Starting a worm farm business at home is an excellent option for farmers, smallholders, and gardeners looking to diversify their income streams. You might not make a fortune from the enterprise. But it could bring in a little extra cash, cut your garden spending, and potentially increase yields at the same time.
This guide shows everything we know about starting a worm farm at home. We’ll also share some of the best worm farming nuances – including how to market your worm farm business.
- How to Start a Worm Farm at Home in 6 Easy Steps
- What is Worm Farming?
- Is Starting a Worm Farm Business at Home Worth the Effort?
- Is it Hard to Start a Worm Farm Business at Home?
- How Do I Start My Own Worm Farm?
- How to Start a Worm Farm Business – for Beginners
- What Do You Need to Start a Worm Farm?
- How Many Worms Do You Need to Start a Worm Farm Business at Home?
- How Much Does It Cost to Start a Worm Farm?
- How Do I Start My Own Worm Farming Business at Home?
- Is Worm Farming a Profitable Business to Run From Home?
- Scaling Up a Worm Farm Business
- How Fast Do Worms Reproduce?
- Is Worm Farming a Profitable Business?
- Where is Money to Be Made in Worm Farming?
- How Much Money Does a Worm Farmer Make?
- How Much Do Worms Cost?
- How Much Can You Sell Worm Castings Compost for in Today’s Market?
- How Much Does Worm Tea Sell for in Today’s Market?
How to Start a Worm Farm at Home in 6 Easy Steps
Do you want to learn to start a worm farm business at home? Then you need a plan that helps produce an ample supply of healthy worms!
Here are the best steps we recommend for worm farms at home.
- Choose a Worm Farm Location
- Build Wormery Housing
- Add Organic Content
- Add Fresh Worms
- Regularly Add Fresh Worm Food
- Build a Worm Marketing Plan
Here are the six steps to building a worm farm business in more detail.
1. Choose a Worm Farm Location
You need a location to house and host your worms! Don’t make the mistake of thinking you need a massive space for your worm farm business at home.
Basements, barns, garages, and unused sheds have enough space and shelter to host your worm farm business.
You can host the worm farm inside your home if you want. However, many homesteading friends prefer having their worm farm outside (in a shed or garage) – which is fine.
We’ve even seen worm farms on back porches, balconies, under sinks, within closets – and tucked away in pantries. The critical thing is to make sure your worm farm is well ventilated!
We find that a temperature of around 70 degrees Fahrenheit will suit your worm farm perfectly.
2. Build Wormery Housing
You also need a wormery to house your worms. The wormery is where your worms eat, sleep, and live!
The wormery’s size depends on how many worms you need.
Do you intend on running a small worm farm business at home – or do you want to aim for the stars?
You can have a wormery that’s as tiny as two-by-two-by-two. (Two feet high, two feet wide, two feet deep.) You can also have a smaller wormery if you wish.
The best wormeries we’ve seen are wooden. But – try to avoid using chemical-treated wood. You don’t want your worms getting sick from exposure to unknown – or toxic elements!
You can also use a plastic worm farm if you wish. Whichever material you choose – make sure to drill (small) holes at the bottom. The holes help aid drainage.
(How small can your worm farm get? Well – we’ve built wormeries in 5-gallon buckets. That’s pretty small! But – it works.)
3. Add Organic Content
Your worms get hungry! They also need a cozy space to rest, seek shelter, and burrow.
We recommend using a mixture of ripped newspaper, organic compost, garden clippings, and soil. Worms also love cardboard. Soak the cardboard and newspaper before placing them into your wormery.
Expect to use approximately ten to twenty pounds of organic content for a two-by-two-by-two worm farm.
(The weight changes depending upon the density of worm food. Some forms might take up more space!)
4. Add Fresh Worms
Once your wormery gets dressed with fresh organic bedding, adding worms is the easiest part of starting a worm farm business.
If you already have worms squirming around your backyard? Then snatching them and adding them to your wormery is straightforward.
Try searching for worms at night. They love lurking above the soil during evening hours when the air is dark, brisk, and damp.
Look underneath leaves, cardboard, logs, or debris. Grab any worms you see! They are perfectly healthy specimens for your worm farm.
If you don’t have worms in your area that you can take, then you can also purchase worms from a bait store or pet store.
