Borrowing a successful sales method from U-cut Christmas tree growers, an enterprising bamboo grower has developed a unique part-time business that brings yearly profits of over $40,000 working just one day a week. He sells U-cut bamboo by the foot on his one-acre bamboo patch.
He planted several varieties to give customers a choice of colors and sizes, ranging from pencil-thin stalks to huge 6 inch diameter timber bamboo poles. His best-selling varieties include Arrow bamboo, Black bamboo, Incense bamboo, Golden bamboo, Red Fastuosa bamboo, Tonkin Cane bamboo, Henon bamboo, Tanakae bamboo and Moso bamboo.
Because he’s a self-described “geezer,” his goal is to reduce his Saturday workload to just collecting the money and chatting with customers about bamboo. A large photo album full of pictures of bamboo projects completed by customers is his only sales aid, and a tiny classified ad in the local paper for three summer months brings all the customers he can handle. Customers cut and load their own bamboo, and the poles are priced reasonably to encourage do-it-yourselfers.
The bamboo shoots grows 20 to 50 feet in just one year, and so the bamboo patch is almost totally self-renewing, with just one application of fertilizer per year. Bamboo plants reach their maximum height and diameter in a single season, so the patch is ready to cut again each year. Customers use the poles for fencing, furniture, duck blinds, crafts, flutes, wind chimes, water pipes, concrete reinforcing, privacy screens and garden art projects.
This could be a perfect business for anyone with a spare acre or two that is near a population center of at least 25,000 people. To keep your hours to a minimum, open to the public on Saturdays only.
Bamboo is not just a tropical plant, as many types are cold hardy to winter temperatures between -10 degrees and +15 degrees. The Panda bamboo, which originated in the Himalayas, is cold hardy to -25 degrees.There are dozens of bamboo varieties that are ideal for a u-cut bamboo operation, including the ones listed above.
Local bamboo growers have a big advantage over low-cost producers in Asia, as shipping costs can inflate prices dramatically. Selling direct to the consumer with a U-cut operation allows retail customers to still enjoy low prices by harvesting their own poles. Plus, customers almost always prefer to support local growers. Just like looking for the perfect Christmas tree, customers enjoy searching for the “perfect” bamboo poles, and it’s a great outing for the whole family.
One Oregon bamboo grower has focused on an even smaller niche for this profitable plant, specializing in producing six varieties of bamboo that are just the right size for fencing, with poles from 2 inches to 3 inches in diameter. He produces “value-added” fencing panels 6 feet high ( the maximum height allowed by most building codes) and 8 feet wide., drilling and threading the poles together with copper wire. His two acre bamboo farm is sold out every year, with about half the customers buying just poles to make their own fences and the other half buying ready-to-go fence panels.
To learn more about growing bamboo for profit, including detailed information on the 33 best varieties to grow and value-added container bamboo, read Growing Bamboo For Profit.