Starting Your Own Business
A Fortune From Plants
1) Have a love of flowers, plants and trees.Learn as much as you can about horticulture (the art or science of growing flowers, plants, vegetables and trees). Take classes at local colleges.
2) Get a job with a nursery or landscaping company. This will give you an insider’s look at the business.
4) Establish a place of business. If you will be selling plants and trees, you will need plenty of room. An acre may be sufficient to house your merchandise.
5) Buy or grow your merchandise. Trees can take a year or more to get to a decent size to transplant.
6) Contact the city or county department that handles business licenses and request an application.
7) Inquire as to what other requirements there are for opening a business. You may be required to provide insurance or have to follow certain restrictions for the area.
8) Contact the Franchise Tax Board to get a wholesale permit, if required. This will allow you to purchase goods without paying tax if they are to be used in.
9) Make a business plan. You’ll need to have all of the aspects of opening and running the business worked out for the short and long term.
10) Get financing. Unless you have a lot of money lying around, you will need to borrow money to build.
11) Advertise your new business. Highlight special times of the year to plant certain plants and trees to attract business. Create an incentive offer for frequent planters.
12) Offer home services such as planting, garden care and lawn care.
When it comes to starting your own small business, and proven money making methods, many people overlook the billions that are made from plants of one kind or another. I even feel as though I am misleading you when I write “your own small business”. There is nothing small about the garden business.
The most amazing and marvelous thing about this business is that you can start a virtual empire with almost no money or premises. And, the knowledge can be easily read in books, on the Internet, or on the back of seed packets. In most cases, you don’t have to spend a penny.
Everywhere you go, there are plants. While the plant is in full life, gently remove a leaf or, alternatively, the seed heads when the flower has died back. Keep the seeds dry, and the leaf moist.
The seeds should be kept dry until the following spring when you will loosely sprinkle them on a thin tray of sandy soil or compost and lightly cover with a bit more soil until they sprout. When they have a couple of leaves, gently prick them out and transplant them into individual containers.
These containers can be small polystyrene or plastic pots such as those used for yogurt, or small square plastic bags (all must have holes in the bottom) Don’t waste money. Frozen food trays, or meat trays, or even plastic butter or margarine tubs from supermarkets can be used as seed trays.
The leaves that you borrow from every place you visit should be laid face up on a level surface of moist soil/compost. Before lying down, use a sharp knife to cut into several of the veins on the underside of the leaf. Don’t disturb it for a few weeks, and roots should sprout from this underside and several small plants should start to increase your stock. Carry this out repeatedly and soon you have hundreds of free plants.
A similar method can be used to replicate trees. It is possible to plant live twigs or leaves with a short stem directly into a sandy soil/compost. Sometimes it is better to encourage root growth by suspending the bottom of the stem in water, and then gently transplant into compost after the roots are trailing down. A small amount of rooting powder usually helps when placed into the compost.
Let me clarify the difference between soil and compost. Basically, there isn’t one, except that compost has been subjected to a high temperature, by steam to kill off any wild bacteria or unwanted seeds or spores. This used to be carried out by the old gardeners by shoveling soil into sacks and sprinkling water onto it after it had been placed on top of a boiler or hot plate with a fire underneath. The sack was not allowed to dry out so the steam sterilized the soil. This can also be done chemically with the use of powerful coal tar disinfectants diluted as instructed on the can.
Rose Bushes And Fruit Trees
Supermarkets often get deliveries of fresh flowers in plastic buckets and throw them away or sell them off cheap after they are empty. These are perfect for planting dry rooted rose bushes, or even better, fruit trees bought from the chains of, super cheap, small economy supermarkets.
Get these buckets, drill holes in the bottom, place some stones or packing in the bottom, some soil, firmly bed the roots of the fruit tree, making sure that moist soil touches every bit of the roots.
Don’t fill the soil too far up the tree stem. You will notice that the main tree/bush has been sawn through at an angle and grafted onto a different rootstock. Don’t put soil above this graft joint. Once the tree/bush has burst into leaf and looks healthy, you can sell it for at least 3 times your expenditure. The great thing about fruit trees is that they don’t have a ‘sell by’ date. The bigger and more advanced they are, the more value they have.
If you haven’t sold all of your fruit trees at the end of the summer season, wait until all the leaves have dropped off and then you can prune the branches back. This is not a mind-blowing science. Get some pruning clippers and cut the branches back until there is around 6 – 12 inches left. Don’t panic, they will grow again next summer.
These plants and shrubs/trees can be sold from the front of your house, or a garage sale, car boot sales, or over the Internet. If you have a van or trailer, the world is your oyster. Pull into any lay-by and take a sandwich board with you to stand 50 yards up the road facing oncoming traffic. Take advantage of any local events such as school days or open shows. You don’t have to rent a stall if you are broke, just park nearby on an approach road.
After making some money and running out of your own grown plants, use the Internet and Yell to source local plant nurseries where you can replenish your stock. You will be getting a feel for what the punters want. Don’t be too adventurous at first. Stick with old favorites…the plants that you are familiar with. Your customers will guide you what to buy. Make a note of what is repeatedly asked for.
You might diversify into a few small bags of compost or small bottles of liquid fertilizer. Don’t buy large packets or bottles, the mega stores will beat you in price, but your viewers will often buy something small rather than walk away without buying anything. Constantly check out the £1/$1 shops for any garden items. Don’t assume that everyone else goes in these shops, so you can double your money. Give every customer or passer by a preprinted flyer with a list of what you sell and your mobile phone number.
The next season you will need loads more plants etc. This means you need somewhere to grow them. A large greenhouse is obviously needed. These can cost a small fortune, but can be bought secondhand at a greatly reduced price, usually if you take it down and reassemble it. I built a 20-foot by 9 foot one for very little money by using demolition concrete blocks and timber for the structure.
I built the side away from the sun with the blocks, and used the timber for the sunny side. I located a local plastic sheet/tube manufacturer. When they begin blowing a new batch, it can take perhaps 100 yards before they get the machine correctly set up.
Scrap plastic collectors who pay a small amount place the initial roll of blown PVC in a skip/bin for collection. These rolls can open up to 12 feet wide. I approached the company and explained that I wanted it to cover a greenhouse, and they allowed me to select the thickest rolls, for very little money (enough to buy 3 beers) I don’t know if it went into the foreman’s pocket, and I didn’t care.
I used old dark coloured paint for the internal block wall. This absorbs the sun’s energy during daylight hours, and acts as a storage radiator later. Use the plastic sheet to double glaze the sunny side, and you will be amazed how hot it gets in there in winter. Stack any surplus concrete blocks under shelves and paint them black for maximum heat absorption. Stand them on wood to raise them off the floor to stop the heat being drawn into the ground. You now have the key to making many thousands of dollars/pounds etc.
Now you can advance to “Small Garden Centre”