Start a bamboo farm by following these 9 steps:
You have found the perfect business idea, and now you are ready to take the next step. There is more to starting a business than just registering it with the state. We have put together this simple guide to starting your bamboo farm. These steps will ensure that your new business is well planned out, registered properly and legally compliant.
STEP 1: Plan your Business
A clear plan is essential for success as an entrepreneur. It will help you map out the specifics of your business and discover some unknowns. A few important topics to consider are:
- What are the startup and ongoing costs?
- Who is your target market?
- How much can you charge customers?
- What will you name your business?
Luckily we have done a lot of this research for you.
What are the costs involved in opening a bamboo farm?
Bamboo farming will require an initial investment to purchase equipment and then prepare your land, if you’re not already farming. But, if you’re already a farmer, the switch to bamboo isn’t that hard. As previously noted, bamboo can take up to five years to sprout and establish so begin your transition while you still have other cash crops in rotation. Bamboo seeds aren’t too expensive either — usually about $3 to $5 per 100, depending on the variety. Bamboo can be tricky to germinate and grow from seed, though, so you may need quite a bit of seed to get started.
What are the ongoing expenses for a bamboo farm?
Like most farming businesses, the ongoing expenses include farm equipment care and maintenance as well as purchasing new equipment and supplies, such as irrigation systems and fertilizer. Bamboo is fairly pest-resistant, which reduces pest control costs. Advertising, insurance, and shipping costs also will continue to factor into ongoing operating expenses.
Who is the target market?
Your target market will consist of younger, DIY customers, between the ages of 30 and 65 as well as wholesalers and nurseries if you run a large enough operation.
How does a bamboo farm make money?
Bamboo farmers make money by selling their harvested — and sometimes processed — bamboo to wholesale companies. If you plan to open your farm to the public, you also may sell established clumps to consumers for residential and ornamental uses.
How much can you charge customers?
Bamboo is a relatively inexpensive crop to grow, and you can pass those savings on to your customers. Two-gallon, potted clusters retail for $40 to $60, depending on the variety. Some giant or more rare varieties can command higher prices. Check your competitor pricing when conducting your initial market research.
How much profit can a bamboo farm make?
Bamboo farming can generate $30,000 to $50,000 annually, but your market and farm size will play a key role in determining your profit margins.
How can you make your business more profitable?
You can combine bamboo farming with the farming of many other nursery and ornamental plants. Flowers and edible herbs make great additions to sell to visiting customers.
You also could create decorative, living potted displays of your bamboo. By placing a few species together in pots, you can charge customers more for these ornamental takeaways and impulse buys.
What will you name your business?
Choosing the right name is very important. Read our detailed guide on how to name your business. We recommend checking if the business name you choose is available as a web domain and securing it early so no one else can take it.
After registering a domain name, consider setting up a professional email account (@yourcompany.com). Google's G Suite offers a business email service that comes with other useful tools, including word processing, spreadsheets, and more. Try it for free
STEP 2: Form a legal entity
Establishing a legal business entity such as an LLC prevents you from being personally liable if your bamboo farm is sued. There are many business structures to choose from including: Corporations, LLC's, and DBA's.
Form Your LLC
Read our Guide to Form Your Own LLC
Check out the Top Business Formation Services from our friends at StartupSavant.
You should also consider using a registered agent service to help protect your privacy and stay compliant.
STEP 3: Register for taxes
You will need to register for a variety of state and federal taxes before you can open for business.
In order to register for taxes you will need to apply for an EIN. It's really easy and free!
You can acquire your EIN for free through the IRS website, via fax, or by mail. If you would like to learn more about EINs and how they can benefit your LLC, read our article, What is an EIN?.
STEP 4: Open a business bank account & credit card
Using dedicated business banking and credit accounts is essential for personal asset protection.
When your personal and business accounts are mixed, your personal assets (your home, car, and other valuables) are at risk in the event your business is sued. In business law, this is referred to as piercing your corporate veil.
