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View Full Version : Business Investment, Nursery , what do ya think?



Joe (SoCal)
07-26-2005, 11:41 AM
Ok I have this Kid well he is about mid 20's incredibly hard working good business sense. He started off doing ANYTHING cut lawns, fix stone walls, cut firewood. Basic landscaping, but you call and he came got the job done and he was cheep. I started to refer him to my high end customers and just basic networking his name about. Doing so I increased his business six fold. He now has two crews and new equipment he incorporated and bonded and insured himself. Like I said I can see he has a head for business. Added benefit from all my referral work is he does all my work for free :D . So he came to me the other day to ask about a commercial rental we have, his idea being to run a full high end Nursery and his landscaping business.

Off the top of my head I think it is a good business plan and I'm tempted to invest and or find investors for him. But I do not have much knowledge about the nursery business and profitability. Im basing my investment choice on investing in the man and the fact that I see a need for such a venture locally.

What are your opinions on this matter. Figuring about $500,000 start up capital. Obviously I could only contribute minimal investment of a few thousand but I like this kid and I think it's a good idea.

Katherine
07-26-2005, 11:43 AM
Is he single? :D

Alan D. Hyde
07-26-2005, 11:46 AM
He'll do better long term, run less risk and incur less stress, if he starts out small and grows the business from its own revenues.

Early mistakes will be smaller--- more affordable--- that way.

And by the time he gets big, he'll know what he's doing---and he won't be in hock to the bankers up to his eyebrows...

Alan

Katherine
07-26-2005, 11:49 AM
What would the $500,000 go for? Plants, Equip, building renovations? Is the site he's looking at equipped to handle a nursery? How long is he projecting being in the red? Most small businesses take a few years to start generating decent profits. Would he sell only to landscapers or be open to the general public as well?

Joe (SoCal)
07-26-2005, 11:51 AM
Originally posted by Katherine:
Is he single? :D And cute smile.gif My wife calls herself the desperate housewife when all the young shirtless boys come and work on my yard :D :D :D He definitely hires some good looking guys LOL :D

Ya might be rite Alan that was ticking in the back of my head. My only thinking was I could be directly responsible for his profitability as I am now with my connections.

Meerkat
07-26-2005, 11:53 AM
One hears that the nursery business has razor thin profits in good years - and there are bad years.

How many other nurseries are there within x miles of his desired location? How prosperous do they look? How many staff? Would records show how many have failed in the area in the past x years?

Another point: would a nursery best serve customer needs in your area? Sounds to me like a high-end gardening service might have some attraction for all those rich folks who won't have time (or interest - they're not all Donn ;) ) to DIY, but want a steller look to their showboat properties. Might potentially create more jobs too. He could have a feeder garden to start all the plants he provides his clients too. Could be considerably more profitable too!

Figure out the substance of what your young friend wants and it will find it's own form. Act in haste and repent at leisure.

Katherine
07-26-2005, 11:54 AM
Joe, would the greenhouse be only seasonal or year round? Who'd be responsible for running the office side? It's sounds like he's busy enough that he'd need to find someone otherwise lots of things would get overlooked. Who would supply his nursery stock? Bad suppliers can kill a company.

Ken Hutchins
07-26-2005, 11:56 AM
On the plus side I THINK it is a high profit business especially if a lot of the plants are started from seed or cuttings. On the negative it is seasonal, in your area probably busy Apr to Oct. but that is good if enough money is made to enjoy the winter off. Another plus is when or if the economy turns bad people will increase their spending on flowers and plants because it makes them feel good. A grand uncle of mine had a roadside vegatable stand during the depression of the 20's and 30's he actually ceased planting veggies and planted more flowers because that was what people were buying. I occasionally have thought of going in this business myself probably should have done it when I was younger.

Joe (SoCal)
07-26-2005, 11:57 AM
Another point: would a nursery best serve customer needs in your area? Sounds to me like a high-end gardening service might have some attraction for all those rich folks who won't have time (or interest - they're not all Donn ) to DIY, but want a steller look to their showboat properties. Might potentially create more jobs too. He could have a feeder garden to start all the plants he provides his clients too. Could be considerably more profitable too!
Thats exactly what he want's to do. And there are NO nurseries of this high end type in the WHOLE TOWNSHIP.

