Do you want to start a reindeer farm? If YES, here is a complete guide to starting a reindeer farming business with NO money and no experience. In the united states and in some countries of the world, reindeer farming is rapidly gaining momentum and it is indeed a profitable business venture that is open to interested livestock farmers.
A reindeer is a member of the deer family and they are majorly from the tundra and subarctic regions of Eurasia and North America. Most Eurasian reindeers are domesticated and used for drawing sledges and as a source of milk, flesh and hide.
It is important to state that starting a reindeer farming business comes with its own fair share of challenges, but that does not rule out the fact that it is indeed a profitable business venture especially if you know how to reach out to industries that make use of hide and milk generated from reindeer. An aspiring entrepreneur can either choose to start a reindeer farming business on a small scale or on a large scale depending on their financial status.
Before launching this type of business, it will pay you carry out your due diligence as it relates to market research, economic and cost analysis and of course feasibility studies. If you get things right before launching your reindeer farming business, then it will not take you long before you break even and start smiling to the bank.
So, if you are serious about starting your own reindeer farming business, all you need do is to read this article and you will be well equipped.
19 Steps to Starting a Reindeer Farming Business
Table of Content
- 2. Conduct Market Research and Feasibility Studies
- 3. Decide Which Niche to Concentrate On
- 4. Know Your Major Competitors in the Industry
- 5. Decide Whether to Buy a Franchise or Start from Scratch
- 9. Discuss with an Agent to Know the Best Insurance Policies for You
- 10. Protect your Intellectual Property With Trademark, Copyrights, Patents
- 11. Get the Necessary Professional Certification
- 12. Get the Necessary Legal Documents You Need to Operate
- 13. Raise the Needed Startup Capital
- 14. Choose a Suitable Location for your Business
- 15. Hire Employees for your Technical and Manpower Needs
- 16. Write a Marketing Plan Packed with ideas & Strategies
- 17. Work Out a Reasonable Pricing for your Services & Products
- 18. Develop Iron-clad Competitive Strategies to Help You Win
- 19. Develop Strategies to Boost Brand Awareness and Create a Corporate Identity
1. Understand the Industry
Reindeer farming is part of the livestock farming industry in the United States of America and the industry that has provided jobs for several thousands of people in the United States and across the globe. The reindeer is the only domesticated deer in the world, though it may be more accurate to consider reindeer as semi-domesticated.
Reindeers are found in Alaska, Canada, Greenland, northern Europe and northern Asia in tundra, mountains and woodland habitats. Their home ranges tend be as big as 190 square miles (500 square km), according to Encyclopedia Britannica.
Reindeer are also called caribou, depending on their location. They are called reindeer in Europe, but in North America, reindeer refers to Eurasian populations, and caribou refers to wild populations in North America, according to the San Diego Zoo. Reindeer also often refers to domesticated animals, while caribou refers to wild populations.
Male reindeer are known to grow to 28 to 53 inches (70 to 135 centimeters) tall from hooves to shoulder, and around 5.9 to 6.8 f (1.8 to 2.1 m) long. Females are typically smaller, around 5.5 to 6.2 feet (1.7 to 1.9 m) long. Males weigh 143 to 529 lbs. (65 to 240 kilograms), and females weigh 121 to 308 lbs. (55 to 140 kg).
Reindeers were introduced into Alaska near the end of the 19th century; they interbred with the native caribou subspecies there. Reindeer meat is popular in the Scandinavian countries and reindeer meatballs are sold canned. Sautéed reindeer is the best-known dish in Lapland.
In Alaska and Finland, reindeer sausage is sold in supermarkets and grocery stores. Reindeer meat is very tender and lean. It can be prepared fresh, but also dried, salted and hot- and cold-smoked.
In addition to meat, almost all of the internal organs of reindeer can be eaten, some being traditional dishes. Reindeer antlers are powdered and sold as an aphrodisiac, or as a nutritional or medicinal supplement, to Asian markets.
One thing is certain about reindeer farming business, if you are able to conduct your market research and feasibility studies, you are not going to struggle to sell your milk, flesh, and hide because there are loads of milk production plants, leather processing plants and high end restaurants out there to patronize you.
Some of the factors that encourage entrepreneurs to start their own reindeer farming business is that the business is a rapidly becoming a profitable business; you can actually start your own reindeer farming business in your compound if you live in a rural or farming community. All you need to do is to purchase the first set of reindeer, get their feed, farming tools and then build your fence.
