How can I make Money Growing Plants?
Before you begin, check out your market and do your math. What is there a demand for in your area? How much space have you got? Is there sufficient water?
If your space is limited, you need to go for something with high value to make the project worthwhile. If you've got lots of space, you can make up for the lower price of your plants or harvest by producing plenty.
Vegetables and herbs:
The most profitable solution for the small grower who wants to produce vegetables and herbs is to sell directly to the end user.
One way is to start a club within the neighbourhood members get a box of vegetables at a certain price. Their advantage is that they pay less than they would at retailers, and yours is that you get more for your produce than you would at wholesale markets.
You can also approach restaurants in your area and find out if they have difficulty obtaining certain items at a good price.
Give your produce a competitive edge: freshness, price and organic growing are all good selling points.
If you've got the space to produce in bulk and you'd prefer to let someone else do retail selling, find out where your local fresh-produce wholesale market is.
You can even try pitching at chain-stores with special products like baby vegetables or fresh herbs. Alternatively, find out if there are specialized packing houses that distribute vegetables to chain stores and find out if they have a demand for something you can grow.
There are several markets to investigate here: go out and do your homework before you begin.
Wholesale nurseries: find out if there are any products you can supply. Wholesalers are often approached for large volumes of very easy to grow plants that can be transplanted from the field. Demand is unpredictable and sporadic, but this option is very low maintenance. Wholesalers may also be interested in young plants (rooted cuttings or seedlings). Find out if they have any gaps in supply.
Best of all, wholesalers are often interested in seed of shrubs, bulbs and trees. If you can amass a list of wholesale nurseries interested in seeds, you can start a mail order business. Wholesale seed is usually priced by the thousand, but you will be amazed how quickly you can find a thousand seeds. Read up on how to clean and store seed before you begin.
Landscapers: Find out which landscapers in your area take on big projects such as malls and hotels . Landscapers usually have a fairly basic palette of easy to grow plants that they require in bulk from time to time. Find out what they need and what their price expectations are. Sound them out about upcoming projects.
Supplying Retailers: Retailers are very feisty clients, quality is all-important to them and flowering plants must be in full bloom. You really have to know what you're doing before you try this option, but if you're really good at even one thing (e.g. growing Azaleas) you're in with a chance.
Selling direct to the Public: Unless you have the capital and the correct location and market to start a retail nursery, this option is likely to produce supplementary income only.
To maximize your sales and profits to earn more money, be sure that you know how to grow plants to perfection. The public usually buys ornamental plants in flower, so make sure you have plenty of colourful items. Seedlings in six or twelve packs are often popular, but be careful not to overproduce or you end up dumping them!
High value, specialized plants: If you're a whizz kid at growing special plants like orchids or bonsai, you can make yourself a niche among enthusiasts and seekers after novelty. Growing such plants is usually a longer-term project, but the price you can command makes up for that. Check out demand and competition before you begin! and you should be able to make money quite easily.
You can do it!
If you do your homework and keep an open mind before you begin, you will succeed. Growing plants probably won't make you rich unless you find something revolutionary, but you can get good income from it if you plan properly.
Written by : Andrea Durrheim, South Africa
Edited by: Rajesh Bihani ( Find me on Google+ )