The Q&A Archives: Starting a Nursery

Question: I have a 110 acre farm and would like to start a family nursery business. I need help getting started and I hope you can help .

Answer: Starting any business is a big venture, and a nursery business will require lots of planning. I suggest you begin by joining some trade associations (you can subscribe to their trade journals, to get a feel for what's out there), and contact your local Small Business Administration, Chamber of Commerce or other organizations that can direct you to folks who can help you develop a business plan. You'll want to consider your potential markets, and do a thorough competition analysis. (Visit other local nurseries to see what they're selling, how they grow the plants (greenhouse, out in the field, in pots...) You'll also need to secure capital for the venture, since there will be some start-up costs. You'll need to make some decisions about exactly what you want to grow, and what type of equipment (tractors, etc.) you'll need.

The following organizations may be able to help you with more detailed information.

American Association of Nurserymen/Garden Centers of America, 1250 Eye St., NW, Ste. 500, Washington, DC 20005, ph# 202-789-2900
Bedding Plants Foundation, PO Box 27241, Lansing, MI 48909, ph# 517-694-8537
Perennial Plant Association, 3383 Schirtzinger Rd., Hilliard, OH 43026, ph# 614-771-8431

I hope this helps get you started.

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