There are few barriers to entry into the reindeer farming business. Usually, all inputs are readily available. In the nearest future, players in this industry may face the highest costs associated with accessing technology, especially in relation to genetic engineering in reindeer breeding.
2. Conduct Market Research and Feasibility Studies
- Demographics and Psychographics
The demographic and psychographic composition of those who make use of products derived from reindeer are not restricted to a group of people hence the market for reindeer farm produce is all encompassing.
So, if you are looking towards defining the demographics for your reindeer farming business, then you should make it all encompassing. It should include all players in the leather processing industry, dairy processing industry and of course consumers of reindeer meat.
3. Decide Which Niche to Concentrate On
It is important to state that there are no niche areas when it comes to reindeer farming. Basically, they raise reindeer for the purpose of generating hide, milk, meat and even engage in mating and in some cases grooming male reindeers to perform in circus shows or animal games or even reindeer rentals et al.
The Level of Competition in the Industry
The level of competition in the reindeer business to some extent depends on the location of the business and of course the capacity of your reindeer farm. If you can successfully add leather processing, milk processing and packaging to your reindeer business, you are likely going to experience little or no competition.
For instance, if you are the only reindeer farm in your city or even region that sells processed and packaged reindeer milk or even processed reindeer leather or even rent out reindeers in your location, you can successfully monopolize the market before you start having competitions.
It is important to also state that the competition in the reindeer business also depends on the scale of your reindeer farm. There are farms in the United States that are competing with leading reindeer farms in the world and there are some that can only compete at the local level.
4. Know Your Major Competitors in the Industry
These are some of the leading reindeer farms in the United States of America and in the globe;
- Dash*Away Reindeer | Fulton Valley Farms
- Reindeer Farm
- Rooftop Reindeer
When starting a reindeer farming business, you just have to get your costing cum economic analysis right if your intention of building the business is to generate profits, grow the business and perhaps expand the business and start exporting fur, leather, milk within your country and other countries of the world.
When conducting costing and economic analysis for your reindeer farming business, you just have to critically examine these key factors; access to the market, access to feed (Reindeer are herbivores, which means they only eat vegetation. Their diet can include herbs, ferns, mosses, grasses, shoots, fungi and leaves), access to medications, cheap labor and of course good climatic condition.
As a matter of fact, you need to continue to review these key factors while running your reindeer farming business. As a reindeer farm owner, you just have to have a proper grasp of your competitive landscape if indeed you want to maximize profits and be in the frontline of the industry.
5. Decide Whether to Buy a Franchise or Start from Scratch
When it comes to starting a business of this nature, it will pay you to start from the scratch as against buying a franchise. Besides, from available research conducted, there are no known reindeer farms in the United States of America that are into franchising; most players in this line of business are adopting strategies that will help them sell their fur, hide, milk and meat beyond the city, state or country where their reindeer farm is domicile to other parts of the world as against selling franchise.
Besides, it is easier to start and run a reindeer farming business from scratch to profitability without leveraging on a known brand name. People will patronize your products based on accessibility and pricing as against relying on a brand name.
Please note that most of the big and successful reindeer farms around started from the scratch and they were able to build a solid business brand. It takes dedication, hard work and determination to achieve business success.
6. Know the Possible Threats and Challenges You Will Face
If you decide to start your own reindeer farming business today, one of the major challenges you are likely going to face is the presence of well – established reindeer farms that raise reindeers and other livestock for fur, hides, milk and meat in your target market location.
The only way to avoid this challenge is to create your own market; concentrate on cottage industries or leather processing mills or food processing factories that need supply of fur, hide, milk and meat from reindeer farms.
Some other threats and challenges that you are likely going to face when you start your own reindeer farm are global economic downturn that can impact negatively on household spending, bad weather cum natural disasters, unfavorable government policies and the arrival of a competitor (reindeer farm or cattle farm) within same location.
There is hardly anything you can do as regards these threats and challenges other than to be optimistic that things will continue to work for your good.
7. Choose the Most Suitable Legal Entity (LLC, C Corp, S Corp)
The United States has a wide array of options that you can choose from if you are looking for a business structure to build your business on. The most important thing is that you should select a business structure that will best serve your overall business vision and mission.
In the uk, you have the option of starting your business as a Sole trader, Limited company, Private limited company (LTD or Ltd), Public limited company (PLC), Limited liability partnership (LLP) or ‘C’ corporation or ‘S’ corporation. If you are not sure of which of the business structures to choose from, then consider going through the quick below.
