[Start-it-up] How To Set Up an Urban Farming Business
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With eating healthy becoming the new norm, several in the urban mainstream have begun to explore the idea of growing what they consume. Although not a new concept, with many rural households growing their own vegetables at home since ages, those living in the cities too are now going organic.
While several companies have come up trying to offer fresh organic produce, growing your own saves not just money but also provides complete control on what the entire family consumes.
If you have an idea about organic produce and are equipped with basic knowhow, helping others go organic could be a low-cost way for you to set up a business.
Setting It Up
You must achieve a decent scale with your home garden to become an enabler for others. To establish your credibility, which will in turn help your business, you need to grow an organic garden with multiple vegetables and some fruits.
The first thing to do is make interested people be aware of your existence. Set up business pages on social media sites, and begin by posting interesting tips and tricks related to organic farming. While word of mouth is going to be a massive factor, you will need to spend some money on advertising. Apart from internet marketing, distribution of physical pamphlets in your neighborhood and asking them to spread the word is also to be considered.
You must hire a videographer to shoot some videos that would act like your portfolio.
While all these will get you calls and messages, to make yourself seem like a professional, you must also get a website. The website would include information about you, your garden, the products you use, among other things.
The next step would be to work with manufacturers or make your own products that the customers would need.
Growing your own garden is a continuous investment where an initial basic setup with soil, saplings or seeds and some organic manure, can cost you upto INR 1 lakh, with maintenance costs of about INR 1000 per month. The amount varies depending upon what you are growing and as the quantity of produce increases.
In the initial days, marketing costs can range anywhere between INR 4,000 to INR 5,000 a month.
Apart from that, a videographer can charge about INR 2,000 per day of shoot and a few thousands more for editing it into the final version. While a free website is an option, a good looking professional one with a custom domain will have a recurring cost of about INR 3,500 a year. If you are hiring a web designer, there would be an one-time charge of INR 5,000 to INR 10,000.
Your major source of earning would be what you charge the customer for helping set up an organic farm at their home. Your consultation fees can be hourly, daily or even for just setting up the entire thing. For a small set up with a couple of vegetables to grow, a consulting fee of INR 2,000 to INR 3,000 is recommended.
You can keep your margins when selling them the soil, organic manure or bio-fertilizers that you make or even if you are partnering with a manufacturer or retailer.
Apart from that, you may start monetizing your videos via YouTube if and when they get traction.