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Old 02-21-2015, 09:01 AM #1
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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.

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Old 02-21-2015, 09:33 AM #2
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I'm in the same boat... just got my place over in that county had big plans for full sun but now trying to figure it out...prop pm me after you decide maybe we can do a group buy? respect

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Old 02-21-2015, 09:47 AM #3
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With the county politics and plant limits isn't investing 50-100K into a greenhouse there a gamble, no?

A wooden pole barn structure sheathed in plastic could be turned into a regular barn if you had to stop growing and maybe recover your investment.

what about simple hoop houses and pulling tarps?
it seems like you need a live human there anyways for security no?

if you got that kinda money to drop on a big greenhouse you might need it in the pay to play 2016 legalization scheme.
2015 might be the year to blow things up low budget. or at least put up something easy to move.

OK while I'm really high what if you had a relatively tight pole barn that had some ventilation and climate controls and gavitas, and you moved the plants in and out with a fork truck or lull.
if you put wheels on pallets and hooked them together like a train you could pull them with a 4 wheeler or truck.

or you use plants just big enough for someone to move with a 2 wheel cart like you use to move furniture.
Storms or clouds light them up inside.

I'm daydreaming but in todays economy labor is cheap and I'll bet the land there will be too if you can't grow weed on it safely in the future.
I hope CA gets a good law next year but I bet they regulate growing right into the pockets of big money and out of the grasp of everyone whose been supplying the grey market all these years.

if you are going to build something expensive for light depping infrastructure why not put it down south
somewhere cheap near the desert and LA where you will get more growing season and the prices for flowers are higher?

I'll be looking forward to your greenhouse thread what ever you do. blow it up Prop!
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Old 02-21-2015, 02:22 PM #4
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Hep Props - Excellent info, as usual. Here's the view as seen from my end of the pasture - The greenhouse and light dep combo is one of the hottest grow methods in the industry right now, largely because a lot of us are being forced to do it. To a great extent, these greenhouse/light dep businesses are capitalizing on the outdoor bans than are being implemented left and right.

I think part of the mega-pricing is simply because greenie marketers are going with the 'whatever the market will bear" approach and they dont seem to be in touch with the reality that the market price of the actual products being grown is such that, recouping initial investment dollars can take years. As a somewhat new product, the material/labor costs are, IMO, ridiculously inflated, as you point out with just the labor estimates you are receiving. Until more competition enters the greenhouse/lite dep biz, prices will remain high and unjustified...

The other part of the equation is that these greenhouse businesses are not really addressing the necessary permit process which can be a whole nuther animal. We are not going to be able to just slam these big bastards down anywhere with not so much as a second look from counties who are looking for permit revenue from outdoor cultivators now having to comply with the new - detached grow structure" ordinances that a lot of counties are now employing. It should be noted, in Shasta Co, part of the new grow ordinances state - "Plastic film will not constitute an acceptable material for a detached grow structure..."

Several other things to consider -1) Cheap or expensive greenie, neither one may be allowed on your land in that, depending on overall size, it may be considered a commercial operation which wouldnt be allowed in a area zoned residential. That can sometimes be gotten around by obtaining a dreaded "use permit" but man, by the time youve gotten one of those, every body and there brother will know what your planning to do'

2) The large greenhouse thing is by now, so attached to the MJ debacle that unless you have the absolute, free from county mega-control, neighbor complaint bullet proof property, a $60,000 investment can mean nothing more than hi-dollar horse-dukey...

3) Keep in mind greenhouse yield is a fraction of outdoor yield, even with multiple harvests. And there is considerable more labor involved tending a large greenie. Auto -dep or not. That said, greenhouse-produced flower pricing is still relatively new and thus, nowhere near where it needs to be in order to justify the major investment the greenhouse businesses are wanting for their structures.

So, 2 big hurdles - 1) getting the larger greenies on your property in a county legal setting and 2) figuring out how long its going to take to recoup the already over-inflated initial structure investment with smaller harvests, more labor and most important - product prices that as of yet, truly reflect the greenhouse quality/efforts...cc
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Old 02-21-2015, 09:41 PM #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chunkypigs View Post
With the county politics and plant limits isn't investing 50-100K into a greenhouse there a gamble, no?



what about simple hoop houses and pulling tarps?
it seems like you need a live human there anyways for security no?

if you got that kinda money to drop on a big greenhouse you might need it in the pay to play 2016 legalization scheme.
2015 might be the year to blow things up low budget. or at least put up something easy to move.





if you are going to build something expensive for light depping infrastructure why not put it down south
somewhere cheap near the desert and LA where you will get more growing season and the prices for flowers are higher?

I'll be looking forward to your greenhouse thread what ever you do. blow it up Prop!
exactly, spending 50k on a permanent fancy greenhouse in the current anti MJ political climate is a big risk and one of the big reasons id rather just do something cheaper now. also since this property isn't zoned AG its a residential on acreage so even if it was legalized this wouldn't be a property i intend to grow legally on, it will kind of always be a grey market mass production property.

im not a fan of socal or LA since their water situation is so risky. in california it might be a drought but we still have plenty of water locally, especially if you are off AG water or have a well in a great location.
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Old 02-21-2015, 09:44 PM #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CanniDo Cowboy View Post

I think part of the mega-pricing is simply because greenie marketers are going with the 'whatever the market will bear" approach and they dont seem to be in touch with the reality that the market price of the actual products being grown is such that, recouping initial investment dollars can take years. As a somewhat new product, the material/labor costs are, IMO, ridiculously inflated, as you point out with just the labor estimates you are receiving. Until more competition enters the greenhouse/lite dep biz, prices will remain high and unjustified...

