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Old 10-28-03, 12:30 PM   #81 (permalink)
BWSmith's Avatar
Join Date: Oct-2002
Location: Georgia (USA)
Posts: 1,888
I would just like to point out a couple things real quick.

I have been doing this for years. And am still nowhere near self sufficient. I diversified to include education and jobbing snakes as well as some breeding. I am finally to the point where the animals support themselves, just not me. And that is using 3 different avenues. And getting amazing deals! I have well over 60 snakes (including large boids and pitvipers) and my feeding bill is down to about $100 every 3 months. I had to give away 400 mice and about 50 rats just to make room in the freezer for the next batch. But having a hookup like that is unlikely. But it is one of the main reasons that I break even. Most money from education goes into new housing, light bulbs, timers, etc. That pretty much eats up that money and the remainder goes into aquiring new stock. It aint easy. And I also have a full time job.

Someone mentioned opening a pet store. Talk about a TIGHT profit margin. I have seen enough come and go to know better than even considering opening a shop.

You also mentioned having a partner. Tricky business. You have two options. You split the rent and that is it (in which case it is a roomate, not a partner), or you build it like a business. All the money goes in the same pot, mix well, add expenses, bake at 350 and Voila, you could have disaster and lose a friend. Again, seen it happen. In my opinion, this industry is best kept with one owner. No fighting over finances, no getting permission to act on a good deal, noone else to blame.

Everyone suggests morphs. I would rather breed beautiful Guyanas and Eastern Diamondbacks and never make a living off snakes, than deal with morphs. But I guess that is just me. I prefer to build a reputation on quality, clean bloodlines than being the one with the latest freaky mutation. Choice I have made, others obviously choose different.

Another point is where you live. Canada has a population of less than 32 million. The U.S. has a population of about 300 million. About 10 times the population and most breeders here have full time jobs too. This is with a much larger customer base, more shows all over the country, and many more sites for advertising. Just something else to think about.

Just take it slow and easy. Never get the mentallity that you know everything you need to know about your animals. Start just pairing up what you have and try consistantly getting offspring for a couple years. Remeber that when you sell a baby for $100, that is not your profit. To figure out your profit, keep track of your expenses.

Cage Cost + Cost of parants + Cost of feeding Parents for a year (figure rodent costs first ) + substrate used that year for both parants + Timers + Lights + Water Dishes + Cost for Floor Space of cages (Rent Divided by Total SF of dwelling times SF of cage surface area) + Cost of feeding offspring + Caging Offspring and all the other expenses I mentioned. Divide that number by the total sellable offspring and that is your cost per baby. Subtract that from your selling price and the final number is your profit (it will prolly have a " - " in front )

Of course next year you breed the same snakes, you can deduct reusable items from that equation such as reused cages, etc. and remove the cost of the parents as you have already accounted for it the previous year.

That is how you know if you are at least breaking even. Don't rush it. IF you can pull it off, more power to you. But don't be discouraged if it doesn't work out as well as you plan. After all, any time you deal with livestock, you could lose everything in a day. Uncertainty is our only certainty.
I planted some bird seed. A bird came up. Now I don't know what to feed it.
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