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How to Start a Plant Nursery Business in Australia

A plant nursery business is a business that primarily grows trees, shrubs, ornamental plants, and bulbs excluding turf and flower growing. Commercial nurseries produce and distribute woody and herbaceous plants, including ornamental trees, shrubs, and bulb crops.

In the plant nursery business, plants are propagated, grown, and sold. Nurseries sell their goods to a variety of markets, including retailers, wholesalers, landscapers, local governments, and orchardists. Available data shows that the plant nursery industry in Australia is worth about $1 billion and there are about 1,424 plant nursery businesses in Australia responsible for employing about 8,737 people.

Steps on How to Start a Plant Nursery Business in Australia

  1. Conduct Market Research

If you are considering starting a plant nursery business, you would need reliable market research to be able to maximize profits from the business. The first step in the market research process for your plant nursery business should be to develop market-based research questions in line with your overall business goal and objective.

In this regard, you should source information that will help you maximize your business, give you reliable data of what your potential market will be looking out for from a plant nursery business, and also help you operate your plant nursery business with less stress and of course, build the business to profitability.

a. Who is the Target Market for Plant Nursery Business?
  • Landscapers
  • Grocery stores
  • Facility managers
  • Local governments
  • Orchardists
  • Everyone who resides in the location where you intend to sell your plants.
b. Is Plant Nursery Business a Profitable Business in Australia?

Yes, the plant nursery business is very profitable. As more people are shifting to homes with limited or no land for vegetation, the demand for flowering plants has increased rapidly.

c. Are There Existing Niches in the Industry?

No, there are no existing niches when it comes to a plant nursery business, but a plant nursery business may decide to specialize in cultivating certain plants.

d. Who are the Major Competitors?
  • All-Grow Wholesale Nursery Pty Ltd
  • Amazon Plant Growers
  • Anderson Horticulture Pty Ltd
  • Australian Native Nurseries Group
  • Bassett Barks Pty Ltd
  • Benara Nurseries
  • Biemond Nurseries Pty Ltd
  • Botanic Gardens and Parks Authority
  • Cameron’s Nursery
  • Carawah Nursery Pty Ltd
  • Chatfields Tree Nursery
  • Clyde Plant Nursery
  • Din San Nursery & Trade Market
  • Dream-time Wholesale Nursery
  • Edinburgh Parks Nursery Pty Ltd
  • Ellenby Tree Farm Pty Ltd – West Swan
  • Flemings’ Nurseries QLD Pty Ltd
  • Grange Growing Solutions
  • Hills Transplants Pty Ltd.
  • Living Colour Nursery Pty Ltd
e. Are There County or State Regulations or Zoning Laws for Plant Nursery Business in Australia?

Yes, there are county or state regulations and zoning laws for Plant nursery businesses in Australia, and players in this industry are expected to work with the existing regulations governing such business in the county or state where their business is domiciled.

f. Is There a Franchise for Plant Nursery Business?

No, there are no franchise opportunities for a plant nursery business.

g. What Do You Need to Start a Plant Nursery Business in Australia?
  • A Feasibility Report
  • Business and Marketing Plans
  • Business Licenses and Permits
  • Facility
  • Insurance
  • Australian Business Number (ABN)
  • Goods and Services Tax (GST)
  • A Corporate Bank Account
  • Employees
  • Nursey Tools
  • Plants and Grower Plant Nursery Bags
  1. Choose a Memorable Business Name

When looking to start a business, before you can begin to file the necessary documents with the constituted authorities or start your website, it is necessary that you come up with a name that you will be recognized with. It is essential that the name you come up with can easily be pronounced, is unique and easily memorable.

