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The Round Baler

The first website dedicated to round balers, and those that run them.

Baler Blog

Baler Blog

Custom Baling: Is it Right For You?

Posted on August 9, 2018 at 6:45 PM

Being a custom operator is a tough business, between breakdowns, uncooperating weather and disgruntled customers, it takes thick skin, optimism and a little stubbornness, to stay in business. Most people who custom bale, started out by helping neighbors and building a good reputation for making a quality bale for a fair price, before it rained. It’s not for everybody, and before you decide to start your own operation there's a few things you should consider.


The main ingredient for being a custom baler is to actually own a baler! It is recommended to have experience running a baler as well in order to satisfy the customer. You want equipment that is dependable, the last thing you want to do is being broke down in a field with customers calling you complaining about the incoming storm. When first starting out new equipment may be out of the question, but you should look at equipment that has a good local reputation and is easy to work on, because even a brand new baler or tractor will have its breakdowns.


Once you have the equipment you need the clientele, to start make money. Most people start off by helping a broken down neighbor or the horse lady who does 4 acres a year. While these jobs seem insignificant, a happy customer will spread the word and it is well known that word of mouth is by far the best advertisement. If you do quality work it won’t be long before you’ll be so busy you’ll be looking at better equipment to make the work go faster.


If you live in an area with many hobby farmers and few custom balers, you have a pretty good market. On the contrary if you live in an area with mostly large farms, getting into the custom business will be difficult as most either have their own equipment of hire large custom operations that hire on a dozen or more men. Also areas with a large Amish population can be a great market as some groups hire a lot of their field work done and tend to have smaller size jobs, that are good for a newbie.


Custom baling takes a lot of time and is very weather dependent. Some days you may have 30 hours worth of work and others you may be sitting watching the rain come down. Having a regular 9-5 job doesn’t fit in well when it comes to making hay. As the saying goes “make hay while the sunshines”, the weather and your customers will not wait for you to get out of work or for you to watch your sons little league game.

If you have the equipment, the clientele and the time, custom baling can be a good business. Don’t forget though, to plan for unexpected breakdowns, because they will happen. Also leaving a clean field, with no loose hay on it, leaves a good impression. The main thing is to make quality hay and keep the customers happy,and you’ll build up a solid business quicker than you’d expect.


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