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Thread: Would 40k get you into business?

  1. #1
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    Would 40k get you into business?

    A bit of an open ended question.

    I have zero farming experience, but I am asking this question for someone who has dyslexia, hence he is not writing he question.

    He has 10 years experience; all types of tractor work (inc carting, slurry and cultivations), dairy, sheep and some combine work.

    With 40k he can obviously buy a tractor and some equipment and do contracting.

    What else could he spend his money on / do to start an agricultural business?

    I am thinking along the lines of some specialist service, that needs specialist equipment.

    I am sure some of you guys could make some funny suggestions - but let's have some serious ones as well.

    thanks ColinK

  2. #2
    Senior Member Bald Rick's Avatar
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    Re: Would 40k get you into business?

    I would have thought contracting is an oversupplied, cut throat business that is very reliant on farmers paying up when the bills land. However, there may be a niche for very specialised contracting work.
    I would have a look around within a radius of say 50 miles, see what is being offered then talk to some farmers about what they think is missing. Are people starting to drain land again on the back of increasing commodity prices? Not sure if you'd get anything top end for 40k though ......

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    Re: Would 40k get you into business?

    If he is self employed and continues to do what he has been doing for the last 10 years then he HAS an agricultural business.

    Other than this he needs to find out what is needed locally and fill the gap.

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    Senior Member Cowabunga's Avatar
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    Re: Would 40k get you into business?

    Hoof trimming.
    PD,ing sheep and especially cattle.
    General building and farm maintenance work.
    Anything with minimal capital investment and running cost and the reasonable chance of a good net income.
    All that rules out buying a tractor IMO.

  5. #5
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    Re: Would 40k get you into business?

    Window cleaner.
    Min, set up costs, all income.

  6. #6

    Re: Would 40k get you into business?

    Dis budding calves, need a crush, gas and dehorner, lot of people struggle to find time and charge 5/calf will make a fortune
    When I see bulling heifers/cows at market with stub horns it really annoys me and puts buyers off

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    Senior Member Phil's Avatar
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    Re: Would 40k get you into business?

    Quote Originally Posted by Deereone View Post
    If he is self employed and continues to do what he has been doing for the last 10 years then he HAS an agricultural business.

    Other than this he needs to find out what is needed locally and fill the gap.
    All it says in the opening post is that the guy has 10 years experience...nothing about him being self-employed or it being his own business. He could have been employed on a farm for 10 years ?

    My suggestion would be...put the 40k in to a minimum risk ISA or similar, & then set up a business that does not need a lot in the way of capital investment, such as those mentioned by the Duck and Cornishfarmer.

    O.K, So there is not the potential to earn much of a return on the invested money....but there is a significantly lower risk of loosing it !

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    Re: Would 40k get you into business?

    Quote Originally Posted by Phil View Post
    All it says in the opening post is that the guy has 10 years experience...nothing about him being self-employed or it being his own business. He could have been employed on a farm for 10 years ?

    My suggestion would be...put the 40k in to a minimum risk ISA or similar, & then set up a business that does not need a lot in the way of capital investment, such as those mentioned by the Duck and Cornishfarmer.

    O.K, So there is not the potential to earn much of a return on the invested money....but there is a significantly lower risk of loosing it !

    Probably make more out of a burger van or something. You need to do something different, not another man with a tractor. You will be up against existing large contractors or large farms spreading the costs.

    Your going to need to spend a lot more than 40k on a piece of machinery that no one currently has. Our sprayer man drives a new Bateman - his 'USP' is he can do it faster, cheaper than the next man. He's invested heavily to gain this advantage.

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    Re: Would 40k get you into business?

    To the op does your friend own his own house? If not perhaps a deposit?

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    Re: Would 40k get you into business?

    The obvious answer is 'yes' you can buy you way into a certain business with 40k (tractor and man in this case). You don't however need 40k to be 'in business'. Depending on the OP skills perhaps the 40k would provide some working capital and money to live on whilst said new business got off the ground.

    If you've got to spend 40k to get 15/hr you might as well drive someones elses machine and stick the 40k into house or investment imo.

