Start a goat rental business by following these 10 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 goat rental business. These steps will ensure that your new business is well planned out, registered properly and legally compliant.
Check out our How to Start a Business page.
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 goat rental business?
Goats need a certain environment and amount of land in which to be raised and housed. Thus, you should own at least a small farm or an acreage before considering goat rental as a business. With that as a given, here are your likely startup costs.
- Goats: $75-$300+
- Transport: $10,000-$20,000+. You will need a stock trailer in order to transport your goats, the size of which depends on the size of your herd. Here are some examples of typical transport.
- Goat care: ~$350 per year. Goat care may be more or less expensive, but will include medicine, food, etc.
- Goatscaping equipment
Marketing and promotional -- $500 to $2,000 per year, or more. This can include logo development and signage, a website and marketing materials. Here’s an example of the marketing and promotional image of one business.
Legal and insurance -- $1,000 or more. You should have a lawyer write a basic contract for customers and carry liability insurance in case your herd strays or gets in trouble with homeowners.
Staffing -- Zero to $10,000 or more per year. This is highly variable depending on whether you set up your business to run it solo or only use employees to transport your herd to and from locations. In some business models, the herd renters are responsible for basic care, and employees are only needed to drive and to set up and take down electric fencing (which can take as long as four hours, depending on area). In other models, you might want someone on hand all day to protect and oversee the herd. Another form of “free” labor might be herding dogs who can protect the herd from such predators as coyotes or other dogs.
What are the ongoing expenses for a goat rental business?
Goat care, transportation, off-season feed, and labor costs will be your main ongoing expenses. While one business owner estimated annual goat care costs to be $350 per goat, total expenses will be determined by the size of your herd and the number of jobs you take on.
Who is the target market?
Although some goat rental businesses have golf course and homeowner customers, goatscaping works best on less well-sculpted lawns. That’s because the goats might not eat everything on the land, and could cut vegetation to varying heights.
Therefore, many goat rental businesses look for municipal and Department of Transportation customers in charge of large underdeveloped tracts of land such as empty or abandoned properties or commercial strips of brush that need clearing. Fire departments can also be customers, especially in parts of the country where overgrown public lands present wildfire risks. Wetlands and steep property are also perfect for this business model.
Other customer types would include municipalities, commercial, and even residential landowners with strong feeling on ecology who would prefer a more environmentally safe and even beneficial mowing solution.
How does a goat rental business make money?
There are various ways of charging for the business. Smaller operations might consider it as a way of feeding their herd for free and only charge for transport and the hourly rate of a herder to oversee the goats. Larger operations might charge on a per-goat basis or per-day for the herd.
How much can you charge customers?
Rates vary wildly depending on location and competitive pressure. One business charges $20 per goat, per day, while another charges $700 to $850 per four-goat herd on a weekly basis.
How much profit can a goat rental business make?
That’s variable depending on the size of your business, but check out this Shark Tank blog in which the owner of a goat business alluded to grossing $600,000 a year. More typically, your business might gross $750 a week per herd during grazing seasons.
How can you make your business more profitable?
Consider breeding some of your goats for sale. You can also take fuller advantage of the novelty of your business by renting your goats out for kids’ parties or other celebrations or events.
Or expand your business and take advantage of your knack for selling to landowner and municipal customers by also offering more traditional means of landscaping.
What will you name your business?
Choosing the right name is important and challenging. If you don’t already have a name in mind, visit our How to Name a Business guide or get help brainstorming a name with our Goat Rental Business Name Generator
When registering a business name, we recommend researching your business name by checking:
- Your state's business records
- Federal and state trademark records
- Social media platforms
- Web domain availability.
It's very important to secure your domain name before someone else does.
STEP 2: Form a legal entity
Establishing a legal business entity such as an LLC or corporation protects you from being held personally liable if your goat rental business is sued.
Form Your LLC
Read our Guide to Form Your Own LLC
Recommended: You will need to elect a registered agent for your LLC. LLC formation packages usually include a free year of registered agent services. You can choose to hire a registered agent or act as your own.
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?.
Small Business Taxes
Depending on which business structure you choose, you might have different options for how your business will be taxed. For example, some LLCs could benefit from being taxed as an S corporation (S corp).
You can learn more about small business taxes in these guides:
There are specific state taxes that might apply to your business. Learn more about state sales tax and franchise taxes in our state sales tax guides.
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.
Recommended: Read our Best Banks for Small Business review to find the best national bank, credit union, business-loan friendly banks, one with many brick-and-mortar locations, and more.
Open net-30 accounts
When it comes to establishing your business credit, net-30 vendors are considered the way to go. The term "net-30," which is popular among vendors, refers to a business credit arrangement where the company pays the vendor within 30 days of receiving goods or services.
Net-30 credit terms are often used for businesses that need to obtain inventory quickly but do not have the cash on hand.
Besides establishing business relationships with vendors, net-30 credit accounts get reported to the major business credit bureaus (Dun & Bradstreet, Experian Business, and Equifax Business Credit). This is how businesses build business credit so they can qualify for credit cards and other lines of credit.
Recommended: Read our guide on the best net-30 vendors so you can start building business credit now, so you never have to worry about cash flow in the future. Keep in mind that poor cash flow is the #1 reason businesses fail!
