A greenhouse business is a very profitable business venture. If you have the space, capital and love plants, it is a business prospect to consider. There are several factors to think about before deciding this type of business.
- Assess if you have the mindset for business. You need to love what you do but you must also be practical. Do you have some training in horticulture? Are you will to put in the time and energy to make your business grow? Do you want to give up the security of regular paychecks and trade it for the seasonal profits of a business? Do you have enough accounting know how to keep track of your inventory and expenses and the aggressiveness to pursue clients? It will take around five years of steady work before you see profits.
- Do your research. Make sure that your area is conducive to growing plants. Do you have enough land to build a greenhouse and is there enough water and sunlight? Find out what varieties the market wants then learn how to grow it. Is there enough demand in your area to sustain your business? Will you be able to hire enough skilled workers to help you? Where can you source your seedlings and other raw materials? Do you have access to major roads? What marketing strategy will you employ to sell your plants? Take classes and seminars in business, accounting and horticulture if you must. There are also books and online resources that can help. Contact local business sources in your area such as the Chamber of Commerce, Small Business Development Centers and the bank.
- Find the capital to start the business. After you have learned how to grow and operate, find a way to finance your venture. You may use retirement money, take out a business or equity loan or have a business partner. How much money you need will depend on the size of your greenhouse, the type of materials you will use and other start up cost. Include labor, business license fees, initial seedling inventory, insurance and other factors needed to get your business going. You also need some ways to transport your plants such as a truck. You may also start applying for your other legal requirements such as business permits and licenses.
- Decide on the type of plants you are willing to grow and who you will sell to. Annuals, perennials and vegetable plants are good choices since other varieties may be too risky and high maintenance for a beginner. Find sourcing for this. Do a good mix of flowers and plants to increase your chances of success. You must grow what the market wants to buy. Choose if you will sell retail, wholesale or mail order.
- Determine the type of greenhouse you will build and where. Glass and polyethylene each have their pros and cons and will affect your cost. The area where you live will also play a factor. Make sure you comply with the zoning laws, you have enough land and your location is accessible. Construction will take about 3 months depending on the size.
- It is probably best to start small and build your business as it grows. It will require less capital and will teach you the ropes of the business as you go along.
Proper planning and execution should take at least 6 months. Act carefully and ask for help from different resources if you need it. You can be successful in the greenhouse business.