The demand for farm products is growing every year. Buyers more often prefer environmentally friendly products and trust their choice to domestic producers. As demand grows, so does supply. The greenhouse business is gaining momentum and brings a stable income.
According to the entrepreneurs, the payback of the enterprise takes 1-2 years, and even less with a competent approach. In addition, the use of modern equipment can significantly reduce labor costs.
With all the possibilities and prospects of the greenhouse business, at the start it is important to take into account many economic and legal nuances . Which greenhouse product will be more profitable? What should be kept in mind when developing a business plan ? What risks should be taken into account? Let’s figure it out.
How to start a greenhouse business: drawing up a business plan
Due to the fact that greenhouse production has firmly established itself in the ranks of medium and small businesses, competition in this area is high. Starting a greenhouse business from scratch should be done with a financial analysis.
In addition, manufacturers of specialized equipment for greenhouses upgrade their products every year. A well-designed business plan will help you achieve payback. It must include the following items:
- Assessment of the market situation and competitive analysis
- Niche definition (the product you will be growing)
- Seasonality. Plays a key role in choosing the type of greenhouse (year-round or seasonal)
- Search for distribution channels
- Direct calculation of profit and loss
- Finding funding sources
A detailed development of a business plan for a greenhouse business begins with a detailed market analysis and calculation of financial investments. At this stage, you will need to go through the following points:
Assessment of the competitive environment
Carefully study the advantages and disadvantages of your future competitors. What segments do they work in and what wholesalers or retailers do they work with. How good is their product and whether it is in demand among the population.
Choice of direction
What exactly do you plan to grow (vegetables, flowers, herbs, seedlings)? After choosing a niche, write down the exact area for each crop. At this stage, determine the method of cultivation.
Drawing up project documentation
You must understand the exact costs of purchasing and operating each type of equipment. This can also include labor costs.
The location of the greenhouse and its remoteness from settlements plays an important role. Close proximity to the main supply points (hypermarkets, restaurants, food production) will significantly reduce transportation costs. It is important at this stage to conclude a contract with key organizations to whom you plan to supply your products.
Calculate financial indicators
This includes the initial costs of starting a greenhouse business. Costs for the construction of the greenhouse, the purchase of equipment and materials, as well as the provision of all necessary means of communication (electricity, water, heating). In the same section, we consider the maximum and minimum profit that we can get on the basis of the means of production we have.
Choosing what to grow in a greenhouse
If you decide to open a greenhouse business from scratch, it is important to understand what kind of greenhouse products you will be growing. When choosing a culture, you need to focus on factors such as:
- climate in your area (it is better that the temperature level in the greenhouse does not differ much from the natural one in at least 50% of the production cycle. Otherwise, you risk significantly increasing your greenhouse utility costs)
- supply and demand for a given crop (what kind of crop is in demand in the area where you are starting a business? What products are the market oversaturated with?)
- Will there be favorable sales conditions for you?
Depending on the analysis of these factors, we will determine the main niche. The most popular are such types of crops as: vegetables, flowers, herbs, berries, mushrooms . Farmers also grow seedlings for sale. Consider the economic benefits of each product in more detail.
Growing seedlings for sale
Growing seedlings is one of the most popular ways of greenhouse farming. Basically, greenhouse owners specialize in vegetable seedlings (tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini, cabbage, radishes, carrots).
Seedlings of flowers and berries are also considered beneficial. In spring, the demand for seedlings reaches its peak. Owners of summer cottages, farmers, retail buyers buy seeds or seedlings using all kinds of search channels.
The Internet can play a significant role in the sale of goods. Every year in early spring, search queries for seedlings reach 20,000.
Growing greens in a greenhouse all year round
According to the owners of the greenhouse business, greens are almost the most profitable product. This is primarily due to the short harvest cycle.
The harvest of onions, parsley, dill, spinach can be harvested within a month after sowing. Get up to 3 crops per quarter. If a kg of greenery in spring can cost up to 200-250 rubles, and the production capacity with a certain method of cultivation gives 5-7 kg per 1 square meter, then incomes can reach 300,000 rubles in 3-4 months.
There is another advantage to growing greens – minimal seed costs. Planting material for the same dill or onion is several times cheaper than strawberries, flowers, and vegetables. In addition, you can grow several types of greenery in one greenhouse at the same time. But it is necessary to take into account the complexity in the sale of goods and find buyers in advance.
The most profitable vegetable crops for greenhouse farming include tomatoes, cucumbers, radishes, potatoes and cabbage. The main advantage is considered to be a long shelf life, year-round demand and a wide choice of distribution channels. If you plan to sell goods in your region, then the sale rate will be very fast. For the climatic features of the middle region, potatoes, cucumbers, cabbage, zucchini are suitable.
