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Thread: business

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    mississippi
    Posts
    66

    business

    Doe anyone here have the backyard nursery? If so what plants do you recommend and how long do you grow them before you sell them? I have some things rooting for spring 03, is there anything I can grow that doesn't take years ( or seasons) to grow before they are saleable. Thanks



    Kassy - Also is there anyone who could be a mentor to me that is in my zone (8). Someone that sells not just plants for a hobby. I really want to make this work, really sick of my JOB!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2002
    Location
    upstate NY zone 4
    Posts
    40
    Hi Kassy,
    If you are really serious about this, and it sounds as if you are perhaps you should consider working part time in a Nursery or Greenhouse to get a "feel" for the business. I think most everyone on the forum will agree that it is hard work. I too am trying to start a nursery business while working full time at my job, I had a five year plan to make the transition and you wouldn't believe how many times it has changed. I am still focused on the Nursery business but it has taken me much longer to accomplish the goal than I imagined. I think more important than quick start-up is product knowledge; Take your time, learn all you can about what you are growing and selling. Once you have gained some experience and knowledge the whole process becomes manageable. One other thing; If there is a Master Gardner program in your area sign up and take the course The course work is geared to your zone and the volunteer work will give you valuable experience
    Good luck!
    Mike

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    Location
    Newport, RI/Richmond, RI
    Posts
    70
    Well, I'm in the startup phase, myself. I have chosen to take the "little bit at a time" approach, so I will not be in full-time (money-wise) business for a few years now. I had a few false starts, but now, I am confident that I am going to move forward. In reality, it is harder to do it this way. It takes longer, it is harder to recognize the signs of success, it requires great planning and focus, and some other stuff. In my situation, though, it doesn't require a lot of start-up money. I'm not sure what you do for a living, but if you really hate your job and want out, get out. There are other jobs, and working a crappy one brings you down in all other aspects of your life, including your new startup nursery side-job. If you know business, that part is basically the same. Planning, accounting, purchases and sales occur in any business. If you really want to jump head-first into this business, your best bet would be to find an existing small retail nursery for sale, and buy it. If that isn't possible, your next best option would be to start your own small retail nursery. Of course, both of these options require some money and risk. If you don't have experience with business, I would be inclined to agree with Mike. Also, you may want to go take a few business classes at your local college. Also, I would look to see if there is a master gardener program in your area. Good luck.

    Bill Gauch.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    mississippi
    Posts
    66
    Thanks everyone. I have checked into the master gardener program. It is giving during the day, while I am at work. But they are considering a night program. I guess I will have to wait and see. As for as hard work, can't be any harder than what I already do. I work for a trophy and sign shop. We build trophies, 1,000's at a time. I make signs, banners, up to a sign 4' x 30'. We make plaques, you name it. I order inventory, I check out customers and I handle the money at the end of the day. We also have 3 websites we build for and ship all over the world. Oh we also build not just for our store but a second store the boss owns. We also put away inventory. HEAVY! Cases and cases of real marble used for the bottom of the trophy. We do all of this in the winter with little heat ( space heaters) and in the summer with NO AIR, We also have only me and one other employee full time and a partime person who comes in ever so often. I have been there 7 years, not for the fun of it but it is the best money around. We dress the way we want, we can eat all day (bad thing), take off when we need and no docked pay, 2 weeks paid vacation, christmas bonus. Things that make it not so worthwile, no insurance, and we make him RICH!

    As far as working for a nursery. we now only have one and they have people that have worked there for years. Any other nurseries are 35 to 40 miles away. The only other competition here is wallyworld. Which their plants are awful sometime. We don't have a K-Mart , it shut down. But we do have people who love plants. My town is about 75,000. Lowes, Home Depot are in a town 40 miles away. We have dollar stores and they only carry the cheap yard decor. We don't have any really nice garden centers here.

    I don't really want to jump in head first. I don't have a lot of money to spend. Friends have given me cuttings galore. I have been given 5 huge ferns. I really want this to be a home business. We a close enough to town , people will drive.

    I am interested in knowing what plants or flowers sell best. should I just worry with bushes, or should I worry with flowers. We do have a local nursery that is wholesale (herbs and perinnials)

    I have a green house, plenty of space I also own a 30' x 60' building I can use if needed.


    Thanks
    Kassy

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
    Location
    Zone 9a - Gulf Coast
    Posts
    9,934
    Kassy,


    Thanks for letting us know more about your situation and your market. It sounds like you really do have a lot of opportunity.

