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How to start and operate a greenhouse business

Before you make any real decisions on starting a commercial greenhouse business, you should be well informed on what's involved. Not to scare anyone, but, all business ventures have a risk factor. Commercial greenhouse businesses are known for being risky. The list below outlines some helpful pointers to help you get started at operating a successful greenhouse business.

HydroponicSearch.com has one of the most extensive list of books on starting a greenhouse business or how to operate a commercial greenhouse business. These books will provide vital information for anyone thinking of starting their own greenhouse business and are highly recommended.

* A business plan
* Sufficient capital
* A solid production system
* Experience with operating greenhouse equipment and supplies
* A good location
* Good people skills

If you lack any of the requirements listed above, consider hiring someone who can fill in the void. All the elements listed are highly recommended to ensure your greenhouse business runs smoothly and become successful. Lets take a more in-depth look at the requirements listed above.

A business plan
The greenhouse industry can be highly competitive. This is generally due to your business's location and/or product/plants you cultivate. Prior experience growing plants in a commercial greenhouse production will give you valuable insight and will help you along the way, espically when it's time to make critical business or technical decisions.

Of course a beginner could very well be successful at launching their own successful greenhouse business, however, the process may be much smoother with a little experience. If you feel confident that you can start and operate a successful greenhouse business, outline a solid business plan to get started.

A business plan is a systematic evaluation of your business's chances of success, a way to determine your risk factors, a managerial plan, a tool for comparing actual and targeted results and a useful tool for acquiring investment capital.

Sufficient capital
A greenhouse business will need the required equipment(s) to establish the growing environment. Commercial greenhouse businesses can be costly to start-up, even the most basic structures. Greenhouse equipment required may include frame, covering materials, ventilation systems, irrigation, electricity, nutrient injection system, pH/E.C/TDS controllers, environmental computer/controller, Co2 and irrigation control, pesticide application equipment, crop support system and High Intensity Discharge lighting.

In addition to the main growing environment, a good greenhouse business will also have support buildings for storage and shipping of crops and a staff room or office. You also want to have a crop starter environment and a finishing environment.

The initial capital required to start a greenhouse business is usually the first and most difficult obstacle most entrepreneurs have to hurdle in order to get started. If all goes well, operations will make a return on investment as the resale value is only a fraction of the initial investment.

A solid production system
The type of equipment that will be utilized in your greenhouse will vary depending on the type(s) of crops you decide to produce. For example, vegetables are typically grown in a soilless medium such as rockwool. A good hydroponics system for greenhouse vegetables are Nutrient Film Technique (NFT) because of the level of control over growing conditions.

Ask your equipment supplier for recommendations on production equipment that will be ideal for your particular crops.

Experience with operating greenhouse equipment and supplies
Having a background in the greenhouse industry will be highly beneficial. Knowing how to operate greenhouse equipment will be essential in growing commercial quality crops, regardless if your growing flowers or vegetables.

Greenhouse production equipment can be highly complex, not only to operate, but to install and maintain as well. Should you experience system failure from one of the many components required to operate a greenhouse, knowing how to repair the problem yourself could prove to be a big money saver, as well as saving your crops by assessing the problem immediately.

A good location
Things to consider when deciding on a location to open your greenhouse business includes much more than just owning a large size piece of land. - Entrepreneurs have to consider operational costs such as heating. Natural Gas is the most efficient fuel for heating a greenhouse. The cost per BTU is less than oil or propane and is an important factor since heating may account for up to 35% of your total operating cost.

1. Using natural gas to heat your greenhouse will probably save you money on equipment maintenance problems. If natural gas is available at your greenhouse location, you would normally only pay for the cost of connecting the boiler room to the boilers/heaters.

2. A constant supply of fresh water is crucial to the success of a greenhouse business. The water supply should be analyzed for a full range of criteria from a reputable lab. This would include testing for Total Salts, pH and bicarbonate levels.

3. A 3-phase power supply is more efficient than a single phase.

4. An on-site generator will be an important equipment to have on hand incase of interruption of hydro supply.

5. The type of soil available at your greenhouse business's location may be of importance if you're considering planting crops directly in the ground. Soil fertility and good drainage would be ideal in such instances.

6. Because the need for input from outside sources is a constant requirement, being close to your suppliers will make accessibility easier in case of equipment failure or when you need supplies quickly. Greenhouse businesses in remote regions will experience delays in repair service and arrival of supplies.

7. Being close to your customers will be a good thing for any greenhouse business. Communications and relationships between wholesalers and growers/suppliers tend to be better when they are within close proximity of each other. Produce tends to be fresher for the consumer as well.

Good people skills
Getting your greenhouse constructed and fully functional is only half of the process to running a successful greenhouse business. Having good people skills is the next half of the equation. You will have to build good relationships with wholesalers and equipment suppliers. Knowing how to communicate with your customers and suppliers will be a vital asset.

Secrets to a successful Greenhouse The commercial greenhouse

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HydroponicSearch.com has one of the most extensive list of books on starting a greenhouse business or how to operate a commercial greenhouse business. These books will provide vital information for anyone considering starting their own greenhouse business and are highly recommended. Click here to browse the list.

This article courtesy of www.hydroponicsearch.com

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