With a fairly rapid maturation and long-term preservation, these products can be delivered to other cities. Accordingly, you can expand the geography of deliveries. The southern regions specialize in growing more heat-loving crops, such as pepper (at a temperature for seed germination of at least 13 degrees), eggplant (at a temperature of at least 20 degrees).
Growing flowers in a greenhouse
Flowers require high labor and maintenance costs from greenhouse business owners. Unlike vegetables, flowers are more capricious in care and have a short shelf life. But even with these downsides, growing cut flowers is a very lucrative business.
The main criterion for success when choosing this plant is to fit into seasonality. There are two holidays in the year that define the flower business. These are March 8 and May 9. With proper calculation, profitability can reach up to 3-4 million per year. However, the risks of growing poor quality goods are very high.
The slightest deviation in temperature conditions, watering, care can lead to non-marketable plants. Get ready for strong competition. A significant share of the flower market is occupied by import suppliers.
Of all the berries, strawberries are the most popular and profitable for growing in a greenhouse . A year-round greenhouse brings a large harvest and a stable income. From the point of view of temperature regimes, it is more profitable to open greenhouse production in the southern regions.
The shelf life of berries is very short (from 2 to 5 days), so it is very expensive to transport goods without observing special technologies. In addition to strawberries , certain varieties of raspberries are in demand . With a properly equipped greenhouse, you can get two harvests of berries in a year.
In fact, the greenhouse is a greenhouse with additional heating inside. The air temperature remains constant and is kept inside due to the special design of the greenhouse. Thanks to this, it is possible to organize a full cycle of growing various crops and plants.
After defining the greenhouse product, the possibilities and varieties of modern greenhouses should be seriously studied.
Greenhouses for industrial use
The profitability of a greenhouse directly depends on the size, design and type of product being grown. Industrial greenhouses today allow you to achieve complete independence from the influence of climatic factors. The distinctive advantages of such greenhouses include:
- area and height. Along with conventional greenhouses, industrial ones have a larger area and size. In many types, designs are provided that allow you to grow products in several tiers);
- Automated heating and irrigation systems;
- Availability of control and management systems;
- Modern industrial greenhouses are equipped with sensors and meters to regulate the process;
- Possibility of using additional light sources.
- Types of industrial greenhouses
Depending on the design, there are:
- simple tunnel (suitable for small businesses and private farms)
- block (have advantages in the possibility of growing diverse crops)
According to the shape of the structure of the greenhouse frame, there are:
- Arched (most popular). Advantages: resistance to winds and rainfall, convenient form for erection of large sizes
- Lancet. Benefits: Pointed roof keeps rain from accumulating, high penetration of natural light
By type of coverage distinguish:
- high transparency and light transmission;
- year-round use
- rather expensive material;
- difficulties during installation
- low cost;
- ease of installation
- dismantling for the winter
- versatility and reliability,
- is a cheaper analogue of glass
- lower transparency than glass
Building a greenhouse from scratch
To build a greenhouse from scratch, you must first take into account the features of the area.
Site selection (Soil and landscape features: the surface of the earth must be flat. Additional fertilizer costs will depend on the fertility of the soil. Also, attention should be paid to water drainage).
Abundance of precipitation and winds (The frame of the greenhouse must withstand the amount of precipitation (snow, rain, hail) that is typical for your area. Reinforced construction and additional protection will help increase stability in strong winds).
The possibility of summing up communications (Conducting heating systems, electricity and additional water supply to the greenhouse).
Due to the fact that the greenhouse structure has a long service life (more than one year), the development of the project should be entrusted to specialists. The main parameters when choosing a greenhouse:
It is a key companion for the durability of the greenhouse. The presence of a foundation ensures the stability of the structure, protection from the penetration of weeds. For small greenhouses, a foundation made of bricks, tiles, blocks is suitable. For large areas use a concrete foundation .
For most greenhouses, an arched frame shape is suitable. Particularly suitable for industrial greenhouses with a large area due to stability and height. For the manufacture of the frame materials are used:
- hat profile (easy to install, but does not withstand the heavy weight of precipitation)
Greenhouse covering material
- Polycarbonate (the most common type of covering material. You can choose the optimal thickness. High light transmission and ease of installation (does not require additional equipment for installation)
- Glass (glass coating has the highest light transmission and wear resistance. It does not darken or become cloudy over time. The cost of such a coating will be higher compared to other materials.
