14 Pros and Cons of Being a Butcher

Butcher

Butchers are responsible for cutting and trimming meat from larger cuts.

Some examples include roasts, steaks, ground beef, etc.

Butchers work with a variety of different types of meat, including beef, chicken, pork, and game meat.

The meat is weighed, wrapped, and put out for display.

Being a butcher requires specific skills, including knowledge of animal anatomy, knowing how to use knives and various other cutting tools, as well as having a good grasp of meat cutting techniques, and a good understanding of food hygiene and safety requirements.

Pros of Being a Butcher

1. You can start your own butchery

You can start out by working at a butchery to learn the ropes and gain a deeper understanding of the industry from an experienced butcher.

Working under an experienced butcher will allow you to learn decades’ worth of skills in a very short amount of time if the butcher has good training skills.

Once you feel confident in your ability and are able to stand on your own feet, you can start your own butchery.

Keep in mind that while there is a very strong possibility for you to start your own business, you still need to factor in the capital required to get your business off the ground and at least have some business savvy. 

If you invest in the learning phase and offer to assist the butcher with all aspects of the business, you can obtain this knowledge during your training as well. 

2. It can be very profitable

Meat is expensive.

No matter where in the world you live.

But, it can also be a very profitable business as most people eat meat. 

This translates into the fact that there will always be a very huge demand for the products you have to offer and your business will always be busy.

There are, however, a few key factors to keep in mind when opening a butchery.

Firstly, while meat may be in demand, there is no point in opening your butchery around the corner from another established butchery.

That is simply sabotaging yourself.

Location is key.

You must consider where you will open up your butchery and how convenient your location is for patrons to access. 

3. Low competition

This job requires that you work with your hands for most of the day.

And, while there are opportunities for entrepreneurship and a lucrative income, the job also offers very little job satisfaction, as only a small population of butchers actually love what they do.

As such, you may find that most people opt not to become butchers.

This means that there is little competition in the market provided that you open your butchery in the right location and that you have sufficient capital to get your business off the ground. 

In addition, most grocery stores have their own butcher in-store and also sell meat.

This deters most people from wanting to open a butchery as they believe it will not be profitable.

4. Low barrier to entry

You do not have to go to college to become a butcher.

You could participate in an apprenticeship over a period of 36 months.

And, while you are learning, you are also gaining skills as you will be working in trade at the same time.

You do not require any formal education to qualify for the apprenticeship, but you may require a high school diploma or its equivalent. 

5. A standard workweek

With the exception of working half days on a Saturday, most butchers enjoy a standard workweek from 09:00 a.m to 17:00 p.m.

There is no overtime or public holiday work for butchers.

While it is not required that a butcher works on weekends or over public holidays, some do opt to do that in order to be more convenient to their loyal customers. 

6. Low stress

This is not the kind of job that has any hard deadlines.

As long as you keep the supply of prepared meats stocked in your display windows and as long as you have larger cuts ready to be prepared on hand, your day will mostly be stress-free.

In addition, unlike jobs that require you to go out in the middle of the night to tend to a breakdown or a client that suddenly needs documents prepared at the last minute, you will not need to work in an accelerated mode in order to make any deadlines. 

If this is your passion, you can enjoy your day doing what you love and engaging with your loyal customers.

7. Access to discounted meat

As previously mentioned, meat is expensive.

As a butcher, you will have access to meat at cost price.

You will not need to pay the supermarket prices and you will have access to meat products whenever you want because you are in the industry.

If you enjoy cookouts, inviting friends and family over for dinner, or BBQing, you will always have access to the best cuts of meat and you will know exactly how to best prepare the meat.

Cons of Being a Butcher

1. Mistakes can be costly

As a butcher, you are required to work with precision.

When you are cutting up larger cuts of meat, such as a whole lamb, you have to work very carefully when cutting the pieces, as even a small error could cost you the entire piece.

For example, take the T-bone steak.

This is a very popular cut of meat that is made up of two smaller cuts of beef: the NY strip and the tenderloin.

When cutting these two pieces off the bone of the T-bone steak, you should work carefully.

If you make a mistake and the blade or knife slips, you may end up cutting through one or both of the pieces by accident, and you will lose both the NY strip and the tenderloin. 

You could cut these pieces up into smaller blocks, but there are other less expensive cuts of meat that are usually used to make beef goulash pieces. 

2. Physically demanding job

This is one of the more physically demanding jobs.

You will be carrying large pieces of meat around for most of the day.

When you cut up an entire lamb or beef, you will need to carry it from the refrigerator to the cutting machine. 

Doing this once or twice a day may not sound like a lot, but if you do this over an extended period, you may notice that this is actually a very physically demanding job, in comparison to a regular office job.

You need to be fit or at least fit to a certain degree in order to do this kind of work.

3. No promotion

There is little room for advancement.

You start out as an apprentice and then you become a butcher.

Even if you own your own business, the only room for growth will be the size of the butchery.

This lack of upward movement may make you feel stagnant in your job over time, which may become very demoralizing for you. 

4. Can become boring

There is very little variety in your day-to-day job.

It will only take you so long to master this job and become good at it, as there are only so many cuts that you need to be able to do and only so many types of meat you will be cutting.

As such, you may find that your job becomes very monotonous over a period of time. 

5. Low income when working for an employer

While it was previously mentioned that there are a lot of opportunities to make great money if you open your own butchery, the same cannot be said for working at a butchery.

Salary.com reports that the average salary of a butcher is around $35,384 to $42,275. 

6. Frustrating if this is not your passion

You have to love working with meat and being a butcher to work in this industry.

If this is not your passion, then you will very quickly become extremely frustrated at the low salary and monotony of the job. 

You may want to volunteer at a butchery for a few weeks to see if this really is what you would like to do.

Keep in mind that the day-to-day job may not be what you expect and, therefore, it may always be a better option to try the field out first before completely committing.

7. Low social status 

Most people do not view butchers as very important individuals. 

The truth is that they keep the supply of meat constant and, as a member of society, play an integral part in the lives of many people as they provide the meat source for these individuals.

Having said that, it still does not change the opinion of many people regarding their value and importance in society.

Pros and Cons of Being a Butcher – Summary Table

Pros of Being a ButcherCons of Being a Butcher
1. You can start your own butchery1. Mistakes can be costly
2. It can be very profitable2. Physically demanding job
3. Low competition3. No promotion
4. Low barrier to entry4. Can become boring
5. A standard workweek5. Low income when working for an employer
6. Low stress6. Frustrating if this is not your passion
7. Access to discounted meat7. Low social status 

Should You Become a Butcher?

You may love this job if you have a passion for working in the meat trade and understanding the different cuts of meat.

In addition, you may want to consider how much value you place on income and what your long-term goals are.

If you do plan on opening up your own butchery and you do have the capital to do it, coupled with a love of meat, this may be the ideal career for you.

Jamie Willis