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 a goat rental 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.
A goat rental business should create a services contract, which outlines the parameters of land removal, the price, and the expectations of the client. This agreement should also address what is to happen if the goats cause damage to any part of the client’s land. Here is an example service agreement.
Recommended: Rocket Lawyer makes it easy to create a professional service agreement for your goat mowing business when you sign up for their premium membership. For $39.95 per month, members receive access to hundreds of legal agreements and on call attorneys to get complimentary legal advice.
Certificate of Occupancy
A goat rental business is generally run out of a farm. Businesses operating out of a physical location typically require a Certificate of Occupancy (CO). A CO confirms that all building codes, zoning laws and government regulations have been met.
- If you plan to lease a location:
- It is generally the landlord’s responsibility to obtain a CO.
- Before leasing, confirm that your landlord has or can obtain a valid CO that is applicable to a goat rental business.
- After a major renovation, a new CO often needs to be issued. If your place of business will be renovated before opening, it is recommended to include language in your lease agreement stating that lease payments will not commence until a valid CO is issued.
- If you plan to purchase or build a location:
- You will be responsible for obtaining a valid CO from a local government authority.
- Review all building codes and zoning requirements for your business’ location to ensure your goat rental business will be in compliance and able to obtain a CO.
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.
If you aren't feeling confident about designing your small business logo, then check out our Design Guides for Beginners, we'll give you helpful tips and advice for creating the best unique logo for your business.
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How to promote & market a goat rental business
Take advantage of the novelty and “cute” factor of your business. Approach the local media with a story that focuses on the silence of the herd (no noise pollution) and the ecological benefits.
How to keep customers coming back
Your best customers are those who have the largest headaches getting their ground mowed. Look for goat-friendly topography and call prospects directly. Shoot and post videos of your herd quietly munching away and show before and after shots of customer property. Once you’ve made a beneficial customer relationship, consider volume discounts for additional acreage or monthly retainers for repeat business on the same property.
STEP 9: Create your business website
After defining your brand and creating your logo the next step is to create a website for your business.
While creating a website is an essential step, some may fear that it’s out of their reach because they don’t have any website-building experience. While this may have been a reasonable fear back in 2015, web technology has seen huge advancements in the past few years that makes the lives of small business owners much simpler.
Here are the main reasons why you shouldn’t delay building your website:
- All legitimate businesses have websites - full stop. The size or industry of your business does not matter when it comes to getting your business online.
- Social media accounts like Facebook pages or LinkedIn business profiles are not a replacement for a business website that you own.
- Website builder tools like the GoDaddy Website Builder have made creating a basic website extremely simple. You don’t need to hire a web developer or designer to create a website that you can be proud of.
Using our website building guides, the process will be simple and painless and shouldn’t take you any longer than 2-3 hours to complete.
STEP 10: Set up your business phone system
Getting a phone set up for your business is one of the best ways to help keep your personal life and business life separate and private. That’s not the only benefit; it also helps you make your business more automated, gives your business legitimacy, and makes it easier for potential customers to find and contact you.
There are many services available to entrepreneurs who want to set up a business phone system. We’ve reviewed the top companies and rated them based on price, features, and ease of use.
Recommended: Find the best phone system for your business; check out our review of the Best Business Phone Systems 2021.
Start A Goat Rental Business 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?
Since a herd of at least four goats requires a certain amount of space, this business might be ideal for a farmer or landowner with at least an acre or more of real estate within zoning that allows livestock. You should also have a basic understanding of how to care for a herd of goats, and enough knowledge of vegetation to know weeds or plants that might be harmful to your herd and those plantings that your goats will ignore.
On top of that, you should be skillful at convincing sometimes dubious prospects that your business had advantageous over conventional landscaping and mowing techniques.
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 goat rental business?
Your typical workday could consist of a range of activities including:
- Feeding and caring for your herd, including hoof trimming, birthing, observing health, dealing with a livestock vet and other responsibilities
- Promoting your business
- Selling your services to individual prospects
- Transporting your herd to customer locations and setting up fencing or providing human supervision
- Picking up your herd and receiving payment for your services
- Paying bills, maintaining your books and conducting the typical responsibilities of business ownership
What are some skills and experiences that will help you build a successful goat rental business?
You should be able to look after herds of livestock and make the sale. Once hired, you need to be able to make your herd feel safe, comfortable and motivated to get the job done without damaging the property.
What is the growth potential for a goat rental business?
As environmental concerns grow, so can the business of cutting grass in an environmentally responsible way. Wildfire concerns and reduced hiring of municipal maintenance workers can also boost your business.
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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 goat rental business?
Learn about your herd’s eating habits and where they’re likeliest to do the most good. Look for topography that challenges human mowers, such as heavy, dense brush, wetlands, steep hills, and rocky ground. And always be sure to stroll the grounds before accepting an order, so you know that the job can be completed to customer satisfaction and the safety of your herd.
How and when to build a team
You might stay solo, only obtaining enough business to keep you occupied and making your customers responsible for the basic care of your herd while on-premises. Alternatively, you might consider the need of one employee per herd. So if you get enough business to provide three herds on a regular basis, you’ll need three employees.