Some of the catchy business name ideas suitable for a plant nursery business are;

Creative Plant Nursery Business Name ideas
  • Frito© Plant Nursery, Pty Ltd.
  • Danny Beck® Plant Nursery, Pty Ltd.
  • Green World© Plant Nursery, Pty Ltd.
  • Plant Solutions® Plant Nursery, Pty Ltd.
  • Plant King™ Plant Nursery, Pty Ltd.
  • Green Plural™ Plant Nursery, Pty Ltd.
  • Green Zone© Plant Nursery, Pty Ltd
  • Rennes Group® Plant Nursery, Pty Ltd.
  • Stan Boniface© Plant Nursery, Pty Ltd.
  • Plant Life© Plant Nursery, Pty Ltd.
  • Leafy Green® Plant Nursery, Pty Ltd
  • Growers Connect® Plant Nursery, Pty Ltd
  • Twenties Twenty™ Plant Nursery, Pty Ltd
  • John Stone© Plant Nursery, Pty Ltd.
  • Sun Rise® Plant Nursery, Pty Ltd.
  • Nursey and More™ Plant Nursery, Pty Ltd.
  • Plant Depot™ Plant Nursery, Pty Ltd.
  • Lauren King© Plant Nursery, Pty Ltd.
  • Charles Swindoll® Plant Nursery, Pty Ltd
  • Alexa Palm™ Plant Nursery, Pty Ltd.
  1. Register Your Business

a. What Type of Business Structure is Best for Plant Nursery Business in Australia?

Even though there are several options (Sole trader, Partnership, Company, or Trust) when it comes to the business structure of a plant nursery business in Australia, the one that most players in this line of business consider is a Partnership. It is common to consider a Partnership because providers want to protect themselves from lawsuits.

If you settle for a Company, then you should be aware that Companies are regulated by the Australian Securities & Investments Commission (ASIC) and you must apply for a tax file number (TFN) and use it when lodging your annual tax return.

You will be entitled to an Australian business number (ABN) if it is registered under the Corporations Act 2001. A company not registered under the Corporations law may register for an ABN if it is carrying on an enterprise in Australia and you must be registered for GST if your annual GST turnover is $75,000 or more.

b. Steps to Form Partnership
  • Choose a Name for Your Business
  • Form a Partnership Agreement.
  • Register Your Partnership.
  • Consider Your Taxation Registrations.
  • Open a Partnership Bank Account.
c. What Type of License is Needed to Open a Plant Nursery Business in Australia?
  • General Business License
  • Zonal Permits
  • Signage Permit
  • Copy of license for the service support facility and/or a recent inspection report.
d. What Type of Certification is Needed to Start a Plant Nursery Business in Australia?

You don’t need any certifications to start a plant nursery business.

e. What Documents are Needed to Open a Plant Nursery Business in Australia?
  • Business and Liability Insurance
  • Australian Business Number (ABN)
  • Goods and Services Tax (GST)
  • State Permit and Building Approval (for your office)
  • Certificate of Incorporation
  • Business License
  • Business Plan
  • Employment Agreement (offer letters)
  • Insurance Policy
  • Online Terms of Use (if you have a website)
  • Online Privacy Policy Document (basically for online payment portal)
f. Do You Need a Trademark, Copyright, or Patent?

If you are considering starting a plant nursery business in Australia, usually you may not have any need to file for intellectual property protection or trademark. This is so because the nature of the business makes it possible for you to successfully run it without having any cause to challenge anybody in court for illegally making use of your company’s intellectual properties.

  1. Cost Analysis and Budgeting

a. How Much Does It Cost to Start a Plant Nursery Business in Australia?

The startup cost for a plant nursery business is not uniform, some factors can influence the cost like the size and number of equipment needed to get started. But basically, a plant nursery business will cost from $5,000 to $100,000 to start.

b. What are the Costs Involved in Starting a Plant Nursery Business in Australia
  • Business Registration Fees – AUS$417 – $506.
  • Legal expenses for obtaining licenses and permits – AUS$7,300.
  • Marketing, Branding, and Promotions – AUS$5,000.
  • Business Consultant Fee – AUS$2,500.
  • Insurance – AUS$5,400.
  • Rent/Lease – AUS$15,000.
  • Purchase of Plants (Bulbs and Seeds): AUS$5,000
  • Operational Cost (salaries of employees, payments of bills et al) – AUS$30,000
  • Nursery Tools and Equipment – AUS$24,750
  • Website: AUS$600
  • Opening party: AUS$3,000
  • Miscellaneous: AUS$2,000
c. What Factors Determine the Cost of Opening a Plant Nursery Business?
  • The size of the plant nursery business
  • The choice of location
  • The required licenses and permits
  • The cost of branding, promotion, and marketing the plant nursery business
  • The cost of the insurance policy covers
  • The cost of registering the business
  • Cost of recruiting and training your staff
  • The cost for the purchase and customizing of uniforms
d. Do You Need to Build a Facility? If YES, How Much Will It Cost?