A sole trader is a business-type where one person owns and runs the entire business. It is the simplest business structure you could adopt. It is very suitable for any one-person business. A sole trader is an individual is entitled to all/any profits of the business but is also liable for any debt/damages incurred.
A limited company is a legal business structure that implies that a business is a separate entity from its owners. This means the owners are only liable for any business debts to the extent of the amount of money they have put into the business, thus limiting any exposure for business owners beyond their total investment. There are two types of limited companies you can incorporate in the United States.
Private Limited Company (LTD or Ltd)
In a private limited company, the owners privately hold shares. This is the most common and preferred incorporation structure for most small businesses in the United States of America.
Public Limited Company (PLC)
In a public limited company, shares are available to the public for ownership and purchase. PLC is commonly used as a structure for major companies after they make an initial public offering (selling a large portion of their shares in the capital markets).
Limited Liability Partnership (LLP)
An LLP is a partnership structure used by many businesses including vets, dentists, law firms or accountancy firms. An LLP is made up of at least one limited partner and one general partner (there can also be more than one of each), and these partners have different responsibilities and exposure regarding the business.
The bottom line is that if you have plans to grow your small reindeer farming business beyond yourself (one person), then a Private Limited Company would likely be the most suitable structure. If you are considering operating a mom and pop kind of reindeer farming business or to operate as a one-man business, then a Sole Tradership would probably be the best structure to build your business on.
But if you have plans to build a reindeer business brand that has a significant amount of senior management, capital and that deals in services, then a Limited Liability partnership would be the best choice.
8. Choose a Catchy Business Name
One of the most important steps that you should take when starting a business in the United States of America is to register the business name with the regulating authority. Choosing a name of your business is the starting point to starting a business. When you come up with a name, it is always advisable to run a search to ensure that the name you choose is not already trademarked by another company
As a matter of fact, in the US, a business name cannot have any profanity in it and it must not be similar to the name of a company that is legally registered at Companies House or else it will not be approved. If you are considering starting your own reindeer farming business, here are some catchy names that you can choose from;
- Nick Collins™ Reindeer Farms Ltd
- Percy Jones & Sons® Reindeer Farms, LLC
- Gareth Denis™ Reindeer Farms, Inc.
- Tim O’Connor® Reindeer Farms Ltd.
- Ray Thomas® Reindeer Farms, LLC
- Lewis Niles© Reindeer Farms Ltd.
- Santos Mendez® Reindeer Farms, Inc.
- Texas Brothers™ Reindeer Farms, Inc.
- Brownie Fence™ Reindeer Farms, Inc.
- Barrow Kings™ Reindeer Farms, LLC.
9. Discuss with an Agent to Know the Best Insurance Policies for You
In the United States and in most countries of the world, you can’t operate a business without having some of the basic insurance policy covers that are required by the industry you want to operate from. Thus, it is imperative to create a budget for insurance and perhaps consult an insurance broker to guide you in choosing the best and most appropriate insurance policies for your reindeer farming business.
Here are some of the basic insurance cover you should consider purchasing if you want to start your own reindeer farming business in the United States of America;
- General insurance
- Health insurance
- Liability insurance
- Animal Mortality Insurance
- Farm Equipment and Auto Insurance
- Commercial Agribusiness Insurance
- Workers Compensation
- Overhead expense disability insurance
- Business owner’s policy group insurance
10. Protect your Intellectual Property With Trademark, Copyrights, Patents
If you are considering starting your own reindeer farming business, usually you may not have any need to file for intellectual property protection/trademark because the nature of the business makes it possible for you to successfully run it without having any cause to challenge anybody in court for illegally making use of your company’s intellectual properties.
But if you just want to protect your company’s logo and other documents or software that are unique to you or even production concepts especially in relation to genetic modification engineering in livestock breeding, then you can go ahead to file for intellectual property protection. If you want to register your trademark, you are expected to begin the process by filing an application with the USPTO.
11. Get the Necessary Professional Certification
If you want to make an impact in the reindeer farming business, you should work towards acquiring all the needed certifications in your area of specialization. Certification validates your competency and shows that you are highly skilled, committed to your career, and up-to-date in this competitive market.
These are some of the certifications you can work towards achieving if you want to run your own reindeer farm business;
- P. Livestock Certification
- (Cert III Level) or Wool Classing (Cert IV Level).
- Wool Preparation and Wool Classing qualifications.
- Livestock Production certificate
Please note that the average local reindeer farmer in the suburbs in the United States do not have certifications and that does not in any way stop them from growing their reindeer farms.
