A berry farm may operate in one of two ways: it can sell its berries to a distributor, such as a farmers market, or it can let consumers into the field to select their own berries, charging by the weight of the berries gathered.
Follow these ten steps to start a berry harvesting farm:
Make a plan for your Berry Picking Farm.
Make your Berry Picking Farm a Legal Entity.
Taxes must be registered for your Berry Picking Farm.
Create a Business Bank Account and a Credit Card
Create an accounting system for your Berry Picking Farm.
Obtain the Required Permits and Licenses for Your Berry Picking Farm
Purchase Berry Picking Farm Insurance
Create a brand for your Berry Picking Farm.
Make a website for your Berry Picking Farm.
Configure your Business Phone System
Starting a company entails more than just registering it with the state. We’ve put up this easy guide to getting started with your own berry harvesting farm. These stages will guarantee that your new company is well-planned, correctly registered, and legally compliant.
STEP 1: Make a business plan.
A well-thought-out strategy is vital for entrepreneur success. It will assist you in mapping out the intricacies of your organisation and uncovering some unknowns. Consider the following crucial topics:
What are the initial and continuing expenses?
Who is your intended audience?
How much money may you charge your customers?
Fortunately, we have done a lot of the legwork for you.
What are the expenses of starting a berry picking farm?
A lot of major objects must be purchased before you can open your farm.
Land – A PYO farm need a bigger piece of land that is near enough for customers to visit and has enough of parking.
Liability insurance is sometimes more expensive for PYO farms since consumers are visiting the farm.
Tractors — Two tractors with 70–80 horsepower are recommended. If bought new, expect to pay about $65,000.
$1,000 for a heavy-duty mower
$1,200 for a fertiliser spreader
A 200 gallon herbicide sprayer will cost about $2,000 to purchase.
$2,000 for a sweep plough with V-blades.
$2,000 for a drain runner (spinner).
The average cost of clearing land is $3,000 per acre.
Ditching and drainage – The average cost per acre is $120.
$25 per acre for bed formation
Plants – At a cost of $0.50 per plant, you will require around 1210 plants per acre.
Irrigation pond – The number of irrigation ponds needed depends on the size of your farm.
Sprinklers, pipelines, and valves – $120,000 on average
Pumps – Each pump costs $9,500.
What are the continuing costs of running a berry harvesting farm?
Purchases must be made on an annual basis until you have finished your sixth year. For example, in your second year, you will need to invest in an airblast sprayer, which will cost about $7,600, as well as farm trucks to haul picking trays. Budget $1,000 for four trailers, according to experienced farmers. Your budget should include $50,000 to $200,000 in extra equipment in years three through six.
Other continuing costs include:
Weed, disease, and insect control – labour and supplies will be included in the expenses.
Lease or mortgage?
Who is the intended audience?
The majority of your commercial berry business will come from restaurants or wholesale food wholesalers. You will be dealing with high-volume seasonal sales. Your clients for the you-pick farm will be more daring customers who love the time spent collecting their own crops. This consumer will be seeking for high-quality berries as well as a welcoming environment from the owner and employees.
How can a berry picking farm generate revenue?
The selling of berries generates cash for berry farms. Pricing is flat when selling to a wholesale retail customer. You-pick sales are made by the fruit as well as by the pound.
How much money may you charge your customers?
A flat of berries at market costs around $14 on average. Customers who choose their own are charged by pint or by the pound. A pint costs an average of $4.78. Prices per pound range from $3.48 to $4.92 per pound on average.
How profitable can a berry picking farm be?
A variety of things influence the profitability of your berry farm. The health of your soil, the sort of berry you plant, the weather, and your irrigation system, for example, all have an impact on your yearly revenues. For the first several years, the typical berry grower loses money. However, average earnings after that are believed to be between $1.3 million and $2.8 million.
How can you increase the profitability of your company?
There are many ways you may use to boost the profitability of your farm:
Berries may be baked, canned, frozen, or dehydrated.
Make your farm available to the public for entertainment, especially during the Christmas season. Petting zoos, hayrides, and holiday festivals are examples of such activities.
Educational tours and lectures are available.
Grow corn and hold a corn maze for Halloween if you have enough property.
STEP 2: Establish a legal entity
Sole proprietorship, partnership, limited liability company (LLC), and corporation are the most frequent business structure forms.
If your berry picking farm is sued, becoming a formal business organisation, such as an LLC or corporation, prevents you from being held personally accountable.
STEP 3: File your taxes
Before you can begin for business, you must register for a number of state and federal taxes.
To register for taxes, you will need to get an EIN. It’s really simple and completely free!
Taxes on Small Businesses
Depending on the business form you choose, you may have multiple choices for how your company is taxed. Some LLCs, for example, may benefit from being taxed as a S company (S corp).
These guides will teach you more about small company taxes:
Taxes on LLCs
LLC vs. sole proprietorship
Corporation vs. LLC
S Corp vs. LLC
How to Form a S Corporation
S Corporation vs. C Corporation
There may be state taxes that apply to your company. In our state sales tax guides, you may learn more about state sales taxes and franchise taxes.
STEP 4: Establish a company bank account and credit card
Personal asset protection requires the use of distinct business banking and credit accounts.