5. Regularly Add Fresh Worm Food
When starting a worm farm at home, the first question homesteaders ask is how much does worm food cost?
The answer is that worm food is free! Use kitchen waste to feed your worms. Worms love eating leftover fruits, veggies, cereal, coffee, and garden clippings.
But how much do worms eat? Worms can eat up to their body weight each day. That’s a lot of worm food!
If you produce ten pounds of kitchen waste per day, you might need ten pounds of worms to eat all that waste!
Luckily – most homestead kitchens don’t produce nearly that much waste. But we find that many of our homesteading friends can conjure around one-half pound to a pound of kitchen waste daily.
With one pound of kitchen waste per day? Then your worm farm at home can safely house one pound of worms.
So – ask yourself this one question. How many scraps, kitchen leftovers, and organic goodies can you offer your worms daily? Start there.
6. Build a Worm Marketing Plan
Here’s where the majority of homesteaders strike out with their worm farm.
Two primary customers need your worms. The first customer base? Folks who love fishing. And – gardeners.
Anglers need worms to hook their catch. Gardeners need worms to help aerate their soil. Worms also produce worm castings – they are desirable (and efficient) fertilizers.
Start by telling everyone about your worm farm business at home! Tell all of your friends, family, and homesteading colleagues.
If you have a Facebook account, LinkedIn account, or (any) social media profile – prominently share your worms for sale.
We also encourage you to contact local bait stores, fish stores, pet stores, and farmer’s markets to see if they need a reliable – and local – worm vendor.
Now that you have an idea of the six steps of building a worm farm – let’s also look at the nuances, details, and worm farm secrets that most people overlook.
Read More – Worm Composting in a Garden Tower – Expert Tips
What is Worm Farming?
If you’re looking at how to start a worm farm business, it’s vital to learn what worm farming is and how it works!
Worm farming, also known as vermiculture, involves raising composting worms at home in specialized composting systems.
The systems are known as vermicomposting systems. The idea is to create containers where worms feed off decomposing organic materials, helping break them down and aerating the system.
Is Starting a Worm Farm Business at Home Worth the Effort?
Breeding worms on your property can be a borderline-genius idea. Special composting worms help create high-quality compost. They also enrich your soil with worm castings.
On your property? You can use compost to improve your soil and enrich your growing areas. You can use it in filling pots and containers, and you can use it to make a nutrient-rich liquid plant feed known as worm compost tea.
In your vermicomposting system, the worms will also reproduce. That’s perfect – so you will also rear a ton more worms over time.
These worms can get used to expanding your existing composting systems. They can also (potentially) get used as supplemental feed for chickens, fish in an aquaponics system, or other creatures you rear on your property.
So even for your own needs, worm farming can be well worthwhile. It can save you money since you won’t have to buy composts or fertilizers for your organic growth efforts. And the worms may also reduce costs on your property.
Is it Hard to Start a Worm Farm Business at Home?
No. It is remarkably hassle-free to obtain some composting worms, set up your vermicomposting system, and start worm farming.
How Do I Start My Own Worm Farm?
Starting your worm farm begins with thinking about what you require upfront and learning more about how to compost with worms.
It is best to start by evaluating your needs before considering expanding and turning worm farming into a viable business option to generate an income.
How to Start a Worm Farm Business – for Beginners
- Prepare a wormery. A wormery is a container in which the worms will live, to which you will add compost over time.
- A wormery should let the air in without allowing the worms to escape. It should have sections to make it easier to retrieve the compost without losing the worms. And it can be helpful for it to have a faucet to drain off excess fluid (worm compost tea) from the base.
- Add bedding for your worms – a layer of soil and cardboard where your worms will live at first.
- Purchase (or find) worms for your wormery, and let them settle in.
- Add a small clump of organic matter as food for your worms (such as scraps from your kitchen).
- Layer carbon-rich materials and cardboard on top.
- Continue to add layers of worm food and carbon layers over them over time.
What Do You Need to Start a Worm Farm?
To start a worm farm at home, you will need the following.
- A suitable location with the correct temperatures for your worms. (70 degrees works fine.)
- A suitable wormery or container for your composting worms. (Sized to meet your requirements.)
- Composting worms.
- Organic materials from the property. Kitchen scraps get added to the system.
