Begin your journey of Raising Goats for Profit here with our Homestead Handbook.
Raising Goats for Profit
Most goat owners look to care for goats not only for personal reasons, but for business reasons too. Many who do not look at taking the avenue of raising goats do not know that it can also be a rewarding and profitable business. You can choose to market you goats for meat (chevon) if you raise them for slaughter, or for selling dairy products such as milk and cheese. There will also be people who want to buy goats from you for showing purposes. As the popularity of goats continues to rise, there will always be a market for anyone to raise them without any financial worry on expenses as they remain expanding.
9.1 – Goat Marketing
There are a few marketing vocabulary words you should be aware of if you do not already know them:
- Suckling kids (capretto, cabrito, katsikia, Easter kids, or hothouse kids) – They are plump, unweaned and milk fed babies that are between the ages of four to six weeks old. Cabrito (Hispanic market) and capretto (Italian market) prefer goats to be about 18 to 25 pounds. The katsikia, or Greek market, prefer that they are about 30 to 40 pounds in size.
- Shoebox Kids – These are newborn goats up to ten days old. These kids are often the overfed dairy breed bucks that were bottle fed their colostrum and then sold at an auction. Most people who buy them want them as a pet, but feeder operations also purchase them.
- Market Kids – They are weaned kids with baby teeth. There is a further classification known as feeder kids who are lean kids that are in demand by feedlot producers. The Muslim kids are also lean and are a preference to ethnic buyers who not accept goats that are overweight. Finished kids are fleshy but not fat. Yearling kids are young and around one to two years of age. Culls are female goats and bucks of a younger age. They may also be known as Philippino goats whereas the older ones are called curry goats.
There are several methods and places you can decide to market your meat goats at:
- Auction Sales: Experienced goat breeders can agree this is one of the easiest methods you can use to market goats. You pretty much have assured buyers given to you and you are paid safely through a bonded entity at the time of sale. The only downside is that you do not have any say in the prices. Should you not accept a price quote, you will end up paying a non-sale fee and bring your goats back home who may have been in contact with barn diseases. To locate areas that handle meat goat, you should contact a local meat producer or call around.
- Meat Packers – They work in slaughterhouses. Some owners will not mind directly coming to you to pick up the goats while others expect that you come to them and deliver the goods.
- Livestock Dealers and Brokers: They will often come directly to you when a goat purchase is complete. They typically handle your goats on a commission.
- Direct Meat Sales: All meat, or chevon, sold to any person, meat market or restaurant are to be processed and inspected by the USDA slaughterhouses. There are strict laws that monitor every meat sold. As long as you follow and agree to the rules, there is no issue, so you should take some time and research all the legalities before you try doing it.
- Sales of Live Meat to Animal Consumers: There are two categories – The on-farm sales is when a buyer visits your farm to choose a goat. They will either take the goat back with them or kill them at your location. There are a lot of states that do not permit this, and if interested, you will need to find out whether or not your state is ok with it. Freezer sales are when a buyer chooses a goat of its liking, and they sort the purchase with the seller via short or long distance. With this type of sale, you will have to either travel or send the goat to an approved slaughterhouse where the buyer picks it up.
If you are looking to market your meat for dairy and sell milk, cheese, ice-cream and the like, you are best off doing direct selling. Direct selling means offering your products to companies that sell dairy like grocery market, retail markets, and restaurants in your area. As with meat markets, you need to follow your state's rules when you are distributing them.
