in targeted neighbourhoods from time to time to sell your deer products
- Advertise your deer farm in community-based newspapers, radio and local TV stations
- List your business and products on local directories
- Promote your deer farm business via the internet
- Encourage the use referrals
- Engage in sales and direct marketing
- Join local chambers of commerce and industry around you while you use the opportunity to market your products
- Engage the services of business development and marketing executives to carry out direct marketing for you
17. Develop Iron-clad Competitive Strategies to Help You Win
The demand for venison is on the rise, so also is the number of people that venture into deer farming. Therefore, it is safe to say that there is a considerable amount of competition in the business. Based on this fact, you will need to be creative in coming up with unique strategies that would make your business stand out.
One of the strategies you need to employ in order to remain competitive in this industry is to ensure that your deer product is neat, well packaged and well preserved as the case may be. Also, review your price list and make it relatively cheaper than that of your competitors.
Another strategy to win over your competitors is to employ skilled farm workers in your deer farm. This will help to boost your overall output and farm productivity.
18. Brainstorm Possible Ways to Retain Clients & Customers
The deer farming industry requires that you have your own customer base that purchase your deer products. In order to make profit in this business you must ensure you retain your customers while also adding more customers to your customer base.
One of the easiest ways to increase your customer retention is to always satisfy your customers. When your customers are satisfied with your excellent service, they will hardly source for alternative deer farmer.
Statistics also shows that the major reasons why most customers seek for an alternative service provider is when there is a reduction in quality. Therefore you need to ensure you deliver a good quality deer product to your customers always.
Another reason is poor customer service. You need to take note of all these little in order to make a head way in the business.
19. Develop Strategies to Boost Brand Awareness and Create a Corporate Identity
If you are in a business without boosting your brand awareness and also communicating your corporate identity to people, then you would have to accept the outcome of how the society views your business. A major secret of big organizations is their willingness to spend huge amounts of money yearly to increase their brand awareness and communicate their corporate identity to people.
If your intention of starting a deer farm is to expand your business beyond the city where you are operating from and making it a national and international product, then you need to spend money on promoting and advertising your deer products.
To promote your products and create a corporate identity, you can make use of the print and electronic media and the social media (the internet) will also be an advantage. Additionally, using the internet and social media platforms to promote your brand is cost effective, and it is most effective and widely accessible.
Another way to promote your brand is by sponsoring relevant community based programs, radio programs, TV and advertising your business in magazines and newspapers. The various platforms to boost your brand and promote your business are as follows;
- Advertising on ICT magazines and related newspapers, TV and radio stations
- By encouraging word of mouth publicity from your existing customers
- Using the internet and social media platforms like YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Snapchat, Badoo, Google+ and other platforms to improve your business
- Positioning your banners and billboards at strategic places all around your city
- Fliers and handbills should be distributed within the targeted areas in your neighborhood
- Your official website must advertise your business and use strategic means to direct more people to the site