    As you know, the market for plants is year around here. By far, the biggest market is in bedding plants, but there are times of the year when perennials, trees and shrubs sell quite heavily.

    It sounds to me like you are wanting to sale retail rather than wholesale, and if that is the case, I would think that you would want to have a variety of plants available. Also, since your town is relatively small, you will want to take repeat customers into consideration.

    My first suggestion would be to call or visit your local cooperative extension agency. They deal quite extensively with our local nurseries here, but since you don't have many, they may have to refer you to someone in another city close to you.

    In any event, they should be able to direct you to someone who can give you information on market studies including time to market in some instances as well as information regarding different types of plants in relation to their ease and/or difficulty in growing as well as any known diseases or viruses.

    As far as which specific plants sell best here, there are many and the market demand seems to change every year. Persian Shield is a marginally hardy hebaceous shrub which gained a lot of popularity in the last year. Consequently, every store stocked up heavily on them and as the supply met the demand, the price dropped on them drastically.

    Osteospermum also went like hot cakes this past year, and it remains to be seen whether they will be as popular next year and what the supply will be. The reason that I question this one is that Oteospermum doesn't like our extreme heat and heavy rains, but you are a little farther north of me, so a bit cooler. Beware of patents on some of the varieties. If you look really carefully, you can find a similar plant that is very close in appearance that is not patented. These are quite easy to start from seed, and once started, you can take cuttings. Osteospermum are also marginally hardy here, so in a really harsh winter, they may not survive in the ground despite heavy mulching.

    With flowering perennials, you might want to take into consideration the bloom time which I believe has been mentioned already. There are many that are everblooming, but everblooming might mean they bloom profusely in the spring and fall and a little in the summer as is the case with my everblooming antique roses.

    I would steer clear of poinsettas in the winter. The wholesale nursery located directly behind me sells bedding plants most of the year, and Poinsettas in the winter. In my conversations with him, he regrets the Poinsetta part because they can be difficult to manage. Unfortunately, he purchased an already existing nursery business and is reluctant to change products.

    I hope many others can add to this...
    Ann B.
    Zone 9a
    Gulf Coast


  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Location
    Santee-Cooper Lakes, South Carolina
    Posts
    94

    getting started in this business

    Kassey

    There is lots of information on the net about getting started.

    http://www.attra.org/attra-pub/nursery.html

    http://www.ca.uky.edu/HLA/Dunwell/NLgetstart.html

    http://www.freeplants.com

    http://www.ext.vt.edu/pubs/greenhous...4/430-104.html

    http://www.ces.ncsu.edu/depts/hort/n...al/topic1.html

    these are just a few sites. Check out the free stuff before you buy anything.

    the best thing about this business I think is the ability to do it your own way. There are so many choices

    Retail from your home.

    Grow at home sell at flea market, farmers market etc

    Wholesale

    Grow your own

    Buy from grower, finish and sell.

    They all can be successful -- and you get to define success.
    Jim Lang

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    Posts
    598

    SBA

    Hi Kassy,

    As with most Government organizations, the SBA has it's shortcommings, but they do sponsor a group called the
    SERVICE CORPS of RETIRED EXECUTIVES (SCORE):
    These are retired business people who know a lot of stuff, and depending on how active they are in your area, they may assign you a mentor to help you work your way through the start-up, and management stages of you business.

    In addition, there are some guidelines available at the SBA site:
    SBA - Starting Your Business Main Page
    http://www.sba.gov/starting/

    Now, I'm not saying that this will replace a formal education or years of experience, but there may be some points that will help you break into the business world. Take a look, let us know what you think.
    Tom W
    Aching Back Farm

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
    Location
    Zone 9a - Gulf Coast
    Posts
    9,934
    Thanks, Jim!

    Kassy,

    Here is one that I use a lot...

    http://www.aces.edu

    Then do a google search on 'nursery production', also, 'greenhouse', and many other terms related to the industry. You will pick up more of them as you read...

    It's awfully cold today and going to be even colder the next few days, so a good time for searching and reading....

    I'm trying to work outside, but having to come in to warm my fingers... Jim, I think I need to find my gloves! I do have some gardening gloves around here somewhere, but I think this damp, cold wind calls for heavy, leather ones!

