Thinking of hiring a cultivation consultant? Here’s what you can expect.

By David Perkins

Hiring an experienced cultivation consultant is yet another cost, amongst the
laundry list of never-ending expenses in the set up of a regulated, recreational grow.
However, in the big picture it can actually save you a significant amount of time and
money by providing you with the information you need to formulate a realistic
budget, profitable cultivation site, and well-trained workforce. This article will
explore just some of the many benefits a cultivation consultant can provide to your
company.
An experienced consultant will have a vast array of knowledge to ensure the
success of your company. One important area they can advise you on is budgeting.
With years of experience cultivating, in both medical and recreational markets, an
experienced consultant will have knowledge of not only start-up costs, but also
hidden costs you must prepare for in advance. They will also be able to advise you
on strategies to avoid future costs and problems. There may also be expenses in the
build-out of your cultivation site you have not considered. For example, you may
need a wastewater treatment plan if you have any fertilizer runoff that will flow to
a sewage drain. It is important to know all possible costs when securing your
investment or planning out your budget for the year.
Set up of a large-scale cultivation site in a regulated market can be extremely
costly. Gone are the days of putting up a few lights in a closet; growing in a regulated
market requires a larger scale, and therefore, larger costs and more complications. A
consultant experienced in design and implementation of such large-scale, intricate
cultivation plans will provide you with the knowledge you need to properly set-up
and maintain your facility in order to ensure your company’s success. They will also
know the tips and tricks to save you money along the way.
A good consultant will be able to advise you on the design of your facility to
ensure that the layout supports productivity, and that there is a proper workflow. It
is important to hire a consultant before you get started with the build-out of your
facility, as it will be much more costly to have to correct mistakes in your design
later on down the road. An experienced consultant will implement superior facilities
layout and design to avoid future problems at the outset. Something as simple as a
centralized irrigation distribution zone can save you a lot of time and money.
Once you have created the proper space, cultivation planning is important to
avoid unnecessary problems from arising, which will ultimately delay profit. A well
thought out cultivation plan will help you plan for success. A consultant will know
what does and doesn’t work. For example, some equipment will run off an app on
your phone; while convenient, there are some that don’t perform well which could
end up costing the entire crop. These are things you want to know and work
around, before you spend money unnecessarily.
An experienced consultant will have previously worked in various types and
scales of cultivation sites, and from that experience will be able to teach you which processes and techniques work, and which ones don’t. Someone with less
experience may believe that watering plants by hand would be an easy method to
keep your garden irrigated, but it is actually the most time-consuming labor task
(and therefore extremely costly), while an automated watering system can be very
simple and cost-effective to install.
A skilled consultant can provide the necessary training for your employees. Let’s
face it, this is an entirely new industry, and therefore, most people applying for
entry-level jobs at a cultivation site are unskilled. However, the best path to success
when dealing with large-scale cannabis cultivation is to have skilled, happy
employees. Educating and properly training your employees is essential. It helps to
teach employees not only how to complete a task, but to help them understand why
they are doing a given task. This will give your staff the skills and confidence they
need to complete the task properly. Unskilled hands in your garden can make or
break the success of your cultivation.
Don’t make the mistakes others have made. Hiring a cultivation consultant
can help you to avoid problems before they occur. A professional consultant has
the knowledge required to: predict issues and problems before they occur, or
implement a solution when corrective measures are necessary. Oftentimes issues
can be avoided just by knowing the cause and effect of decisions and the potential
outcomes they will have.
A cultivation consultant should also have a wide network of professional
contacts to help you address any issues or problems that arise. Having a network of
professionals to employ when necessary is critical for ensuring the success of every
project. For example, wholesale contacts for cultivation equipment can help you not
only to get the best price, but also ensure you are using the best equipment possible
for your situation.
If you are still unsure about whether or not you need a cultivation consultant
to help plan out your grow, or fix your grow if you’ve encountered problems, feel
free to contact me to discuss your needs. I assure you there are ways I can save you money, improve your yields, and help your company be more successful in this ever-
changing market.

To read previous articles by David Perkins click here

David Perkins is a Cultivation manger and consultant with over 20 years of experience
in the grow room. From build out to cultivation, cloning to processing, he has done it
all. David can help you succeed in the grow room, and likely save you money along the
way. If you are considering hiring a consultant, please reach out, and discuss with
David the ways in which he can help you achieve your goals. You can reach David at
(530)277-5891 or marleybrutusdave@gmail.com

Five Factors to Keep in Mind When Entering the Regulated Market

by David Perkins

It’s a different world growing cannabis in California; in fact it’s a completely different experience than it was even four years ago. It can be overwhelming to begin the process, which is where an experienced cultivation consultant can help. This article will highlight 5 factors to keep in mind before you begin growing in California’s regulated recreational market. 

Start Up – Costs, needs, and endless variables 

So you’ve decided to begin a recreational grow, here are the factors to consider before you get started. 

Permitting, the necessary precursor to cultivation, can be time- consuming, extremely expensive, and overwhelming. General experience dictates that any grow will take longer than planned and cost way more money than you ever expected or anticipated. Always account for more money and time than you think you need. Working with an experienced consultant can help you plan and account for all the costs and variables you may not have considered, prior to beginning cultivation, in order to ensure your success. 

