How to Start a Butcher Shop



Starting a butcher shop will take time and planning to get all the pieces in order. One of those planning steps includes setting a reasonable budget. So, what are some of the costs to include in the budget? Let’s take a look.

Business Formation Costs. One of the first steps in setting up a business is acquiring all the essential permits, licenses, and insurance. Permits and licenses are regulated by the state (and sometimes the city).

Retail Space. Most butcher shops have a retail storefront to welcome customers. Whether you purchase space or rent, this expense can be a large portion of your initial budget. Typically, retail space rents per square foot per year. For example, you may see an ad for space available at $10/sq ft/yr, which translates to rent costing $10 per square foot per year.

The cost of retail space fluctuates based on location and population density. The cost per square foot would be lower in a less popular location compared to a high-density metropolitan location. Prices can range from $10/sq ft/yr to $40/sq ft/yr.

So, for example, let’s say your location is 1,000 square feet and is in a modestly populated neighborhood. Here your rent could be $10 per square foot each year, costing you $10,000 annually.

Butcher Shop Supplies & Equipment. The type of equipment will vary depending on how much processing will be done in the store. Some common equipment will include a walk-in freezer, refrigerators, display coolers, prep tables, cutting boards, processing equipment, meat slicer, grinders, bone saw, commercial knives, trays, plastic wrap, butcher, paper, etc.

Employee Wages. Employee wages are another expense that is important to include in your startup budget. For example, the base hourly cost for hiring butchers in the U.S. is approximately $18. Additionally, you may hire employees to manage the cash register and clean the store. Typically, retail employees earn around $18 per hour as well.

Having some upfront money saved for employees will be essential, as outgoing expenses are often more than inflows during those first few months.

Meat Purchases. Meat prices are largely based on the value of red meat. So, as the prices of red meat increase, it is likely that other meat sources like poultry and fish will also increase. Butcher shops typically purchase meat based on weight.


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