And then we get into the cost variation, ranging from $200 to $14,000 depending on who you want and what you would like to do with them. Many who come to the farm have already researched and this isn't necessarily sticker shock. However, the uncertainty comes in the "why". How can there be such a range? "I do not see any difference in these two alpacas in front of me that we are looking at." After inspecting 10-15 alpacas, the eyes glaze over and they all look the same.
I cannot stress to you enough if you are getting into the alpaca business for profit, purchase quality alpacas. Don't overpay, but know what quality they are. What was once an "A" quality alpaca (male or female) 5 years ago is now a "C" animal and perhaps should no longer be in a breeding program. Because of up breeding, creating higher & better quality animals each and every generation, the alpaca fiber programs nationwide are making huge strides in softer, finer, higher quality alpacas.
If you are purchasing pets or a farm project, by all means, take in rescue or low priced alpaca, love them as your pets and thoroughly enjoy them. If you are looking for great "inventory" for your business, go with the highest quality you can afford - balancing quality with quantity. You will have a more marketable business by positioning yourself as best you can as within your business.
That said, find a mentor that you trust, that you can call on any time, years down the road. Find someone knowledgeable as well as understands what you are looking for. If they are constantly pushing you in a direction that doesn't interest you - showing, textiles, whatever - find someone else to partner with. You are investing way too much to not want to be "married" to that relationship for a very long time.