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Potted Plants

By: J. F. (Jim) Straw
© 1998 Phlander Company.

Explanation: Fantastic as it may seem, this idea had its origination with my mother-in-law. She has a pair of "Green Thumbs" and her house is covered with flowers, vines and the like.

On a weekend visit, I made a comment about her lovely flowers. Her response astounded me. It seems that each year she gives away dozens of her plants to friends, neighbors, relatives and acquaintances just to get the plants out of her house. She said that, if she didn't, the house would soon be overgrown.

These comments prompted me to investigate the florist business. The discoveries I made indicate that there is a vast fortune to be made in this field without ever growing one plant.

There are literally millions of women, like my mother-in-law, in this country who delight in growing flowers in their homes. These women do it for the enjoyment of having living plants decorating their homes - BUT - after some time, their homes become overcrowded with plants. Unable, by their nature, to destroy or discard any of their plants, they give them away to anyone who will have them.

Florists, at the same time, are selling the very same plants for a fabulous (almost 100%) profit.

Because of the nature of the florist business, you can make yourself a small fortune by becoming a "Flower Broker".


First, of course, you must locate some of the ladies in your area who grow flowers and the like. This is not at all difficult. Just ask women you know which of their friends grow flowers in their homes. You will be amazed at the number of women who do. (There are some men who do, too - but - mostly women.)

Even before you meet the ladies who grow flowers in their homes, go around to the various florist shops in your area and do some browsing. Check out what kinds of potted plants they sell, how much they get for the various sizes of each plant, what kind of pots or planters the plants are sold in, and which plants they seem to have the greatest quantity of and which the least (florists stock more of the plants they sell the most).

It is best to check out as many florist shops as you can. Be sure to write down all of the information and details you have observed at each shop.

Once you have a pretty fair idea of the prices, etc. at the florist shops, get in touch with the ladies who grow those plants in their homes. The contact with these ladies should be in person. (See Hint #1.)

Here's how to approach these ladies:

1) TELL her that you heard from a mutual friend or acquaintance that she had a "Green Thumb" and that her flowers and plants were some of the loveliest in the area (a little "soft soap" never hurt anyone).

2) ASK her if she has ever thought of making a few extra dollars from her hobby (somewhere deep inside, each of these ladies would like to own their own their own florist shop or green house).

3) TELL her that you are setting up a deal with ladies like her who grow plants in their homes, so they can make some extra money from their hobby. She has the talent, enjoys doing it, and already has plants growing - why not make a little money at it too?

4) OFFER her this deal: If she is interested, you will supply her with a price list showing how much you will pay for various plants (see Hint #4). She in turn will keep you updated with a list of plants she has available (how many and what kind). You will sell those plants for her, then come by and pay for them when you pick them up.

REMEMBER: These ladies are already growing plants so you don't have to convince them to grow a few more - especially since they can make a few dollars doing it.


There are a number of ways to sell the plants you will be getting from your "Growers", such as:

1) Run a classified ad in your local newspaper, and newspapers in the surrounding area, something like this:

"POTTED PLANTS - Call me before you call a high-priced florist. Phone: ..."

When someone calls, ask them what the occasion is, then give them a list of the flowers you have available from your "Growers". Also, tell them what kind of pots and planters you have available. (See Hint #5.)

When they order the plant, pick it up from the "Grower" and deliver it to the person who ordered it and get the cash.

NOTE: Keep your "quality" standards high. If you go to pick up a plant and that "Grower" only has some rather frail looking plants available, simply tell her you can't sell them. (Always have a second source for every kind of plant.) - By the way, this won't happen very often, if ever, because the ladies who grow plants in their homes love their plants too much to even offer you a frail plant.

2) Place placards in all of the hospitals in your area, something like this:

"LIVING PLANTS for your loved ones. Call me before you call a high-priced florist. Phone: ....."

3) WHOLESALE. Sell plants in lots to florists (see Hint #6). Go around to some plant nurseries that supply your local florists and find out how much they get for the various plants. Offer your local florists plants at a little better price.

4) Right before a special occasion, run a classified ad offering the flower of that occasion; such as carnations for Mother's Day, something like this:

"MOTHER'S DAY CARNATIONS, alive in planters - can't wilt. Call me before you call a high-priced florist. Phone: ..." (See Hint #7.)

This kind of business usually snowballs once it gets going. People who order from you once, reorder and tell their friends. In no time at all, you can be making a few thousand dollars per month.


1) In locating your "Growers" it is not a good idea to advertise because you don't want the local florist shops to know your source. Each "Grower" you contact will probably put you in contact with two or three others like herself. Also, check with any "Gardening Clubs" in your area.

2) Unless you plan on growing some plants yourself, it is not necessary to learn about potting procedures, flowering cycles, growth time, etc. - Your "Growers" will know all of those things from experience. If you need to know something, ASK one of them.

3) Keeping with my philosophy of letting other people make the money for you; find someone who can answer calls for you, pick up and deliver the flowers, and keep your lists of available plants updated. Give this person 50% of your profits. - A good choice for this job is a retired woman who has a phone, wants to make a few dollars to supplement her Social Security, and wants to stay active meeting people.

4) PRICING. Your pricing - the amount you pay your "Growers" and the price you sell the plants for - is to be determined by the current price structures of the florist shops in your area. Don't try to cut their prices by much, but do offer your customers prices about 15% to 25% lower than theirs. Pay your "Growers" about 50% of the price for which you will be selling the plants.

5) PLANTERS. Add to your profits immensely by offering planters of various styles. These planters can be obtained from wholesale houses - or - you can make even more money by offering hand-made planters made by local hand crafters. - Just have your "Grower" change the plant over to the planter when you go to pick it up for delivery.

6) WHOLESALING. After you have found out the going wholesale prices of the plant nurseries for various plants, ask one of your "Growers" how long it would take to start from clippings and have available 100 (whatever type) plants. Go to the florists and offer to supply 100 of those plants by (date) at a price below the nursery price. When the florist places an order, get your "Growers" to make clippings and start the plants (5 Growers x 20 plants each = 100 plants). Pay your "Growers" about 50% of what you get from the florists.

7) SPECIAL OCCASION FLOWERS. Each holiday has a flower or plant which is considered most appropriate for giving: such as Carnations for Mother's Day - and - Poinsettias for Christmas; etc. - ASK your "Growers" how long it takes to get these flowers ready from clippings to be ready on the right holiday. Have each "Grower" start a number of that particular flower in advance of the holiday so it will be ready for delivery on the holiday.

8) Always tell your customers that you do not sell "Cut Flowers" because they soon wilt, whereas, potted plants can stay lovely for many years to come.

Do Yourself a Favor - become a "Flower Broker".

Article by J. F. (Jim) Straw

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