This blog is written to those who are interested in buying alpacas or newly into the alpaca business and building their herd. There are a lot of alpacas out there for sale. Lots of folks liquidating their herds for lots of reasons. I have had many new people come through my farm gate, learn a lot from me and then find these great deals out there and buy from them. I have bought a couple myself. Those that I purchased stepped up my breeding program immensely and I knew what I was getting and what I was hoping to achieve by getting those alpacas. I knew exactly the quality and genetics I was buying. I do not discourage buying those sale alpacas. But, there is a difference in buying from someone staying in business. I have dropped my prices yet I refuse to drop them to liquidation prices because I believe you are getting something beyond owning an alpaca. When you are trying to make a sale, it is important to spell out clearly for the buyer the "What's In It For Me" or "WIIFM" from their perspective. What does that alpaca, product or service going to do for them.
1) Mentorship. Everyone of my new alpaca owners and even ones with experience have called me with questions and many of those are emergency sort of questions requiring a quick response or having someone walk them through a process. I have talked folks through how to feel for a stuck leg and what signs to look for during a difficult delivery. I have had others with a sick animal and offered other ideas of things I've done since a vet isn't always available until a day or two later. I have run over to farms to assist in all sorts of activities from herd health, shearing and births. You get someone that helps you and suggests and shares ideas of how to get your business growing. I teach how to trim nails, de-worm, give shots, halter train and much, much more.
2) You have someone that may want to collaborate with you on projects. There is someone that has processed fleeces and knows the various mills around and what they like about which ones and maybe what the market in your area is looking for in a finished product. They also have more knowledge of what might be going on nationally that can help you decide on a niche. They have leads and contacts that might help you when you have chosen that niche.
3) If they have a customer that is looking for a particular alpaca they don't have but know you have one, they may share that lead with you. They may offer a partnership on a herdsire or offer you special deals on stud fees.
4) They may give you guarantees and be able to fulfill them if there is a problem with an alpaca you purchased. I offer guarantees of a life birth with my studs' services. If something happens to a new born cria, and it doesn't make it or isn't going to be a breeder, I offer a free re-breeding to that male. Will you get that from a liquidator?
5) Finally, buying from someone that is staying in business despite the tough economic times, have adjusted their business plans, adjusted their breeding programs, and created new niches. They are the types of people I look for in buying and doing business with. I know doing so helps my business and to me, I want to help them stay in business as much as I want me to stay in business. Learning from those folks is worth the extra dollars and then some. It has paid off more than once for me! I personally would prefer to learn from others that are successful and staying in business.