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    Senior Member Tullyvernon's Avatar
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    Re: Would 40k get you into business?

    My first thoughts would be as the duck said, Hoof trimming or PD,ing sheep and cattle.

    But if it had to be tractor related...
    Possibly get a decent 2nd hand tractor and possibly direct drilling grassland with a Moore uni-drill or similar machine, not that many offering that service as far as I know and seems to be the way to go.

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    Senior Member hoff135's Avatar
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    Re: Would 40k get you into business?

    i started contracting about 6 months ago, only as a sideline business though. So far i have bought a tractor and a mini digger and trailer. Starting to get a bit of work coming through now. I will be looking to add other bits of equipment and services after i save money for them, do not want to get into a lot of debt.

    Theres plenty fencing and drystone walling work about but i detest both with a passion.

    I know a farm worker who has his own tractor and a few implements and does a bit of work at weekends and in the evenings dont know if he makes much money, probably more of a hobby.

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    Re: Would 40k get you into business?

    On average contracting on BFF is a subject from which you can glean the following information:

    Contractors fees have barely gone up.

    The cost of machinery has gone up.

    The cost of labour has gone up.

    The time it takes to be paid has gone up.

    The amount of sweat and tears involved has gone up because everyone has to work harder.


    I know I'm daft but if your heart is set on tractor driving why not just drive for someone else and take home a night hard fixed zero risk sum each month for the privilege? Why bother owning your own kit or spending your own money? A tractor is surely a tractor and drives as such no matter whose name is on the bonnet?

    I just can't see the point of being an owner driver. You could go to work on nice estate and drive modern very tidy kit and even get time off and a machine which is never touched by hands other than your own. You could become their spray operator or foreman and get involved in their agronomy, cow management/breeding
    /nutrition or maybe workshop stuff. All for the princely sum of a pair of boots and a couple of sets of overalls.

    Or have I got this all wrong?

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    Re: Would 40k get you into business?

    Maybe not much compertition in the highlands is there hoff135

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    Senior Member hoff135's Avatar
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    Re: Would 40k get you into business?

    Quote Originally Posted by RGT View Post
    Maybe not much compertition in the highlands is there hoff135
    Not so much competition but not so much work either, most of my area is empty moorland and hills. Apart for wind farms which seem to be cropping up everywhere! Now there is where the money is!

  16. #16
    Senior Member hoff135's Avatar
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    Re: Would 40k get you into business?

    Did a job for railway, they had left a pile of rubble in a field beside track (my field) and they hired me to clear it, got well paid for the job. Chap told me if i didn't do it they would have brought a machine up from south on the track which was basically a digger with a clam shell bucket on and loaded it on to wagons., he told me the machine was 5k a shift, what ever he meant by shift? i assumed he meant per day! these utilities and the govt are in a different world to the rest of us.

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    Re: Would 40k get you into business?

    Quote Originally Posted by hoff135 View Post
    Not so much competition but not so much work either, most of my area is empty moorland and hills. Apart for wind farms which seem to be cropping up everywhere! Now there is where the money is!
    Fekking wind farms. God arn't they aweful looking bloody things.

  18. #18
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    Re: Would 40k get you into business?

    Quote Originally Posted by Uwork4menow View Post
    On average contracting on BFF is a subject from which you can glean the following information:

    Contractors fees have barely gone up.

    The cost of machinery has gone up.

    The cost of labour has gone up.

    The time it takes to be paid has gone up.

    The amount of sweat and tears involved has gone up because everyone has to work harder.


    I know I'm daft but if your heart is set on tractor driving why not just drive for someone else and take home a night hard fixed zero risk sum each month for the privilege? Why bother owning your own kit or spending your own money? A tractor is surely a tractor and drives as such no matter whose name is on the bonnet?

    I just can't see the point of being an owner driver. You could go to work on nice estate and drive modern very tidy kit and even get time off and a machine which is never touched by hands other than your own. You could become their spray operator or foreman and get involved in their agronomy, cow management/breeding
    /nutrition or maybe workshop stuff. All for the princely sum of a pair of boots and a couple of sets of overalls.

