Many agree that the greenhouse industry has become one of the most profitable segments of agricultural activity in recent years.
Modern people are increasingly interested in their food, giving preference to natural products. But growing crops is not as simple as it seems at first sight. It is necessary to take the issue seriously, having calculated in advance all costs and risks. There are general recommendations that will help understand the sequence of actions. These are the recommendations we’ll cover below.
Step 1: taking ideas into consideration
Before building greenhouses, one must determine what is going to grow in them. It could be tomatoes, cucumbers, strawberries, root vegetables. You can grow herbs: celery, onions, basil, leaf and cabbage salads and so on. You should start from the needs of the plant in relation to soil and weather conditions – the more suitable the place for a particular species, the higher the yield will be.
The market is constantly evolving, so those who dare to invest in it face the challenge of fierce competition from other producers. It is not so difficult to compete with imported fruit and berries, but they can only grow in certain areas.
It’s important to find and choose the right place. To optimize costs, agriculture must be close to the market and main electricity, water, and gas systems.
Beforehand, one should look at the most profitable greenhouses in the country, analyze the situation, and adopt ideas and experience. You can get the maximum amount of income from harvesting several crops per year, provided you build facilities on a large area. In such a case, the harvest occurs in summer and winter. But additional costs should also be taken into account: during the cold season, reinforced heating and lighting will be required (i.e. the costs will increase).
On the topic of hydroponics
Farms are increasingly using the latest hydroponic technology. This makes it possible to get the most out of it with minimum amount of effort and time. Such farming technology is designed to create an ideal habitat for vegetable crops, accelerate their growth, and obtain better quality products.
Cultivation through classic horticulture takes more time and effort. In addition, hydroponics principles allow for the rational use of water and nutrients needed by plants. IOGRU provides such systems. They allow you to set up and manage all water resources efficiently and save money.
Step 2: greenhouse size and regulations
Types of greenhouse buildings can be divided by the area they occupy. If you plan to grow in small volumes and process independently, then a small area is enough. In this area it will be possible to install 2-3 greenhouses.
If the farm is of medium size, you will have to visit the tax office. You will have to pay tax even when you are working independently, and working with the aim of producing products for sale. Big greenhouses are situated on huge areas. They can only be serviced by employees. The owners of such facilities must formalize the business in accordance with the law.
You will need to register your business. Establishing a legal entity such as a LLC will not allow you to be personally liable if your greenhouse business is subject to litigation. There are many business structures to choose from, including corporations, LLCs and DBAs. Further, you will need to register for taxes and apply for an EIN.
The next step is to open a business bank account. This will help separate your personal assets from your company’s assets and will also make it easier to maintain accounting and tax records.
In addition, certain government permits and licenses may be required to run a greenhouse business. It is worth remembering that tax and business registration regulations may change over time, and may vary depending on state and city of residence
Step 3: location is key to success
Special attention should be paid to site location. It is important to assess the terrain in which the work is planned to begin:
- If the area is flooded during spring floods, then it is of no use as a vegetable garden
- Areas that might be frozen for a long period of time are also not suitable. Usually, these are lowland areas by rivers, near swamps, in ravines
- Greenhouse buildings should not be placed in mountains
- Swamps and sandy land should be avoided
- If, during the spring and summer, the area “burns out” in the sun, then it will also have to go on the blacklist
Attention should be paid to connections. For this purpose, it is advisable to go directly to the electricity, water and gas supply companies to find out how much a connection costs.
Before starting construction, the quality of supplied water should be checked. If it is of poor quality, you will have to install filtering equipment to clean it. For irrigation it is recommended to use only water containing an acceptable amount of iron and having a normal pH. A professional consultation is better suited to these questions. Ideally, a soil analysis should also be carried out.
Step 4: planning
One of the important principles of business creation is to make a plan. An agricultural project should contain materials about the location, transport, type of crops, markets, competitors, and risks.
The following should also be calculated:
- All possible income and expenses, planned and unplanned.
- How much it costs to build a greenhouse, how it will be supplied with water, lit, and heated.
- The amount of payment for equipment, seeds or seedlings, means of controlling weeds and pests, fertilizers.
- If you plan to hire employees, you must include the salary.
- Transportation costs.
After creating a list of expenses, you can proceed with calculating possible income. You will need to know the potential yield of the plants you plan to grow and the prices you pay for them. At first it is recommended to make 2-3 variants of calculations because it is not possible to rely on maximum productivity in the first year of work. A clearly defined plan will optimize costs and calculate income. It is also necessary to consider weather conditions and the risks connected with them.
Any investments will be recouped in less than 2 years with a proper approach to business organization.
Step 5: the purchase and construction of a greenhouse
After successfully determining the location of the greenhouse and what will be growing in it, it is time to start the construction. You can buy ready-made modules or make everything with your own hands.
It must be noted that a greenhouse film cannot maintain the optimum temperature and humidity levels required for sowing in the cold season. You can only cover the frame with the film from March to November, as it cannot retain heat during frosts.
A more practical option is a “box” made of polycarbonate and glass. The difference is that:
- Glass transmits excellent sunlight and is durable when handled carefully. This material increases the strength of the structure itself. The downside is the fragility. It’s not recommended to install glass structures in areas where strong winds and hurricanes are observed, as well as near trees.
- Polycarbonate has a high level of strength and is permeable to sunlight.
Greenhouses built using it can function year-round, but a foundation will need to be erected for their installation.
Purchasing ready-made modules will cost more than their own production, but this way you can save time and avoid assembly errors. To ensure maximum airflow, windows that can be opened are desirable.
Step 6: first steps towards development
Business development at the initial stage requires large investments. This doesn’t just consider the construction of the greenhouse itself, but also its arrangement.
Costs can be divided into 5 main categories:
- First of all, heating is necessary. This is especially important if you plan to install a stationary structure in which vegetables will be grown throughout the year.
- Irrigation must be paid attention to.
- Don’t forget that in winter, the day is much shorter, so you should provide electric lighting.
- You should buy tillage tools, wheelbarrows, several buckets, sprayers, and other equipment.
- Fertilizers and pest control equipment must be bought.
If you do not have experience in agriculture, you need to involve people who will be needed for consultation and planting services. It is better to think in advance about the choice of workers, if the greenhouse complex will need to contain several hectares. Keep in mind that the number of workers needed depends on the type of harvest.
Most people who have decided to engage in agricultural activities focus exclusively on food. However, growing fruit or vegetables is not always profitable, and sometimes just not interesting. Alternatively, you can try growing tree and shrub seedlings. Some people prefer the flower business. In small towns, you can bet on unusual, exotic flowers, thus avoiding competition.