Where some see brown, others see green.
Running a manure pumping business is crappy work - but depending on who you ask, that is a good thing.
Darin Rich, President of Rich Pumping, is not shy about discussing what makes him tick. Like many, he is a man who enjoys a good beer and a baseball game. Above all though, he says his biggest passions surround family, farming, and manure.
You read that correctly. Manure.
"I absolutely love getting in a manure pumping tractor and spending all night in there if I have to," said Rich. "I do have passion for poop."
Rich was first introduced to manure pumping by his father Phil, a farmer, who in 1990 was forced into the industry out of necessity. As swine and dairy operations continue to consolidate and grow, the demand of a manure pumper also grows. With the manure application season being so short, it is difficult for pumpers to complete their quickly developing list of jobs. Finding themselves at the bottom of the list, the Rich family realized the need for their own manure management, and had neighbors facing the same challenges, which is where Rich Pumping began.
Rich Pumping LLC | Pictured here with founder Phil Rich, current owner Darin Rich and family.
That moment of inconvenience served as the catalyst for the venture Rich runs now. Over the last three decades, Rich says he learned being a manure pumping entrepreneur comes with highs and lows; for those up for the challenge, however, lucrative opportunities await.
"Long term it is a good investment," said Rich.
Rich recommends anyone considering starting their own manure pumping business first do their own research. Find out if there is a market in their community for an additional pumping service. This can be done by simply asking farmers, neighbors, and friends you know if they are open to being a client.
"You can start off by having five costumers, or one really big customer, to be able to make it through your first couple years," said Rich.
Having a good team behind you to get the job done is also essential in ensuring the success of any manure pumping operation. Rich says, however, finding reliable help with the skill set needed to complete most day to day manure related jobs is easier said than done. That is why Rich recommends entrepreneurs not be afraid to hire local and up-and-coming talent to join their ranks.
"Finding the right employee year over year can be a challenge," said Rich. "I'll always say the best person to hire is a farm kid."
Farm hands, Dalton and Dex are hard at work helping to support the family business in more ways than one.
Rich also recommends partnering with another business, like Bazooka Farmstar, who can provide consultation of the best manure pumping equipment one needs to serve their clients. While the mission may be the same, every pumping operation is different, and Bazooka Farmstar Rich says can help a business getting off the ground save on their bottom line.
"They're (Bazooka Farmstar) always willing to help a problem out," said Rich. "I feel like they're ahead of the game."
Running most agriculture related businesses, as they're often dependent on mother nature, is not for the faint of heart. Nevertheless, Rich believes that those who decide to launch their own manure pumping startup have a bright future ahead of them so long as they remain committed to those they serve, and like him, "have a passion for poop." ◻️
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