The Tiny Worm Business With BIG Potential

Tis the season for a lot of people (up in the northern hemisphere) to start thinking about the upcoming gardening season. Naturally, this also gets more people thinking about composting. As such, it is also a great time for would-be entrepreneurs to test the waters with some sort of vermicomposting business.

This is a topic a lot of people seem to have an interest in, but one I haven’t really written all that much about it here. With the upcoming release of a new course all about this, I decided this was the perfect time to stop procrastinating and put together a special podcast/report and make it freely available to the RWC community.

The podcast is definitely longer than my usual “Q&A” sessions (more than twice as long, in fact) – but hopefully making the written version as well will help those who don’t like sitting through long audio programs.

Just so you know, I also have plans to create one more podcast on this topic – and it WILL be in the “Q&A” format, so be sure to add your questions as comments down below or simply email them to me (use a subject like “worm biz questions” so I’ll recognize it).

If you think you might also have an interest in the course (and you are not a member of the WFA or an Easy Vermicomposting Course customer who joined before the end of last September), make sure you are on either the RWC e-mail list or the “7 Fun Ways to Make Money With Worms” list, so you know when it goes live (important since the price will start low and increase every couple of days until “regular price” is reached).

NOTE: If the podcast player doesn’t show up (or download button doesn’t show up on player) try refreshing page. If it doesn’t work on a mobile device try it on a regular computer. My apologies for the audio quality – for some reason my microphone doesn’t seem to be working as well as it used to.

*** You can access/download the written version (not exact transcripts, but covers same material) >>HERE<< ***

If this is a topic of interest, you may want to check out my new course: Worm Profits

UPDATE: You may also want to listen to the follow-up podcast – Worm Business Podcast #2

**For Even More Worm Fun, Sign Up for the RWC E-mail List!**
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    • Steve
    • January 17, 2014

    Thanks for the great podcast Bentley. I think I may have found a good substitute for horse manure, probably because the texture is similar and it has a high calcium level. I am a juicer and there are millions of people that probably have plenty of grindings from their vegetable juicing. I use about 5 pounds of carrot grindings from the freezer (that the wife didn’t use for carrot cake), a cup of oven-dried Panera coffee grounds (keeps forever when dried), a cup of fine grind egg shells and about 2 cups of water to hydrate things a bit. It sure seems like the worms love this combo because of the high density activity. Maybe some of your juice-making readers are familiar with other great worm food recipes too?

  1. What a great podcast and transcript. What I learned from you we are in the same boat. We have little space to produce worms and vermicompost but at the same time we try bring in enough profits. You are right, how big is my vermicompost operation is. I should produce my own version of worm tea/extract for sales instead of selling vermicompost. I don’t have enough flow throughs or space to produce a steady supply of vermicompost for sales when I start selling at farmers markets, garden shows, or festivals.

    Luckly I am still in the small stage of my operation, so I can perfection my products and business.

    • Bentley
    • January 18, 2014

    STEVE – I am all for “homemade manure”, but I would think that you might need some bedding materials in a mix like that in order to give it a bit more long term “habitat” potential. But don’t let that discourage you – keep me posted!
    ANDY – thanks for the positive feedback! Based on what you had already told me about your own biz, I knew you were in the “big potential” category. Your next challenge may be the balance between demanding full-time job, and keeping up with orders!

  2. Thank you Bentley. I know what you mean. I am here for the long shot, so I will not or try not let other things get to demanding or find time in between. Eventually, I like to have a full-time vc operation someday. So nothing will not stop me.

    • Bentley
    • January 19, 2014

    Hi Andy – would you say you are at maximum capacity for the amount of business you are attracting? Or could you handle more business?
    What’s funny, is I have ended up “cooling the jets” many times with my “real world” business since I didn’t want it to get SO busy I wouldn’t be able to do anything else.
    For many, though, the challenge is rounding up enough business.

  3. Wow, yet another outstanding podcast from our vermi-mentor Bentley! I really love your true blue grassroots approach and I am all for the K.I.S.S method.

