MORE ON BEING A DEALER
The following is based on information taken from H L Saffell's book: "BENEFICIAL INSECTS - How to Mass-Rear for a Profit". If you would like a copy for yourself, CLICK HERE
To repeat: this is the way to go if you don't want to rear beneficial insects. Your main interest here will be to find a good grower on whom you can depend for healthy stock shipped on time. Some suppliers are listed in the back of this manual, but not all of these suppliers are actual producers. Some are more like you: they get their supplies wholesale from a producer and then they retail the product themselves. The only way you can tell the difference between wholesaler and retailer is by their price list comparison.
In most cases this will be the give-away except for lady bugs (lady beetles) which nearly everyone harvests from nature. If you're lucky enough to know where these insects winter over, you can harvest them yourself by the millions. They congregate in large masses to keep warm and are easy to scoop up and place in sacks.
There's not much chance to make a profit wholesale/retail with lady bugs because there doesn't seem to be a sufficient price break. As an aside, you might want to try raising lady bugs yourself if you have no other sources than the above. Later on I'll give you some ideas on how you might go about this. It's worth a try because everyone knows about lady bugs. Consequently they're easier to sell as beneficial.
GETTING THE PRODUCER TO COMMIT:
One big problem you'll come up against when you're bargaining with a producer is getting him to commit on wholesale/retail prices. Until you have satisfied him that you are serious and can get orders, you will have to deal with him as best you can. One way you can satisfy him is to have a permit from the USDA and your state to ship and receive beneficials.
It's smarter to get your permit to ship and sell beneficial insects inside your state first and then branch out to neighboring states. I'll show you how in the marketing section. Of course, when you start out drop-shipping to the customer, you won't need a permit because you never touch the product. The insects will be shipped directly from the producer to the customer. And the producer will have permits for all states except Hawaii and Tennessee. (For those who decide to rear their own, attention to permits is essential.)
So you already know that when you start to make money in this phase of the business you have to do it by buying in large quantities. You will be handling the product and will need to start permit procedures. As you can see, permits require the following distinction: if you handle the product you will need to follow permit procedure. Evenso that too is a simple matter and nothing to worry about. Just a little business detail which must be taken care of. The proper permit forms are at the end of this manual.
YOU'LL NEED LITERATURE:
Whether or not you're wholesale/retail or a producer you'll need some sort of printed material to give to your customers. This can be in either stuffer, folder or catalog form. You can get some good ideas (BUT DON'T COPY WORD FOR WORD) from supplier materials. Once you have your own material, you can run off a hundred or so on a copier. When your volume increases, you can turn the job over to a the printer who gives you the lowest rates. At first stick with the simple handbill or flyer. When the money starts coming in, you can get more elaborate - say, have a catalog or brochure. BUT NOT TOO ELABORATE. It always pays to keep things as simple as possible.
I have taken the liberty to include sample advertising flyers in the back of this manual. You have my permission to reprint and copy them for distribution to your customers.
Also keep in mind that if you decide to raise two or three beneficials you will need a dependable producer to sell you quality and timely stock. Even after you're well established you will need fresh stock from a variety of producers. Why? To enliven your breed-line; to keep your stock vigorous.
CLEANLINESS IS MOST IMPORTANT:
If you're using a garage or other structure to temporarily house insects you have bought for further retail distribution, you will have to follow some necessary guidelines. Though you don't want to keep beneficials in stock any longer than you have to (they should be shipped out immediately upon receipt), you still must at all costs avoid any source of contamination.
If you're using a garage or other structure to temporarily house insects you have bought for further retail distribution, you will have to follow some necessary guidelines. Though you don't want to keep beneficials in stock any longer than necessary (they should be shipped out immediately), you still must at all costs avoid sources of contamination.
The room temperature should be at or near 70 degrees Fahrenheit - somewhat cooler for insects like lady bugs. Your biggest source of contamination is yourself. This would include your shoes, your clothing, your hair. You must be careful how you enter your holding room. Check your clothing and don't leave doors open to allow sudden drafts.
The windows should be closed and shaded to keep out the sun and excess moisture. Actually they should have seals and insulation, all of which must be permanent. DO NOT USE A BROOM to sweep the floor (which should be concrete). Dust rises in the air and carries bacteria and fungi. The walls must be clean and if possible washed down with a germicide solution. To clean the floor use the same germicide solution with a mop. Make certain the mop is sterilized before and after use.
Your good health (later your employees' good health) is important. Coughing and sneezing can infect the air with many bacteria. In other words you need to practice good personal hygiene. NO SMOKING! Nicotine is detrimental to most insects.
The above is particularly true for those of you who want to raise your own stock. Though it's not as important for holding stock you've purchased and which is rapidly passing on to the customer, it doesn't hurt to be careful.
RULES TO FOLLOW: cleanliness, good packaging, and fast, fast service. Let's keep the customer happy. Give him rapid delivery, advice on how to use the product and follow through to see how he's doing. He'll remember you the next time he's ready to order.
As an after thought, you may run into problems with some producers until they're certain you mean business. Above all don't expect them to give you any ideas on how to rear beneficial insects. They'll consider you a potential competitor. You can't blame them for not wanting to help you along in this regard. After all, they were here first.
Producers will be easier to get along with for those of you who just want to wholesale/retail. The following pamphlet should be ordered from:
SUPPLIERS OF BENEFICIAL ORGANISMS IN NORTH AMERICA, by Charles D. Hunter:
California Environmental Protection Agency
This pamphlet lists both producers and suppliers (who buy from the producers and sell retail). When you get involved extensively in the business you can be listed also. Either as a producer and/or a dealer (supplier). The listing is supposedly free.
email@example.com...Last Update: 112109, copyright 1996 - 2008 by Hilmur Saffell
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