Advice on starting a milk round

Discussion in 'General Business Forum' started by Oliver Day, Aug 12, 2019.

  1. Oliver Day

    Oliver Day UKBF Newcomer Free Member

    3 0
    Im a dairy farmer and already have a milk vending machine. Sales from this are very good due to where its sited, however the outlay for the machine is quite high.

    Ive been considering starting a milk round for customers slightly further a field. Has anyone here got a milk round? Are they profitable? How many pints would you expect to deliver a day?
    Posted: Aug 12, 2019 By: Oliver Day Member since: Mar 1, 2016
  2. Mitch3473

    Mitch3473 UKBF Regular Free Member

    1,064 253
    You could always do your own market research and knock on the doors of the people you are thinking of including in your round. That way you'll get the correct answer and more than likely a whole load of customers whilst you're there.
    Posted: Aug 12, 2019 By: Mitch3473 Member since: Aug 25, 2011
  3. MikeJ

    MikeJ UKBF Big Shot Free Member

    5,713 1,654
    Does anyone still have a milk round? Now milk has a long shelf life (over a week, from a supermarket) a milk round seems unnecessary these days. I can't recall seeing a milk float in ages (though you have to appreciate them being ahead of the curve in terms of electric vehicles!)
    Posted: Aug 12, 2019 By: MikeJ Member since: Jan 15, 2008
  4. billybob99

    billybob99 UKBF Regular Free Member

    1,337 339
    I still get milk delivered in good old glass bottles from - if the demand is there, why not.

    My local milkman delivers tuesday, thursday and saturday, I get 3 pints on each of these days.

    Plenty of others on my street get regular deliveries, even though there is a Tesco, Morrisons, Lidl and Aldi across the road.
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2019
    Posted: Aug 12, 2019 By: billybob99 Member since: Apr 23, 2013
  5. BusterBloodvessel

    BusterBloodvessel UKBF Regular Free Member

    176 66
    A local farm near us has recently started delivering and they are doing fantastically well. They have made a big point about going back to eco friendly glass bottles, theirs have resealable tops for freshness rather than the old foil ones, they also deliver larger than pints - I think they are 750ml which probably helps get a bit more value out of a delivery if people just want one bottle.

    But....the taste...oh my god! It’s like drinking cream. Thick, absolutely full of flavour and makes supermarket milk seen like white coloured water. I would seriously never go back. If your product is as fresh as theirs you could be onto a winner - people (in my opinion) are actually going full circle in wanting to shop local and appreciating improved flavour and freshness and I would be really pushing this side of it.
    Posted: Aug 13, 2019 By: BusterBloodvessel Member since: Jan 22, 2018
  6. Mark T Jones

    Mark T Jones UKBF Big Shot Full Member

    3,916 1,270
    With the demonisation of single-use plastics, delivery of milk in good-old glass bottles is having a bit of a come-back. However, there will be many variables in your questions

    Much demand will be in rural areas, which means more mileage and wear and tear on vehicles.

    That said, you could almost a certainly build a round in built-up areas where you can be far more efficient

    One area to stay on top of is cash collection

    You’d really need to build a minimal round before you start and grow from there
    Posted: Aug 13, 2019 By: Mark T Jones Member since: Nov 4, 2015
  7. Noah

    Noah UKBF Ace Free Member

    1,243 313
    We are in a small-ish town with numerous nearby villages and towns and rural in between, plenty of small and large grocery stores around; we have milk delivery both at home and business from a local long-established family dairy that seems to be doing well enough. As others have pointed out, selling in re-usable containers has given them a big boost recently.

    Consider the usual delivery add-ons like eggs, bread, etc. to broaden and strengthen your appeal; other local produce would be ideal.
    Posted: Aug 13, 2019 By: Noah Member since: Sep 1, 2009
  8. Mr D

    Mr D UKBF Legend Free Member

    18,290 2,105
    We had someone looking to set up a round come knocking a few years back.
    Basically same stuff the supermarkets do but not as cheap, not as easy to arrange additional stuff and either milk nicked or not delivered on a few occasions.
    Twice he ran out of blue top so left me green top instead - and had to come back to collect the bottles after a phone call to the boss.
    Supermarket is much more convenient and can buy milk lasting a week. Two or three day expiry date for delivered milk? No thanks.
    Posted: Aug 13, 2019 By: Mr D Member since: Feb 12, 2017
  9. Opinion87

    Opinion87 UKBF Regular Free Member

    322 72
    I'd be all over it, if only from a convenience point of view. If once or twice a week I could get fresh milk, a fresh loaf of bread and one or two other fresh, local bits delivered to my door... absolute winner!
    Posted: Aug 13, 2019 By: Opinion87 Member since: Jul 1, 2015
  10. Noah

    Noah UKBF Ace Free Member

    1,243 313
    Summary from our local milk delivery chaps :
    . 16 rounds
    . 5,500 customers
    . 23 employees
    . Up to about 8 miles from base, free delivery
    . County council says pop. density 300-350 stomachs per sq. km. around these parts
    . Offers local farm produce, local butcher, orange juice in glass, pet food, fruit&veg, etc.
    . Electric floats with solar power at base
    Posted: Aug 13, 2019 By: Noah Member since: Sep 1, 2009
  11. Scottishgifts4u

    Scottishgifts4u UKBF Newcomer Free Member

    27 11
    I’m a milkman just looking forward to retirement.