When you combine your personal and business accounts, your personal assets (your house, vehicle, and other possessions) are at danger if your company is sued. This is known as penetrating your company veil in business law.
Furthermore, understanding how to develop corporate credit may help you get credit cards and other financing in your company’s name (rather than your own), lower interest rates, larger lines of credit, and other benefits.
Establish a business bank account.
Opening a business bank account is not only required when asking for business financing, but it also:
Separates your personal assets from the assets of your firm, which is required for personal asset protection.
It simplifies bookkeeping and tax reporting.
Create a net 30 account.
Net 30 accounts are used to develop and grow company credit while also increasing cash flow. Businesses use a net 30 account to purchase items and refund the whole debt within a 30-day period.
Many net 30 credit suppliers submit information to the main business credit agencies (Dun & Bradstreet, Experian Business, and Equifax Business Credit). This is how firms establish business credit in order to get approved for credit cards and other lines of credit.
Apply for a business credit card.
Obtaining a business credit card benefits you in the following ways:
Put all of your company’s costs in one location to separate personal and business spending.
Build your company’s credit history, which will be important for raising funds in the future.
STEP 5: Establish business accounting
Recording your numerous costs and sources of revenue is crucial to assessing your company’s financial status. Keeping precise and thorough accounting also makes yearly tax filing much easier.
STEP 6: Obtain all required permissions and licences
Failure to get appropriate permissions and licences may result in significant penalties or possibly the closure of your firm.
Requirements for Federal Business Licensing
Federal laws govern what may and cannot be added to, marketed as, or processed with food. A Food and Drug Administration resource on the procedure of opening a food company is attached: How to Launch a Food Business
Requirements for State and Local Business Licensing
Certain state permissions and licences may be required to run a berry farm. Visit the SBA’s reference to state licences and permits to learn more about licencing requirements in your state.
For information on local licences and permissions, visit:
Check with the clerk’s office in your town, city, or county.
Contact one of the local organisations mentioned in the US Small Business Associations database of local business resources for help.
A berry farm is typically managed from a piece of land. A Certificate of Occupancy is often required for businesses that operate from a physical site (CO). A certificate of occupancy certifies that all building rules, zoning laws, and government requirements have been satisfied.
If you intend to rent a space:
In most cases, it is the landlord’s obligation to get a CO.
Before leasing, ensure that your landlord has or can get a valid CO for a berry farm company.
A new CO is often required after a big remodelling. If your location will be refurbished before opening, incorporate wording in your leasing agreement saying that lease payments would not begin until a valid CO is given.
If you intend to buy or create a location:
It is your responsibility to secure a valid CO from a local government entity.
Examine all building rules and zoning standards for your business’s location to verify compliance and the ability to acquire a CO.
Regulations Concerning Food
When selling food, you must get a licence from your local health authority; all enterprises serving food must pass a health inspection. Tips for Passing a Health Inspection
STEP 7: Obtain commercial insurance.
Insurance, like licences and permits, is required for your company to operate safely and legally. In the case of a covered loss, business insurance protects your company’s financial well-being.
There are several sorts of insurance plans designed for various types of companies with varying risks. If you are unaware about the hazards that your company may encounter, start with General Liability Insurance. This is the most popular coverage required by small companies, so it’s a good place to start for yours.
Workers’ Compensation Insurance is another important insurance product that many companies need. If your company will have workers, your state may require you to purchase Workers’ Compensation insurance.
STEP 8: Establish your brand
Your company’s brand is what it stands for, as well as how the public perceives it. A strong brand will help your company stand out from the crowd.
How to Market and Promote a Berry Picking Farm
The sort of berry farm you establish will determine your marketing approach. The finest method of promotion for a PYO farm is well-displayed road signage. Word-of-mouth marketing will assure a continual stream of new and returning customers. According to experienced farmers, billboards, radio, and television advertisements are often ineffective.
The Internet will be an excellent marketing tool regardless of the sort of farm you operate. Check that your farm is listed in internet directories like Yelp and Google Business. Active social media profiles are also a terrific method to reach out to new and existing clients and keep them up to date on the newest developments. Many farmers have found success promoting at county fairs and artisan exhibitions as well. Another fantastic strategy to reach out to the public is to provide field excursions for elementary school classrooms.
How to Keep Customers Returning
As a general guideline, 20% of your client base accounts for 80% of your company. Make sure your farm is secure and tidy to guarantee great word-of-mouth. Your employees should be pleasant and knowledgeable.
STEP 9: Create your company’s website.
After you’ve defined your brand and designed your logo, the next step is to build a website for your company.
While developing a website is an important step, some may be concerned that it is out of their grasp due to a lack of website-building skills. While this was a fair concern in 2015, online technology has made significant advances in recent years, making the lives of small company owners considerably easier.
The following are the primary reasons why you should not put off developing your website:
Every genuine company has a website, period. When it comes to bringing your company online, it doesn’t matter what size or sector it is.
Social media accounts, such as Facebook pages or LinkedIn company profiles, are not a substitute for your own business website.
STEP 10: Install your company phone system.
Getting a phone for your company is one of the finest methods to keep your personal and professional lives distinct and private. That isn’t the only advantage; it also helps you automate your company, provides it legitimacy, and makes it simpler for prospective clients to identify and contact you.