NFU Mutual Smallholding Insurance

Author Topic: Starting up on my own  (Read 241 times)

Chris_P

  • Joined Nov 2019
Starting up on my own
« on: November 07, 2019, 05:18:56 pm »
Good evening everyone,

My name Is Chris and I'm based in Somerset.

I have had a idea that i would like to run past you all as a business.
Always been around farms and contractor but they all seem to specialize in one thing or have huge huge kit.

My idea is to contract but use smaller equipment and help smaller farms and small holder like yourselves.

Its in its infant stages but would such a thing be of use to any of you?

I'm thinking grass, turning, small bales, hedge cutting, topping, bit of spraying if enough people ask, hauling rubble etc.

I really would like to hear opinions please  :thumbsup:

Many thanks Chris
Voss Electric Fence

Rosemary

  • Joined Oct 2007
  • Barry, Angus, Scotland
    • The Accidental Smallholder
Re: Starting up on my own
« Reply #1 on: November 08, 2019, 10:00:58 am »
Hi Chris, welcome to TAS from  :sunshine: Carnoustie  :wave:
Too far away to offer any help with the business idea - sorry, but I'm sure others will.

arobwk

  • Joined Nov 2015
  • Kernow - some say it's in England !
Re: Starting up on my own
« Reply #2 on: November 08, 2019, 05:39:14 pm »
Welcome Chris.

A friend in NE Cornwall employed a company called “Posh Paddocks” to tidy a few neglected acres some time back:  apparently they brought in some “very fancy” kit I'm told and, to my mind, charged a quite fancy price (but can’t remember how much).
So, the point I’m offering is that, seemingly, some folk are offering “field services” very successfully and there might be a clue in the company name mentioned above.

Also, I recall one TAS member mentioning how difficult it was to get someone in to cut/process their small-sized fields because local farmers/contractors weren’t interested: I can’t remember who that was or where they were.

However, where I am (mid-Cornwall clay country) they only grow grass and generally in rather small fields (often as small as an acre or so), BUT it is ‘standard’ size equipment they are using for cutting and processing and there is a very well-established network of those who need and those who will provide (they probably all went to school together !?).

In summary: I think you need to check out your local market very carefully before making any significant equipment investments especially if you will not be using the equipment for your own purposes. 
« Last Edit: November 08, 2019, 06:05:42 pm by arobwk »

Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • Wester Gladstone Hebridean Sheep
Re: Starting up on my own
« Reply #3 on: November 08, 2019, 06:37:51 pm »
Hello and welcome Chris


I am in Scotland so would not be a customer, but would still like to comment.


I think you would have two ends to your business - one which would pay more and the other which would be a bit more interesting perhaps, and be closer to your reasons for doing this.  Those with the money to take full advantage of your services and provide you with a regular income, would probably be people who have a small area of land, just a few acres, and who keep horses.  They will have a job in town and will consider themselves 'equestrian' rather than smallholders (apologies to those who are both and don't have a well paid job in town) and will be willing to pay for an all round grass maintenance service, perhaps with hedging and other odd jobs around the place.
The smallholders on the other hand will not be able to pay 'fancy' prices but nonetheless have a need for help with work requiring machinery. 
I don't think you would need, or be able to use, big machinery, but there is plenty of smaller stuff around which is ideal for smaller acreages and field sizes.  It can be bought new as well as second hand, if you are good at maintenance.  In the past we have helped friends and neighbours by using our equipment to do their heavy work, in return for help with simpler tasks at home ie barter.   I am now coming round to the idea that using money turns out fairer!!
www.scothebs.co.uk

Do something today that your future self will thank you for - plant a tree

Draco dormiens nunquam titillandus - let sleeping dragons lie

SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
Re: Starting up on my own
« Reply #4 on: November 08, 2019, 10:00:05 pm »
We are a smallholding, farming under 20 acres on our 32-acre holding. 

One of the local farmers used to do all the small agricultural contracting jobs for the smaller farms and smallholdings hereabouts - haymaking and all associated jobs, topping, harrowing and rolling, mucking out and muck-spreading, hedge-trimming, bashing in fence posts, etc etc.  He had the kit for his own farm and could earn some extra income from hiring himself out with it.

He’s recently taken a full-time job so we are still working out how to get all our tractor work done!  We found someone else local to make our small-bale haylage, and he was great, but we haven’t got all the other work sorted yet. 

We do have our eyes open for a small 4wd tractor, but there would still be some jobs we’d sooner buy in.  Baling hay and wrapping it if needed for two, but it would be great to be able to do our own woofling and topping and so on.

Where I farmed up north, on a Cumbrian hill farm, we farmed 450 acres and had three modest tractors of our own.  We used the local Agri contractor for mowing, baling, wrapping, muck spreading, hedge-trimming.  Over time, we were having to adjust field entrances as the Big Boys’ Toys got bigger and bigger, would no longer fit through 10’ gates, etc.  The problem they had, especially in such a wet part of the country, was everyone wanted the grass cut and the hay baled in the same very small windows of time, so bigger and faster machinery was the solution - but not if your gateways couldn’t take the bigger kit!

So it would depend on where you are and who does what locally, but there could well be a niche for more modestly-sized equipment, yes.  Whether you’d really make sensible money, though, given that the smaller kit takes more hours, I’m not sure. 
Don't listen to the money men - they know the price of everything and the value of nothing

Live in a cohousing community with small farm for our own use.  Dairy cow, beef cattle, pigs, sheep for meat and fleece, ducks and hens for eggs, veg and fruit growing

arobwk

  • Joined Nov 2015
  • Kernow - some say it's in England !
Re: Starting up on my own
« Reply #5 on: November 15, 2019, 07:47:51 pm »
I hope we haven't scared you away @Chris_P

 

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