Whether you sell Chinese crocodile emperor newts or red Niger uromastyx, running a reptile breeding business features a variety of issues similar to other enterprises. Profiting from the sale of these creatures requires careful attention to profit margins, consumer demographic trends and liability issues. Having a firm grasp of the reptile market increases the likelihood of profiting from your exotic boa business or tortoise breeding company.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Challenging
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Choose which reptiles to breed, and become familiar with their breeding process. Nicholas Nigro, author of the book "101 Best Businesses for Pet Lovers," advises studying herpetology to become familiarised with the average breeding cycles and conditions of reptiles. As explained by the Smithsonian Institute, different creatures have different needs: A red foot tortoise egg requires humid, warm conditions whereas Cuban crocodile eggs require incubation at 32.2 degrees Celsius to produce males or lower or higher temperatures to produce females.
Determine the average litter size and survival rate. Establish the going rate you can expect to fetch for the creature. Determine this figure by comparing the prices of competitors and looking over the classifieds listed in sources such as "The Reptile Information Network" and "Reptiles Magazine." Multiply the figure by the litter size to estimate the average expected revenue per litter.
Assess how many reptiles you can expect to sell per litter. While you might be able to breed 20 African banded velvet geckos per year, you'll incur a loss housing and feeding the creatures if you only can find homes for half of them. Adjust the sales price lower per reptile as it ages to lower your inventory. Naturally, consumers may desire younger reptiles than older ones. Patricia Bartlett, author of the book "Reptiles and Amphibians for Dummies," suggests approaching pet stores to see if they would be interested in buying your reptiles.
Calculate the costs associated with breeding your reptiles. Such costs include UV lights, cages, foliage, food such as insects and mice, incubators and nutritious food powder. Anticipate spending more for food, caging and humidifiers for large snakes than smaller newts and lizards. Also expect to acquire an import license if you must purchase a reptile to breed from outside of the country.
Subtract the cost from the expected revenue to determine the expected profit per litter. From this figure, devise methods to lower costs and increase revenue. Seek alternative vendors for food sources, buy in bulk and target underserved markets. For instance, offer to ship creatures to a state that has very few breeders of your particular reptile.
Tips and warnings
- Create a website offering information on the care and maintenance of your creature. Reduce the consumer's concern of owning a rare and exotic breed by providing extensive instructions. Include images of the mother and father of the litter to add personality to the creatures. Explain to consumers how they're taking home a family member as a source of persuasion. Giving such care tips also engenders a sense of trust and confidence in you as a breeder.
- For unsold reptiles, expect to incur extra maintenance costs while you find the creatures a good home at a steep discount. Consider giving unsold reptiles to schools to use as classroom pets or universities to use as subject matters.
- Ensure the shipment of these creatures is done safely and ethically. Verifying that the vessel (typically a plane) has adequate conditions and temperatures not only means the reptile arrives safely but also reduces your liability as a breeder.
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