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Chicken rental is a new business which looks to give non-farmers a foray into farming. The chickens will produce eggs for the consumer and the business owner makes sure the chickens are sent with all the necessary supplies to keep them healthy and safe.
Who is this business right for?
Individuals or families who have farming experience will find this business rewarding and profitable. Those with knowledge about how to raise and care for chickens will be at a particular advantage. Since you will need to host many chickens and store equipment for setting up coops at your customers' homes, you will need to have a decent amount of land available.
What happens during a typical day at a chicken renting service?
This is a seasonal business, so demand for chicken rentals will fluctuate throughout the year. This will also depend on your local climate.
In the fall:
- Collecting chickens and supplies for winter storage
- Re-stocking supplies for winter care of chickens
- Contacting customers who decide to keep chickens through the winter to give details about cold weather care techniques
In the spring:
- Replying to customer requests for chicken rentals
- Delivering birds and supplies to customers
- Incubating, hatching, and rearing chicks to egg-laying adults
- Contacting supply vendors for re-stocks of customer supplies
What is the target market?
Customers who desire more control over the quality of food they eat or who are of the more adventurous type will be ideal for chicken rentals. Additionally, many families explore chicken renting as a food source and as a teaching/learning opportunity for themselves and their children. The temporary nature of chicken renting is also appealing to those who might not want to commit to the long term care of chickens.
How does a chicken renting service make money?
Chicken rental businesses creates revenue from the customers paying to keep rental chickens in their backyards. Your business can also rent out coops for an additional fee.
What is the growth potential for a chicken renting service?
Renting chickens is a fairly new idea, but is quickly gaining traction and appeal. Customers who want more control over the quality of eggs they eat and have a desire to try farming on a small scale will be interested in the business/rentals.
What are some skills and experiences that will help you build a successful chicken renting service?
Having experience in farming or raising livestock will prepare you for this type of business. Construction experience, used for building the coops and enclosures, is also a positive. Additionally, being able to communicate with potential customers, both in writing and orally, will serve you well.
What are the costs involved in opening a chicken renting service?
Much of the costs incurred will come from the initial start up. You will need to purchase:
- Hatched chicks- depending on the types and if sexed - a 100 count will cost between $150-$250.
- Materials for building coops and enclosures - $500
- Chicken food, vitamins, feed, and watering troughs - $350
- Incubators and heat lamps (for winter storage) - $400
What are the steps to start a chicken renting service?
Once you're ready to start your chicken renting service, follow these steps to ensure that your business is legally compliant and avoid wasting time and money as your business grows:
- Plan your business. A clear plan is essential for success as an entrepreneur. A few important topics to consider are your initial costs, your target market, and how long it will take you to break even.
- Form a legal entity. Establishing a legal business entity prevents you from being personally liable if your chicken renting service is sued.
- Register for taxes. You will need to register for a variety of state and federal taxes before you can open for business.
- Open a business bank account. A dedicated checking account for your chicken renting service keeps your finances organized and makes your business appear more professional to your customers.
- 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.
- 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.
- Get business insurance. Insurance is highly recommended for all business owners. If you hire employees, workers compensation insurance may be a legal requirement in your state.
- 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.
- Establish a 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.
Select your state below for an in-depth guide on completing each of these steps in your home state.
Where can I 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.
What are some insider tips for jump starting a chicken renting service?
Make sure you have experience in raising and caring for livestock, particularly chickens or other foul. There will be a mortality rate from predators, weather, and overall health. You must manage these losses as best you can for continued success. You should also:
- Research your area to see if it is financially viable. If no one in your area has room or desire to raise backyard chickens, you may want to reconsider.
- Contact local farmer’s markets and farm to table groups to advertise your services.
- Connect with local food communities and small-scale DIY urban/backyard farmers, as these are often where the majority of your customers will come from.
How to promote & market a chicken renting service
Look to social media and a business website as your best sources of marketing. Connect with backyard farming communities. Word of mouth is still an effective tool for promotions.
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How to keep customers coming back
This type of business relies on the return customer, as many will send their chickens back to the farm during winter months and will rent them again in the spring. Offer loyalty discounts or incentives to continue business with you. Become familiar with your customers and what they want from the rentals. Then, you can consider specializing the types of chickens you rent out. Some chickens will lay more eggs than others, and others even lay eggs of different colors. These factors may be attractive to certain repeat customers.
How and when to build a team
More than likely, you will have a small operation to start with, unless you are already a farmer looking to shift the focus of your business. Care and maintenance isn’t too demanding and can be handled by two or three people easily. Seasonal employment may be necessary, during the spring and fall, when chickens and supplies are being shipped out or returned.
State & Local Business Licensing Requirements
Certain state permits and licenses may be needed to operate a chicken renting 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.
For 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.
Maintain Personal Asset Protection
Don’t think that just forming an LLC, or any other type of business, will save your personal assets in case of a lawsuit or other matter by itself.
When your personal and business accounts are mixed, your personal assets (your home, car, and other valuables) are at risk in the event your LLC is sued. In business law, this is referred to as piercing your corporate veil.
Two of the simplest steps that will protect your business, and yourself, are to:
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.
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.
How much can you charge customers?
Chicken rentals usually consist of two chickens and the necessary supplies to care for and maintain the birds. Average costs for a two chicken set-up range between $250-$500, depending on the type of chickens and the amount/quality of the supplies.
What are the ongoing expenses for a chicken renting service?
Much of the ongoing expenses of a chicken renting business will come from maintenance and upkeep. You will be replacing:
- Chickens who are too old or no longer produce eggs
- Rental coops which have been damaged or are worn from age
- Feed and vitamin supplements for livestock
How much profit can a chicken renting service make?
This figure will fluctuate, depending on the number of rentals and the period of time they are renting. If an average rental cost is $350 for 6 months and you have 20 rentals, that equates to $7,000 gross.
How can you make your business more profitable?
Consider other livestock for rental, such as ducks, goats or sheep. More and more backyard farmers are looking to try small scale farming to see if it’s viable for them. By providing rentals and expert advice, they are able to try their hand with less danger of failure.