    Starting a part time business is a challenge especially when trying to balance it with the rest of life such as a full-time job, kids, unexpected events etc. Having realistic goals is a very important point! Your advise on choosing one venue of the vermicomposting/ vermiculture biz and building from there is sound advice and I am speaking from experience. I figured a “total approach” was diversifying and in reality it simply made me tired and cranky haha. However, I like Andy, am in it for the long haul and despite roadblocks keep finding ways around them to move forward.

    This year I am slowing things down a bit because I too decided selling worms by the pound was not for me for many reasons – the biggest two were space and the prep involved. I have not totally eliminated it but I am not promoting it either. In September I made the choice to focus solely on the vermicomposting side for 2014 and hit the local farmers markets in the spring. I really love the idea of the red worm mix that really is brilliant! I look forward to the next podcast!

    • Bentley
    • January 20, 2014

    Thanks for the kind words, Michelle!
    I appreciate you sharing your update as well. I look forward to seeing how things come together for you this year!

    I noticed you also emailed me some questions (cool!)- so that should help with the upcoming podcast!

    • Hector Garcia
    • January 25, 2014

    We had a spell of very cold weather here in Oregon and my worm bin media and my worms froze. Will they survive or do I have to start over again. Thank you for your valuable information.

    • Bentley
    • January 26, 2014

    Hi Hector
    If the worms themselves froze solid they will have died, but don’t give up on them just yet. I’ve found worms in mostly-frozen material and they were perfectly fine. Also, cocoons are even more tolerant of freezing. So, you may be surprised to find a thriving population once it warms up!

    • Tom Bergstrand
    • January 26, 2014

    I really enjoyed your podcast and have a few thoughts of my own to share. If you remember I am the guy in Arizona that decided to see if reds could survive in a total cow manure enviornment. So far it is really working out well. I have 3 ten gallon plastic bins and am in the process of finishing up a 30 gallon flow through. The bins are half full of compost and really need to be harvested. A rough count (more of a visual accounting) shows that my flow through will be NOT ENOUGH so I will have to reload my 10 gallon bins also.
    One thing that I have seriously thought about is something that you eluded to and that was shipping. You recommend that one builds a local market first. GOOD idea. I would think that something as simple as some rose bushes in front of a house that are THRIVING due to vermicompost will surely draw attention. I am building up a supply of VC to brew Compost Tea for my large garden. I have 7 rows of raised beds that total just over 1100 square feet of solid growing area. This will also be a showcase of the benefits of vermiculture. The reason that I am in such support of the tea is that after you brew it you can still re-use the compost along with potting soil. Double duty. Actually that is just for starters since with the tea I can actually practice a “no till” form of growing. No need to churn up the ground and disturb the microbes that are comfy where they are. The downside of the tea is that contrary to what some retailers say the tea is NO GOOD by the end of the day unless added to the soil. I would think that if someone wants to have a good business they will make the tea AND add it to the plants, bushes and gardens of folks that don’t have the wherewithall to do this themselves. They could create a route and serve their customers once a week/month or a one shot in the spring deal. As for having a full time job and doing this. I have a suggestion. 3 part time jobs. Hopefully 2 during the week and a week end gig. There will be time to work the worms (which by the way once you are up and running is NOT a hard job at all) and still make a buck at a job. Once your business starts to produce you could quit one but still have 2 part time gigs to keep making money. Doing better? Drop to one part time job for steady cash and get bigger into worms. Also, 3 part time gigs puts you in contact with 3 times as many people as one job so you can “talk up” your business during breaks and such. Personally I would not try to sell worms of your own since that would slow down your growth. But, to each their own. Tea (to me) seems the best. After all you’re selling WATER. You can apply one liter diluted to 2 liters and cover a lot of rose bushes, veggies etc.. I could really see that a visit and pouring that on where it needs netting at least $10. A five gallon bucket Compost Tea process will make 20 liters which diluted will give 40 “doses”. If you don’t want to knock on doors try to hook up with a local gardener or two. ANY organic gardening company would SURELY be receptive to such a deal. Give a talk at all the local gardening clubs in your area. A florist shop could be a big help. There are many possibilities. Good luck to all that give it a shot.

