Starting a nursery

Discussion in 'Nurseries and Growers' started by meets1, Mar 30, 2011.

  1. meets1

    meets1 LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,756

    Hey guy I am thinking of starting a small nursery. I already am landscaping/mowing/chemical/fert company. It is time to expand and move on in the market.

    I have a few contacts set up but this is not an overnight deal.

    My question is something small but yet decent, how miuch space is needed? I would like to have rock, mulch (bulk and bagged), greenhouse, shrubs, office and maybe a new shop on location.

    Also what are your thoughts on start-up cost - - - greenhouse, plant materail. Loaded question but ballpark me!
     
  2. meets1

    meets1 LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,756

    So many lookers but nothing?
     
  3. allinearth

    allinearth LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 609

    It's a hard road. People don't love local businesses anymore. They fail to support their local economy. Seems to me most are shopping the big boxes thinking they are getting the cheapest price. Right now I would not do it. Remember once you get your plant stock, it has to be watered, weeded, fert. and it doesn't wait for when you have time.
     
  4. jhouchins

    jhouchins LawnSite Member
    from East TN
    Posts: 182

    I have a friend who owns a small nursery and a landscape company and he has about 1/2 acre and he is using every square inch but is always busy and is doing very well. He caters more to the professional landscaper than the home owner. He gives licensed landscapers a 15% discount and is very helpful and it has gotten hisself a pretty good nitche in our community. He said it cost him about 30k to start it up. He has been in business now for 17 years.

    I say just research it, talk to competitors, ask what struggles they had, and put a plan on paper.

    Good luck.
     
  5. Fordsuvparts

    Fordsuvparts LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 518

    I would think long and hard before getting into the greenhouse and nursery business in this current economy, it is a unpredictable business, with major ups and downs. You have to pay up front for everything, water and fertilizer are expensive, having to have some one there just about 24 - 7 to load and to sell hour goods. You will have to have at least one skid loader or tractor that never leaves that location to load, not to mention a dump truck to haul in and deliver your much and gravel. the paper work for the state to sell live nursery is tough in some states

    , and most people don't care about quality, they want the price at Lowe's or Wal-Mart
    Posted via Mobile Device
     
  6. jhouchins

    jhouchins LawnSite Member
    from East TN
    Posts: 182

    That shouldn't be hard to beat. They are way over priced.

    Also if you have your own landscape company and you do quite a bit of installs, just stock primarily what you install. I think you can do it.
     
  7. Fordsuvparts

    Fordsuvparts LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 518

    jhouchins It is pretty obvious you have never tried to run this type of business, being located in TN the nursery capital of US, it is a lot easier than in other area's. I bet your friend doesn't tell you about all of the cost and risk of this business, he probably builds a lot of those cost in to his landscaping business.There are so many hidden cost that you don't see up front that by the time you sit down and run the numbers, you probably made some money, but you could have made more actually installing new landscapes. I forgot to mention the cost of building a building to house your office and to store chemicals and your equipment. I bet he is there 24 -7 during the season, makes for a great family life let me tell you. We started our nursery and greenhouse business mainly to supply plants and tree's for the large commercial installs we were doing, this worked out ok until the market dropped and we got stuck with 100k in plants that had to be cared for over the winter and the scorching summers. We have been doing it for going on 9 years,We have had a few good years and a few great years but also had a few really bad years. This year has started ok but the loses on plants and constant care and payroll are always there.

    I'm just saying be very careful and do you homework before getting into this part of the business. I would advise that you start by selling mulch and pea gravel etc, and if that works out, then you can expand into other area's. Go and really talk to other nursery owners and you will see it is not an easy road to hoe.
     
  8. meets1

    meets1 LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,756

    I here ya - people don't support the local eco like they used to. Walmart is fine and all for us people but they area great dismis to our economy - the business people/owners.
     
  9. allinearth

    allinearth LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 609

    The big boxes don't rely strictly on nursery sales to make a living. They get in when the season is hot and move a lot of material then they dumpwhat they have left. They don't have to make much mark-up. I'm pretty sure that some plants they don't even pay for until they sell. I'm not saying that it can't be done just it isn't as easy as it sounds. Fordsuv has given some good advice and is telling you like it is. Customers will expect you to have certain product and delivery. If you don't have it they won't come back. Your market may be altogether different and you may find a niche to fill though. I was in your shoes exactly a few years back. Wish I would have stayed out of the nursery business to be honest.
     
  10. 94gt331

    94gt331 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Male
    Posts: 1,692

    I myself thought of starting a nursery. I have a small- mid size landscape company like yours. I got sick of paying lots of money to landscape centers week and week out for landscape products that i decided to start my own mulch yard etc. I thought about doing a small nursery also but i heard from so many nurserys that the buisness is really strugeling now so i dedcided against it. Maybe you could buy plants in wholesale cost and sell them to your landscape jobs to make extra money that way. It seems so hard to make money selling plants from a landscape company point of view.
     

Share This Page