    Or have I got this all wrong?
    I'm with you on this one though it does depend on what age the man is.If he is over 35 I would say leave the contracting alone,it takes to long to get a business going and puts relationships (if there is one) under huge strain with the long hours and constant need to work 7 days.I would advise him to buy 2 terraced houses and let someone earn HIM some money and take a job with a contractor to satisfy his need for beacons.

  19. #19
    Senior Member Nithsdale Farmer's Avatar
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    Re: Would 40k get you into business?

    Tell your pal to find something he is good at and really enjoys doing, and stick to that.

    We could all sit here and tell you what he should or shouldnt do with HIS money. But its his money and far too many folks in the world moan about hating their jobs - lifes short, enjoy the bloody thing before its gone.
    If in doubt, yank it out!

  20. #20

    Re: Would 40k get you into business?

    Quote Originally Posted by hoff135 View Post
    Did a job for railway, they had left a pile of rubble in a field beside track (my field) and they hired me to clear it, got well paid for the job. Chap told me if i didn't do it they would have brought a machine up from south on the track which was basically a digger with a clam shell bucket on and loaded it on to wagons., he told me the machine was 5k a shift, what ever he meant by shift? i assumed he meant per day! these utilities and the govt are in a different world to the rest of us.
    Im amazed they didnt make you do a PTS and or DCCR for that job and spend a day filling in works directives, Permits and Risk assements, Railways are Regulated to hell, although there is money on working on them, the sheer loonesy of the bureaucratic coupled with the HSE will ruin a good man, In an 8 hour shift its a productive one if half that time is spent "working"... Its just one of the reasons tickets cost a fortune.

    To the original OPs question, 40K in the bank, invest in property or land, use the money as a deposit and one day your own a nice asset , It will return far better than cash in the bank..

    If he is serious some local market research would be the way to go, and a list of contacts who could do with XYZ done, then cost from there to see the viability, Really he probably needs to look further than the ag market and look at tenders with Councils, and other works. Pricing and tendering no matter the business is hard work, and getting it wrong like so many do will make him a busy fool, I think you can make money from whatever you wish to do, but the business side needs to come first.

  21. #21
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    Re: Would 40k get you into business?

    Quote Originally Posted by NZDan View Post
    Fekking wind farms. God arn't they aweful looking bloody things.
    I quite like the look of them, i dont mind them one bit, nicer than a power staition to look at.

  22. #22
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    Re: Would 40k get you into business?

    Try ATV work - horse paddock maintenence, slug pelleting etc. Can charge pretty much same /hr as a tractor but a fraction of the costs.

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    Re: Would 40k get you into business?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bald Rick View Post
    .......
    I would have a look around within a radius of say 50 miles, see what is being offered then talk to some farmers about what they think is missing. ......
    Depends on the farming that's around ColinK. He might find there's a lot of pasture with a weed problem, and set up a business weedwiping grassland with a good accurate non-drip machine. If rabbits are about then rabbit fencing - I've described how a chap in Kent made his own machine and has fenced thousands of acres in the area. Maybe he can find cattle famrers grazing land with no handling facilities, and he could make his own - we described a good one built on a much spreader chassis - which he could have on hire with driver / handler. Wood processing (there's a brilliant contractors machine in the new Farm Ideas out this week) is something you do for all kinds of land owner, and then there's fencing, and more. My suggestion would be to use a machine which other contractor's don't have (and the forage wagon can be a case in point as most silage makers are on s-ps, trailers and a biggish team). Something which has a good long season, partic in the winter when there are fewer driving jobs around, makes sense to me. Hope this helps.
    Bright ideas for successful farming www.farmideas.co.uk

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    Re: Would 40k get you into business?

    Lawnmower strimmer brush and shovel. Garden maintenance. Cash what could go wrong..

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    Re: Would 40k get you into business?

    How about fencing contractor?ATV+trailer, small tractor with post thumper, -- also lambing/shearing if skills and fitness allow.Probably best with an assistant.

    As it happens,40,000 was exactly what we had to buy a small farm,stock and equip it. But that was in 1979.......

