In a previous post, I talked about increasing the profitability of your poultry farm by scaling up in size, with particular focus on the potential benefits and associated risk while briefly touching on hiring help, in the form of employees and independent contracted services - there's a lot to consider here, but the biggest challenge most farmers have comes from sourcing and hiring really great farm help, so in this post, we'll discuss using employees and independent contracted services on your poultry farm in more depth, and cover many of the most pressing questions on your mind.
Why Hire Employees
When you initially get started on your poultry farm, there's a tendency to 'do it all' yourself, and that's only natural, because as the saying goes, 'If you want something done right, you have to do it yourself.' This line of thinking carries through pretty much everything when your poultry farm is relatively small, and there's a benefit to this process, in that as you do all the jobs yourself at this point, you learn precisely how you want each job done, how long it takes, what's involved by way of equipment and expertise and of course, what can go wrong.
After a time, once you've gained a certain degree of experience, you'll likely find there's more money to be made if you can hire out some (or all) of the most time-consuming tasks in each grow-out cycle. Once you hire out a single time intensive task, you'll immediately see how this frees up such a significant amount of your time that you can focus more of your attention on improving the operation's overall efficiency, and as a result, you'll then quickly realize how much more efficient everything could become, if you can find and hire the right individuals and / or independent contracted services to get these jobs done like clockwork.
Then the idea of scaling up suddenly seems so much more feasible, because if you can be bold and make this move you can greatly increase the profitability of your farm - not to mention have more time with your family too, as they may have been left wondering where you were all day when your operation was just getting underway ;-)
To clarify though, there's no need for you to see hiring help as a daunting task; far from it actually, as it can be as simple as initially hiring the neighbor's son to help out a few days a week to earn some extra money, or you could easily go straight to a full-time hired hand and you're welcome to download my free ebook, "Hiring and Managing GREAT Farm Help" to help you with taking this first, very important step toward farming in a whole new way.
No matter how you begin, even if it's just a few hours here and there, some help is so much better than no help at all.
Using Contracted Services
With regards to engaging independent contracted services, there are many advantages to hiring people who specialize in a particular task or set of tasks. First of all, they generally do it all the time, they know the best way to go about it, they have all the parts and equipment on hand and as a result, the job doesn't take very long to complete. So regardless of whether it's restringing drinker lines, grading your lane or whatever else, that's time you now have to focus on something more important, that only you can do.
As each independent contractor focuses on a specific job or service - day in and day out, the quality of their work will often exceed your expectations, in the sense of items being fixed properly, first time or it simply being a top notch service. Furthermore due to the degree of specialization of the people you're hiring here, the overall efficiency they're able to implement usually leads to a lower cost than expected too. All round, with the right people or organizations, hiring specialists will be one of the best decisions you'll ever make on your poultry farm.
For example, I recently took my family on a vacation between flocks to visit distant relatives for Christmas and to minimize layout time, I hired "L & N Powerwashing," a professional power washing company and the results were incredible! To share some context here, I'd been using my own portable equipment to wash my 5 houses by myself or sometimes with a young man's help and it usually took about a week, whereas L & N Powerwashing had it all done in a day and a half and to put it bluntly, the houses hadn't been that clean since they were built - the ceiling, walls, vent boxes, drinker lines, tunnel and sidewall fans were all immaculate. I'm sure they used considerably less water too, and this is of critical importance because less water in the litter equates to less ammonia generated during the next flock, and this means better overall flock health and potentially increased yield. It's just a win, win solution.
To take this a step further, I’ve worked on replacing a feed line bearing for more than 5 hours (not counting the trips to the store for tools and parts) and on another occasion had a company come out with a truck (for essentially the same task) and be done in 45 minutes - and do a better job! With so many other jobs as well, it just doesn’t make sense to try and do them yourself. For instance, you might be able to do grading and ditch work with a regular tractor, but it would be dangerous and time-consuming, not to mention if your equipment gets over stressed that could easily lead to very costly repairs. Then by way of another example, you'll probably need tree trimming and ditch maintenance done annually too, but as this is only once a year, hiring a specialist is really a no-brainer over buying all the necessary equipment and trying to do those jobs yourself.
In summation, all this may seem overwhelming, but it doesn't have to be, and really it shouldn't be. When it comes to increasing the profitability of your poultry farm - hiring help, whether a part-time hand or all the way up to systematically engaging highly specialized service providers to address virtually every facet of your grow-out cycle requirements, will be a decision that has every possibility of revolutionizing your business as a whole, in the sense of your potential profit, daily workload, time with family and of incredible importance, your vision for your future...