Please see the Business Idea page for information behind my BIP posts!
Here is the first Idea – and even though I have never canned any food in my life, I get so excited about this opportunity! I hope you do too. I hope you enjoy it!
Business Idea Prompt (BIP)– House-call Canning (as in canning food)
Details – More and more individuals are growing their own food, even in small urban settings. This idea is to make canning house calls to help people with gardens preserve (can) the fruits of their labor (pun intended). You can provide actual canning of their vegetables in their own kitchen, freeing them up for other activities and providing preserved food for the coming months. Or teach them how to can in the comfort of their own home; turn it into a canning party with their family and friends. Teaching provides a lifelong skill! This is a service that saves customers time, eliminates wasted food and gives the customers another option rather than giving grocery bags full of tomatoes to coworkers and neighbors!
Experience/Skills Needed – You need to enjoy and have knowledge of gardening, canning, an interest in canned foods, and enjoy sharing your skills with others. You must know food safety! This is a skill you can learn through books from the library, online videos, practice, etc., but food safety is TOP priority. Supplies; jars, lids, pan(s), other canning items as needed. It should not be a huge investment; you may already have some supplies! This is a business that can be started while working a full time job, as additional income or eventually turning into full time. Here is a good resource for a tutorial on canning.
Marketing – Market to customers as a time saving, in home skill to learn, and less food wasted. Assure customers that they will be able to enjoy more of their garden goodness, and it’s a fun way to spend time with friends by turning it into a party! Share your experience and get the customer as excited as you are (excitement spreads fast and gets customers interested quickly!) Create pre-printed labels to put on the finished product jars with your contact information and a blank space to write what the ingredients are once finished. When setting up the in home visit ask what foods you will can and provide personalized recipes made from the canned ingredients (on recipe cards with your contact info included). You can even hand pick your customers; drive around and personally knock on the doors of those with gardens, hand out flyers or business cards offering your services. Share business cards with vendors and customers at farmer’s markets, display flyers on community boards at your local library, and share on social media! This could easily be a service promoted at craft shows, farmers markets, etc. by setting up a table and displaying decorated jars and lids for sale and introduce your canning business by handing out business cards. Follow up with customers each new year to offer your service and develop repeat-customer relationships.
Research – Price materials; canning supplies, labels, time, gas to drive to and from locations, marketing (flyers business cards, etc.). This will give you an idea of what you need to break even. Put a rate on your time per hour, choose a minimum number of hours and set your rate. This could be priced similar to landscaping, yard work, house cleaning, etc. as an hourly rate. Ask friends and community members what they would pay for this service, or give them prices and ask if that is reasonable to them as a consumer.
Bonus idea – This could easily grow into a larger business and the need to rent a space to provide the classes to groups at your own location! Or rent a kitchen one day a month. You’d just need a large open space, a few stove tops, a couple sinks, tables, label maker, jars, lids, pots, and there you have a growing business!
As with any business please check local and state guidelines to see what licenses, name registering, and other requirements may be needed (I’m working on a future article to help guide you through this!). And of course, I’m not a professional ‘canner’ so I recommend becoming extremely familiar with food safety before starting this type of business.