    • roger odil
    • March 7, 2014

    i dont have a web page but i had aworm fram in corna calif i had one hunder worm bens they wear 4 feet wide an eight long it was on 1\2 of an acer that i rent from a diaer framer i wase ableto get all of his cowmamear i was also able to you his well fore watering my wormes ihad over head watering sytion i you 2 in pv pipe and spinger to do the watering that set on timer i watered the wormes law sprinklear o by the way my beds wear 4 feet high i would averg 20lbs per bed it took me 6 mt to set this all up i didnt make any money out of it fore 6mt ince i staed to work it i was making 2.000.oo amt not clear by no meanes isold my wormeres to acoop by the way redwormes love cow maner i al so had harving machine on agood mt i wold make over 6.000.00 i also sold the post from the beds to people in town bt the pick load 1.50.00 you com get or for 200.00 ide wold deliver over all i would harvest from feb -nov i then do my big harvest infeb then iould go thew and all new beds in as harved each ome and then fill to top with cowmaner cover with hay and jut water fore 3mts thear is a lot more to this fram but icould write but over all ones i got it up and ruiging i made selling wormes and copost iwold make around 70.000.00 ayear but took two yaers 15.000.00 dollers amd alot of weaking to do this and not by my slf eary ino longer have worm fram the farm sold the land to advelper i had five lear on the land that iwas so they had to by me to igot 2hunder thound fore my warm fram dont try to do wat i did in less you get alot of cow manear and get it fore free most daires framer or catale growes wil give t0 you fore free i could frind anoter pice of proty leas so got out of wqrm busise thea worn machines you cam by i will try and find the gy i got mime from nex mt i will have fax machine and i can send you lay out of my fram you dont have to strat out as big as you wat land you and make it work by the way the coop did all the shiping of the worms we take are wormes to they would pay us fore the amount of wornes we but you had to bring at 1,000.00 or more to get paid the sane thre more you had the more you get paid i would youly get 2.500.00 each week thear women that hase ten acaes but se also hase 3 daires frames she get hear cowmaner from in the coop we had 50 frames ln calif you have lot of frams berpes neary was one of bigest custermear they would by 4.000 lb every weak if you want to call and talk to me heares my phone number 541-0280-0124 if you want to talk cowmaner is bets feed fore wormes you can alsu by feed at your local feed store jet tel wat you are feding by by bulk if youcan call me i not a spammer or can i spell hope hear from you

    • Lori
    • March 17, 2014

    Thanks Bentley!

    Great article! Havent listened to podcast yet, as it is not quite 5am and all are asleep, put can’t wait. Really glad I couldn’t sleep this morn and found this reading. I am purchasing the course on profit. Financially have been struggling somewhat these past months so with some due diligence, hope to get started on making the two small bins I inherited into something bigger! Crazy, we moved here last spring and discovered a whole carport in back property where they kept horses and now has
    “seasoned” manure. I will be out there as soon as this freeze is over. Thanks for all the tips!


  4. I noticed your posts about composting pet waste, but not this particular topic. I use horse bedding as cat litter which results in two by-products, solid waste and urine soaked saw dust. Both of these can be flushed down the toilet, but I’d prefer to turn the sawdust into compost. I always flush the solid waste. The sawdust is flushed or scattered on the yard.

    Rather than newspaper or cardboard, what is our experience with sawdust? And do you think the worms will react positively, negatively or be indifferent to the urine?

    I’d like to combine the litter with kitchen scraps to eliminate those two waste streams from our house. I’d be grateful to hear your suggestions and precautions. Thanks

    • Donna Harrell
    • October 18, 2015

    I am new at this. Just ordered my first batch of worms. I am so enthusiastic as to being newly educated in this field. I needed the worms to catch an armadillo in my yard, but got so caught in this.

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