Looking for a way to make money from your greenhouse?
I hear you. Running a greenhouse can be costly. You'll not only have to invest a good chunk of cash buying one, but you'll also have to maintain it. In addition, lighting, heating, and growing your greenhouse can cost a considerable amount of money.
Fortunately, there are several ways that you can turn your hobby greenhouse into a fully-fledged business.
Maybe you want to recoup your investment and cover the monthly cost of owning a greenhouse. Or perhaps your goal is to turn your hobby greenhouse into a full-time source of income.
Regardless of your goals, we'll go over the different options you have when it comes to making money with your greenhouse.
1. Sell young plants, a.k.a Spring Plugs.
Help your customers skip the painful phase of growing seeds by selling them strong, healthy young plants.
The idea is that you grow plants from seeds in 36- or 72-plug flats. Then, once they've grown, you can place them in a pot and sell the young plants in spring.
For this business model, take the time to figure out what plants your garden center sells. Find the current market trends. See if there are any rare plant varieties you might be able to sell at a premium price.
You'll also want to figure out how much these plants are selling so you can price your plants competitively.
2. Market to restaurants
Talk to your local restaurants and see if they can buy local produce or fresh flowers for their tables.
You can target local restaurants by growing herbs and vegetables. Many restaurants will be happy to pay a premium for organically grown produce and fresh vegetables such as baby carrots.
Your local restaurants may also be interested in buying colorful flowers, such as orchids and carnations, for their dining area. In some cases, these places will be happy to pay a monthly fee to have fresh flowers delivered to their business.
For this business model, make sure to take the time to talk to the local chefs. Find out what they are looking for, how much do they need, and when.
3. Grow for display
Besides restaurants, other local businesses may also be interested in buying flowers from you.
Many businesses like to have fresh flowers for display and will be happy to pay for them regularly. They may also want to give flowers to their employees for special occasions or simply to show a token of appreciation.
Make sure to take the time to find out what these businesses are looking for, how much do they need. Also, if you're growing flowers to target special occasions, you may need to keep a significant amount of flowers in your stock year-round.
4. Sell to corner stores and minimarkets.
Talk to corner stores and minimarket owners and see if they are interested in selling your plants. Don't be discouraged if they don't sell flowers yet. Just ask and see what they have to say. Profit is profit. And if there's a market for your product, there's little reason for them to say no.
Before committing, make sure you can grow enough inventory to keep up with the demand. You must be consistent with keeping your business partners from being disappointed.
5. Start a Youtube Channel
If you love helping people and don't mind being in front of the camera, consider starting a Youtube Channel.
You can create helpful videos, teaching people how to build, grow and maintain their greenhouse. This is a great way to share your skills and passion with your community.
Once you get enough views and subscribers, the sky's the limit.
You can monetize your channel through display ads. Or you can sell tutorials and other digital products targeted to those interested in learning about what you do.
6. Start a blog
If you love helping people but are camera shy, then blogging might be for you.
Similar to starting a Youtube channel, blogging allows you to share what you know with your community. You can write about topics that teach people how to build, grow and maintain their greenhouse.
Once you have enough blog posts, you'll notice more people come to your website. And once you get that website traffic, you can start monetizing your website in a variety of ways.
Some of the most popular ways you can monetize a blog are through display ads and affiliate marketing.
Affiliate marketing allows bloggers to make money by recommending a product or service to their readers. If a website visitor clicks on your link, you'll get a commission.
You can also monetize your blog by selling digital products. For example, you can sell tutorials, e-books, and other digital products targeted to those interested in learning about what you do.
Finally, you can use your blog to sell your flowers and produce them online. A website also allows your customer to find you quickly, making it a fantastic marketing tool.
7. Grow for weddings
Weddings are huge for many florists. And it can be very lucrative.
Weddings tend to be expensive. And it's not hard to convince a bride and groom to buy from you if it means they'll save money. If your cost is lower than a national florist, you may be able to capture many clients in your area.