Additionally, learning how to build business credit can help you get credit cards and other financing in your business's name (instead of yours), better interest rates, higher lines of credit, and more.
Open a business bank account
- This separates your personal assets from your company's assets, which is necessary for personal asset protection.
- It also makes accounting and tax filing easier.
Read our Best Banks for Small Business guide to find the best national bank, credit union, business-loan friendly banks, one with many brick-and-mortar locations, and more.
Recommended: BlueVine is an online bank with free business checking and no hidden fees. Great for businesses who do not often deal with cash.
Get a business credit card
- This helps you separate personal and business expenses by putting your business' expenses all in one place.
- It also builds your company's credit history, which can be useful to raise money and investment later on.
STEP 5: Set up business accounting
Recording your various expenses and sources of income is critical to understanding the financial performance of your business. Keeping accurate and detailed accounts also greatly simplifies your annual tax filing.
STEP 6: Obtain necessary permits and licenses
Failure to acquire necessary permits and licenses can result in hefty fines, or even cause your business to be shut down.
State & Local Business Licensing Requirements
Certain state permits and licenses may be needed to operate an aerial sports instruction business. Learn more about licensing requirements in your state by visiting SBA’s reference to state licenses and permits.
Most businesses are required to collect sales tax on the goods or services they provide. To learn more about how sales tax will affect your business, read our article, Sales Tax for Small Businesses.
In addition, certain local licensing or regulatory requirements may apply. For more information about local licenses and permits:
- Check with your town, city or county clerk’s office
- Get assistance from one of the local associations listed in US Small Business Associations directory of local business resources.
STEP 7: Get Business Insurance
Just as with licenses and permits, your business needs insurance in order to operate safely and lawfully. Business Insurance protects your company’s financial wellbeing in the event of a covered loss.
There are several types of insurance policies created for different types of businesses with different risks. If you’re unsure of the types of risks that your business may face, begin with General Liability Insurance. This is the most common coverage that small businesses need, so it’s a great place to start for your business.
Learn more about General Liability Insurance.
Another notable insurance policy that many businesses need is Workers’ Compensation Insurance. If your business will have employees, it’s a good chance that your state will require you to carry Workers' Compensation Coverage.
STEP 8: Define your brand
Your brand is what your company stands for, as well as how your business is perceived by the public. A strong brand will help your business stand out from competitors.
How to promote & market a bamboo farm
Bamboo farming can be profitable — if you connect with the right customer base. Finding customers can prove challenging, so it’s important to make an initial splash with a niche business. Advertise at local nurseries, hardware and garden centers, agricultural supply stores, and other related shops like those selling landscaping supplies. In addition, as previously noted, consider teaming up with local landscapers to offer exclusive bamboo varieties. Many of these businesses will have bulletin boards for displaying flyers and business cards. These businesses also can provide word-of-mouth advertising value each time they mention or recommend you to a customer.
While traditional print, billboard, and TV/radio advertising can still be effective, you should focus on lower-cost alternatives from online media if you want to watch your overhead. Creating an online presence through a website and social media platforms allows for greater broadcasting at a fraction of the cost of traditional media advertising. Online advertising also can prove successful with proper cross-linking. Find related services and businesses and then offer them a symbiotic marketing plan in which you both increase traffic via cross-pollination on each other’s advertising media platforms.
Remember to post lots of pictures of your farm, the varieties of bamboo you offer, and customer installations of your products. You also can offer online ordering and shipping — within reason — to help spread your advertising worldwide.
How to keep customers coming back
Loyal customers stay loyal because of how you treat them over time. Talk to your customers, get to know their needs and preferred style, and recognize their patronage. Remembering the names of your frequent customers and a little personal information about them can have a huge impact on their feelings of connection to your business.
For your wholesalers, offer annual sales or rebates for continued bulk orders. Even if you offer nothing more than a friendly gesture, wholesale clients appreciate the personal attention. A customized item, such as a bamboo pen holder for their company offices, can provide a great reminder for your business partners as well as added advertising for you.
