Neutral 3rd party opinions needed. Please be honest with me.
Since buying a house several years ago in a mostly wooded neighborhood, I've been in constant battle with underground critters destroying plants in my yard. I tried just about every repellant-type product on the market, but nothing really worked, and the never-ending cost and bother of re-application was getting to be a bummer. So, I finally conceded defeat and started making hardware cloth anti-critter planting cages. I don't plant everything in them, just the expensive or tasty plants like hostas and lilies. So far, I haven't lost anything I planted in a cage to a critter. Watering laziness is another story.....
On my last trip to one of the local garden centers I frequent (an affordable yet superb quality Mom-and-Pop operation) I was chatting with the owner, and the subject of voles/moles/chipmunks came up. I mentioned my critter cage strategy and she asked if I would be interested in making some to sell at their location. She said they have customers who are "begging for them". I hadn't given it much thought, but I know just from the number of critter cages I've made for myself (200 maybe?) and the success I've had with them, that there could be a market for some kind of pre-made critter barrier.
My quandary is this: Is it worth the time and effort to investigate this endeavor? I have zero business experience. I've done some preliminary cost accounting and I figure I would have to sell a hosta-sized cage (just for example) for around $4. Would any of you other gardeners out there buy such a product if they were available near you? I can't think of any other objective way to gauge the viability of my idea. Please let me know. I'm *not* trying to promote anything, just need some honest feedback from real-world gardeners who don't know me.
Aside from the aforementioned garden center, there are a plethora of farmer's markets near me. I live in the suburbs of a large Southern capitol city. My life is in a transition phase at the moment- no kids, plus a bit of expendable time and cash. I love the idea of working for myself, but I don't want to spend the next week making cages only to have them sit forever in my garage. Please advise.