How Many Worms Do You Need to Start a Worm Farm Business at Home?
If you want to set up a small-scale domestic worm farm at home? Then most homesteaders will begin with around half a pound. Homesteaders and market gardeners often opt to start worm farming with around 1,000 worms. Or a pound of composting worms.
How Much Does It Cost to Start a Worm Farm?
Starting a worm farm can be surprisingly inexpensive, as long as you are prepared to take a DIY approach and do much of the work yourself.
If you decide to buy specialized wormery structures and buy-in bedding? Expect the costs to rise considerably.
But there are plenty of ways to make your DIY wormery at home – and you can often do so at a tremendously low cost, or even for free if you reclaim materials that would otherwise get thrown away. Remember, you can also often source materials for free from your garden.
So if you take the right approach, it may be that the only initial outlay that you have to make is the worms themselves.
Read More – How to Keep Worms Alive and Well!
How Do I Start My Own Worm Farming Business at Home?
If you have successfully set up a vermicomposting system for your use, you could consider expanding your efforts to turn it into a money-making business. Remember, however, that this is only something you should consider once you already have a reasonable amount of personal experience in this field.
Is Worm Farming a Profitable Business to Run From Home?
Potentially, yes. Worm farming can be a profitable business to run from home – with the relatively low initial outlay and reasonable returns for the effort you expend.
However, it is vital to remember that, like any business, there are risks. As you will know if you already have a vermicomposting system? Then some things can go wrong.
And the larger your systems become, the more there is that can go wrong, the greater the risk, and the further there is to fall.
One other important thing to note is that worm farming commercially involves making sure that there is a market in your area. There may be high demand for the worm products of your efforts in one location – but little need in another. So it is vital to do your research.
In general? Worm farming can be a good sideline for a commercial grower with other income streams. It can be another string to add to your bow rather than the primary source of revenue.
Scaling Up a Worm Farm Business
One challenge in scaling up a worm farm to produce excess to sell is finding the space to do so. If you have a larger farm or homestead? Finding the worm farming space may not be a crippling issue. And worms will take up a lot less space than more traditional livestock options for small-scale businesses.
Remember, scaling up a worm farming enterprise is not just about rearing the worms and creating good quality worm compost and worm compost tea. As a small business, you will also have to assess marketing your products and getting them to customers. Worm farm marketing from home can take a lot of work and is not necessarily something to be entered into lightly.
Worm farming can integrate well with market gardening or small-scale farming – helping to make your work profitable and reducing risk by increasing diversity in your income streams.
But make sure before you begin that you understand all that is involved in selling, rather than just rearing the worms and making the compost. Ensure that you have the time to undertake the work involved.
How Fast Do Worms Reproduce?
The main limiting factor in the growth of a worm farming business is the speed at which the worms reproduce. Worms usually reach full size in as little as six months. However – worms can produce more worms before they grow to full size. How is that possible? Because they mature in as little as one month – usually before six weeks.
Is Worm Farming a Profitable Business?
Can you make money by starting a worm farm from home? Potentially, yes. Big time! It is possible to turn a profit from worm farming. Your outgoings initially can, as mentioned above, be minimal if you take a DIY approach. And the costs of raising the worms over time will be low to none.
Also – consider your worm buyers. Who buys worms? There are two primary customers. The first worm buying class are farmers, ranchers, and homesteaders. People who want soil need worms!
Fishers also buy tons of worms. Commercial fisheries and hobbyists alike. If you live in an area with many farmers and those who love fishing – you may have an untapped supply of hungry buyers. But – as always, conduct research!
Where is Money to Be Made in Worm Farming?
You can make money from worm farming in four main ways.
- You can sell excess composting worms to fisherfolk and anglers.
- You can sell worms to gardeners.
- You can sell the worm compost filled with worm castings that you create.
- You can sell compost tea.
(Remember, these income streams get added to the potential increased profits from your home growing and farming food production. Which may also increase by using the compost and worm compost tea on your property.)
These are the best for worm farming at home! It's only 15 by 15 inches. And it's also chic-looking and fits easily on your balcony, porch, garden, or shed. It's tiny yet efficient - and it has excellent reviews. The worm farms come from Australia and are from (primarily) recycled materials. The trays stack vertically in compartments - so you can expand or shrink the wormery to your liking.
