What did it cost?

Container delivered, we’re nearly there right?

Now that we are up and running I thought I would spend this post reflecting on the financial cost of setting up Sellar Farmhouse Creamery to date.

The back story is I spent the previous 10 years saving to either buy a property or start a business. Not needing to take out a loan to start the business meant as the build dragged on I did not have the added pressure of owing the bank and it gave us the freedom to stay true to our ethics. I must also add that I have not had to pay rent or household power bills while this build happened as we live off grid in a house Oli previously built.

So what did the build cost? Below is a break down of costs so far but a few explainer notes first.

I have included Oli’s hours which have not yet been paid. Paying him at only $30 an hour will add up to $70,000 so this is not to be over looked as many of the jobs he did I would have paid at least 3 times as much to have a contractor do. I haven’t counted my hours at all but my focus has been much more on running the farm than building. I’ve made note of a few other people who donated large amounts of time/labour, however I don’t think there is a single person who has been involved in this business so far who hasn’t gone above and beyond what was asked. As I always say, none of this would have been possible if not for the generosity of so many people. Words can’t express how grateful I am to them for helping me take this crazy dream and make it a reality!

I’ve added a column to show what was new and what was second hand, much of the materials were second hand which meant that sometimes we got a good deal, and sometimes that good deal was balanced out by the hours Oli spent fixing it up. But we believe very strongly in reusing materials so we wouldn’t change a thing.

The most difficult thing financial was that we hadn’t banked on running a farm for 18 months before selling any product. So while the build didn’t blow out to much, we did spent far more money than expected before some came back in and have put a few projects on hold until the business is up and running.

The repair of our Pasteurisation vat after it was blown up cost $8,607 which was covered in full by the professional’s insurance claim so we didn’t end up out of pocket, just more grey hairs.

Some major hurdles

So this is what it took beyond the blood, sweat and tears to start up. The next big projects to come are:

  • the yogurt making equipment
  • Butter and cream equipment
  • Solar photovoltaic panels to help reduce our dependency on grid electricity.
  • Biomass furnace: Oli is currently installing, with much excitement, the biomass furnace to heat the water in winter and to heat the water above the temperature which our flat plate solar thermal can take it in summer.

I’m sure you will hear a lot about this from us in future posts.

The new biomass furnace

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