  26. #26

    Re: Would 40k get you into business?

    We have a tree surgery company I started 13 yrs ago... Yeah we now have 30000's worth of unimog with new 14 inch front mount chipper which eats trees size telegraph poles like it was a twig..... But when I started i had a 2000 truck.. no chipper..2 chainsaws, hedge cutter and a small blower..me and one worker could easily come back with 500 day after expenses...
    that was in those days though.. There is still plenty work around if your a 2 man team and happy to earn 250 day after few expenses..
    we only do the bigger jobs now.. Site clearance etc..
    tree surgery, grass cutting etc are best earners there are IMO...
    Lad who works for us on trees and farm has several grass cutting jobs.. 40 each. He's doing 2 this morning and said he'll be in at 11 this morning to carry on grass rolling..
    the travellers are big problem for us in the tree industry... Constantly trying to nick anything on site... Pricing jobs at a third of our price but not vat registered ( our price will include vat) very little or no insurance.. Then usually once they start the job will tell customer price was only to cut not clear so price goes up to same as ours oriinally..
    for one man band doing bit fencing, grass cutting, hedges and small trees etc there is very good living to be earnt..
    i could clear 1000 week on my own and be home by lunch time if I didn't like sitting in tractor or lorry so much!!!

  27. #27
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    Re: Would 40k get you into business?

    Wow!!

    I really appreciate all the great replies. I am used to posting on forums with too many 'wise guys' or people who take over the thread arguing with each other - this is a pleasant change.

    I think every suggestion, and warning were really useful. I will discuss these suggestions with him this weekend.

    A bit more info - the person is actually my 22 year old Son, who has severe dyslexia; an extremely hard worker, hence the 40k saved + a 13K BMW - he is worth more than me :-)

    We are in Northern Ireland, so not every suggestion would be fully transferrable here.

    He has been weekend and summer farming since age 9.

    He has an NVQ Joinery qualification, but due to the recession only got the minimal work (kitchen fitting) he needed to get the quelification.

    He has worked on several farms in N Ireland, 3 harvests in Essex and the past winter in Australia. He has about 3 places who would take him full time, inc Australia (permanent visa may be an issue and at this stage he does not want to be resident there).

    I have zero farming experience.

    I could not reply to every suggestion, but here a few comments on some of them:
    ISA's - He has Max ISA's about 28k, ideally keep the ISA's, but cash in if he finds a worthwhile investment.
    Buying houses, it is on our radar. About 60k for a terraced house here, so he has a good deposit for 1 or 2, but no history of a permanent job.
    Specialist equipment / services - fencing, drainage, animal care etc - really keen to hear as many examples as possible like this, particularly those that have some potential over a long season.

    He is going to Essex from July to October again and has not decided what to do when he returns, he does want to go to Australia again, but probably with a friend and probably not this year. Maybe New Zealand.

    I am keen for him to travel as much as possible when he is young but would encourage having a business at some stage, he is torn between starting a business and travel / experience abroad. I think if he starts a business it will restrict the opportunity to travel unless he can do 6 months at a time and still do work (employed or self employed) at home for the reaminder of the year. He is also young enough to start a business in a few years - I did not start my own business until 36.

    Please keep the suggestions comming - and thanks again for the really constructive attitude.

    ColinK

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    Re: Would 40k get you into business?

    after last season, anyone who invents an amphibeous combine would be rich.

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    Re: Would 40k get you into business?

    Sheep option?---its one of the easiest /cheaper options to get into farming in your own right
    Low capital required
    Quick turnover
    Low input---both financially and work wise---leaves time to pursue a day job
    Easy to get in and out of---sheep can be cashed in at any time

    Problems? ---finding land to rent

  30. #30
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    Re: Would 40k get you into business?

    Quote Originally Posted by hoff135 View Post
    Not so much competition but not so much work either, most of my area is empty moorland and hills. Apart for wind farms which seem to be cropping up everywhere! Now there is where the money is!
    He had thought of wind farms. Any tips on easiest way to get work on the wind farms? Is the work labor only or is there an apportunity to use own tractor and trailer?

    Thanks ColinK

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