When building an efficient, high-yielding commercial cultivation facility, these 10 quick tips will save your company both money and time, and will help you stay ahead of regulatory changes. With the right design and production systems in place, you could produce top-shelf product for almost $300 per pound.
1. Crunch Numbers
Be mindful of your starting budget and always add room for unforeseen costs. Remember, you don’t have to have the state’s biggest facility on day one to come out on top. Think about building your facility in phases rather than all at once - this way you don’t outgrow other facets of your business model such as sales or distribution.
2. Create Space
When designing a new facility or retrofitting an existing one, make sure to leave space for drying, curing, packaging, trimming. Include an area where workers can take a break that isn’t under 50,000 watts of intense lighting.
3. Don’t Cut Corners on Your Environment
Invest in the quality and dependability of your product. To save in the long run, spend money on HVAC and dehumidifier systems, ask for five-year warranties, and buy a maintenance plan. It’s more expensive upfront, but only one day of heat stress or high humidity can wreak havoc and result in crop loss when cultivating indoors. With some state testing requirements, this can cause a complete crop failure if microbials test too high.
4. Behold, The Power of Observation
Value preventative maintenance. No matter how exciting your new irrigation system is, be sure to establish a daily routine of walking your facility. With awareness and consistency, you can stay ahead of problems rather than chasing problems. Catching early warning signs of pest activity or plant stress can save major yield loss.
5. Get With the Times, Compliance Is Cool
Create a compliant culture from day one. This will ensure your operation stays out of trouble with local and state regulators so that your license is never at risk. Full compliance holds employees and managers accountable for product qualities and quantities. The only thing worse than crop failure is a complete business failure - stay compliant.
6. Build an A-Team
Build a solid team by building resiliency through dynamic skillsets. With a proven system in place, it’s easy to teach multiple employees how to manage small day-to-day and week-to-week tasks. Investing in employee growth translates into a more knowledgeable and supportive team where people can step in and help with a larger range of garden needs. Having a team who understands each step helps make vacations possible!
7. Prove It!
These days everyone claims to be getting 3, 4, or even 5 pounds per light. Prove it! Start collecting real data. You don’t have to be an excel expert to track temperature, humidity levels, strain flowering cycles, and other general plant tracking. Consistent and clean data will help reveal process issues and opportunities for improved efficiencies.
8. Count Twice, Cut Once
The days of 99 plants per patient are coming to an end; doctors in Colorado rarely write recommendations more than 12 plants. Today’s learning curve is steeper to achieve larger yields with fewer plants, which must be taken into consideration when optimizing your facility.
9. To Infinity and Beyond!
The industry has come a long way in the last decade in technology and equipment advancements. There exists amazing cost saving equipment on the market that doesn’t compromise yields. Take advantage of items such as rolling benches, HVAC systems, Duct Sock, LEC lighting and many more.
10. Stand Out From the Pack
Brand your products - whether it’s stickers, boxes, jars, shelf displays, lighters, social media, or newsletters. Start educating your clients and help retail employees educate the consumer at the point of sale. Building a following for your products will increase demand and consumer familiarity.
About the Author: Blending his insightful vision, diverse experiences, and entrepreneurial spirit, Cory Waggoner founded Higher Yields Consulting in 2014. Cory’s multi-faceted cannabis expertise helps guide start-ups through a comprehensive four step program. His “HYC Process” quickly became a proven, successful model for industry efficiency and start-up success. For more, www.HigherYieldsConsulting.com