When you think of farming, you probably think of crops, livestock, or dairy farming. It’s not every day that you come across a topic like worm farming. The humble worm was once just considered to be a creepy crawler, while today it’s making smart entrepreneurs thousands of dollars!

People started breeding them in tiny enclosures for business purposes. While worms have always sold well to fishermen at bait shops, these little critters rose in importance with the recent popularity of using worm castings for composting. This led to all-out worm farms being set up as the vermicompost system became a legitimate business. And it has been thriving not only in the U.S. but worldwide.

Start Your Worm Farming Business

Home Growers vs. Commercial Farms

According to Amy Jeanroy of The Spruce, you can start worm farming at home. All you need is “room for a bucket or shoebox, then you have room for a worm bin in your home.” Home growers usually use their worms for compost material to grow their gardens. On the other hand, commercial worm farms sell their worms to gardeners and/or fishermen. Commercial worm farmers usually breed red worms and mammoth Canadians, as these are widely desired by both gardeners and fishermen alike.

The Farmers’ Market

The demand for worms and their by-products has increased in relation to the growth of industries like agriculture and crop farming. The worm farming industry will give you sufficient competition, but don’t be afraid to break into this market. If you try hard and stay focused, you could create a sizeable business to rival any of the established names in worm farming.

Consumer demographics show that worms are needed in government sectors, private homes, and communities, and by various hobbyists. Here are some organizations and people who you can sell to:

  • Fish farmers
  • Fishermen
  • Gardeners
  • Aquaculturists
  • Crop farmers
  • Scientific labs
  • University research programs
  • Research institutions
  • Organic products manufacturers

There’s a broad market out there with a constant demand for well-raised worms. How can you go about starting your own worm farm?

How to Start Your Worm Farming Business

1. Business Planning

The first thing you need to do is draw up a comprehensive business plan that outlines what you aim to do. There are several niches within the worm farming industry that you can capitalize on. Your business plan should outline which niche you plan on developing and which kinds of worms you will be breeding, plus how many pounds of worms you plan to start with. Here are the niches you can explore:

  • Worms for fishing
  • Worm castings
  • Worm tea production
  • Worm composting

2. Profit Potential for Worm Farms

Your profitability will depend upon the price you receive for your worms minus the amount of money you’ve invested in labor and capital. These profit margins can vary tremendously depending on your situation. Therefore, research your costs thoroughly and review your potential profits to make sure your worm farm will break even.

Generally speaking, there’s a significant market for worms. In fact, the global market for worm farms is projected to hit $270 million by 2028.

3. Startup Costs and Ongoing Overhead Expenses

The cost of your particular worm farm will depend on what strategy you’re following. If you want to set up a smaller, home-based venture, you’ll find lower costs, whereas if you want to start a commercial farm, you’ll have to pay considerably more. Here are some figures for you to look over:

  • State incorporation fees: vary by state
  • Insurance, permits, and licensing: up to $2,500
  • Your first worms: $1,500
  • Purchasing your equipment: $3,000
  • Business website: up to $700
  • Miscellaneous charges: $1,000

The total startup cost for your business varies significantly based on whether you’re starting a small home worm farm or looking to invest in a larger venture. Plan your finances accordingly.

4. Local Regulations for Setting Up a Worm Business

You shouldn’t have to face a large legal hassle when you want to raise earthworms, as you’ll find it to be pretty straightforward. You will probably want to set up an LLC (limited liability company) or corporation, as these entities can protect your personal assets. In other words, if your business is sued, you won’t be personally liable for its debts like you would be if you owned a sole proprietorship. In some states, you may be required to acquire a business license before you can get started. Also, check with your county and local governments to see if they have any additional permitting requirements.

5. Selling and Marketing Your Products

There’s no point in raising worms full-time unless you have a marketing strategy to sell them as well. You should remember who your prime customer is and target them using their preferred platforms.

One great way to market your business is to start selling your worms online. This is because many tackle shops and fishermen buy worms in large quantities and they may look on online forums and search engines for new purchases. Target these consumers through social media channels and a dedicated website. You can also take a look at our tips for marketing small businesses.

A Typical Day in the Worm Farm Business

On an administrative level, a typical day in the worm farm business will revolve around you answering a lot of questions about your worms from prospective customers, setting up shipments, and providing customer support. If it’s harvest day, then you’ll have to go out and harvest your worms early in the morning. Once a week, you’ll need to turn the bedding material over with a pitchfork and check on the worms’ conditions. Make sure you feed your worms and collect any organic waste that’s been produced.

Helpful Skills and Experience

It’ll be helpful if you know the basics of worm farming. However, even if you don’t, you can teach yourself by researching the topic online or at your local library. The worm farming business isn’t necessarily complicated, but it does require some effort and knowhow.

The one thing you should know is how to handle customer queries and look for new business. Customer service skills are a big plus in this industry.

Bottom Line

Setting up your own worm farm is an exciting prospect. Now that you have gleaned sufficient information on the topic, you’ll be able to go into planning mode straight away. Good luck with your worm-farming endeavors!

Here at ZenBusiness, we can start your LLC for free (+ state fee), helping keep your startup costs low.

FAQs About the Worm Farming Business

Here you’ll find some answers to basic worm farming business questions.

  • The earthworm farming market is projected to reach $270 million by 2028, according to Data Bridge Market Research. Clearly, there’s money to be made in this industry.

  • There are many gardeners and horticulturists who require worm castings. Using worm excrement for compost is a popular and relatively inexpensive way to fertilize crops, but if you have a relatively large operation, it’s a great method to get some extra income.

  • This largely depends on how you sell your worms. For example, you can sell 200 worms on Amazon for around $25, which works out to roughly 13 cents each. If you sell them in bulk, you can charge around $30 per pound, which means approximately 8 cents per worm.

  • You’ll need up to 1.5 pounds of worms per square foot to start. You can order your worms in bulk online.

  • One worm produces around three cocoons per week and each cocoon produces three hatchlings on average. Hatchlings take around three months to become fully grown worms.

    Love nature? Check out more of our agricultural business ideas.

Disclaimer: The content on this page is for information purposes only and does not constitute legal, tax, or accounting advice. If you have specific questions about any of these topics, seek the counsel of a licensed professional.

“This is your life.
You want to get it right.”

– Mark Cuban on Starting a Business

Entrepreneur and Shark Tank host lays out
3 steps to follow when starting a business

  • Form an LLC to protect your liability
  • Set up your banking and accounting
  • Grow sales by marketing your website

Play Video