Stuppy Greenhouse Blog

Where to Begin When starting a Commercial Greenhouse

Posted by Phil Bishop on May 31, 2016 12:45:44 PM

     In short, the below list is a start to forming the ideas you have into an actionable and analytical plan.  This list is geared towards people wanting to start a commercial greenhouse.  Several other posts will follow helping to guide the decision processes as you move toward starting a vegetable greenhouse.  While you fill out the list, give yourself the freedom to explore all ideas and answers.  Analyze and build on what makes sense for your situation, taking into account your capabilities, your team’s talents and the markets needs and wants.   

  • Why are you starting a business?
    • Can you point to and express the reason you are starting a business?
    • What is your passion?
      • Passion can be for the product, solving a problem for the customer, building a business etc.
    • Need Help? Try watching Simon Sinek – Your Why?
  • What is your angle – what problem are you solving for your customers?
  • Who’s buying your product? Who are your customers
    • What do they want?
    • Do they not yet know what they want?
    • How do they buy?
    • Where do they buy?
    • What are their expectations?
    • What are they trying to solve, their pain?
  • What competition do you have?
    • What can you learn from them?
    • Where are they falling short?
    • How can you improve what they do?


  • What is your business outlet and why? (Retail, wholesale, CSA, farmers market or a combination)
    • Does your processes match the way you will be selling/the way your customers buy?
      • CSA logistics vs Wholesale logistics
      • When will you receive payments?
        • Paid upfront for the whole season vs paid at time of exchanging product vs 30,60 or 90 days for them to pay
          • Does your cash flow plan match the accounts receivable timing?
  • What is your differentiator?
    • Price competition is a tough game
    • What is your products value to the customer?
    • Perceived value vs real value
    • How will you compete?
  • Are there non-traditional ways to expand your market reach?
    • Growing multiple types of plants
      • Vegetable and ornamental
      • Several types of vegetables
        • Lettuce and tomatoes etc.
        • Exotic, high value crops
      • Expand into other markets
        • Contract grow starts for other growers etc.
  • Market Size – Do your goals and market size match?
    • Do you have the facility and manpower to reach your revenue goals?
      • X needed to break even, Y max output, is it possible.
    • Do you have the greenhouse space needed or planned to break even or make a profit?
    • Are there existing customers or buyers lined up or contracts in place?
      • Can you sell your product before you’ve grown it?
      • Grow small harvests and take them to the buyers and show them the quality.
    • What can be done if the production volume, revenue minimum and market size don't match up?
  • Starting Funding
    • Investors/loans vs organically growing?
    • How will you fund the expansion/start-up?
  • How will the market know about you? What are your plans for gaining traction?
    • Advertising, blogging, Social Media, kickoff events, emails, mailers
    • In store promotion
    • PR – media release
  • What does success look like for you?
    • How will you measure success?
    • How will you track success?
    • What data guides the measurement of success?
  • Do you have set:
    • Growing projections
    • Revenue projections
    • Cost of doing business vs revenue projections
  • Sales and Marketing
    • Sales process
      • What is the process for selling?
      • Is it repeatable?
    • Advertising, PR, Social Media, Content Creation, Branding
    • Where do your customers hangout?
    • Does the market currently want your product?
      • Meaning, do you have to market to them and convince or prime the buyers?
  • Do you have a business plan? The above questions build the basis of a business plan.
    • Goals
    • Purpose
    • How you will execute
    • Resources

     Follow this series of posts based around 'Starting a Greenhouse'.  We will cover the site of the greenhouse, building codes, permiting, utilites, construction, work flow and much more.  If this was helpful please pass it along!

What Greenhouse is Ideal for you? Click Here


Topics: greenhouse financing, greenhouse labor, greenhouse market, commercial greenhouse, greenhouse money, new greenhouse

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