9 Tips for Starting a Nursery

  1. Determine financing needs and get what you need. “It’s hard to start a business where you can’t recoup your investment for two to three years without strong financial backing,” notes Cole.
  2. You need a tillage tractor and a secondary tractor for planting. “We do all of our plantings with machines,” Cole says. “And we do all of our spraying with a refined airblast orchard sprayer.”
  3. You need at least 40 acres to put into production. If you’re a container nursery, you can probably get away with 10 to 15.
  4. It’s easier to keep an existing customer happy than to acquire a new one,” Cole remarks, particularly when it comes to specialty plants.
  5. That being said, trade shows probably offer the best marketing opportunity for nursery growers. Cole says he acquired most of his customers through the Baltimore Mid-Atlantic Nursery Trade Show.
  6. Strive for perfection. Cole says in 2016, he had complaints on less than 100 of the 25,000 plants his nursery shipped out.
  7. Referrals are key. Cole admits to being “a dinosaur” and doesn’t use social media and makes very limited use of websites. That doesn’t mean they’re not useful, but he believes referrals and repeat business are best.
  8. Don’t be deterred by location. “Every area of the country has a microclimate,” Cole points out. “There are nursery industries everywhere.” He advises finding out what grows well in your region. “Texas, for example, does a lot of roses. In Maine, they do evergreens.” Bonus tip: Cole thinks there is opportunity in groundwater capture markets—providing plants for naturalizing and wetland planting.
  9. Don’t overlook the power of native plants. “Focusing on native plants is an under-utilized area of the nursery industry,” Cole says. “Don’t try to drive a square peg in a round hole. It easier to work with Mother Nature than to fight her.”

Locations

Chickasha, OK, OK

5201 S. HWY 81
Chickasha, OK 73018

Phone(405) 224-5056

Fax(405) 224-5060

Map and Directions

Dalhart, TX, TX

11890 US-87
Dalhart, TX 79022

Phone(806) 884-4740

Fax(806) 384-2114

Map and Directions

Fairview, OK, OK

2005 N. Main St.
Fairview, OK 73737

Phone(580) 540-3581

Fax(580) 227-3252

Map and Directions

Liberal, KS – Coming Soon, KS

451 S Country Estates Rd
Liberal, KS 67901

Phone(800) 659-1639

Map and Directions

Lubbock, TX, TX

3201 Slaton Road
Lubbock, TX 79404

Phone(806) 642-6462

Fax(806) 642-6462

Map and Directions

Muleshoe, TX, TX

602 W. American Blvd
Muleshoe, TX 79347

Phone(806) 749-7130

Fax(806) 272-3447

Map and Directions

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