8. Propagate your stock
Another way to make money with your greenhouse is by propagating plants. Just be sure not to propagate ones that are patented.
Plant propagation allows you to create new plants. You can do this in one of two ways: sexual and asexual.
Sexual propagation involves uniting pollen and egg from two parents to create a new plant.
Asexual propagation involves taking a part of one parent plant, such as stems, roots, or leaves, and using it to create a new plant. The new plant will be genetically identical to its parent.
Between these two methods, sexual propagation is cheaper and quicker. But asexual propagation may be easier to do, depending on the species.
One idea is to propagate chrysanthemums. They are relatively easy to propagate with root cuttings. You can place chrysanthemums in a pot and sell them in the fall season.
9. Grow specialty plants
Study the markets and see if you can find a niche you want to specialize in.
Because you have a greenhouse, you have more flexibility on what you can grow. In addition, a greenhouse provides a controlled climate, so you can plant warm-season vegetables and exotic plants, even if you live in colder areas.
For example, you might grow cactus in Canada. Or you might specialize in rare, edible plants.
You can also sell rare orchids.
You can also grow crops that would not be available at certain times in the year. Once a specific crop becomes out of season, it becomes easier to market and sells them.
Popular demand varies depending on your location, so make sure to consider that before choosing the type of crop to grow.
10. Give tours
If you have a large enough greenhouse, consider hosting a local tour. This business model is great for those with a decent-sized, double-door greenhouse.
Just make sure to brush up on laws in your area. For example, specific locations may not allow bringing busloads of people to a neighborhood. There may also be restriction fees on how much money you can collect.
How to make a business plan for your greenhouse?
1. Decide on a business model.
The first step into starting a business is deciding what kind of business you want to start. To find the right fit, consider profitability and your budget. It's also important to consider what interests you the most and what you can see yourself doing for a long period.
Consider how much time you're willing to invest. Ask yourself how much time do you have to grow and maintain your greenhouse. Also, consider how much time you have for your marketing, selling, and delivering your product.
It's also important to set goals and consider your time horizon for the business. Ask yourself where do you see your business five, ten years from now. And if that goal is within possibility.
Get a clear picture of where you want your business to go, then execute.
2. Calculate Your Expenses
Estimate how much capital investment you'll need to start. And how much capital you'll need to invest each year. Keep necessary expenses in mind, such as business licenses, legal fees, sales taxes, advertising, etc.
Here is a list of expenses you'd want to keep in mind for maintaining your greenhouse:
The cost of your greenhouse
- Insect control
- Fungicide control
- Containers for your produce and growing
- Potting soil
- Seeds and propagation materials
You also need to consider other business expenses such as:
- A professional website
- Marketing and advertising
- Business cards.
- Fees and wages
- Legal and accounting fees
3. Calculate your expected profit
Once you've calculated your expected expenses and market price for your product, it's to calculate projected profits. Don't skip this part. It's vital to know how much you'll be making to know if this business venture is worth your while.
4. Become a business
Once you are clear on what business model you want to pursue, the next step is to become a business.
That means naming your business and getting your business licensed. You may be able to skip getting a business license in the initial phase of your business. But, once your business grows, it's vital that you get an LLC and tax ID.
Another thing you should consider is opening a business checking account. This will make it easier for you to separate business expenses from your day-to-day expenses. It will also make life easier for you when tax season comes.
5. Find your customers
Plan out how you plan to market your business.
You can advertise through local newspapers or by selling by mail. You can also use more modern methods such as social media and a website.
Having a social media account is a great way to update your customers on your stock availability and any discounts you offer.
Having a website not only helps you gain visibility but it also helps bolster your credibility.
Consider holding sample tastings for your potential customers or people who can market your business for you, such as influencers and food writers.
Don't underestimate the power of word of mouth. Ask your customers to leave a review online or share their experience with their friends and family. As long as you provide reliable and quality products, a testimonial from one customer can go a long way.
No matter which route of advertising you choose, make sure to factor it into your budget.