Worm Farming Business Focus: Supply and Demand

Worm Farming Business Focus: Supply and Demand

What came first? The chicken or the egg. 

The paradox stretching back to the beginning of time.

Every chicken came from an egg, but every egg came from a chicken.  This classic conundrum has left my head spinning for hours.  

It's best we leave this puzzle to the scientist.  

The metaphor is useful to us as worm farmers.  Think of the chicken and the egg as supply and demand.  

What comes first?

Which should I focus my time on first?

To answer these questions, we must first answer a much more important question. 

What is our why?  

Are you worm farming for personal reasons, or are you trying to give Uncle Jim a run for his money?  

Determining your intentions will guide you to a more informed decision about where to focus your energy.  

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Supply-Focused Worm Farming 

“If you build it, they will come.” Focusing on the supply side of your business is a leap of faith. You will buy large quantities of worms and equipment. This leap leads to increased production capacity and an obligation to generate sales.  

The problem with this approach is our product has a shelf life.  It’s alive and we need to find our worms a new home as close to their current home as possible.   The same goes for our castings.  Castings are Living soil. Their optimal health is dependent on the time we harvest to the time we deliver.  

This puts extra pressure on us to find buyers, which may lead to steep discounts and selling at a loss.  

Mistakes can compound with larger populations of worms. Starting off with a big farm could mean big problems. Pest problems, resource allocation issues and environmental controls compound in larger production environments. It’s best to make our mistakes with small bins before we take on the added responsibility of a larger herd.  

Demand-focused Worm Farming 

Focusing on demand leads to outsourcing castings, in the beginning, to supply them to your buyers.  This is a profitable venture but requires trust in the supplier.  Bad castings could hurt your reputation.  As the old saying goes, “Reputation takes a lifetime to build and a second to destroy.”  Castings sourced in bulk from a far corner of the country may not have the life in them by the time you get them and may not have the appropriate microbial life for your region.

Finding Balance

Searching for the equilibrium between supply and demand is the very essence of business.  Worm farming is a business.  I started my worm farm as a hobby because I wanted better soil in my garden. Over time, the demand for my castings grew, and I expanded my supply to match it. This is how we recommend you build your business. It gives you the chance to learn and make mistakes along the way.  

Starting a business requires the optimal allocation of resources.  This forces us to decide which side of the economic pendulum to focus on.  Too much on one side causes an imbalance, and our young fledgling business can fail.  Growing both sides of the curve is the key to success.  As one expands, the other expands to meet it in perfect balance.  

Which side do we recommend first?

Here is how we recommend you start your worm business.  Start a small herd and study everything you can about worm farming.  In tandem, locate a quality source of castings at wholesale prices (optimally from another worm farmer in your region).  Test the market by setting up a stand at a farmer’s market and visiting nurseries.  

Start creating brand awareness and a feedback loop for your product.  Time in the market is a powerful compounder.  As your worm-husbandry skills increase your herd will grow, and you will rely less and less on your wholesale provider for castings. 

Start your worm farm the right way

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Final thoughts

Our first responsibility is to the welfare of our worms and the value we create to our customers. Finding the right balance between supply and demand helps us to achieve both of these goals. In the beginning a demand focus can help create brand awareness. As your herd grows you can meet the demand internally.

We wish you success in all your worm goals!

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