Selling eggs is a great way to make some homestead income. With the price of tasteless watery caged-birds eggs bought in a store climbing to high levels, being able to sell fresh tasty cage-free farm eggs puts you in a great marketing position.
So here are a few tips and ideas for selling eggs that can boost your sales and income.
(If you are looking for a resource guide on selling eggs – washing, cartons etc…see this blog)
Egg selling rules and regulations
First and foremost, you need to know and follow your local regulations about keeping poultry and selling eggs. This varies greatly from state to state and province to province, so do your research so you are not breaking laws or codes. The rest of my advice is overruled by these regulations for your local area. So knowing them is going to be critical for you. Ask your local agricultural officers. Check online resources. Know your rights and responsibilities.
For example, one local rule we follow is about reusing egg cartons. It is allowed, but as our eggs are not officially graded, all reference to egg grade needs to be blacked out. This is an easy fix with a larger marker.
Selling eggs from your front gate
This is the easiest method for selling eggs. Place a sign out then front of your farm saying you have eggs for sale. We place a cooler with cartons of eggs inside and a plastic bag for payment…the honor system seems to work really well for us. So far not one dozen of eggs has been taken without the correct payment and often people leave more than the “asking” price. We also find that people are leaving empty egg cartons for us back in the cooler. So the system is working great!
But often it’s a little hardener than just that, especially if you are down a country lane with very little passing traffic. This is when you need to start spreading the word around your area that you have eggs. We have also done this, with a local organic farm that does not sell eggs. They happily refer their customers to us when they ask about eggs…and we happily promote their wonderful farm business in return. We also have a listing on some online farm directories that promote local produce. All this is free marketing that takes a little time to establish but will boost your sales.
Selling eggs to work colleagues
If you have an income source that involves you visiting businesses or even working in an office, why not sell eggs to those colleagues. I do this – and charge a slight premium as I am taking eggs to them. This has been a wonderful way for use to sell our excess eggs (the ones we have not sold at the farm gate). This is especially true of the ‘city’folks, who feel they are getting the very best eggs from our farm – and quite frankly, they are!
I just send these folks an email when I am coming to their office and ask people to email be back if they need eggs…so its like eggs on a pre-order basis. When I change organizations with new contracts etc, i just do repeat the process.
Selling eggs through a local store
This is great option if your farm is isolated or you don’t want people coming to your farm. You may find that you will need to purchase new egg cartons so that customers receive their eggs in cartons that all look the same to which you can add a sticker with details of your farm for marketing processes.
Building a good relationship with your local store owner will be a must. They will want to know how many dozen you will be able to supply and what price you will take from them. This will need to be low enough that they can sell to their customers and make a profit and yet high enough that you are covering all your costs. You will need to deliver eggs at the same time each week so that the store owner comes to know you are reliable.
I would suggest that you build up a stockpile of eggs so that you can always supply the same number of eggs each week. To do this you need to make sure you are not promising to sell every egg your hens lay. So if your normal production is five dozen a week, then agree to provide 4 dozen a week. That means that each week you have a surplus of a dozen. In that way you can keep a dozen in reserve from that week for future sales when your hens stop laying during molting or other issues. Just remember to rotate the stockpile so that you are always selling the older eggs and keeping the younger eggs. Eggs kept in the refrigerator will stay in top quality for a long time.
Selling eggs at a farmers market
This can be a wonderful option especially if you already sell other produce at a farmers market. I have even seen people selling nothing BUT eggs at a farmers market – the eggs became their sole income generator! In this case they sold eggs individually rather than by the dozen. You could buy a variety of sizes and colors.
Some farmers markets have rules about competition on selling produce – so check that you can sell eggs with the organizers.
Selling different types of eggs
Now I have an established egg market – I can’t meet the demand of my customers – I am starting to get requests for different types of eggs. For example, there is a market for duck eggs from people who are allergic to chicken eggs.
There is also a market for quail eggs from gourmet restaurants in the larger cities. For all of these you need to do some research before you start off with a new flock to make sure you will be able to sell these egg varieties. But this type of diversification might be able to increase your income dramatically once you have an established market.