Page 5 - Farmers

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You may need a truck to get things
to market. Depending on the volume
of product you are taking to market,
your needs will be quite different. If
you are taking preserves, a station
wagon or a family-sized van might be
enough. On the other hand, if you are
taking produce you would benefit from
a refrigerated cube van. If you are
selling meat, you may need a number
of chest freezers in the back of a truck
that you can keep plugged in at home,
then plug in again when you get to
TIP: The calculator will budget
$15,000 for a reasonable pick-up and
$40,000 for a reasonable cube van.
This is for pick-ups and vans that are
less than five years old and under
80,000 kilometers. You might be able
to find vehicles for less.
Marketing 101
In order to maintain a local customer
base, it is critical you always bring the
best quality products to the farmers’
market. Keep in mind that farmers’
markets are not a convenient place
for consumers to shop because:
• .often outside, they are affected by
weather - hot sun, rain, wind and
even snow
So why do people come? They come
• .support local agriculture and their
• talk to the producer and better
understand the products they are
• get the freshest products possible
• buy quality
Having friendly, well informed staff is
very important as they are your face
at the market. How you, your family
or staff interact with the customers
is critical to your success. A good
salesperson will:
• greet customers with a smile
• offer any assistance the customer
might require
• comment on what’s new this week,
what may soon be done for the
season, and what is at its peak
A good salesperson can turn a five
dollar sale into a six dollar sale by
introducing the customer to a new
product, “Have you ever tried our
raspberries?” and offering a sample.
Staff can also offer a recipe to send
home with the customer that may
incorporate several of the products
you have for sale that day.
Turning a five dollar sale into a
six dollar sale doesn’t sound like
much, but if they average that one
dollar increase over the day, that
salesperson will increase their
“Average Sale per Customer” by 20
per cent (20 per cent of five dollars is
one dollar). Therefore, if your gross
sales for a day at the market are
typically $1,000 per day, that 20 per
cent increase would mean your gross
sales on the typical day would now
be $1,200 per day without attracting a
single new customer.
Four vehicle options
for farms planning on
marketing produce:
• Refrigerated cube van with a
15 foot box.
• Cube van without refrigeration.
You could line the unrefrigerated
van with insulation and put some
crushed ice inside to maintain
quality during hot seasons.
• Enclosed pick-up. Being
enclosed will help reduce product
dehydration during the drive to
• Open pick-up. This is the least
favorable option because the
elements can cause significant
product deterioration during the
Cost estimates
(2007 prices):
• cube van: 15 to 17 foot box,
non-refrigerated, diesel, less than
80,000 kilometers, under 5 years
old; approximate cost $40,000
• pick-up: enclosed box, under 5
years old, gas, less than 100,000
kilometers; approximate cost
• rental: rental rates ranged from
$1,000 to $2,400/month with
Rent-A-Wreck quoting the least
expensive option on a cube van
with a 16 foot box
Most rental companies also sell
their used trucks.
• they don’t offer a full product line,
so consumers still have to go to the
grocery store
• they operate for only a limited
number of hours during the week
• they don’t usually have shopping
carts or wagons to help consumers
carry their purchases