Selling Eggs as a Business on the Homestead
Profitable Small Farm Ideas for the Modern Homestead
Reading Time: 5 minutes
There are chickens in the backyard, eggs all over the kitchen, and you might be thinking, “Maybe it’s time to start selling eggs.” Or, maybe you’ve been trying to have an egg business for a while and it’s just not taking off like you thought it would. Either way, there’s sometimes a right and wrong way to have a successful egg business. If you’re getting ready to dive into selling eggs, or if your business just hasn’t taken off, surpassing your coworkers and family members, then you might want to think about a few things that will help you be successful!
Start with Beautiful Eggs
You know the old saying that something won’t “sell itself” or “clean itself?” I can hear my grandmother saying it to this day, “Well, the dishes aren’t going to clean themselves!” The same goes for the chicken eggs you collect each and every day. Though, you have a slight advantage. Homegrown chicken eggs are already so much more beautiful than store-bought eggs. With their hints of blues, greens, chocolates, and more, make sure you’re adding a few colored egg layers to your flock to make your customers feel special. And make sure your eggs are clean before packaging.
Some of the best chickens for eggs are Leghorns, Plymouth Rocks, and sex-links. But if you really want to stand apart, try a few Olive Eggers, Ameracaunas, or Marans!
Either way, your eggs should be clean and neatly placed in their cartons. Your customers will appreciate it! Also, keep in mind that most states require you to wash and refrigerate your eggs. There is also a limit to the number of eggs you can sell in certain states before you require a permit. You may also need to learn how to get NPIP Certified. Make sure you do your research.
The Egg Packaging
Packaging your eggs in Styrofoam containers is the norm, but it means that’s what every other chicken keeper in the community is doing as well. Why not take it up a notch with your delivery? Packaging your eggs in fresh, new cartons with a label will help customers feel like they’re getting a quality product. Tie a piece of twine around the cartons with a sprig of rosemary. Or even use your own stamp or label to affix your farm or homestead name on the packaging.
Try using brown cardboard cartons that are biodegradable instead of the bright pink and blue Styrofoam ones that come from your local grocery store. You may have to purchase the new cartons, but they aren’t that expensive. The key to selling eggs is getting your eggs and packaging right, and then you can move onto your target market, which we’ll get to next.
Just remember people want to purchase your eggs because they are homegrown and different from the store. While most of your customers won’t care, your higher-end customers won’t want to receive eggs in store containers. They’ll want to see that it came directly from your farm. Marketing and branding are everything!
Marketing Your Egg Business
Now that you have beautiful eggs and cartons, who are you going to sell these eggs to? If you’re just selling to family and friends, you could probably skip the beautifying stage. But if you’re really looking for a hardcore egg market to make money off of your eggs, then you’ll probably need to do all the things I’ve mentioned, and then you’ll have to travel.
Remember, your local community is generally saturated with people just like you. If they aren’t already raising their own chickens, they know a friend or a cousin’s uncle that does. Be prepared to go a little bit outside of your community to really find the best bang for your buck.
Here are ways to market your eggs:
- First, find a central location where you can do weekly or monthly drop-offs for eggs. This will look different for everyone, but can generally be a store, parking lot, or right on your own property. This allows people to travel to you, rather than you running all over the place to travel to them.
Sometimes you can even tag-team with a farmers market or local business and allow them to sell the eggs for you. Whatever you decide, make it easy on yourself, and then market the heck out of your eggs so that people want to come and get them.
- Find your price range: It’s easier for someone to hand you a five-dollar bill than three individual dollars. You put a lot of time and effort into those eggs and chickens. Don’t short-change yourself. Your eggs will still be cheaper than the six to eight-dollar free-range eggs at the store.
If you live in an extremely rural community, however, you may have to lessen your price. The rule of thumb is generally not to go below three dollars for a dozen eggs in just about any part of the country, though.
- Place your eggs on local farm sale websites: Social media, local newspapers, online groups, and forums are all great places to market your eggs. Add a photo and the pick-up time and location for each week.
- Give your customers business cards and ask them to tag you on social media: No shame in your game! Tell your customers to help you spread the word by handing out business cards to their friends and family. Better yet, have them take photos of their beautiful new eggs and post them on social media. They can tag your business or farm and people can find out the location and pick up times that way.
- Get online!: That’s right. Even if you’re adamantly against it, every farm business needs a social media page and web site! If nothing more, try starting an online private Facebook group or Instagram page. This way you can let customers and potential customers know about important updates and announcements.
- Be consistent: If you say you’re going to be somewhere at a certain time when it comes to pick up and drop off — be there! Even if you only have a few customers coming one week, don’t make them wait until next week. Consistency is important so that your customer trusts you!
- Sell to farm stores: Farm stores and mom and pop shops are often looking to partner with chicken keepers so they can sell their eggs.
Get Personal with Your Eggs
More than anything, remember that your eggs have a story. Tell that story to your customers, your friends, and your online community! Tell them how much more nutritional they are than store-bought eggs. Tell them about the hardships of chicken keeping … and the blessings too! Share photos of your average everyday life on the farmstead. People want to truly know their farmer. They like knowing your chickens, watching your family grow, and feeling connected to their food. So, let them get to know you … and your eggs!
Whatever you decide to do in your egg business, know that you’re helping people by offering your beautiful, orange-yolked eggs to your community. They are so much healthier, and your community will thank you!
Originally published in the December 2019/January 2020 issue of Backyard Poultry and regularly vetted for accuracy.