New Businesses Ventures

Photo sketching, making cellulose insulation, and making peanut brittle candy were a few of the areas in which readers established new business ventures in the mid-to-late 1970s.

| September/October 1980

The following are new business ventures that readers came up with after reading articles in MOTHER EARTH NEWS.  

Cellulose Insulation Business

When I read "How to Make and Install Your Own Insulation ... for 5¢ or Less a Square Foot" in MOTHER EARTH NEWS I immediately began to use the article's information as a basis for experiments of my own. The story explained how to make cellulose insulation by grinding up newspapers with a hammermill, an Idea that I was sure could be turned Into a moneymaking venture!

So I purchased a used 100-HP hammermill (for $1,700) and Invested another $1,800 in a used truck ... $200 in a six-cylinder junkyard engine and transmission ... $400 in miscellaneous mounting parts and materials ... and $565 in scrap paper, chemicals, and insulation bags. Then I mounted the hammermill and the engine on the bed of the truck, backed the vehicle up to my garage, and blew the building about four feet deep in cellulose insulation.

After I tested the material to be sure that it met government requirements, I filled a number of sacks with the padding and transported them—for sale—to building sites and stores. The bags sold quickly at $3.00 each, and I soon found it necessary to raise the rate to $3.50 apiece for those that I delivered (an amount that brought my expenses for paper, chemicals, sacks, gasoline, and oil down to approximately 20% of my asking price).

Initially, I worked at my new enterprise on Saturdays only, but within three months I was putting in 60 hours a week—filling 120 bags in that time—and even that wasn't enough to keep up with orders. Consequently, I built a sackfilling machine, using a 12-inch-diameter auger ... and upped my bagging production to 100 every 12 hours. At this speed—once I've earned back my initial investment—I calculate that I'll be capable of realizing a $20-per-hour profit!

Gary L. Weaver
Murfreesboro, Tenn.

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