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Plants & Agriculture

Organic Farming

If you love farming, now is the time to get in on the booming organic market.

Entrepreneur

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Business At A Glance

Organic Farming

Startup Costs: $10,000 – $50,000
Home Based: Can be operated from home.
Online Operation? No

Business Overview

Is it time to sell the house in the city and move to the country, but you’re just not too sure what you could do to earn a living? Well if that’s your dilemma then perhaps organic farming is for you. In the past decade organically grown and produced food products have really taken off in popularity and have been scientifically proven to be better for our health.
 
Of course, operating a farm that grows organic foods requires a great deal of consideration and research prior to committing, not to mention an extremely large financial investment. However, the current demand for organically grown foods shows no sign of slowing down and will only continue to expand as the human population continues to become more concerned about maintaining a healthy and balanced diet.

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Plants & Agriculture

Gardening Classes

Share your greenthumb with others. It will add green to your pocket.

Entrepreneur

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Business At A Glance

Gardening Classes

Startup Costs: $2,000 – $10,000
Home Based: Can be operated from home.
Part Time: Can be operated part-time.
Online Operation? No

Business Overview

Teaching ‘how-to’ gardening classes can be a fun and profitable instruction business to start. The classes can be conducted right from home utilizing your own garden as the basis of the instruction class. Successfully marketing this type of instruction business is best achieved by establishing alliances with local garden centers that can refer your ‘how-to garden’ classes to their customers.
 
Additionally, writing and publishing an annual gardener’s handbook that features local gardens, gardeners, and gardening tips is also a fantastic way to increase business revenues and profits. The gardening book can be sold through local retail merchants and can be partly supported by selling advertising space in the book to local gardening businesses. Securing a mere 20 clients per week, each paying $50 for a day-long ‘how-to garden instruction course’ will result in yearly business sales of $50,000.

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Plants & Agriculture

Landscaping

Take your passion for plants to green spaces near you.

Entrepreneur

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Business At A Glance

Landscaping

Startup Costs: Under $2,000
Home Based: Can be operated from home.
Part Time: Can be operated part-time.
Online Operation? No

Business Overview

Landscaping increases the tangible and intangible value of homes, encourages business at retail locations and enhances the productivity of corporations. If you like planting trees and flowers, transforming the world one project at a time, and you’re not afraid of physical labor, then landscaping might be just the business for you.
And there’s plenty of it– according to the Professional Lawn Care Association, more than 22 million households spend $14.6 billion on professional landscape and lawn care services. You’ll carry out landscape architects’ plans by purchasing plant materials, sprinkler systems, and decorative accents like boulders and river rock, and installing them.
You can then contract with your satisfied commercial and residential customers to maintain your work with weekly watering, pruning, fertilizing and pest control services. And you can carry out seasonal projects as well–everything from winter holiday lighting and decorating to snow removal.
The advantages to this business are that your start-up costs are relatively low, you’re outdoors every day, and if you like making things grow and the accomplishment of putting in a good day’s physical labor, then this can be a rewarding field. You’ll need a solid working knowledge of planting and maintaining a wide variety of trees, shrubs and flowers, as well as of sprinkler systems and nonplant materials like gravel, boulders and paving stones. A sense of logistics will also be valuable–the better route you map out of customer sites, the less time you’ll spend on the road and the more efficient and cost-effective you’ll be.

The Market

Your customers will be homeowners and businesses that want their properties beautified and kept looking good. Target commercial types like apartment and condominium complexes, hotels and motels, hospitals, large and small businesses and office parks, and government institutions.
 
Architects, real estate developers and contractors building new homes or small tracts also make good customers. Nab residential customers by going door-to-door with fliers or door hangers. (Don’t place them in mailboxes–the U.S. Postal Service gets very upset about this.) Place ads in your local newspaper and in your neighborhood Yellow Pages.
 
For small-business commercial customers and architects, developers and contractors, go on-site to hand-deliver fliers or brochures and explain your services. You may not get any takers the first time you visit, but don’t get discouraged. A repeat visit or two can often seal a deal. A direct-mail campaign of a brochure will work better for large corporations; follow up with a phone call. You can also target real estate agents with noncurb-appealing sale or rental properties on their books. Take a Polaroid of the place, then give it to the realtor with suggestions of how you can spruce it up.

Needed Equipment

You’ll need a power mower, edger, leaf blower, seed and fertilizer spreader and sprayer, an assortment of shovels and rakes, and a gasoline can for on-the-job refills (take care to use an approved container and follow safe storage and usage practices). You’ll also want a pickup truck and perhaps a small trailer to carry it all in.

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Plants & Agriculture

Lawn Sprinkler Systems

Keep lawn their greenest with a sprinkler business.

Entrepreneur

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Business At A Glance

Lawn Sprinkler Systems

Startup Costs: $10,000 – $50,000
Home Based: Can be operated from home.
Online Operation? No

Business Overview

At one time the installation of an underground lawn sprinkler system was reserved only for the wealthiest of homeowners. However, times have changed, and new installation techniques and mass produced plastic pipes have brought the costs of supplying and installing underground sprinkling systems down to a point where they are now within the financial grasp of almost all homeowners.
 
Starting this business requires that the installers of the sprinkler systems be experienced and knowledgeable. Equipment used in this business can be very expensive. However, equipment and tools can be initially rented as a way of controlling startup costs, and experienced staff can be hired and paid a slight premium as a way of guaranteeing quality work. The service can be marketed directly to consumers via all traditional ad mediums or the service can work for homebuilders and property developers on a subcontract basis

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