Ball Python Breeding Business?- Part 1

Posted: May 31, 2014 in Uncategorized

This is going to be a multi-series post because it covers quite a lot of important information, so make sure to click on the follow button on the left so you can stay updated!

UPDATE 01/07/2018: My new eBook picks up where this left off and covers sales, marketing,  and everything else you want to know about turning the dream into reality!  Check it out on Amazon:

The Dream:

So you wanna turn your hobby into a business? Well let me tell ya this first…. Selling snakes takes work. You have to actively sell your snakes and sell yourself.  This is real work. So if you are not wanting to do real work, stop reading this post now. But if you don’t mind rolling your sleeves up and getting dirty, then continue reading…remember, the market is growing and there is a spot for you, if you work hard.

In any business, you have to have a plan as to how you will produce a profit. If you’re serious about the hobby turning into a job you have to come up with a plan that works for you, which you can make turn a profit. In my opinion, simpler  plans will be the easiest to follow and you will see a larger return on your work. Simpler is more realistic. I love my snakes. That is no secret, but when it comes to work, I have to make a certain amount each month to pay my bills and save for the future. If breeding snakes is a hobby it can be an all consuming money black-hole, which at one point it was for me,  but if it is a business you cannot continuously pour money into that  black-hole and stay afloat. It will not work. Your money will be gone and your bills will be due.

Basically, what I’m saying is that you should be smart about how you reinvest any money you make. Sometimes, there are deals that are too good to pass up. Before you let the money flow, make sure to think about it thoroughly. Maybe that cheap animal has some issues you are not aware of which could end up costing you more money in long run. I add new animals to my collection every year and I would advise anyone serious about breeding ball pythons to do the same as well. I make sure though that whatever I buy is furthering a current project so I can get ahead. My business plan is probably the simplest one out there in regards to production.

My Plan for Success:

My goal is to make at a minimum of $500 per clutch of eggs. That is probably the most realistic number for any pairing I do, especially if I wanted to wholesale everything out. But since I don’t do that, I can count on my clutches being worth several thousand each, so I end up with more revenue than I had anticipated. It is better to under project than over project in that sense.

For example, it would be better for me to think I am going to make $25,000 and make it, than for me to think I’m going to make $50,000 and be short. I’m very fiscally conservative and prefer to have a surplus of cash if possible, not a deficit. It is very realistic to be able to consistently sell ball pythons in the $100 to $1,000 price range. The buyers are plenty in this group. As the price goes up, the number of potential buyers goes down. Hopefully that makes sense. Don’t get me wrong, I would love to sell $5,000 snakes all day long, however, I am happy selling ones that are less because they sell quicker.

I sell out of Albinos and Pieds every year. I would love to hatch out 500 albinos and 500 pieds a year! Why? They would be sold before they hatched! In my current setup, I can house around 150 adult female ball pythons and once I get my new location up and running it will be at least double that. Hypothetically, at $500/clutch and 150 clutches per year means my gross will be $75,000 and that is me anticipating the lowest possible amount. If each clutch is worth $750, $1,000 or $1,500 then obviously my gross revenue goes up as well. Just think about that for a few minutes. Remember, my clutches are right now actually making more than the three quotes above.

That is quite a nice amount of money. With the holdbacks I currently have, I will be producing 150 to 200 clutches in another 2 or 3 years maximum, which follows my business model’s timeline. Also, I hope that explains why I don’t sell my adult females for cheap. Read about that here. Next summer I should easily have 40 clutches hatching, while in 2016 I am aiming for 80  and finally in 2017 I will get 150!!! With the projects that I am currently working with, I expect to hatch a lot of cool combos and many world’s first. I will dive into more detail in Part 3 of this.

Overall Expenses:

The overall cost of caring for my animals is very low. The monthly feed bill is close to $0. Why? I breed my own rodents and sell the surplus. At worst the rats pay for themselves and at best I am ahead with my margins. My snake building is super insulated. It has 8 inches of insulation in the walls, ceiling and floor. It holds heat very well, which cuts down on the cost to keep the snakes warm in the winter time. I will be moving later this year and will be posting a DIY Ball Python Breeding Facility as I construct the new building!

Rather than spending a fortune on racks, I have predominately built my own over the years and have had great success doing so. Not to mention that I have saved quite a lot of money in the process. I can build a rack that holds 20 28 qt tubs for about $250, whereas a plastic rack on the same budget would only get you a 4 or 5 tub rack. To have the same number of tubs as my custom built rack, I would have to spend around $1,000 or more! When you have 200 snakes, that adds up quickly!

Basically, to turn a profit you have to figure out a way to generate revenue in a way that works for you. Brainstorm for a bit. I know my plan is not ideal to everyone, but to me it works out perfectly and I am confident in the success that I will have from it based on my past successes. Stay tuned for Part 2, 3, and 4!

Thanks for reading and comment below to let me know what you think-

Peter vonLehe Ruegner


  1. John says:

    Awesome write up. Very informative to beginners as well as good information for experienced people as well. Look forward to the follow ups! Thanks and keep it up

  2. Chris Hall says:

    Great plan and excellent information! Thanks!

  3. Sarah Wright says:

    love reading your articles and watching for your posts of all your beautiful babies. I have been breeding corns for years as a hobby and a few years ago started breeding balls. My husband doesn’t believe I can ever turn a profit but I do and have been working toward that goal and have a nice collection going that I hope will be turning a profit in a few more years. Next year I will have to expand the room or build something to house more snakes as I have filled my room up but its all good. Keep these great articles coming. .I’m hoping someday I can add a tri-stripe to my collection but until then I’ll keep watching for these informative articles while I take care of my babies and work to make my dream a reality. Thanks for being a positive influence when so many others only speak negatively about our hobby and its possibilities.

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