Equipment. When choosing what equipment to use, stick to reputable equipment manufacturers. Don’t just go with the latest high tech gear because you see it on Instagram being advertised by a big, fancy grow operation. Stick to what you know best. Do your homework and research the equipment as much as possible, prior to purchase. Use equipment that has been tested and well documented with success. Some questions to ask yourself: is this necessary? Is it cost efficient? Will it help me reach my goals? 

Grow your business slowly and naturally. Getting too big too quick will most likely expose inefficiencies in your operating plan, which will be further compounded when production increases. Don’t sink before you can swim and start out on a massive scale before you have perfected your process. 

Cultivation – It pays to design it right the first time 

Success begins in the grow room. Never forget that. A properly engineered cultivation plan can be the difference between 3 and 6 harvest per year. Again, it is imperative here to do your homework. A well thought out plan can make or break you, and that is where an experienced cultivation consultant can help. 

Set realistic expectations. Understand that growing boutique-style cannabis is very difficult on a large scale, consistently. Don’t expect to grow perfect cannabis every time – it is unrealistic and can ultimately lead to failure if your financial model depends on it. Growing a plant, while mostly in your control, involves too many variables to rely on a perfect outcome round after round. You can do everything in your power, yet something unexpected can still happen and be detrimental to your yield, and therefore your profit. You must expect and plan for this. 

Automating as much of your grow as possible is always a good idea. This will greatly reduce labor costs and more importantly, minimize human error. In some instances, it will even allow you to review data and information remotely, in real-time, allowing you to ensure your cultivation site is always running as efficiently as possible, even when you aren’t there. 

Processing – Don’t skimp on the process 

If you are going to be harvesting cannabis for flower, it is imperative to have a properly built facility for drying, curing and storing your product. You must consider that this building will need to be large enough to house and properly store all of your harvest at once. This can make or break your crop at harvest time. If you don’t have the capacity to handle your harvest properly, it can lead to disastrous issues such as mold or too quick of a cure – conditions which make your cannabis unsellable in the regulated market. 

Although costly, if done correctly, you can also design this area to serve as your propagation, trimming, and breeding areas, which will ultimately save on costs in the long run. 

Also keep in mind, hand-trimmed cannabis will always look more appealing to the consumer than machine trimmed cannabis. However, hand trimming can be time-consuming, labor-intensive, and therefore far more costly than machine trimming. These are factors you will need to consider and budget for when deciding how to 

proceed. If you use a machine, you may save money upfront, but will you be able to sell your cannabis at full price? 

Distribution – Have a plan 

It is a good idea to have a plan for distribution, prior to startup. If you have an agreement with a retail outlet (or contract with a distributor), in writing, you will protect yourself from financial failure. Cannabis will never grow more valuable over time, therefore, you want to have a plan in place for distribution, as soon as the cannabis is harvested and processed. Just as was the case in the black market days, you never want to hold on to your cannabis for long periods of time. 

Do not distribute without agreements in writing! While some oral agreements may be enforceable, it will be extremely costly to litigate. Therefore, you should plan to hire a lawyer beforehand to create fail-proof agreements that will hold up in court, should a distributor not pay you for your product. 

Sales – Build your brand, but be realistic 

Building your brand is important. And if you don’t produce your own high-quality flower you cannot expect to have a product up to your standards. Your brand will not be successful if you cannot consistently provide consumers with high-quality cannabis. Relying on other growers to produce your cannabis for you is risky to your brand. Even if you are a manufacturer, you may not be able to rely on other suppliers to maintain the quality volume you need in order to manufacture your products consistently. 

The regulated market in California is new. Therefore your must necessarily account for a great degree of price fluctuations in the market. When creating your budget at the outset, you must account for fluctuations in profit. Knowing when prices are going to be at their lowest can help you avoid having an oversupply of inventory. It can also help you avoid such situations by planning your cultivation/harvest accordingly. 

There are both consumer and government influenced market trends that can affect your bottom line. Therefore, these must be accounted for at the outset. 

On the consumer level, you must know what people are buying and how they are consuming. And these factors can change quickly with the introduction of new technology, methods, or new devices intended for cannabis consumption. You must stay on top of these trends. The government regulations can also affect these trends. Products used for cultivation can become banned i.e. products you once relied on in your cultivation can be found to have contaminants known to cause test failures, even in “approved products.” 

Ultimately, all of these factors can make or break your success, and therefore, must be considered, researched, and accounted for prior to beginning your cultivation in the regulated market. Working with a consultant with over 20 years of grow experience, and more importantly, extensive experience in large scale cultivation in the regulated market, can help you achieve the success you desire. Cultivation in the regulated market is costly, but working with a consultant can help you cut costs at the outset, and save you from unexpected expenses in the long run.

David Perkins is a Cultivation manger and consultant with over 20 years of experience in the grow room. From build out to cultivation, cloning to processing, he has done it all. David can help you succeed in the grow room, and likely save you money along the way. If you are considering hiring a consultant, please reach out, and discuss with David the ways in which he can help you achieve your goals. You can reach David at (530)277-5891 or marleybrutusdave@gmail.com