- Film (the easiest material to use. It has good light transmission and low cost. But it has a number of disadvantages: fragility, fragility, dependence on the season (needs to be removed for the winter)
The greenhouse is heated in several ways:
The method of using boilers is based on heating water in boilers, which is distributed over the area of the entire greenhouse with the help of a pipeline system. This heats up both the soil and the air.
The method of using electric heating – implies the presence of electric heaters in the greenhouse, which provide heating only of air masses. This method is not very effective at low temperatures outside the greenhouse. The constant use of electric heating is too expensive, and when turned off, the air cools quickly.
Infrared radiation method – allows you to simulate the heat of the sun. Infrared radiation devices are attached to the ceiling of the greenhouse and heat the soil first, then the plants, and lastly the air. Thus completely creating a natural environment. However, equipment with such heating is expensive both to purchase and to maintain.
Beneficial insects for greenhouses
It is customary to use insects for greenhouses in order to maintain a healthy microflora and improve the quality of plants. Pests can disrupt the growth process, spread infection or destroy ripe fruits.
To combat harmful bacteria and larvae, the use of certain types of ticks is considered popular. They effectively destroy thrips (small insects that parasitize vegetable and flower crops) and eliminate the larvae of harmful insects such as whitefly butterflies.
It is very useful to use bumblebees to pollinate plants. One family of bumblebees per greenhouse of 100 square meters can increase yields by up to 30-40%. at the same time, you will significantly save on fertilizers and special equipment.
Preparation of documents for the greenhouse industry
Before registering a greenhouse farm, you need to familiarize yourself with the basic legal forms of doing agribusiness.
- IP (Individual Entrepreneurship) – suitable for large volumes and a wide distribution network, where certificates of conformity are required.
- KFH (Peasant Farming) – suitable for partner business. With this form of registration, you can apply for state support services.
- LPH (Personal subsidiary farming) – for registration, the area of a land plot owned or leased should not exceed 2 hectares.
The system of taxation on agriculture is one of the lowest and amounts to 6% of income.
How and where to sell products
Any agricultural product has a limited and often short shelf life. It is necessary to conclude agreements with buyers at the stage of opening a greenhouse business . You can sell the goods yourself (using your own transport or premises). It is suitable for small volumes. You can sign contracts with customers for pickup.
Main distribution channels:
- Small shops and large hypermarkets
- vegetable markets
- flower bases
- Restaurants, bars and cafes
- Private buyers (neighbors)
For the effectiveness of business development, advertising costs will be required. However, for greenhouse farming, word of mouth and posting ads on the Internet work well.
How much money do you need to start a business
If a farmer or entrepreneur starts a greenhouse business from scratch with no experience, then it is necessary to start with small volumes and seasonal orientation . At the same time, it is important to have time to produce a crop before competitive products enter the market. A small greenhouse does not require huge investments and will not ruin you at the initial stage. Otherwise, the costs can be so significant that you can’t handle it.
How much can you earn in the greenhouse business
Greenhouse farming has a number of advantages, such as constant demand for products (especially for vegetables and herbs), low opening costs, government support and labor savings (with an area of less than 100 square meters). With a competent calculation of seasonality and well-established sales channels, you can reach a profit already during the first year. Much will depend on the product being grown and the size of the greenhouse.
Approximate calculation of profit
Greenhouse product : cucumbers
Greenhouse area : up to 80 sq m
Number of crops per year with such inputs: 3-4 tons (this is 370,000 when sold at wholesale prices).
- purchase and installation of a greenhouse150,000 rubles
- conducting water, electricity and purchasing equipment 300,000 rubles ()
- planting material30 000 rub
- maintenance costs for the year 90,000 rubles
Total: 480,000 rubles of investment
Annual profit – 280,000 rubles
Thus, you can pay back the business in less than 2 years.
Possible risks of greenhouse business
In addition to the characteristic risks that need to be considered when drawing up a greenhouse business plan, there is a key factor to keep in mind. This time. If you made a mistake in the process of growing a particular crop, if the communication system failed, if you did not manage to sell the product on time, you do not have time to fix it.
It is not possible to readjust, adjust and receive a new product within a few days. In the greenhouse business, you will have to start the process from the very beginning and wait for the full cycle. Therefore, the cost of a mistake is too high. To avoid this scenario, you should start with small production volumes.
Residents of rural areas have their own small farms and small-scale greenhouse production. With low initial costs for the construction of a greenhouse and the purchase of equipment, such a business is considered effective and profitable.
Shops, markets and resellers are happy to buy products from private farmers and entrepreneurs, providing them with constant demand and a stable income.
It is much easier to grow from a small greenhouse farm into a large-scale production , if only because the owner understands the features and subtleties of this business and has the most valuable thing – experience.