As you work through Part 1, it will become apparent that it is going to take a lot of time, not only to work through the initial planning phase but also to put the items into action. This is a short and sweet rundown of the very, very important topic of time management and expectations. Building a time table is the best way to stay on top of your building project as more and more actions are combined. Just as growing crops follows a schedule, building a business needs to be laid out and follow a path of milestones, each milestone building on the last. Questions that we have listed in each of the previous posts and ones to come will have a time factor that will need to be taken into account and tracked.
A typical time table:
- Money raised
- Land is in possession
- Site work and utilities are done
- Construction start, completion and final walkthrough
- Plant/material arrival
- Start growing
- First crop completed
Often we see a lot of focus being given to the “exciting” tasks (the above bulleted list) and not enough on the small details. I understand why, planning and designing a greenhouse is not only a large financial piece but also important as it will be controlling your growing operation. On the other side though it is the less glamorous items that can push your time frame back or even indefinitely sideline the project. Examples being:
- Time between securing funding and actually receiving the money
- Getting approved building codes
- Availability of utility and structure construction crews etc.
- Process of finding, buying/leasing and taking control of land
- Learning your market and creating your marketing and sales plan
Eventually your list will be long and include minor, medium and major items. Be realistic on how long each will take. Know that many items will be in the works at the same time and not based on a cumulative time period. Keep track of where you are on your time table based on your goals. Most importantly, keep working through them. Putting off certain ones till the end may come back to hurt your timeline. Roadblocks will come up but there are always ways around them, they will just take some creative thinking and hard work.
The hardest aspect of tracking the time frame of a greenhouse build is that unforeseen obstacles will pop up. It will happen, good example being weather. Weather doesn’t care if you have a lettuce order due in 8 weeks and you still have 2 weeks until the greenhouse is finished. The only way to head off these setbacks is stay on top of known action items and have some wiggle room for delays. It may be a good idea to add 10-15% onto the expected timeline to cover these delays, but never rely on the wiggle room. You never know when you may want it but not need it and need it when you already used it.
We will be adding onto the list of questions for starting a commercial greenhouse over the next few weeks. This list will be long and thorough, and it may seem overwhelming. There are a lot of action items and research that will need to be done on your behalf but at any point you get stuck feel free to email or call us and we will brainstorm with you to maneuver through the roadblocks.
A quick checklist that may help can be found HERE.