9.2 – Promoting your goat business
Since money and marking are connected, you need to figure out your costs that you [expect to] receive and the money you expend to take care of your goats. Promoting yourself as a business person all a learning process, and you need to figure out the information in advance how much goat dairy and meat normally cost. Prices will vary depending which state you live in, so it would be most accurate for you to visit some markets and to see the price they normally are. Once you have a good idea of average costs you might also want to start a business – the first thing is finding a cool and catchy name! Never underestimate the power of the internet, it is a great tool. These days, we lived in a technologically advanced society where everyone is online. The internet is the best avenue to go to for advertising; you are likely to meet buyers who you otherwise would never have a relationship with if it were not for the web. Just because internet marketing is good does not mean you can’t use other forms of advertising. You still can send out a business card, flyers, and brochures because they still work. This is because a lot of people from the older generations still prefer to browse this way. The best first potential customers will be the people you already are in contact with or had some form of a relationship. Word of mouth works and if you are starting a business, do not be shy and start conversing about it. You will be surprised at just how many people would be interested in buying from you or knows somebody that will. Most people understand how the promoting business works with direct referrals and placing your business on cards and newspapers; they are pretty self-explanatory. What puzzles most people is understanding in what ways they can promote their internet online that does not involve posting it on their social media profiles. You want to promote yourself to a direct niche that is interested to get anything in your business rolling.
Once you have your business name, you will want to begin setting up a business website. Trust me, it is not as scary or as hard as you imagine it to be. As long as you are willing to put in the work that is involved, even just a few hours a week, anybody can do this. If you are planning on selling your goats for showing and breeding, in particular, you definitely should not be without a site. When a person wants to find something, the quickest way to get, it is the internet. As long as your website is visible to people who are interested in the niche you are promoting, they will buy it. For search engines to find you online, you need to build content on your website and elaborate on what exactly it is you are selling. All you need to do that is write what it is you are promoting. If you have any pictures to display, this will work in your favor. A website is very cost effective, and website hosting and maintenance will only cost you at minimum $100 to $300 annually.
There is a lot of competition out there, so if you can hire a photographer, webmaster or web designer to boost your site, it could be helpful. If you want to work with a pro who already know what he or she is doing, I recommend you browse around first before hiring anybody. Find a list of people and weigh your options out. Have an understand on their work ethics, if their experience can help you, and how much they charge and what, in detail, you for the price. If you are working with a webmaster, you want to know how soon they could get your website up and in business. Here is a list of a few sites (that are cheap or free) that help website newbies all the time
Here are some more additional tips to get you started
- Be aggressive promoting your website in any way possible: Someone can’t check out a site they are not aware of. You should post your link anywhere you see it such as a signature on your email, business card, brochures, your car; you can even add them on T-shirts.
- If someone sends an inquiry, you want to reply to it as soon as possible: It is good to be punctual in work. If you take too long to get back at someone, they would probably lose interest or found someone else. People love quick results with anything and if you can provide them that, they will likely stick with you.
- Keep your website up to date: You can add any changes you make regarding your sales lists, add new photos of the cutie pies you are selling, add educational information. As long as things remain fresh, you always are a step ahead.
- Keep your URLs simple: Any website name that is too complex and has a lot of symbols or characters in them would make it hard for a customer to locate or remember your site. If they were to attempt to remember it and type it in the search, they would end up with internal web errors.
- Double check, triple check, quadruple check your content: Look for any errors on misspellings and typos. There are people who even look at it so they can yap about it.
- Have your contact info, name, and logo on each page: It is easier to have this in clear view than it would be for a visitor to find it. Have you physical or business address listed as well for people who are interested to meet physically you.
- Properly title all headlines and pages: Do whatever you can to make looking through your website a breeze so a visitor will not feel lost. If you are talking about meat goats, keep it in one section and title it as such.
- Pick your style font with care: You want to choose fonts that are easily viewable for anyone to read. They should be large enough and the font style should be one anyone can read; no one wants to decode cryptic writing.
- Do not use crazily patterned backgrounds: They can be a strain on visitors’ eyes to look at when visiting your website. You want to choose background colors, preferably solid, which are the opposite color of your font. If your font is light, like white or yellow, you will want to match it with a dark background like black or navy blue.
- Try not to get too fancy with it: If you have too much going on in a single web page, it can slow down the time it normally should take someone to browse or crash their PC. Stay clear away from adding background music and animations.
That was Chapter 9: Raising Goats for Profit from our Homestead Handbook: Raising Goats