12. Get the Necessary Legal Documents You Need to Operate
The importance of having the necessary documentation in place before launching a business in the United States of America cannot be overemphasized. It is a fact that you can successfully run any business in the United States without the proper documentations. If you do, it won’t be too long before the long hands of the law catches up with you.
These are some of the basic legal documents that you are expected to have in place if you want to legally run your reindeer farming business in the United States of America;
- Business and liability insurance
- Commercial Vehicle Operator’s Registration for distribution truck
- Appropriate driver’s licenses for drivers
- Assistant’s licenses for assistants
- Health inspection Certificate
- Proof of ownership, proper identification and vehicle license
- Tax Payer’s ID
- Fire certificate
- Certificate of Incorporation
- Business License
- Business Plan
- Non – disclosure Agreement
- Employment Agreement (offer letters)
- Employee’s Handbook
- Operating Agreement for LLCs
- Farm Partnership Agreement
- Operating Agreement for LLCs
- Insurance Policy
13. Raise the Needed Startup Capital
Starting a standard reindeer farming business can be capital intensive especially if you choose to launch a large reindeer farm with the capacity to supply fur, hide, milk and meat et al beyond your immediate community.
Securing a large farm land, building secured and conducive ranch with the right fencing, purchase of the first set of reindeers, livestock feed, farming tools/equipment are part of what will consume a large chunk of your startup capital, but if you choose to start the business on a small scale, you may not have the need to go source for fund to finance the business.
When it comes to financing a business, one of the first thing you should consider is to write a good business plan. If you have a good and workable business plan document in place, you may not have to labor yourself before convincing your bank, investors and your friends to invest in your business.
Here are some of the options you can explore when sourcing for startup capital for your reindeer farming business;
- Raising money from personal savings and sale of personal stocks and properties
- Raising money from investors and business partners
- Sell shares to interested investors
- Applying for Loan from your Bank
- Pitching your business idea and applying for business grants and seed funding from, government, donor organizations and angel investors
- Source for soft loans from your family members and your friends.
14. Choose a Suitable Location for your Business
Starting a reindeer farm comes with its own challenges the business that cannot be started in any location of your choice. As a matter of fact, you will not be allowed to start a reindeer farming business in a residential estate in the United States of America, Canada, the United Kingdom and Australia. The only location you can be allowed to start a reindeer farm is a farm land designated for cattle rearing and it is usually in the outskirts of town.
Before choosing a location for your reindeer farm, ensure that you first conduct a thorough feasibility studies and market survey. The possibility of you coming across similar business that just closed shop in the location you want to open yours can’t be ruled out.
These are some of the key factors that you should consider before choosing a location for your reindeer farming business;
- The demography of the location
- The demand for fur, hide, milk and meat in and around the location
- The purchasing power of residents of the location
- Accessibility of the location
- The number of leather processing mills, milk production companies, and fur processing mills in the location
- The local laws and regulations in the community
- Traffic, parking and security.
15. Hire Employees for your Technical and Manpower Needs
When starting a standard reindeer farming business, you will need the following equipment/machines; wool/fleece collectors, water trough/channel, fencing, shovel and rake, and wheel barrow/cart. This equipment can be purchased as fairly used if you are on a low budget.
When it comes to choosing between renting and leasing a farm land for your reindeer farm, the size of the farm you want to own, and your entire budget for the business should influence your choice. If you have enough capital to run a pretty large reindeer farm with the capacity to process milk and leather, then you should consider the option of long lease or out rightly purchasing a farm land.
As regards the number of employees that you are expected to kick start the business with, you would need to consider your finance before making the decision. Averagely, when it comes to starting a standard reindeer farm on a large scale, you would need the services of the following professionals; Chief Operating Officer (you can occupy this position), General Farm Manager, Veterinary Doctor (optional because it can be contracted), Human Resources and Admin Manager, Accountant / Cashier, Sales and Marketing Executive, Field Employees, and Security Guards.
You would need a minimum of 15 to 20 key staff members to effectively run a medium scale but standard reindeer farm.
The Service Delivery Process of the Business
When it comes to generating fur, hide, milk and meat from reindeer farm, the process is simple and straight forward.
When the reindeers are matured enough to produce milk, then a specific period of the day is chosen (usually in the morning) where the milk are collected. Once the milk is collected, they are stored in a neat container or directly supplied to customers as requested.
