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Thinking about selling flowers next spring

Discussion in 'General Industry Discussions' started by dschmaus, May 20, 2007.

  1. dschmaus

    dschmaus LawnSite Member
    Messages: 64

    I started my landscaping company last year and things are going well. We have a six acre mini farm on a well traveled road. My wife has been a green thumb all her life. She doesn't work outside of the house. We were thinking about setting up a good size tent and selling flats of flowers, bags of mulch, hanging baskets. I would run it under my landscaping business. The goal would be

    1. My wife would enjoy it.
    2. Create extra income
    3. improve visibility for my landscape company
    4. Create leads for new installs

    The things running through my head are.

    1. re-sale license
    2. Wholesale hanging baskets
    3. Wholesale flowers
    4. irrigation
    5. tent.

    Can anyone comment on this.. Any help or direction would be great. Or thoughts... positive or negative
  2. 1MajorTom

    1MajorTom Former Moderator
    Messages: 6,073

    I moved this over to the general green industry forum, where I think more members may see it.
    One thing I have to ask, how will you prevent theft? Will you each evening haul the hanging baskets, flats, mulch etc, back to your place? Or will it be secure there by the roadside? I think that would be one concern if it was me.
  3. huh

    huh LawnSite Senior Member
    from Lubbock
    Messages: 251


    there is not a chance you will undersell the big retailers...that is a fact because they use plants as a loss leader and often sell for under production cost


    you have to beat them on quality and knowledge.....knowledge is the easy part.....it is easy to buy quality....but harder to keep it (often where the big boxes fail).....you will need to keep a TIGHT hold on plant inventory and have as little loss as possible....you will need to buy JUST enough to beable to sell yet not have plants become stretched, pot bound, diseased, or infested with insects before they are sold

    you need to consider where to hold them and what that will cost....heat in the winter is a KILLER....yet having plants early (i think big box has their plants 3-4 weeks too early per season) for the comming season is how you stop traffic.....so where do you hold the begonias if a late frost hits like this year....where do you have the pansies and kale to keep it out of the heat before the seasons kick in

    i can see it working well with a small inventory and you pulling from "stock" to do your installations....so perhaps you get a break for buying a bit more volume and you keep the inventory turning....holding inventory is death....more water, more care, and eventually it is overgrown, lost its bloom, or ugly for some reason....then it will not sell....even at half price

    no one that buys flowers for their yard gets half-ass plants for half price....just like no one calls and says hey swing by and do a half-ass job on my yard for cheap...they may want cheap, but you know they still want the best job (they are just cheap)

    shade in the full summer will cut the water requirement, but plants can stretch faster with shade

    water DEEP...it takes time to water even a few flats of plants....go to bigbox and see the results of "slinging water".....continuously stressed plants that fade before their time....you will need ground cloth

    moving plants over and over is death....the peddle truck needs to be able to get right to where you want them unloaded and placed....and the same with loading for customers.....moving stuff around is time and money and effort...keep it to a minimum

    to sum it up....make sure you can keep what you have alive AND LOOKING GOOD.....minimize loss......churn churn churn inventory...know what you sell and sell what you know.....keep "moving and rearranging" to a MIN...be prepared to beat back even brief changes in climate....late frost or a late heat wave....and water cost money too....money to pump if from a well and even more if off a city line....and a city line has the chlorine issue that can be a problem after a week or so....and you may need a dosmatic or somesuch to fertilize if plants are there over 4-5 days
  4. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,653

    Look man, in my own yard I have Azaleas, Boxwoods, and Roses...

    For many years I've dabbled in expanding to selling this stuff, and they are right about you won't underbid or even match most retailers, so your best bet would be to check into preening. Get yourself a small greenhouse and grow your own, just have to buy one of each at a store someplace or use what you already have, then you can reproduce them yourself, and you really don't even need a greenhouse just have an area in your own yard tilled up or however you want to do it, and grow your own.

    You could also buy plants at Home Depot prices when they're on sale (like 30-50% or more off), then sell at or near greenhouse price, that might work as well but again you'll have to put them in the ground and wait until they're back in season to get the right price, so the trick here is timing. And, you could preen those and make 2 of every one and (hopefully) increase your profit further.

    You can make as many as you want, and if nothing else comes of it, at least your own yard will look wonderful.

    You don't have to worry about resale per se but you do have to worry about sales tax, so your current license will have to include retail sales, thou it might take a few years to get things happening. Because you'll HAVE to know your prices, when they go up, when they come down, how much they sell for, your cost, all this takes time.

    Beyond this, location would be key, don't know what to tell you as far as where it might work better than other places, but I do know location can be and is crucial.
  5. dschmaus

    dschmaus LawnSite Member
    Messages: 64

    Lots to think about. Maybe I find a niche and stick to that... Hosta lets say. Maybe Im not ready yet...
  6. huh

    huh LawnSite Senior Member
    from Lubbock
    Messages: 251

    not trying to discourage you dude it could work

    but I was trying to be realistic from my 3+ years of commercial greenhouse growing

    it could work if you can take good care of the plants and churn the inventory

    with 6 acres I might consider a garden to go with it and sell some produce....then move to a subscription garden service where you drop off a fat sack of fresh, in-season produce to some of your weekly customers
  7. KstateCutter

    KstateCutter LawnSite Member
    Messages: 30

    I like the produce idea to supplement the flowers. A house around here (in the city) sits right on a main road and they sell fresh homegrown tomatoes in late summer. They make a killing just on tomatoes and corn. People will go out of their way after work to drive by this house and buy the produce.

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