You May Not Get Rich, But . . . .
The Direct Way
Once an established worm farmer, you might want to expand your vermicomposting operation into a full scale home industry, in order to profit from all your efforts. With a little imagination, profit can be derived either directly or indirectly from the worm farming operation itself. Worm farming is unlikely to make you very rich, but with a little entrepreneurial vision and some aptitude for marketing, vermiculture can definitely save you money and could also provide a useful steady income for you. The direct approach, is easy to understand. You would be simply have to find a way to sell the worm compost and worm tea from your vermiculture operation to any nearby gardeners who understand the benefits of organic gardening. Selling organic potting soil is another option, (4 vermicompost/ 4 river sand/ 4 stiff clay plus a half measure of bone meal). At the same time your excess compost worms would be sold to aspirant “Newbie” worm farmers in your neighborhood, or otherwise made available to fishermen, who always value a supply of red wigglers.
The Indirect Way
A more commercial approach, with far greater potential profit, would be to contact worm farm suppliers or manufacturers directly, and ask to become a reseller of their branded worm farm kits. Most manufacturers of the popular brands of worm composting kits will sell their units and a range of vermiculture accessories, at wholesale prices to resellers. You could simply act as a distributor and sell them on for a profit. However, a much better proposition would be to “add value” by setting the kits up as “ready-to-go” worm farms, complete with bedding, a couple of hundred worms, a few accessories and a set of typed instructions. And for those handy with tools, the optimum strategy would be to substitute homemade DIY worm farm kits (such as those described later) for the commercial branded units – then set them up with your own worms, and sell them as “starter kits”. As they wouldn’t cost too much to set up, these DIY units could be sold at a good discount to the fancy branded kits, to make them attractive. On the worm farming side, you would mainly be interested in breeding and harvesting the worms, in order to populate your kits, and thus would need a fairly sizeable operation. Obviously the by-products – vermicompost and vermitea, would also be sold or ploughed into the garden to raise saleable produce.
Tapping off the worm tea.
As with most new enterprises, the biggest challenge would be probably be the marketing. Ideally you could try persuading local plant nurseries to sell your units or products, either directly or on consignment and then combine this approach with advertisements on community notice boards, or by way of the internet or through the local papers. Many vermiculture entrepreneurs run a tables at local fairs or flea markets, demonstrating the process with an active worm kit and using the opportunity to take orders for worm farms and worms, while directly selling vermicompost and worm tea to the general public. Make no mistake, it will never be easy to get started. But have a little patience – establish a catchy brand for yourself, sell a fair product at a fair price and once your name gets around, things will definitely become easier.
The Old Fashioned Way
If the foregoing seems too challenging for you, just remember that there is an alternative way to make composting worms work to the benefit of your pocket. By starting your own organic garden, fertilized by worm castings and liquid worm tea, you would not only be improving the integrity of what you are eating, but you would also significantly reduce your supermarket vegetable purchases as well. At the end of the month you will have more money in your pocket. And then, if you have the energy (and space), you might even have excess garden produce to sell to your neighbors.