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How to Start a Deer Processing Business

Opening a deer processing business is a rewarding experience but it's important to plan out the business in detail before you start. We offer tips and advice on the essential elements for business success.

Wondering how to start a deer processing business? We take you step-by-step from start to success.

Deer Processing Business

Getting Started in Deer Processing

In rural communities throughout America, deer processing provides a lucrative, seasonal income for entrepreneurs with the right skills and equipment. The majority of deer processing businesses are operated in garages or sheds that have been converted to a dedicated (sometimes temporary) venison processing facility.

But aspiring deer processing business owners should realize that getting a deer processing business off the ground involves much more than a sharp knife and a meat grinder. With good processors earning $75+ per deer, you'll need to create a professional business strategy to turn your hard work into bottom line profits.

Startup Costs for Venison Processing

The startup costs for a deer processing business are less than they are for most small businesses. However, there are several equipment purchases you can't live without including knives, stainless steel tables, sinks, grinders and refrigeration units.

The challenge is that you'll need to secure the equipment upfront, before you have the opportunity to field test demand for your services. If your startup lacks adequate market research, you could find spend thousands on processing equipment and never see a return on your investment.

Health & Safety Concerns

There are health and safety concerns that you will need to address as a venison processing specialist. Before you invest in equipment, we recommend contacting your local health department to identify health code requirements in your vicinity.

In the past, many deer processors pooled the meat together and distributed packaged products based on the size of the deer each customer delivered to the processing facility. In other words, the deer meat customers received usually wasn't exclusively from the deer they delivered.

These days, chronic wasting disease and other deer-related illnesses have caused processors and customers to question the idea of "communal venison" products. As a precaution and a selling point, avoid pooled processing and meticulously clean your equipment between customers.

Business Plans for a Deer Processing Business

A common mistake for an entrepreneur is to not create a business plan.

The key benefit of writing a business plan is that it defines the game plan. If you don't have a business plan, your leadership will be handicapped, limiting your deer processing business's ability to succeed long-term.

The first step in creating a business plan is to develop a mission statement for your organization. From there, it's time to initiate the hard work involved with writing the rest of your deer processing company's business plan.

Investigate Competitors

Long before you open a deer processing business in your town, it's essential to determine what the competition looks like. Try our link below to generate a list of competitors nearby. Just enter your city, state and zip code to get a list of deer processing businesses in your community.

It's important to be aware of what the competition is doing. Take the time to visit the competition to properly assess their strengths and weaknesses.

A Good Source of Advice

As part of your due diligence on opening a deer processing business, it's a smart move to speak with somebody who is already in the business. Local competitors are not going to give you the time of day, mind you. What's in it for them?

But, a person who owns a deer processing business in another town may be more than happy to give you a few tips, given that you don't compete with them in their area. In that case, the business owner may be more than happy to discuss the industry with you. It can take a while to find an entrepreneur who is willing to talk, but it's well worth the effort.

How does one quickly and easily locate a deer processing business owner that lives outside of your area?

Here's how we would do it. Try the useful link below and key in a random city/state or zipcode.

Advantages of a Deer Processing Business Purchase

On a percentage basis, more entrepreneurs intend to enter deer processing business ownership through a startup than through a business purchase. Yet deer processing business startups aren't easy - many fail within the first year.

There are a lot of factors that need to be considered in buying vs. starting a business. By buying a profitable deer processing business, you'll shorten the amount of time it takes to achieve a return on your investment because you'll have the advantage of a proven operation and an existing customer base.

Is Franchising the Right Option?

Your chances for doing well in business increase when you opt to franchise in lieu of doing everything yourself.

If you planning on starting a deer processing business, you ought to assess whether franchise opportunities in your space might make it easy to get started.

The link below gives you access to our franchise directory so you can see if there's a franchise opportunity for you. You might even find something that points you in a completely different direction.

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These additional resources regarding starting a business may be of interest to you.

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Characteristics of Successful Entrepreneurs

Naming My Business

Conversation Board

Any comments, questions or suggestions to share regarding launching a deer processing business? Your input helps this article become more useful to others.

Lela Wilson 9/16/2011

Does anyone have any knowledge of a deer processing video?

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Already Own a Deer Processing Business?

If you already are in business and came here to learn about growing an existing deer processing business, try these useful resources:

Marketing a Deer Processing Business

Selling a Deer Processing Business

Do You Sell to Deer Processing Businesses?

If you came here to learn about selling to deer processing businesses, this isn't the right place for you. Try these resources instead:

Selling to Deer Processing Businesses

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