Converting an enclosure business to greenhouse business. Smart or not? All input welcome.

Just trying to gain feedback from the community on demand for greenhouses. My family member owns a struggling enclosure company. He has never thought of gearing his enclosures towards the greenhouse side of business and has just recently accepted his first hemp enclosure contract here in North Carolina. I live out west and so he contacted me to talk shop about the cannabis industry. He wants to reformat his company and start manufacturing greenhouses for the cannabis industry. His company already creates enclosures for pools with retractable roofs and uses the same materials and designs as existing leading cannabis greenhouse companies, minus irrigation and supplemental lighting. I would love to help him spearhead this vision because he is getting quite old and cannabis is one of my life passions. Any and all feedback would be greatly appreciated from the fammunity on this subject, just want to gain perspective on whether or not this is a smart and lucrative business endeavor, or if there are enough greenhouse companies in existence already. Hope everyone is flourishing and staying safe.

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About two years ago i had to design my own greenhouse as none of the greenhouses manufactures could meet my demand. Trust me i called every one of them in NA and searched every site. The problem with most of these big companies such as greenhouse megastore they don’t do custom built greenhouses and install there product. You have to 3rd party a company for this. Also the worst problem is they do not know what they are talking about. For example I wanted a milk film. There is a certain white to clear percentage that i need. At this sweet spot you can get light diffusion, temp control, and pest control. They kept telling me there is no such thing and its only white (nursery/overwintering) or clear(Tradiational). Luckly i found what i needed at a company in central CA and they even had there material with anti condensation. A week later I found a badass compnay in shasta country that was recommended from a friend. I went over my design and he knew exactly what i was talking about. He brought out his team and they built my 26 x 52 structure and wrapped it with the film i found. If he can put together a team and do custom built greenhouses who understand the customer needs and also is aware what to build given the climate of the area he will do good but this is a seasonal job. Just a few things to look over for greenhouse/light dep builds. dehumidifiers, supplemental light locations, oscillating fans location, Main gable fan for heat reduction and motor size, also small rocks for the bottom to create a desert settings. He should be offering golden arm and automatic black outs. Growing cannabis in greenhouses can be the most rewarding grows as they can compete with indoor quality. The more you have control of the environment the better the results but if you lose control you created an oven that will produce mexican sweet schwag kilos. This will not be easy to understand if you have not grown in one before. I will post pics of the one i designed later today.

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I like greenhouses for Cannabis grows. For northern climates, geothermal seems to be the way to go for year round growing.

Article on poor mans version

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This of course is not a huge structure building but I figure reputation has to be built from bottom level to land larger contracts.

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Thank you guys for the input thus far.

Juice,
Thanks for sharing your journey purchasing greenhouses, the input is very helpful! Our family company is currently run just as such; our team comes out, gets exact specs for enclosures and customer needs, they then go back to our privately owned factory, source all raw materials through our well established material accounts (30 years plus with the top enclosure material companies) build and prefab certain aspects of the structures, than ship to site and send our crew to fully construct the enclosures. It seems as though our process is exactly what is needed in the cannabis greenhouse industry. I showed him the specs of some of the greenhouse companies in the cannabis industry and he assured me he uses the exact same materials from a variety of cannabis greenhouses I presented him with, Including the type of material that is being used to wrap the greenhouse, to the actual structural design being the exact same.
The only things that would need to be dialed in and altered with his enclosure company I would presume are the addition of supplemental lighting and running irrigation. I’m thinking about hitting a few tradeshows here in the near future to see what the feedback would be like from a large spectrum of the industry. We also have our tradeshow license and booth setup, just need to alter images and get our enclosure architect to design blueprints and mock images of cannabis greenhouses.
Any and all feedback both positive and negative and is always appreciated. Hope everyone is staying safe and prospering.
Oily

The materials used for this style of greenhouse is not sustainable for long term use, especially on a large scale. Your price margins would even out from having to constantly replace materials on this style of greenhouse instead of paying a greater price for a higher quality greenhouse that would last a lifetime with minimal upkeep.
thanks for the input!
Oily

The pictured greenhouse is the exact capabilities of our current enclosure business, just with minimal conversions.

Any other input from the fammunity out there?

I would also look into creating drying and processing buildings to go along with the greenhouses.

Many time growers don’t consider what will happen to the Cannabis once it is done growing.

I like the idea of attached buildings so you can avoid bringing product outside.