Actually, it is not compulsory to build a new garden facility for your plant nursery business. This is because the nature of the business makes it possible for you to rent or lease a facility.

e. What are the Ongoing Expenses of a Plant Nursery Business?
  • Supplies of plants (bulbs and seeds)
  • Gas
  • Utility bills (internet subscriptions, phone bills, signage, and software renewal fees et al)
  • Salaries of employees
  • Trucks maintenance
  • Insurance
  • Marketing costs
f. What is the Average Salary of your Staff?
  • Chief Operating Officer (Owner) – AUS$38,000 Per Year
  • Manager – AUS$30,000 Per Year
  • Gardeners (Growers) – AUS$24,000 Per Year
g. How Do You Get Funding to Start a Plant Nursery Business?
  • Raising money from personal savings and sale of personal stocks and properties
  • Raising money from investors and business partners
  • Sell shares to interested investors
  • Applying for a loan from your bank/banks
  • Source for soft loans from your family members and friends.
  1. Write a Business Plan

a. Executive Summary

Charles Swindoll® Plant Nursery, Pty Ltd is a registered plant nursery business that will be based in Surfers Paradise Gold Coast QLD, Australia. We are a unique plant nursery brand because we do not just sell different types of plants, we will also sell our franchise.

b. Products and Service
  • Bedding and ornamental plants
  • Propagation stock
  • Trees and shrubs
  • Other plants
  • Indoor and patio plants
c. Mission Statement

Our mission is to build a plant nursery business that will meet the needs of our customers in the regions/cities where we will cover and to sell franchises all across the United States of America and Canada.

Vision Statement

Our vision is to become one of the preferred choices when it comes to plant nursery goods in our market space.

d. Goals and Objectives

The goals and objectives of a plant nursery business are to primarily grow trees, shrubs, ornamental plants, and bulbs. Nurseries sell their goods to a variety of markets, including retailers, wholesalers, landscapers, local governments, and orchardists.

e. Organizational Structure
  • Chief Operating Officer (Owner)
  • Manager
  • Gardeners (Growers).

Marketing Plan

a. SWOT Analysis
  • Excellent operational history
  • Ideal location (excellent climate and soil texture) to grow different types of plants
  • Experience and trained professionals.
  • Well-equipped shop facility.
  • Excellent customer testimonials.
  • Availability of different types of plants.
  • The owner is new to large scale marketing
  • The owner is currently running the business solo
  • Lack of economies of scale.
  • Demand for indoor and patio plants increased over the past three years. This can be directly attributed to the increase in working and studying from home during the pandemic.
  • Build upon existing clientele
  • Online market, new services, new technology, and of course the opening of new markets.
  • Loans diminish profitability until they are paid off
  • The first year will be financially tight while we gain customers and pay off loans
  • Competition in the area could increase
  • Management of employees requires time, money, and efforts
  • The regulatory department could change its regulatory status and decide to regulate and enforce strict regulations that can strangulate new business.
b. How Do Plant Nursery Businesses Make Money?

Even though specialty plants such as orchids or rare trees and shrubs may be sold for a much higher price than tomato plants, a profitable nursery makes its money by selling large quantities of familiar, hardy, easy-to-grow plants.

c. Payment Options
  • Payment via bank transfer
  • Payment with cash
  • Payment via credit cards
  • Payment via online bank transfer
  • Payment via check
  • Payment via mobile money transfer
d. Sales & Advertising Strategies
  • Introduce your plant nursery business brand by sending introductory letters to residents, wholesalers, landscapers, local governments, orchardists, park managers, and other stakeholders in and around the city you intend to cover.
  • Advertise your plant nursery business in community-based newspapers, local TV and radio stations
  • List our business and products on yellow pages ads (local directories)
  • Leverage the internet and mobile apps to promote your plant nursery business brands
  • Engage in direct marketing and sales
  • Deliberately brand your food truck
  • Encourage the use of word-of-mouth marketing (referrals)

Financial Projection

a. How Much Should You Charge for your Product/Service?

