Re: Mail Order Nurseries/ plants
You're right. I don't think many people realize what goes into any
product. We are so used to mass produced items from low-cost-labor
countries. I work for a small company. I've often been asked "What's in
this stuff - gold?" However, the product price is not based on raw
materials alone. There's company overhead. The cost of the building,
equipment, payroll, insurance, taxes, utilities, packaging, marketing,
office materials, the list goes on and on, and of course some sort of
Your running of a nursery has additional costs as you've described because the product must be nurtured after "manufacture".
Included in calculating the price of our products is the benefit it is
expected to provide. I have learned over the years to look for bargains
in plants, but the lowest price does not always mean a bargain. I am
willing to pay a somewhat higher price for quality and rarity. But I
realize this is not the case with many yardeners.
> Marge & Others on this line of thought...
> One of the things I bump into as a seller of a product.. called garden
> plants... is the lack of understanding from the buyer. That is ok in some
> ways, they have no reason to know my business in detail. That is my job.
> However, plants are not widgets that are manufactured, stored on shelves and
> comes down a conveyer belt to be dropped in a box an shipped. They are
> living dynamic entities that have to be cared for at all times.
> Example... say my catalog inventory is 300 plants for sale. If .. just a
> number... I carry 50 each that is 15,000 pots that have to be cared for and
> literally watched over each day. That is the current inventory.. there also
> has to be plants coming on to take their place, so essentially their is
> another nursery in the background being grown on. Also the seedlings that
> were sown, some that do not germinate for two years. Bit like an iceberg...
> only the tip is seen as it appears to glide by.
> The average time just to pull and prep and ship and order is about 20 to
> 25 minutes. The paper work is done later in the evening when we come in from
> the packing and shipping. Multiply that toward the number of orders to be
> shipped on Monday and Tuesday only........
> Not whining or complaining... just "talking trade"
> Gene E. Bush
> Munchkin Nursery & Gardens, llc
> Zone 6/5 Southern Indiana
> ----- Original Message -----
> > From the little I know, you're right on, Donna. When you talk about
> > wholesale growers, they are actually farmers; the green industry
> > often refers to the plants as "crops". They grow in quantity to make
> > up for the really small individual plant price when sold wholesale -
> > the only way they could survive. When you grow in vast quantity, you
> > grow the tried and true and don't experiment with off the wall,
> > difficult or rare plants. Volume makes a huge difference - which is
> > why Walmart, Lowes and Home Despot sell plants cheaper than regular
> > garden centers or specialist nurseries - they get deals for immense
> > volume - numbers that boggle my mind, like tens of thousands of any
> > one plant. Of course, they don't know squat about the plants; don't
> > take care of them and sell a lot of mislabeled stuff, but, it's
> > cheap.
> > Now, when a smaller nursery buys wholesale plants, they are often
> > plugs that are grown on for, as Gene said, 6 months to a couple
> > years. To the cost of the plugs, the nursery has to add something
> > for the labor involved in growing them; the cost of potting soil,
> > pots, water, etc. and the cost of pulling, inspecting, sorting,
> > boxing, and paper work, not to mention other overhead items like
> > catalogs, which cost a bundle to produce and mail. When you examine
> > an individual plant's price, you gotta wonder sometimes how smaller
> > nurseries make it. Part of how they make it is that all the work is
> > done by one or two people working really long hours and not making
> > squat for their labor.
> > With the big wholesalers, all the costs of production are actually
> > covered by their plant price - which is substantially lower than
> > retail - and volume makes it possible.....just like corn, soybeans or
> > wheat.
> > Marge Talt, zone 7 Maryland
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