If you’re anything like me, talking money can sometimes be uncomfortable. Especially if you’re not used to buying and selling.
When we purchased our initial stock, I was pretty determined not to spend more than $20 per rabbit. When I started researching the animals we were interested in, I realized that I would have to make some significant compromises in my expectations if I wanted a $20 rabbit – and even then, it was going to be hard to accomplish. Over time, I changed my philosophy, upped my budget, and found a sweet spot between what I am willing to pay for a purebred, pedigreed rabbit and what compromises I will make in quality in order to stay in my budget.
Obviously people have different budgets for their rabbit life, so how do you come up with the prices for your own rabbits when it comes time to sell them?
There are probably a million different ways, but we connected with another breeder in our area who raised the same breed(s) and we discussed our pricing structure together. We ended up deciding on the same prices, which meant that we could refer people to one another for rabbits if they wanted gene pool diversity without having additional money conversations and we knew also that we could back each other up in our pricing and discussions of the value of the rabbits. This worked well for us as we both raised rare breeds.
Though we agreed for our area, we are not lock step with other breeders in the country for these breeds. For example, currently we sell our Cinnamons for $55/rabbit with discounts for multiples or 4H members. However, one awesome breeder in the midwest sells for $25/rabbit; another a few states away charges $125/rabbit. With a range like that, how do you know if you’ve got the right price on your rabbits?! How do you know you’re getting a good deal as a buyer?
Take some time to consider what you are selling.
- Are your rabbits purebred? Pedigreed?
- Are your rabbits being used for food, fur, or fancy?
- If you show, how do your rabbits perform? Do they win top honors for the breed?
- If you are working with meat animals what is your average litter size and mortality rate? What is the growth rate of your kits to 10 weeks? What is your dress out percentage?
- If you are selling as pets, who is your market? A pet store? Craig’s List? Your mom’s best friend?
If you are a buyer, consider what you’re looking for?
- What is your goal for your rabbitry? Food, fur, or fancy?
- How important is it to you to have a pedigreed rabbit?
- How important is your genetic diversity at this point? (At some point it might be worth importing a rabbit from another region of the country to widen your gene pool – that can be expensive.)
- Are you hoping to sell rabbits yourself (if that’s the case, I’d strongly encourage you to start with pedigreed stock)?
- Have you talked to breeders about who they’d recommend for purchasing your rabbits?
Once you have identified your goals it will become easier to determine your pricing structure. Investigate the websites of other people with your breed. Get on your breed’s facebook or yahoo chat groups and ask other breeders about their prices. Check out the ARBA results for your breed at the national convention and ask the winners what they charge. Cruise by your local feed store and price their rabbits.
All of these pieces of information will help you as you set up your own pricing. I will caution you, however – do not expect to make money on rabbits! I’m grateful those months that the rabbits sales cover the feed costs, which is only about half the time right now! Also realize that not every rabbit surviving to adolescence is worthy of being sold as a show rabbit and if you sell ugly rabbits for show or a sickly rabbit at any time your reputation will begin to precede you and you’ll find your sales will dry up.
We have a sales policy on our page that we worked on to protect us as the seller, as well as lay out clear expectations for the buyer. We often do our best to go above and beyond to make sure people are happy with their purchase. We are so pleased when we have repeat buyers! Our goal as a rabbitry is to be around for the long haul, which means that we have become more and more selective for what rabbits leave our rabbitry bearing our name. In our minds it’s a major accomplishment to send a rabbit out to another location and discover it’s regularly Best of Breed or a fair Grand Reserve. That’s good stuff!
Obviously, no one is breeding the perfect rabbit and everyone has to work on their own lines in order to know what their rabbits are actually worth. Once a rabbit leaves our rabbitry we have no control over how it is cared for or how it performs. That being said, we are doing our best to continually improve our rabbitry and the animals leaving – the search for perfection is quite fun!