OK I'm off to the water park with Tess :D Soooooo damn hot here Today.

See ya all when I get back.

Katherine
07-26-2005, 11:58 AM
Remember the sunscreen before there's another Lobster Joe and a Lobster Tess to match! :D

Gary E
07-26-2005, 12:04 PM
So he came to me the other day to ask about a commercial rental we have, his idea being to run a full high end Nursery and his landscaping business.
I understand your in an afluent area of the country so this may or may not make sense, but I see the requirements for a Nursery as LAND, and the requirements for the landscape biz as a modest building to keep the equipment in and provide a place where customers come to see what you have for sale.

LOCATION and VISIBILITY of the biz, and renting or leasing the land with a small building makes sense, to me. Does that mean 1/2 mil is needed?

Is that the plan or is it something else?

edit...
THinkin your barn if you had a couple hundred acres to plant on... but the LOCATION and VISIBILITY must be good to draw in the retail customer.

[ 07-26-2005, 01:11 PM: Message edited by: Gary E ]

brad9798
07-26-2005, 01:20 PM
Joe, assuming business is legitimate and mainstream, I ALWAYS invest in the person.

The person, not the plan, will make or break a business. BELIEVE me on that one.

Of course, your due diligence should be done.

Bob Cleek
07-26-2005, 02:44 PM
Well, first he has to focus on what he wants to do. Are you talking about a nursery with growing grounds selling wholesale or wholesale and retail? That calls for cheap land and cheap labor and the right soil and weather.

Or, are you talking about what I'd call, really, a "garden store." Then you can consider high end and low end and so on.

Now, before you go any further, where's the closest Lowe's, Target, Home Depot, and Costco? They will take a huge bite out of any independent retail operation. As for upscale, do they have any chain nurserys near? Smith and Hawkin? Any local chains? The competition is a killer.

This is the West Coast and I am sure things are different (people garden year round, for one thing.) Still, the big operations have just about destroyed the independent retail nursery business out here. Can he sell name brand bare root roses cheaper than Costco? I think not!

The only guys out here making it in the nursery business (as opposed to the landscape maintenance business) are niche producers who are growing their own products. One guy has a good cacti operation. Another has various landscaping plants and trees growing. Another nearby on only about three acres is one of the biggest producers of fragrance roses in the country. Specialization is the only way to compete with the huge leverage the chains now possess. If you don't have a sure fire gimmick, don't do retail these days... That's my two cents worth, anyhow.

Billy Bones
07-26-2005, 03:18 PM
I spent a good bit of time in college wholesale growing and landscraping. The landscraping toted the note for the wholesale operation much of the time. Yet it was the growing that brought the joy to the biz. As with most nurseries, the road crews pay the bills, allowing the owner to play in the greenhouses some of the time.


If you don't have a sure fire gimmick, don't do retail these days... That's my two cents worth, anyhow.Bob has a good point. One really cannot afford to operate a nursery on commercial property. If he is set on a retail operation, one approach might be to rent a small upscale plot to show off and market the green stock, and rent a more suitable agricultural spot to grow where it's cheaper. Good growing operations require noisy machines, ready access to manure sources and lots of water, none of which are cheap or compatible to upscale retail venues.

In other words, if the kid is happy doing the 'scaping thing, he should know that he is in the gravy end of the business.

BTW, we found our greatest profits were in landscaping subdivisions when the went in. We could attack a whole street as the houses were done giving us a good economy of scale.

Good luck to him whatever.

George.
07-26-2005, 04:01 PM
Originally posted by brad9798:


The person, not the plan, will make or break a business. BELIEVE me on that one.

Hear hear.

