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Please critique my greenhouse plan

Posted By xroads 1/24/2008 11:40:52 AM
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xroads
 Posted 1/24/2008 11:40:52 AM
 

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I want to break ground on my greenhouse late this summer & I want to have all my ducks in a row when I do.  I have been doing alot of research & planning & here is my plan.

My greenhouse will be 64 x 32 with an east west alignment.  The basic structure will be built like a pole building with the exceptions.  The entire south wall will be made of solar panels connected to a 1500 gallon water tank buried underground.  This tank will heat the cement floor of the GH.  The roof & gable ends will be covered in Solex panels.  There will also be another 1500 gallon tank connected to a geo thermal field.  This will be part of my cooling plan.  There will be louvered vents on the bottom of the north wall with several exhaust fans in the gable ends.  There will also be a swamp machine installed.

I plan on using 20 concrete coffin liners for tanks with air lifts in them.  I want them all to be mono specific.  I want to dedicate 2 tanks to reproduction through Planulae.  The other tanks will be convential fragging & grow out.  2 will be anenome tanks. 2-3 for acans, 1-2 for zoas, and so on.  I am debating on breeding clownfish as well, not sure yet.

I will have a wood burner for additional winter heat ( live on 50 acres mostly wooded).

My goal is to have everything be as energy efficient & automated as possible.  The floor heat & cooling, fans/shutters, will all be on thermostats.

So I want to be a farmer.  Am I dreaming or is this plausible.  Any suggestions are very welcome.

Thx

Craig

Anthony Calfo
 Posted 1/24/2008 1:55:51 PM
 

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have you written an detailed business plan yet? Got some kind of softwarer (business plan pro. eg)?

It is critical that you do this before anything else. It will take months to write and be hardgoing (many dozens of pages)... but your success wholly depends on doing this first. After you have... you will have the answers to questions we are going to ask you. Help us to help you Smile


.

Anthony Calfo
1/24/2008 1:56:06 PM by Anthony Calfo
xroads
 Posted 1/24/2008 2:05:52 PM
 

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Yes I have.  I own 2 very sucessful businesses now.  (the first 3 failed & taught me valuable lessons)  Now that they are built up & successful they are not very challenging.

I do realize it will take 2+ years of farming just broodstock before I can even think about selling to distributors.  (cept for Anemones of course).

I am going under the assumption that the price of my goods wholesale are about 1/3 of what the online retilers sell for.  Is my assumption close? 

Thanks for your replies.

Craig

Anthony Calfo
 Posted 1/24/2008 4:45:16 PM
 

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your assumption is not even remotely close, my friend. Hence my emphasis (I consult dozens of businesses formally each year and many more folks casually... quite some time now) on doing the business plan before you go fishing (all due respect... I'm not trying to be critical, but rather save you and us all time by having you do your homework first)

In my stickied thread "Fav links" atop this forum in the post called "discussions" you will see business links that site trade industry journals by name/links as well as our sole industry lobbyist from which you can get industry data to fill into your business plan.

But to answer your question directly, the online prices are sales at much leaner margins. Its the very thing that is a Catch-22 for our industry. Good online vendors have margins that are closer to 40pts (industry standard for each tier on a three tier system from mfg to wholesaler to reseller)... but many online retailers are buying direct from mfgs, disregaring the dealer price points and selling at or even below it. What that does is increase sales for that one dealer (low margin, higher volume sales expected)... but it is crippling to the industry as it makes bricks businesses that farm new aquarists more than online portals do... and ironically it cripples the mfgs supplying the products because their other dealers cant compete.

That sort of aggressive online pricing has put a lot of small businesses with good products out of business. Very sad. and just bad business because those same online sellers are complaining that there are not as many young/new customers... and that sales overall are shrinking.

We (the hobby at large) need both online merchants and bricks businesses.

The overwhelming majority of folks that pay me to consult them do not have a business degree... they do not have a business plan... they do not write one after my best efforts to convince them ... and they go out of business in 3-5 years like clockwork.

Please don't be a statistic, my friend. Start with cheap subscriptions to the industry trade journals and get a pulse on stats/trends/prices... and when you can afford it get membership to PIJAC and get more detailed industry/demographic info. Build a strong business plan... and then let us help you to make money/help the industry and reefs. All win-win Smile


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Anthony Calfo
xroads
 Posted 1/24/2008 5:39:52 PM
 

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Thank you.