    Having FUN, I think, I WISH~
    Ann B.
    Zone 9a
    Gulf Coast


  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
    Location
    Zone 9a - Gulf Coast
    Posts
    9,934

    Hey, Tom!

    That is a new one for me...

    Thanks!
    Ann B.
    Zone 9a
    Gulf Coast


  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    northeast Tennessee
    Posts
    1,703

    business

    Hi Kassy. I feel the same way you do about working hard and putting the money in someone else's pocket. I am down to part time now and hoping next year I can quit.
    We have a small greenhouse and nursery business. Right now we sell mostly at shows and farmers market. We raise herbs,perennials, trees and shrubs. If your wholesaler sells only to retailers and not the public you might want to consider this.
    I buy some bedding plants and herbs that I don't have time or space to grow to sell in the spring until my herbs and perennials are ready to ssell. This doesn't usually make as much profit but it is quick and gives you a good variety of plants to start with, plus your turnover is pretty quick.
    I do buy and lafter the spring rush start a lot of perennials from seed to grow up for the next year. This gives me a lot of new plants and variety for the next season. Some of them are ready by fall, which is the best time to plant perennials. I plant a few in my "mother garden" to divide, take cuttings and collect seed from.
    Our "mother garden" is a collection of small trees. shrubs,herbs and perennial flowers.
    If doesn't sound like you have much competition nearby so you should do very well. I wouldn't get too extravagent til you get going pretty good, just try to offer a good variety. You can beat the prices of the big boxes and probably the nurseries in the larger town. I just try to be honest with my customers and if I don't know the answer to a question I tell them so and them find the answer for them.
    Good luck to you and hope something here helps.
    tennessee sue

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
    Location
    Zone 9a - Gulf Coast
    Posts
    9,934
    Thank you, Sue, for your open and honest response! Your willingness to share your real life experiences means a lot to me, and I am sure it does to others as well!

    Welcome to Landspro!
    Ann B.
    Zone 9a
    Gulf Coast


  12. #12
    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    Location
    Newport, RI/Richmond, RI
    Posts
    70
    My advice on what to grow is that you should grow(buy) as much of what sells and little of what doesn't. The reason I include "buy" in that statement, is that some things are not worth growing, but are worth selling. Around here, the best example is pansies. The sell like hot cakes. Every garden center, road stand, hardware store, supermarket, etc. has them for sale in front of the building in the early spring. No one around here who sells them, grows them though, because they need a lot of them and they are so cheap. Even if they sell them for cost or slightly less, they are worth having. When someone stops in to get pansies, they also buy some herbs, perennials, trees, shrubs, etc. All that being said, if you really want to know what sells well, just walk into any full-service nursery any month of the year and see what is on their benches. What ever they are growing in quantity, you should grow too, because that is what sells. Everything else is just variety. You can grow a few of some things that you don't see, but for the first few years, I would keep that to a minimum. Also, you want to figure out what you are going to do in the off season. Around here, many people drive oil trucks or plows, but some take part-time jobs. You probably don't have snow, and you probably don't have much down time, but its something to consider. Just my thoughts.

    Bill Gauch.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    mississippi
    Posts
    66
    Thanks, As for snow. We had some the last 2 years. Only long enough to say it snowed. We really don't have alot of down time. I thought very much about trash to treasure gardening. Getting things ready for spring. Make stuff for christmas. I love to craft also. So I am going to try and combine the 2. Do more crafts in the down time and plants during the up times. I love to rummage and redo things. My husband is a construction worker and my father is an electrian. So they fix stuff I find. What do you do on your down time?


    Thanks
    Kassy

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    Location
    Newport, RI/Richmond, RI
    Posts
    70
    Hmm, what do I do on my down time... Oh wait, I don't have any down time. Between working full-time as a software engineer, trying to start a nursery, and housework, my down time usually amounts to a few hours of TV watching, eating and sleeping. If all goes as planned, though, I will be working full-time and doing the nursery thing part-time. When my wife finishes school this year, she will start working full time so we can get a house. At that point, I will start to shift the nursery thing full time and the software thing part time, and then, hopefully, start having kids. So I fugure, buy about June 2029, or so, I should have plenty of down time. Ask me again then.

    Bill Gauch.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Location
    Santee-Cooper Lakes, South Carolina
    Posts
    94
    Kassy

    This is what we do in our down time. When we are not here we have other lives. Seriously, the great thing about this business/hobby is you can engage at the level you choose and do what you want.

    Jim Lang
    Jim Lang

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