Other than that: do native-plant landscaping. Do birdscaping. It's the hot thing. Walmart and Costco can't do it. ;)

Joe (SoCal)
07-26-2005, 04:52 PM
Lots of good ideas in this post, thank you. We just got back from the water park. Tess is having a sleep over at one of her friends at the water park so Lisa and I are going out to dinner {yippee were going on a date } I will post when I get back smile.gif

Oh and the water-park had a NEW SLIDE a freaking FOUR story half pipe it was AMAZING. And a wave pool lots of fun :D

http://www.imagestation.com/picture/sraid179/pdd9a01e5bff95b50d5ec3571b5f91feb/f317b728.jpg

Perfect place on a day like today - AND yes we all wore sunscreen but I still got a little more burnt, dang cheep Irish skin.

Nelson
07-26-2005, 04:59 PM
Do you enjoy swimming in other peoples urine?

Joe (SoCal)
07-26-2005, 05:03 PM
Originally posted by Nelson:
Do you enjoy swimming in other peoples urine?Actualy I do I have a high resistance to piss. :D

Meerkat
07-26-2005, 05:04 PM
Originally posted by Nelson:
Do you enjoy swimming in other peoples urine?By now, what you drink out of your home water faucet has been through more than a few people - what's your point?

I'll bet there's enough clorine in that water to stop EVERYTHING dead in it's tracks.

BTW, "peoples" is possesive: "people's" tongue.gif ;)

Nelson
07-26-2005, 05:08 PM
I have a deep well Meerkat. That is where I obtain my drinking water. No urine for ME! :D

Nelson
07-26-2005, 05:11 PM
Actualy I do I have a high resistance to piss Excuse me . I meant urine and feces.

web page (http://www.co.el-dorado.ca.us/emd/reports/disinfection.html)

[ 07-26-2005, 06:12 PM: Message edited by: Nelson ]

Gary E
07-26-2005, 05:20 PM
Buffalo.. ehh... how far is that from Love canal?

Joe (SoCal)
07-26-2005, 05:22 PM
Originally posted by Nelson:
</font><blockquote>quote:</font><hr /> Actualy I do I have a high resistance to piss Excuse me . I meant urine and feces.

web page (http://www.co.el-dorado.ca.us/emd/reports/disinfection.html)</font>[/QUOTE]I had fun I didn't die. Its not "Love in the Time of Cholera" ;) Its a freakin water park get over it already. :rolleyes:

Nelson
07-26-2005, 05:24 PM
Love Canal ( the superfund waste sight created in the 50's and 60's by Hooker Chemical and Plastics Sompany is in Niagara Falls) I live about 60 miles away. Not actually in downtown Buffalo. ;)

Nelson
07-26-2005, 05:26 PM
Sorry Joe. I dint mean to offend, simply to inform. There are a lot of parents and adults in general who not only dont know of the dangers of swimming in public pools, but the pool owners dont want them to know.

seafox
07-26-2005, 11:55 PM
On top of the advice abone I'll add that in my families home town their is a nursery that many relitives have worked in over the years and it is into the 4th generation. however I do not thik they would start up again the way they are. they grow very heavily on local fields and also ship in trees and plants from the older generations retirement homes in arizona.

I will note that their is a company that sets up temporary tree selling locations for example in a parking lot durring the spring and then after a month sells out and then goes back to growing their stock the other 10 months of the year

I think the garden store idea is proably good because it can sell chistmass good in the late fall. but it would be best if your landscaper is already maried and gets free labor from family members watching the store

Hwyl
07-27-2005, 05:45 AM
Why don't you ask Dan and Katy Huisjen directly. They are in the businsss alrady. Iknow it's different in Maine (thank the lord) but their advice would be invaluable.

From what I've seen of their postings. Katy loves to be in the greenhouse tending to plants and would do it without financial reward.

My gut feeling is that you should dirct your friend to grow his landscaping business more so he is running 4 or 5 crews (or more) and he should buy the plants from others. When he gets to the point that he is putting in complete gardens for new houses (seen that done in Kennebunkport---bare earth to mature garden in three days). Well you've been talking around the subject of being a developer---seems to me he'd be a valuable sub contractor to you.

[ 07-27-2005, 06:47 AM: Message edited by: Hwyl ]