Free Vs Paid Waiting List: Which Is Right For Your Farm Business

Wouldn’t you love to have people ready and waiting to buy your livestock or farm product? Better yet, what would it would feel like to have people willing to PAY to be on your waiting list?

Pretty awesome wouldn’t it? Your reputation as a farm business owner has to be able to support it before you are able to move to a paid waiting list.

If you’ve ever had someone ask you if you had any animals or your product available and you had to say no? It feels like a loss to do that.

But if you have a waiting list you can collect people who are willing to buy from you. You may even be able to charge them to be on that waiting list depending on your reputation.

But how do you know if you have reached that stage? Let’s find out.

If you don’t have a waiting list yet or you aren’t convinced how valuable they can be let me give you a few reasons why they are so valuable and worth your time.

A Waiting List Puts You In Control

It keeps you from having to rely on THEIR memory to call you back. Life gets busy and they forget. But, when you have their contact information the ball is in your court to make the move and reach out when something available.

If they are the ones responsible for contacting you they may talk themselves out of the purchase but if you reach out to them it may be enough to turn that decision around.

a pen laying on a desk with  stationary scattered around it

With A Waiting List, You Can Increase Sales

With a waiting list in place, you will have a much better idea of how much product you can sell and be able to increase sales and grow your backyard farm business.

Whether that looks like seeing if you can produce more. Change the timing of your product availability. Or simply being in conversation more with customers and hearing what they need rather than talking at your audience.

a calculator next to a pad of paper and a pen

A Waiting List Creates Scarcity

When you have a waiting list where they can “save their seat” if you will. It gives that sense of scarcity to your product by telling them that they might not be able to get one at all if they don’t get on the waiting list. – Which is how it works for my rabbitry. It is very rare that I have extra rabbits available and ready to go.

When you create scarcity on something it keeps people from continually pushing it off and not buying. If they have no reason to buy now they won’t. But if they think they won’t be able to get your product later it gives them a slight case of FOMO (fear of missing out) and they are more likely to save their spot on your waiting list.

It’s not sleazy to have this in place if it is the truth. There is only so much product you can “make” or have ready and the people on that list get first priority.

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Waiting Lists Keep Your Rabbitry Organized

It helps you know how much business you have in reserve. You don’t have to wonder where that next sale is coming from.

When you sell livestock you know how many offspring you need to meet your customer’s needs. With that info, you can make a better estimate of how many animals need to be bred and so on.

a flock of chicks with a hen

Related Post: planning your breeding season.)

For handmade products like candles, baked goods, wool, yarn, or crochet items you know how many hours of work it takes you to make those items. If you have a lot of people on your list you can decide to stop taking pre-orders until you are able to catch up.

Or you can just inform your customers how far out you are booked.

A Waiting List Develops Loyalty

When people know that they are on your waiting list they are far less likely to buy from someone else when they are scrolling the pages of Craigs List or looking in the Facebook sales groups espeshaly if they have money down on something. When they have a spot on your list they (for the most part) are more respectful of your time and effort.

office desk and a laptop on the table with a cup of coffee to the left of it.

Pro Tip: Keep Them Engaged And Excited

To keep from losing people when your waiting list is long, do an occasional check-in with them.

I have had some people on my waiting list for over a year because they wanted something specific. This helps them know that you have not forgotten about them.

I like to send an email when the breedings are done that they could possibly get a baby from. Then again when the babies are born to keep the anticipation going.

It also keeps you from getting in over your head and having more customers than you can handle.

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When To Have A Free Waiting List

There are so many options you can do and it depends on how many waiting list submissions you will have. There are two forms of a waiting list I think you should have.

  • One is somewhere people can be invested in your farm and stay up to date like an email list. (This only works if you have a website or business email address not created with something like a Gmail account.)
  • Second: Is to have a list of people who have reached out to you and given their contact info. Saying they want you to reach out to them once you have what they want available.

I had a free waiting list for a lot of years and it worked well. A free waiting list is great when you are first starting out and you don’t have as large of a reputation.

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When You Can Move To A Paid Waiting List

Eventually, I had to move to a paid waiting list to weed out the people who were not as serious. I had a free waiting list that had me “booked out” past a year.

But I started having people not respond to when I would contact them and others who were changing their minds if they did respond. Which is fine but it was not helpful to the people who were serious and I would tell them they had to wait until next year potentially but then it turned out to not be true.

  • If your free list is getting really long.
  • Your reputation can support it.
  • And people aren’t hesitant about paying you without getting something for their money.

Having a paid waiting list cuts out the people who are not very serious, helps make sure animals go to people who are committed to them, and also helps get cash in your pocket to fund growth and pay for the product creation.

laptop on a bed and a linen lap throw next to it.

What Tools To Use

In the early days, I used a sheet of paper and it worked find. But it can also cause some information to get mixed up and you definitely don’t want that to happen if people are paying you.

  • Pen and Paper: So if your waiting list is free paper is ok until the numbers get long.
  • Digital form: You can use a digital tool like I do and link up a free intake form tool like Google Forms or Typeform (Typeform is my favorite) and simply look at the responses.
  • Automated Waiting List: OR you can use these tools to talk to each other with a tool called Zapier and they can put the responses in your task management tool like asana or trello and you can have access to the waiting list on your desktop and your phone.– This will create a waiting list like the example list in the image below where the blue arrow is pointing.
Rabbitry waiting list trello board

If you have a website and want people to be able to get on it at any time then you need Typeform. With typeform, you can add up to 10 questions for free in the form. So things like email, name, address, and product-specific questions if you have them.

With the free account, you will get 10 form submissions for free PER MONTH as well. So it’s not bad to get started. I would recommend you have a waiting list for the products that are higher ticket than you can afford to upgrade if you need to. Below is what my form looks like when they complete it.

example of a typeform completion page

You can make your Typeform do so much and make it look far more interesting than a basic site form or Google form. It helps pull people in.

Waiting lists will do wonders for your farm business and help you maintain a steady stream of customers. Be patient and stay confident in your business and your product. Don’t sound desperate to make a sale.

People can smell desperation a mile away and it is very off-putting. Do your best to make your product better every day and tell people what they need to hear in order to be ready to buy your product. If yu want to learn more about generating income from your backyard farm CLICK HERE and learn more about the Profitable Backyard Farm Kickstart.

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