I know there's not a lot of commercial cheesemakers on here, but hoping for some feedback. We're still in the biz plan process, trying to get a farmstead establishment up and running. I believe I have good figures on what our equipment needs and costs will be, for everything that will factor into our overhead or operating expenses, the more-or-less fixed costs of doing business (CODB). But I'm trying to get as solid figures as possible on the variable costs involved with cheesemaking, the costs of goods sold (COGS).
I'm excluding the costs of milk, because we would be producing our own. So what is coming to mind for the variable costs are the ingredients (like rennet, culture, molds, CaCl, salt, wash solutions), cheesecloths, wax, packaging, cleaning and sanitizing agents, and - perhaps? - utilities. I don't know if there's anything like "industry" benchmarks out there for this, and of course, these costs may vary quite a bit from operation to operation, cheesemaker to cheesemaker (for instance, which cultures and additives are being used? How is product packaged? What size equipment and batches are used? How and how long is the cheese aged, or waxed, or washed?).
If any pros are will to share, it would be much appreciated (can PM if desired). Perhaps either your yearly expenses in these areas for how much cheese made, or a unit cost, e.g. $xxx in variable costs per 1lb or 100lb or whatever of cheese made. Again, this is one area where I'm really guestimating at the moment, and would like not to be too high or, worse, too low!