These are objectives to investigate and complete as you work towards getting your greenhouse up and running.
Why are you starting a greenhouse/expanding?
- This is a good opportunity to create or update the current business plan. What are your motivations and goals? Is this a hobby house or the start of a business? If you are expanding your current business these may be things you have already run into and will be good reminders of what is to come.
- Accessibility – Can semi trucks get to the property? If it is a retail operation, can they easily get to the location?
- Location/proximity to market?
- Utilities – Is there gas, water and electricity available? What is the cost of getting them installed vs. looking for a different location?
- Future Expansions – Is there enough room to expand as your business grows?
- Amount of grading to be done – Do the site preparations outweigh the cost of the land? Is there a better location with less prep work?
- Building Codes – What codes are in place and can the greenhouse be approved?
- Communications availability (phone, internet, cell reception)
- Is there room for parking, head house/packing house, and other out buildings that may be needed?
- Who’s buying the product? Retail, grocery stores, wholesale distributors, farmers markets, restaurants
- What is the outlet (retail, wholesale, or combo)?
- What competition do you have? What is your differentiator?
- Market Size – Can the market handle your entrance? Can you take market share?
- Does the market currently want your product? Meaning, do you have to market to the consumer?
- Are there existing customers or buyers lined up or contracts in place?
- Where are you getting money? Do you know how much you need in total including operation cost until you have cash flow? What percentage are you putting down?
- Are there grants or tax breaks available? State, county, city or associations
- Are you going to use a bank or Ag lender?
- Is this a new business vs. expansion on existing? The processes will be different
- Lay out all completion dates - these will help you stay on task and on schedule:
o Money in
o Site work done
o Construction start and completion
o Final walkthrough
o Plants/material arrival
o Growing started
o First crop completion
- What is the amount of time to grade the land, run utilities, build the structure and start growing your first crop?
- What is the amount of time till first harvest?
- That time frame do you have to complete the checklist items?
- How long will it take to have the building codes, permits and Zoning approved?
- Do you have a supplier for growing material? i.e., fertilizers, growing media, seeds/cuttings, soil and water analysis
- Office supplies supplier
- Maintenance material for equipment
- Building yourself
- Hired basic construction
- Hired turnkey construction
- Concrete vs. gravel in the greenhouse?
- Site prep needed?
- Utilities available?
- Road access existing?
- Zoning for Ag
- Building permits
- Building codes
- Time table for getting these approved?
- Knowledge of growing your crop?
- Consultants available for questions?
- Growing styles and systems to be used?
- Time frame of production turns match up with planned/expected number of turns?
- Is a full time grower needed?
- Future expansion expected?
- Size? Does your growing layout needed to meet sales goals fit into a greenhouse that fits your budget?
- Equipment needed?
- Insect exclusion?
- Is the head house attached to the greenhouse?
- Is extra support needed for vine crops?
Each business venture is different from the next. This list will hopefully cover most of your objectives needing to be addressed for your business. When it comes time for planning Stuppy is happy to help. We can offer help by discussing your business objectives and working with you in designing a greenhouse that fits your overall goals. Don't leave your greenhouse to chance by hoping a "kit" will be sufficient, design your greenhouse to work.