    Yes it is profitable for me anyway as I’m a franchisee for Muller (milk and more)

    It has certainly seen a resurgence in the past year or so in fact my round hasn’t been as healthy for a long time. I can get one or two new customers a week just from folk searching and finding my Facebook page. I don’t need to advertise or canvass as to be honest I have enough as it takes me from 11.30 pm till 8.30 am working non stop.

    I’ve got 400 customers which I do Monday Wednesday and Friday.

    Obviously bottles are the mainstay of the business but organic milk in bottles is also getting popular. If you need to buy this in your profit will be hit but customers do ask for it.

    Ideally you need a town nearby as my country round got chopped years ago being unprofitable.

    If you need figures give me a message.
    Posted: Aug 13, 2019 By: Scottishgifts4u Member since: Jul 6, 2017
  12. Gordon L

    Gordon L UKBF Contributor Free Member

    45 3
    great insight from @Scottishgifts4u . There was a snippet on Radio 4 today about growth in home MiIk deliveries. I think it was this morning, apologies but I have been so busy and I can't remember.

    From what I see in the food sector, 'authenticity' is increasingly important to some consumers, and I believe this is also a factor in driving growth in this niche. (as well as provenance, 'local' and so on)
    Posted: Aug 13, 2019 By: Gordon L Member since: Jul 22, 2019
  13. Mr D

    Mr D UKBF Legend Free Member

    18,290 2,105
    Authenticity is not relevant to some - good service, product they want at good price and not wasting product - can also be useful to do.
    And of course as in any sector some will always go with the cheap stuff because it's what they can afford, no matter how good a product or how great a service the competition has.
    Posted: Aug 13, 2019 By: Mr D Member since: Feb 12, 2017
  14. Opinion87

    Opinion87 UKBF Regular Free Member

    322 72
    If you asked me the price of a pint of milk, carton of eggs, loaf of bread etc. I would not have a clue.

    I don't think I've ever been to Tesco and not bought a carrot or potato because of the price.
    Posted: Aug 13, 2019 By: Opinion87 Member since: Jul 1, 2015

    JEREMY HAWKE UKBF Legend Full Member

    4,294 1,349
    I was going to post a laughing sign until I read you are a farmer already suppling the market
    As the other have said if you have a profitable market then why not supply it The customer has started to demand local and tracible products in recent years
    Posted: Aug 14, 2019 By: JEREMY HAWKE Member since: Mar 4, 2008
  16. Scottishgifts4u

    Scottishgifts4u UKBF Newcomer Free Member

    27 11
    Of course if the decision has to be made do you go for a bottling plant or a plastic carton plant as I’m assuming the cost of both would be prohibitive.

    Bottles are the growing market for the doorstep but you might want to concentrate on corner shops, office canteens,cafes and restaurants which would mean plastic containers. Although it can be cutthroat price wise.

    Only you know your area and potential market.

    Don’t underestimate the ‘local milk’ angle as this can be very persuasive. We had a local farm do exactly what you propose and it did very well for itself although it has now dropped selling liquid milk and does cheese and yoghurt. (Maybe something else for you to consider)
    Posted: Aug 14, 2019 By: Scottishgifts4u Member since: Jul 6, 2017
  17. Gordon L

    Gordon L UKBF Contributor Free Member

    45 3
    In my market - food - authenticity will differentiate you more than price, where there is a need for it. One of the activities I undertake is the importation of a premium brand of baked items from the best bakery in Western Europe. Niche and expensive compared to the mainstream, but we get a great rate of sale from consumers who buy into quality and a brand which has been around since the 1930's. Equally, I trade a little in the 'short dated' market, buying and selling residual food stock (packaged) No authenticity required; just price.

    The discounters are marvellous, amazing for many things. Equally, so are good quality brands with certain angles going for them. It seems clear to me that milk deliveries in the form described by OP is on a rise at present.
    Posted: Aug 14, 2019 By: Gordon L Member since: Jul 22, 2019
  18. Clodbuster

    Clodbuster UKBF Enthusiast Full Member

    770 122
    If I could get fullfat, unwatered milk I'd gladly be on your delivery round. That layer of cream on the top - bliss.
    We have a float that come around 3 times a week, pay in advance, glass bottles but unfortunately homogenised, blended to 3% milk.
    Posted: Aug 16, 2019 By: Clodbuster Member since: Apr 24, 2008
  19. EeeTea

    EeeTea UKBF Newcomer Free Member

    11 5
    There is a milk round around my village. 3am in the morning I am regularly woken by a noisy transit with an non-standard exhaust - as I live at the end of the cul-de-sac he parks leaves the engine running, makes his delivery and then turns around. I suspect he wakes more than just me. It really is killing my quality of life. I loathe him and have considered whether I can get hold of a bazooka.

    So in short: you may wish to consider whether you really want to be cursed by your non-customers

    Whether with rising fuel costs whether its actually financially viable

    and about the environmental impact too.
    Posted: Aug 16, 2019 By: EeeTea Member since: Feb 8, 2019
  20. Financial-Modeller

    Financial-Modeller UKBF Regular Full Member

    499 150
    Perhaps get some leaflets printed advertising your milk round on one side and an order form on the other side.

    Leave a leaflet with a free pint of milk at every 10th house in the street and go from there! Neighbourly observation, chats, and your visibility should do the rest of the local advertising work for you.
    Posted: Aug 16, 2019 By: Financial-Modeller Member since: Jul 3, 2012