How Much Money Does a Worm Farmer Make?
How much money you can make as a worm farmer will depend on the following.
- Initial outlay and how much you are prepared to do yourself – this is as opposed to buying in.
- The scale of your enterprise.
- Success rates – worm survival rates.
- Your sales channels and further costs such as postage – transportation etc.
- How successful you are in selling and the size of your market.
By my estimates (and some examples I know), a reasonably modest worm farm business could (potentially) make as much as $30,000 to $35,000 per annum, with a lot of work. Most, however, will not make as much, and costs would (of course) have to get subtracted from this figure.
So while work farming from home can bring in reasonable amounts, most worm farm businesses are best operated as a sideline rather than as the primary income. Turning it into a stand-alone business will take a lot more work! And it means a bit more expensive as you grow your business.
How Much Do Worms Cost?
One thousand worms (approximately one pound of Earthworms) can sell for $20 to 40 dollars. The price range depends on your local market. You may sell them to others looking to start their wormeries at home. Prices vary considerably – especially these days with inflation going crazy. However, worms can sometimes get sold for as much as $80 per pound. Or more.
You might also find a market selling them to local fisherfolk as bait. Or to aquarists (fish rearers). Also – homesteaders keeping chickens or other birds love worms. Cleaned up and well-fed, in this context, they may go for more, depending on your area.
Also – remember this! If you sell worms, you will have to subtract the cost of packaging them and sending them out from your profits. Profits might be higher if you can find local stores or other local outlets to sell them.
After your worms have reached a stable population? After around a year, the general rule is to expect a worm farm’s population to double every 90 days. So if you start with a population of 1,000 or so, you should be able to sell three pounds of worms each year, starting with only this relatively small population.
- Profits from a wormery with 1,000 worms: $60 to $240
- Scaled up to 10,000 worms: selling on 30 pounds of worms: $600 to $2400 per annum.
- Or to 100,000 worms: selling on 300 pounds of worms: $6,000 to $24,000 per annum.
(For the above figures to work – you will need a ton of worm buyers. Supply and demand are everything if you’re starting a worm farm business from home.)
How Much Can You Sell Worm Castings Compost for in Today’s Market?
The price you can obtain for worm compost is also highly variable. Vermicompost sells for very different prices depending on the local market and where you live.
Remember, you need sacking or other materials for packaging your compost. And you may need to factor in transportation costs too. It will be far more profitable if you scale up considerably and find commercial outlets. However, your costs will also be much more if you want to take this route, as you will require more packaging, and need to take care of sifting, etc.
You may be able to find a small local market selling to local gardeners and gardening groups as a sideline, which could potentially net you an additional small profit each year.
Pricing can be around $20 to $40 per cubic foot.
Composting generally takes around three to six months. So with 10,000 worms, you might generate approximately 80 to 160 cubic feet of worm compost per year ($1,600 to $6,400) as a very rough idea. Though, of course, this depends on the size and speed of your system.
How Much Does Worm Tea Sell for in Today’s Market?
Worm tea can be a money-spinner too. But only if you are prepared to spend time, money, and effort on ensuring the product is top-notch, developing the packaging and branding to sell at farmer’s markets, etc.
And you must find the right price point for your area. Generally, you can sell it for around $5 to $10 per gallon. Some people also bag up brew your worm tea bags so people can make their worm tea and sell these for a dollar or two as more of a novelty item.
Considering the amount you can make, this may potentially net you another small income. Maybe $500 to $1,000 each year. Maybe a lot more if you make a name for your product locally.
Read More – Complete Guide to the Best Worms for Vegetable Garden Success! And Magic Soil!
So – is starting a worm farm at home worth the hassle?
We think so – yes!
There are so many variables that it can be challenging to say just how much you might earn with a worm farm business. But as you can see from the above, with the right approach? There is potential for some profit.
(Even if your pet chickens raid your worm farm at home now and then. We’re just kidding. We love chickens. But – keep them out and away!)
What about you?
Have you ever thought about starting a worm farm at home?
If so – let us know your thoughts.
Fertilizer pricing keeps ticking upwards! We think the demand for worm castings (and worms) will increase over the next few years. At least! (Probably more.)
That’s good news for homesteaders and farmers like us who know how all of this works.
Thanks again for reading.
Have a great day!