STEP 9: Establish your Web Presence
A business website allows customers to learn more about your company and the products or services you offer. You can also use social media to attract new clients or customers.
Start A Bamboo Farm In Your State
Select your state below for an in-depth guide on completing each of these steps in your home state.
Is this Business Right For You?
Bamboo farming, like traditional crop farming, requires a solid knowledge of agricultural techniques and cues. Successful bamboo farmers also must understand crop management and how to harvest crops for market. Bamboo farming may provide the perfect fit for individuals with farming experience and an interest in a small cash crop.
Want to know if you are cut out to be an entrepreneur?
Take our Entrepreneurship Quiz to find out!
What happens during a typical day at a bamboo farm?
Bamboo is a relatively low-maintenance crop once established. Technically a grass, it can grow well in a variety of environments. Warm and wet conditions are ideal, but farmers cultivate bamboo in many climates. Most days will involve checking water and fertilizer needs for established bamboo plants, germinating and starting seeds, and tending to newly sprouted shoots that will become future crops.
Bamboo grows quickly and relatively easily on its own, but it does take a while to establish itself — sometimes up to five years. That means a good bamboo farmer must not only maintain a solid rotation of emerging crops, but also tend to areas not yet sprouted. This can prove challenging because you can’t see the progress of the plants. You also need to maintain regular watering and feeding schedules.
What are some skills and experiences that will help you build a successful bamboo farm?
Like traditional farming, bamboo farming takes hard work. While there’s a potential market explosion for this product, don’t expect to get rich overnight without putting in the work to make it happen. Farming knowledge and experience are essential, but a larger part of the success of your bamboo farm will depend on your connections with wholesalers, clients, and customers. You must make a lasting impression on them because they can help you reach your business goals. Without customers, nothing else matters. Learn to sell your product as an extension of yourself.
You also should become an avid student of your industry. Know some history, some cool facts, and some industry statistics. Then, when you get a chance to discuss your work with potential customers, you can easily explain why bamboo makes such a wonderfully versatile and eco-friendly solution for modern manufacturing needs.
What is the growth potential for a bamboo farm?
Bamboo farming likely has a fairly positive future because of its popularity among manufacturers that increasingly incorporate it into traditional textile roles. Bamboo is very strong, relatively easy to grow, and popular within many industries. With the right wholesale connections, bamboo farming growth may triple in as many years.
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Take the Next Step
Find a business mentor
One of the greatest resources an entrepreneur can have is quality mentorship. As you start planning your business, connect with a free business resource near you to get the help you need.
Having a support network in place to turn to during tough times is a major factor of success for new business owners.
Resources to Help Women in Business
There are many resources out there specifically for women entrepreneurs. We’ve gathered necessary and useful information to help you succeed both professionally and personally:
If you’re a woman looking for some guidance in entrepreneurship, check out this great new series Women in Business created by the women of our partner Startup Savant.
What are some insider tips for jump starting a bamboo farm?
Because bamboo can take years to sprout, you’ll either need to start with sprouted seedlings in pots or transition from your current crops to bamboo farming over time. Here are a few more tips:
- Selling ornamental and coverage/screening bamboo in pots can provide an affordable option for growing your retail customer base.
- Offering classes to the public on techniques for planting and tending bamboo will give you an opportunity to promote your business to potential customers.
- Making dried bamboo creations, such as wind chimes and decorative planters, can help you use your farm remnants and show off this plant’s versatility.
- Teaming up with successful landscaping and yard maintenance companies in your area can expand your customer base. You also may consider offering them wholesale pricing for bulk orders.
How and when to build a team
While bamboo farming doesn’t require a large work team, you’ll likely need some extra hands now and then. Initially, you may just need to hire seasonally or for when you harvest and plant. As your business grows, you may hire more permanent employees to work throughout the year.