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I apologize for not posting anything since a couple of weeks ago. I have a few more things as suggestions. First you should look into regulation of greenhouses for License approval. That’s dependent on state and possibly county. An example I know in shasta the reservoir water tank needs to be dug into to the ground and don’t quote me but black color. This helps with bacteria and algae growth. They also have max sqft requirements on hybrid licences. This is a perfect upcharge to consult these other factors to be an all in one company. Second the structure we purchased will last for a very long time. It was pile driven to sustain high winds and the steel is top grade. That being said is another subject. Have your company offer pile driven structures but also light weight movable ones. Lets just say sometimes the people might get nosy and you have to move the operation. Offer high quality light steel so it can be broken down and put back together. Third and this one is a secret :slight_smile: Have a option for the greenhouse to be built subterranean. It helps with cooling tremendously and being low profile can help for our comrades to not be seen as easily. I wish i had pictures of the one i seen in french gulch but unfortunately it burned down last year from the fires but they said it was easier to maintain temperature. Fourth offer solar panels for batteries that run gable fans, oscillating fans, and supplemental lighting. Off grid grows will need this. Fifth you have to look into fans that blow air into the space between the Greenhouse film and Blackout film. YOu will also need to look into how big of fans you need to keep air circulating inside the GH while the blackout tarp is over it. This is usually for larger structures. Don’t confuse the two i mentioned above as the same thing. ONe is for inside and the other is outside between the blackout! You need air circulation at all times especially at the end of flowering. ALso on customer side find out if they are using beds or breathable pots. This helps with structure height. You need to dial down A/C capabilities and CO2 burners also. Irrigation is a different animal all together. Dont get to in depth with this bc if nutrients are not mixed right or if they didn’t heat there reservoir before using molasses you might find yourself in a headache situation further along the line. Most growers don’t use super soil and just water feed. If this was the case than it would be perfect to have it part of the companies model. BUT if you do want to go down this route offer solutions but won’t install unless you have in contract your not liable for the watering system. I saved the best for last. If you really serious about this and how to distinguish yourself from the rest. I know a product that will change the GH operation in the future. This is just an opinion with no personal experience or seen a GH with it. They have film that’s been hitting the market the last couple of years. The film is in blue and red/orange spectrum. I’m not sure if you know about growing but Metal halide lights are the best during veg time bc it creates a greater amount of new growth spots as opposed to High Pressure Sodium lights that are better for flowering as it stretches the stalks and mimics the harvest spectrum light. With all this being said. You have to grow and show results on your own dime. Show your product is built right and data to back it up. As you can see in this forum numbers don’t lie but words can. I have a good feeling you can pull this off. It will be hard and at times you may feel that you want to quit bc you’re overwhelmed or business is slow. If you keep the passion for the business than it will be your key to success. A little lucky doesn’t hurt either :wink:

Thank you so much for your in depth response. I have been swamped with my current job in the cannabis industry as California goes through good ol METRC changes. I am going to take all of what you said into consideration. I will be having meetings in the coming weeks with the family about the potential business endeavor.

Anyone else in the Future have something to add? All information is greatly appreciated. Thank you

I’ve done a lot of greenhouse work for two different businesses. One was a large nursery and bedding plant operation with a large retail greenhouse, and about thirty separate greenhouses. The other was a hydroponic production operation, growing mostly tomatoes, along with peppers, squash, and some melons. I have also built a couple decent sized greenhouses and high tunnels. There are many, many options you can offer customers, but the most important is customization to their exact needs starting at the design. Almost all the greenhouses I’ve been in have double layer film inflated with a blower to create an insulating layer. Then there’s the high tunnel, a house with only one layer, often without end walls, especially in summer. These often have side walls that roll up from the bottom as well. Greenhouses are generally designed more permanently and with more complete environmental control in mind. High tunnels can be excellent for extending the season and protecting from extreme weather, while costing much less. High tunnels with roll up sides and vented end walls for the win growing in the soil. For a hydroponic setup, I’d go with a proper greenhouse with some nice benches to get things off the ground. There are many ways to add thermal mass to extend the season further, one of them being the gravel or rocks on many greenhouse floors. I say go for it. There is always room for top notch construction and quality work.

Thank you BigM for your feedback that is all very valuable knowledge! Keep it coming in if you guys have anything else to add! All advise is greatly appreciated.