Think about how popular Christmas is in our country. Then realize that most people who love the holiday also purchase a Christmas tree for the big day. It’s a tradition, and there are around 25-36 million real trees sold yearly in this country. That is a massive amount.
Starting a Christmas tree business is a great option if you want to boost your revenues during the holiday season. In fact, some Christmas tree business owners can live off the profits from just that time of year. Michigan, in particular, is one of the best places to start one. It has a natural Christmas feel with the snow and cold weather, and many types of Christmas trees grow there. Here’s how you can start a Christmas tree business and find amazing success.
Plan Out Your Business
Every successful business starts out with a plan. First, you need to know where you want to go and how you want to get there. Your business plan will act as a guide, a projection, and a tool to show others how viable your business is. Your plan should include all of your potential costs and projected revenues. It should also outline how you will market your business and whether you will need staff.
A unique thing about a tree business is that you will also have to plan where you get your trees. If you are going to plant them yourself, then you need property, and you will need to properly plan your growth so that you have viable Christmas trees every year to sell. You don’t want to get to December 1st and only have saplings. A good plan will keep you on track, show you what’s realistic, and help you prove the worth of your business to potential investors and lenders.
Register for Your Taxes
Even if you are only doing this business for some extra money every year, it does not mean that you don’t have to pay taxes. As a business, you should, first of all, become a legal entity. You can be a sole proprietor or become a limited liability company. Once you have a registered business and a name, then you can register for your taxes.
Every business should have an employer identification number (EIN). There is no cost to get it; it is necessary if you have staff. Even if you don’t have staff, many other businesses and organizations may not partner with you if you don’t have one. Once you have a legal business and are set up for taxes, you are ready to start bringing in revenues.
Open a Bank Account and Credit Card Specifically For Your Business
They say that you shouldn’t mix business and pleasure. The fact is that you shouldn’t mix your personal finances with your business finances, either. If your business were to get sued, for example, then your personal finances could be at risk. This can also protect your business credit from your personal credit if you have any issues with yours. A business credit card will help you keep track of business purchases and keep them separate from your personal. Your business can build up its credit record, and you can often take advantage of discounts and low-interest rates with business accounts.
There are plenty of ways that a Christmas tree business can be risky. You have a lot of people walking through, and they could trip on debris or have a tree knocked over them. If this were to happen, you would need general liability insurance to protect your business. Do you have a vehicle for transporting the trees to your location? You need to be covered with a commercial automobile policy. What if someone flicks their cigarette in the wrong direction and your trees go up in flames? Commercial property coverage can help protect against financial fallout. Get a Michigan business insurance policy to make sure that your company is protected against anything that might happen.
Source Your Trees
You can’t go out into the wilds of Michigan and chop down any tree you want. For one, you might end up on someone’s private property. Secondly, it’s not very efficient. The best options are to grow your own or sharecrop. As you grow your business, you can do both to build some redundancies. Sharecropping means you are using someone else’s land, but you are the one working it. You will have to give them a percentage of the profits as part of the agreement.
You can buy land and grow the trees yourself if you can. Of course, it will take some years before newly planted trees are ready to sell, so you will need mature trees in the meantime to use for your business. You can plant seeds or buy saplings from another producer.
Since you will sell living things, your business must be inspected. Michigan has set up strict protocols that you have to follow to sell Christmas trees legally. Trees can get diseases or carry pests that can spread to other trees, to humans, and the ecosystem. Do not try to start your business without getting certified by the state. Otherwise, all of your investments into the business could be for naught when you get shut down or get fined. It’s better to do this legitimately and not take the risk.
Sell Your Trees!
Find a location that’s easy to get to and has a lot of space. Many Christmas tree businesses operate on large parking lots or fields. It not only makes it easy to showcase your trees, but it’s also easy to bring them in from where you’ve grown or purchased them. You will have to find a balance between paying for a lot of space but not so much that it will cut into your profits too much.
Then it’s a matter of getting the word out there and providing excellent customer service. Christmas tree businesses can get a lot of return customers every year if they treat them right. So make sure you do, and you could find yourself as part of the holiday traditions for many families in your area.