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Posted:  16 Jun 2011 05:16  
Hi!
I have a question....I've been seriously considering starting an interior business perhaps with limited commercial exterior work.  I have years of experience in the interior and exterior business mostly going back into the 80's (mtnce, sales, management) and then moved to Europe where I had a lean and mean interior biz servicing multi-national corporations.  Did that for 10 years and recently returned to the U.S. as an employee with an interior company.  Needless to say, the $$ isn't so great as an employee.  So, I've been thinking about taking the plunge and starting my own business (again).  In this economic climate, it is more than a little unnerving.  I feel like I've learned much about operating a business (sometimes the hard way!)  However, I am full of doubts about the wisdom of taking this on at this point in our economic situation.  I live in the Bay area in CA, so at least there's some opportunities here.  What would be your opinion about taking this on?  If you had it to do all over again now, would you??
Posted:  16 Jun 2011 14:48  
Can't address the West Coast, but here on the East Coast, if you hope to retire wealthy from this industry, you would be among the few.  Most of us do it for the passion that we feel for the industry.  As an owner, with all of the inherent risks that go along with it, my wages are considered "middle America" wages, even though I have a degree in horticulture.

Julie
Posted:  16 Jun 2011 16:10  
According to a bunch of propaganda billboards along NJ the NJ Turnpike, Bill Gates started Microsoft in a recession, and there are supposedly numerous other "positives" to be gleaned from the down economy.  You can look at it as an opportunity or as a discouragement, depending on your character and tolerance for risk.  I can't speak for those things, so it's hard to give advice on this topic.  Julie is correct, though...our industry has so devalued our work and products that it's very difficult to even make a go of it these days.

As my Hort 101 professor at Rutgers once said, the only way you'll get rich in the horticulture business is when you retire and sell the land your greenhouses sit on.  Truer words were never spoken, I'm afraid.

Clem
Posted:  19 Jun 2011 02:04  
yup. very crazy
Posted:  19 Jun 2011 20:22  
I don't think you are crazy!  After leaving this industry for about 5 years, I came back into last year after realizing that I choose to be happy and do what I love (life is too short)
What I found, in the market that i am in, is the larger interior landscaping companies have gotten too comfortable and feel they can provide infrequent service visits and plants that are "just not going to grow back no matter what you try to do with the stick that is left".  We are a company that has the basic understanding that most companies want their plants to look great and provide interesting color rotations instead of slapping in yet another purple bromeliad. 
It has it's ups and downs but the passion make us succeed.  It is hard to start a small business only due to the fact that soooo many lenders are reluctant to lend to small business.
We work on a shoestring budget but make it work because of our knowledge of the business, horticulture knowledge and understanding of what customers really want-SERVICE-(plants and customer service).  After just a year and half, we bill in recurring well over $100,000/year
You can do it!!

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