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Help Me Start a Low Budget Composting Business

by Chandra

I’d like to start a composting business in India. I’m trying to figure out just how little space I need to get started. I also want to get started as soon as possible. How quickly do you think I could make a product and sell it? I am really short on funds for start-up costs, so I understand if I need to sell my product for less initially. All in all, I’d like more information on starting a composting business on a “shoe-string” aka with VERY limited money. Is this even possible? If so, can you please provide me with some guidance and information?

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Dec 22, 2011
Compost Business On A Shoe-String
by: Compost Junkie Dave

Hi Chandra.

Thanks for joining us all the way from India. We’re honored whenever we have International visitors.

To get the ball rolling on your specific business, can you please answer the following questions:

1 – Do you already have land on which to start composting?

If not, you need to find a parcel of land that is both close enough to your target market, yet far enough away from other businesses/residents that your activities don’t disrupt them.

In order to minimize costs, I’d suggest renting your parcel of land.

The amount of land you’re going to need will depend on how much compost you need to produce to break-even (i.e. meet all of your business expenses including your personal wages). As Tim from Humble Acres Oragnics said in our recent interview, when starting your composting business, you better plan to work another job or have another means of income. This is typical of starting most businesses, not just one involving compost.

I’d look into a parcel of land that is at least 2-3 acres to start. This would allow your business a bit of room to grow in the future.

2 – What do you plan to compost? What materials do you have access too?

In order to minimize costs, you’ll want to use other people’s/business’s waste products. Ideally, they pay you to take them. For instance, there may be local farmers that have an excess of manure, or food processing plants that have excess waste. You’ll be able to utilize these wastes in your compost blends.

3 – What equipment do you have access too?

You’ll need some sort of tractor or skid-steer. These can be rented on a daily, weekly, monthly, or yearly basis. Or you may be able to strike up a deal with the person you rent your land from or a neighboring farmer.

A truck (preferably with dumping capabilities) is a must as well.

4. Who are you going to sell your product to?

Selling bulk compost is significantly cheaper than a bagged product in terms of your overhead costs. However, bulk compost typically sells for less than bagged overall. I recommend bulk sales when first starting your business.

I don’t advise trying to sell your product for less initially. Instead, try to produce the absolute highest quality compost possible. This will separate you in the marketplace. This is especially important when you’re starting on a very small scale with limited money.

As for whether or not this is possible, the answer is YES!

Answer the questions above. Provide us all with more information, and we’ll continue to hash out the details to determine just how feasible this is for you.

You may also be interested in the following posts…

Starting a Composting Business

How to Start A Successful Compost Business

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