Most plant nursery businesses sell their plants based on the quantity of the plant.

b. How Much Profit Do Plant Nursery Business Owners Make a Year in Australia?

It depends, but the available report shows that on average, a plant nursery business should net more than $70,000 per year assuming they have a steady clientele.

c. What Factors Determine the Amount of Profit to Be Made?
  • The capacity of the plant nursery business
  • The location the plant nursery business is covering
  • The management style of the plant nursery business
  • The business approach of the plant nursery business
  • The advertising and marketing strategies adopted by the plant nursery business.
  • The number of years the plant nursery is in business
d. What is the Profit Margin of a Plant Nursery Business?

The profit margin of a Plant nursery business is not fixed. It could range from 35 percent to 75 percent.

e. What is the Sales Forecast?

Below is the sales forecast of a plant nursery business. It is based on the location of the business and other factors as it relates to such startups in Australia;

  • First Fiscal Year: AUS $220,000
  • Second Fiscal Year: AUS$340,000
  • Third Fiscal Year: AUS$450,000
  1. Set Up your Shop/Office

a. How Do You Choose a Perfect Location for Plant Nursery Business in Australia?
  • The climatic condition and soil texture of the location
  • The demography of the location
  • The demand for nursery plants in the location
  • The purchasing power of businesses and the residents of the location
  • Accessibility of the location
  • The number of plant nursery businesses in the location
  • The local laws and regulations in the community/state
  • Traffic, parking and security et al
b. What Cities are Best to Open a Plant Nursery Business in Australia?
  • Armadale, Victoria
  • Adelaide SA
  • Burswood WA
  • Hawthorn East, Victoria
  • Osborne Park WA
  • Perth WA
  • Sydney New South Wales
  • Melbourne Victoria
  • Bondi Beach NSW
  • Brisbane QLD
  • Surfers Paradise Gold Coast QLD
  • Southport Gold Coast QLD.
c. What Equipment is Needed to Operate a Plant Nursery Business?

For plant propagation, you will need secateurs, a sharp knife, a wheelbarrow, hoses and sprayers, and punnets and pots. You will also need to purchase seeds, disinfectants, propagating and potting mixes, and hormone preparations. A small garden shed is enough to store these items.

  1. Hire Employees

When it comes to hiring employees for a standard plant nursery business, you should make plans to hire a competent chief executive officer (you can occupy this position), manager, and gardeners (growers).

  1. Launch the Business Proper

In recent times, no plant nursery business opens its door for business without first organizing an opening party to officially launch the business. You can choose to do a soft opening party if you are operating on a low budget or you can go for a grand opening party.

The bottom line is that with a proper launching of the plant nursery business, you will officially inform people in your city that your plant nursery is open for business.

a. What Makes a Plant Nursery Business Successful?
  • Choose a good location, and high-demand plants to cultivate
  • Hire only competent, hardworking, and trustworthy staff
  • Be deliberate with your marketing and sales approach (partner with key stakeholders)
  • Encourage the use of word of mouth to promote your plant nursery business
  • Leverage all available online and offline platforms to promote your plant nursery business
b. What Happens During a Typical Day at a Plant Nursery Business?
  • The business is open for the day’s work
  • Plants are watered and weeded
  • Customers’ requests are taken and they are attended to
  • Marketing/website upkeep
  • Supply ordering
  • The business is closed for the day.
c. What Skills and Experience Do You Need to Build a Plant Nursery Business?
  • Good farming skills
  • Creative mind
  • Customer services skills
  • Interpersonal skill
  • Business management skills
  • Work experience in the plant nursery industry
  • Experience in managing people
  • Experience in business administration
  • Experience in handling relevant software.