Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: In the hills mang....i DEEED it...
Greenhouse shopping in Grass Valley - Forever Flowering vs Conleys vs Alternatives
Hey y'all, wanted to see if any other Norcal growers are in the same position as me, GREENHOUSE SHOPPING! recently did a tour of all the options in grass valley, got pricing, analyzed quality/cost/etc, sat down and burned a few with the crew going over the options. Wanted to expand the conversation to any others in the situation or who have good GH knowledge. For sake of argument, i am discussing light dep GH in a 24-30ft by 60-96ft footprint, with at least a 12-14ft height. the cost is for just the GH frame, LD system and labor to install it, NOT including any grading/excavating, leveling, drainage, supp lights, permits etc...
My initial impressions on them go as follows
Forever Flowering - great facility and demos, very good customer service from the guy who helped us (not the owner). got a full tour and demo of all their GH options. i was half expecting them to have an off putting attitude from all the interest and sales they generate, but they treated us like real buyers and weren't afraid to throw real numbers at us. maybe they should have treated me like a window shopper, because after calculating their options we kind of concluded that they are very high priced, and more of something geared towards these new VC backed canna-companies with fat cat investors who blindly write checks. Alot of the options may seem reasonable to a lazy grower who doesn't want to do research, but when you know the real cost of certain things you begin to see how large of a margin they tack on. If i was sitting on a ton of cash and lazy, i would definately go FF and just pay the high up front cost. For reference, a 30x96 with all the options, including labor, can easily approach 90k. now, trimming some of the costly options that can be installed ourselves and other "fancy" stuff that isn't totally needed, i managed to get the cost down to around 65k, thats with a "classic" series with the base light dep system, manual ridge vents and rollups, and skipping all of the fancy stuff in the deluxe packages. Labor is a huge expense, roughly 40% of the total cost of the GH itself which was around 45k. if you have your own super crew you can probably save some $$ there because there crew is not cheap.
Conleys/Vital Garden Supply - the demo was kind of disappointing, and not a true representation of the 1300 series they were selling. but the guy was very helpful and knowledgeable as well, no complaints at all on the customer service. For a very similar GH with light dep system it was exactly 31k before labor, so after labor still approaching 50k just a bit cheaper than FF. they also have expensive labor, the guy basically broke it down as the crew runs about 8-10k a week, and the average GH over 60 ft takes 3 weeks to install. which seems excessive, but not totally out of the ballpark. one of the things to watch out for on the conley was there extremely over the top cost for the evap and "light bar" system, which are 6800 and 5500 respectively. considering you can make your own evap wet wall for wayyyy cheaper, and the light bar is just a metal beam with electrical conduit in it, you can save a ton of money building it yourself.
Custom Coldframe this was the option that I'm probably most psyched about. outside of GV we stumbled across a small garden center, can't remember the name sorry, maybe il get that later. but anyways, they can do a basic bare bones 24x96 for under 20k and thats including light dep system and labor. their LD system is WAY more simple, and can be converted from manual to auto and back for much cheaper. the system itself is just way simpler than the complicated, multi zone ones on the conleys and FF. its a cold frame on 4ft centers and built with the same metal framing as all the other spots. the only drawback was that the overall height is shorter than FF/conley mountain series, but we figured we can fix that by building either a concrete foundation wall or 2x4 framing that would lift the cold frame off the ground 2ft or so. it comes with a pretty decent fan exhaust system, but can easily be modified to fit a custom evap or other fan system. it doesn't have any fancy stuff like ridge vents, grow controllers or temperature/weather sensors, but do you honestly need all that when cash cropping? maybe not….or it can be installed later. also, the labor crew is somewhat cheaper at only 7k per week (1k per day) and since the GH itself is simpler, can be installed within 3-4 days they claim. my friend is gonna be a test subject and order one asap from these guys so i can have some decent feedback on them pretty soon.
so long story short, and this is just my impression and I'm always open to criticism. FF/conleys are fancy, fucking cool as hell, but overpriced and not totally necessary for growing chronic. i would personally go conleys/vital garden supply since you can save a little bit. if i had a VC backed canna company i would go FF just for the bling, its like buying a 7 series or S class, except it will yield you exponential amounts of herb.
personally, I'm leaning towards custom cold frames. almost everybody i know doing light dep has managed to put them together for much cheaper, and are able to produce great nug from them. also, the property I'm aiming to do this on, is somewhat hilly and remote and off a well, a full sun spot being converted to GH, in a county that is reversing its stance on pot. if i had flat acres right off AG irrigation, and a permit from the state of CA to grow and sell legally, i would just pony up for the conleys. also, being able to buy 3 cold frames for the price of one fancy mountain series also is very alluring. i can use all those profits to go get my AG land and build a conleys a few years from now haha.
Last edited by Yes4Prop215; 02-22-2015 at 04:19 AM..