In the case of fur, hide and meat, matured reindeer are slaughtered in order to obtain them. They are then sold to leather and fiber processing companies. It is important to state that a reindeer farm may decide to improvise or adopt any business process and structure that will guarantee them efficiency and flexibility.
16. Write a Marketing Plan Packed with ideas & Strategies
As a reindeer farmer, you would have to prove that you have the capacity to manage a reindeer farm. So, if you have plans to start your own reindeer farm, it will pay you to first build your capacity before sourcing to supply fur, hide, milk and meat to the outside world.
So, when you are drafting your marketing plans and strategies, make sure that you create a compelling personal and company profile. Aside from your qualifications and experience, it is important to state what you have been able to achieve in time past as it relates to the industry you intend starting your business. This will help boost your chances in the market place.
Here are some of the platforms you can utilize to market your reindeer farming business and its produce;
- Introduce your business by sending introductory letters alongside your brochure to fiber mills and leather processing companies that make use of fur and hides, milk and meat processing companies and related businesses in the United States
- Promptness in bidding for fur, hide, milk and meat supply contracts et al
- Advertise your reindeer farming business in community – based newspapers, local TV and radio stations
- List your reindeer farming business on yellow pages ads (local directories)
- Leverage on the internet to promote your reindeer farm
- Engage in direct marketing and sales of your fur, hides, milk and meat
- Encourage the use of Word of mouth marketing (referrals)
- Leverage on the internet to promote your business
- Join local chambers of commerce and industry around you with the main aim of networking and marketing your products; you are likely going to get referrals from such networks.
- Engage the services of marketing executives and business developers to carry out direct marketing for you.
17. Work Out a Reasonable Pricing for your Services & Products
One key factor that will help you sell your reindeer, fur, hide, milk and meat at rock bottom prices is to purchase your feed, farming tools and equipment directly from the manufacturers in pretty large quantities. The truth is the higher the quantity of items you purchase directly from the manufacturers, the cheaper you tend to get them.
Another strategy that will help you retail your products at the right price is to ensure that you cut operational cost to the barest minimum and channel your efforts towards marketing and promoting your brand name. Aside from the fact that this strategy will help you save cost, it will also help you get the right pricing for your products.
You can also try as much as possible to work with independent contractors and marketers; they will help you save cost for paying sales and marketing executives.
18. Develop Iron-clad Competitive Strategies to Help You Win
The reindeer industry is a competitive industry, and you must come up with a unique and highly creative strategy to be able to outsmart your competitors in the industry. Part of what you need to do in order to stay competitive in the industry is to continue to create cheaper ways to rear reindeers and produce fur, hide, milk and meat on a commercial quantity.
In other to stay competitive in this industry, you must ensure that your fur, hides, milk and meat are distributed and always available in outlets within your target market locations. The truth is that if there are fluctuations in the supply of your fur, hides, milk and meat, customers can choose to shift allegiance and settle for other options available.
19. Develop Strategies to Boost Brand Awareness and Create a Corporate Identity
If you are in business and you are not deliberate about boosting you brand awareness and communicating your corporate identity, then you should be ready to take on whatever the society portrays your business to be. One of the secrets of larger corporations is that they are willing to spend fortunes to boost their brand awareness and to continue to communicate their corporate identity the way they want people to perceive them.
If your intention of starting a reindeer farming business is to grow the business beyond the city where you are going to be operating from to become a national and international brand by supplying reindeers, fur, hide, milk and meat across the United States and other countries of the world, then you must be ready to spend money on promotion and advertisement of your brand.
No matter the industry you belong to, the truth is that the market is dynamic and it requires consistent brand awareness and brand boosting cum promotion to continue to appeal to your target market. Here are the platforms you can leverage on to boost your brand awareness and create corporate identity for your reindeer farming business;
- Place adverts on both print (newspapers and agriculture magazines) and electronic media platforms
- Sponsor relevant community – based events
- Leverage on the internet and social media platforms like; Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google + et al to promote your products (fur, hides, milk and meat)
- Install your Billboards in strategic locations all around your city or state
- Engage in roadshows from time to time in targeted neighborhoods to create awareness of your reindeer farm.
- Distribute your fliers and handbills in target areas
- List your reindeer farming business in local directories / yellow pages
- Advertise your reindeer farming business in your official website and employ strategies that will help you pull traffic to the site.
- Position our Flexi Banners at strategic positions in the location where your reindeer farm is located.
- Ensure that all your staff members wear your branded shirts and all your vehicles and trucks/vans are well branded with your company logo.