To clarify my assumption, if an online retailer is selling a piece for $100, then I should be able to sell it for $30 wholesale.

Thanks again for your time

Anthony Calfo
 Posted 1/24/2008 6:10:29 PM
 

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Hmmm... it depends on who you are selling to. If its a local or regional market versus you (or your reseller) doing any online sales.

low volume online sellers might have margins near a bricks business...

if a common coral imports (or is sold by a coral farmer) to a larger wholesaler for $10, who then sells it to a pet shop for $14-16... and the pet shop puts that coral out for $ $30-50

But the online sellers that are crippling the industry (by crippling I mean putting out of business the other good merchants that help maintain and expand the customer base and market) will transship a coral and land it for $10 and then sell it for $20. It actually hurts the market and their potential long term livelihood by cutting the throats of the middlemen whose synergistic efforts in the industry make everyone more money.

As for your analogy... I dont know how serious you are about the $30 wholesale coral price, but if you think you will earn that price, my friend... I am still (very) worried for you. You either a) think the trade is driven by consumers of so-called rare corals or b) you haven't don't your business plan Wink Source countries export a majority of mainstream corals from Indo and Tonga etc for $4.50- $8. The domestic importer takes the risk and eats the losses (plus freight) and hopefully lands them for the above mentioned $10-ish range. Most small/common corals wholesale for well under $20. Med/large or less common ones can got towards $30. Very few (percentage) are sold for more (though there are always such specimens available as well as nefarious jobbers trying to gouge by creating a a false sense of rarity among fad corals).

But even for those corals that do commonly wholesale for $30... they are specimens so large that you cannot cost-effectively grow them that big (time) and still compete.

Your best profits will be earned on fast cycle of harvest species (colorful, cheap, soft corals). That is what the majority of pet stores want.

The overwhelming chatter online about sps corals and rare/fad species is only the voice of an outspoken minority (the advanced folks post the most and create the cult, but industry trade and sales figures tell the real story.

Your future is in selling $15 soft corals that you double (harvest cycle) every 6-10 weeks if you want to make an y real money or (money aside) do any kind of volume coral farming.

Anemones are a huge area of potential too.


.

Anthony Calfo
xroads
 Posted 1/24/2008 6:32:50 PM
 

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I think we are thinking the same way.  I dont expect to sell my corals for $30.  I was using that as my example of 30%.  My plan is actually to sell 1000 corals once a month for an average of $10 each.  Most of these will comprise of acans, candy canes, euphillia, zoas, leathers, zenias, shrooms, among other softies.  Anemones & clowns will fill in any gaps.  My dream is to get a vat of acros to spawn & grow 100's of colonies from planellua.

I really want to hand deliver these myself to a distributor. 

I dont need any profit for years as I will still have my normal income from my other 2 businesses.  (although a big profit would be really nice!)

Thanks for the insight & concern.  You must have seen alot of failure.

xroads
 Posted 1/25/2008 10:48:18 AM
 

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I found & joined Pijac,  But I did not see the thread for links to trade jouranals.  I assumed it would be under the category of business but did not see it.
Philip Root
 Posted 1/27/2008 7:01:55 PM
 

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if a common coral imports (or is sold by a coral farmer) to a larger wholesaler for $10, who then sells it to a pet shop for $14-16... and the pet shop puts that coral out for $ $30-50

I have now sold corals to LA wholesalers and Regional wholesalers. Every wholesaler marks my coral up 200% to 250%. I wish it was only 40 points. I would also disagree that these online shops are only marking up 40% . I sell to many online stores and know the owners well. The price is so different because know who to buy what from. 

I see the line looking like this for coral farmers. you sell it to a wholesaler for 7.50, they sell it for 15.00-18.00 the end coustomer buys it for 30.00-45.00

Philip Root


 

xroads
 Posted 1/28/2008 6:11:00 AM
 

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Wow thanks for the reply, I was starting to wonder if anyone besides Anthony responded to these forums.  $7.50 to $10 is a big difference when you are talking thousands of corals.  Simple economics would say that supply is far exceeding demand if there is that much of a difference from the manufacturer to the consumer.

How much luck do you have shipping directly to LFS?

Thx

Craig


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