How to Start a Small Compost Business

Compost is essential to the health of every organic garden. However, most people do not have time to make compost themselves. Making compost to sell requires a great deal more care than making it for one's own use only. It is vital to strike a balance between eliminating the potential to spread plant disease and maintaining the fertilizer content of the compost. Compost should never be sold until it has aged at least six months to a year. This provides plenty of time for microbes to be eliminated by the heat of the compost heap.

Define your small business. In the business world, small usually refers to the number of employees rather than the number of customers. However, there is a point past which a larger number of customers to be served will require expanding the number of employees. The number of customers you are able to serve will depend directly on the amount of compost you can produce for sale daily. Since compost needs to age for at least six months before it is safe to use, your business must be sustainable for at least that long before you can make your first sale. This may require you to have other income streams available to you until the compost business becomes self-sustaining.

Decide what volume of compost you will be able to process, package, transport and sell. Build enough bins to create the amount of compost you will reasonably be able to sell. Build storage sheds to accommodate inventory overflows. Be sure to use the oldest stock first.

Make the compost. Avoid using kitchen waste and spent garden plants when making compost for sale. Instead, use leaves and lawn clippings. Test the quality of the soil regularly. Examine soil samples under a microscope to confirm whether or not there are any harmful microbes present.

Package compost in burlap bags. Burlap is a renewable resource. The bags can be used in strip mulching once they are emptied. Provide an incentive to recycle the bags by offering a small discount per bag if they are brought back to be refilled. Use the returned bags as strip mulch.

Reduce transportation costs by using drop shipping or courier services rather than maintaining a fleet.

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About the Author

After earning a B.S. Ed. from Kent State University in 1995, Smith provided educational support in multiple Ohio school districts. Smith has managed nine employees and 86 independent adult care providers at a time. In addition, Smith has assisted two charities with successful 501 (C) 3 applications, serving on the board of one for three years. Currently, Smith serves as an independent Avon representative at Avon Beauty by Laura. Her writing chops include one published novel and close to 1500 articles in various online and offline publications.