The other part of the equation is that these greenhouse businesses are not really addressing the necessary permit process which can be a whole nuther animal. We are not going to be able to just slam these big bastards down anywhere with not so much as a second look from counties who are looking for permit revenue from outdoor cultivators now having to comply with the new - detached grow structure" ordinances that a lot of counties are now employing. It should be noted, in Shasta Co, part of the new grow ordinances state - "Plastic film will not constitute an acceptable material for a detached grow structure..."

Several other things to consider -1) Cheap or expensive greenie, neither one may be allowed on your land in that, depending on overall size, it may be considered a commercial operation which wouldnt be allowed in a area zoned residential. That can sometimes be gotten around by obtaining a dreaded "use permit" but man, by the time youve gotten one of those, every body and there brother will know what your planning to do'

2) The large greenhouse thing is by now, so attached to the MJ debacle that unless you have the absolute, free from county mega-control, neighbor complaint bullet proof property, a $60,000 investment can mean nothing more than hi-dollar horse-dukey...



So, 2 big hurdles - 1) getting the larger greenies on your property in a county legal setting and 2) figuring out how long its going to take to recoup the already over-inflated initial structure investment with smaller harvests, more labor and most important - product prices that as of yet, truly reflect the greenhouse quality/efforts...cc
truth, thanks for the insight. forever flowering actually does help with permits, for CA it will run $2700 and include all the snow load ratings, etc, which is pretty damn reasonable. not including grading permit but i might just skip that since nobody out here ever pulls a grading permit and the requirements are just retarded.

greenhouse open sun is the future of the market, even if they drop to 1k a unit its still way cheaper to produce than indoors. i dont think I'm gonna invest any more $$ in any kind of indoor setup unless its a small personal genetic garden. the overhead is just too high and the market is not in high demand for indoor bulk. nowadays its easier to move 100 outdoor units than 10 indoors, at least for most people i know up here. the black market is still strong as hell and brokers left and right who dont have their own gardens rely on the supply of grey market herb.


also some of my numbers may have been off last night, left my stats sheet at the other spot and was trying to recall them off the top of my head, so i will go get that and update it later with more detailed price breakdown.
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Old 02-22-2015, 08:14 AM #7
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Yep, it's a busy time with a lot of ppl wanting to get their girls outside in the ghouse by march 1st. FF is well known as a huge source of bling--they've been around the longest and I think they set their prices when folks were making more money. I decided to go with Gro-tek off cattle road. Very nice and helpful people. I bought 2 20x78ft 10ft high hoop houses, plastic, blackout, polycarbonate ends with frame and roll up sides for something like 12k..there's a lot more to it: two sets of helper arms 2.6k, moving all my old mounds, leveling the pad, digging 3 ft deep 30ft long trenches for 10" corrugated exhaust and intake and covering the whole thing with river stones all that for 11k...total tally 25.6k so far. I still need soil, pots, fans, heaters...11k more..36.6k...and the thing isn't even built yet. ....still need to install utilities... I actually got into it a little bit today with the work crew. I was not expecting it to cost this much. Bit of sticker shock. What do you all think the labor should be on just setting up the hoop houses? They were quoting $4 per square foot for setting up a full greenhouse but, obviously it wouldn't be the same for a 10' hoop house! Meeting on monday to sort the whole thing.

Here's a link to the model I selected: https://www.gro-techsystems.com/produ...es-cold-frame/
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Old 02-22-2015, 04:43 PM #8
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i just ordered a conleys greenhouse they didn't offer the black out in the size I wanted but were willing to make if for the cost of a comparable one. since 2015 is the "race to the bottom year", I didn't want to pay extra for a black out when next year im going organic kale, haha.
they are pretty swamped right now, you can tell they're busy from their IG so ordering now would be best.
I picked a basic kit from them and plan on adding the black out myself.
they are new to the weed industry but they have been building black outs for poinsettia's and orchids for a long time and the prices are a little bit lower atm.
ive heard of the hassle and huge cost with the FF greenhouses.
some friends were pretty bummed with their FF after I showed them the conleys brochure.
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Old 02-22-2015, 09:38 PM #9
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Hillside what style did you order from conleys?
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Old 02-23-2015, 03:46 PM #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yes4Prop215 View Post
truth, thanks for the insight. forever flowering actually does help with permits, for CA it will run $2700 and include all the snow load ratings, etc, which is pretty damn reasonable. not including grading permit but i might just skip that since nobody out here ever pulls a grading permit and the requirements are just retarded.

greenhouse open sun is the future of the market, even if they drop to 1k a unit its still way cheaper to produce than indoors. i dont think I'm gonna invest any more $$ in any kind of indoor setup unless its a small personal genetic garden. the overhead is just too high and the market is not in high demand for indoor bulk. nowadays its easier to move 100 outdoor units than 10 indoors, at least for most people i know up here. the black market is still strong as hell and brokers left and right who dont have their own gardens rely on the supply of grey market herb.


also some of my numbers may have been off last night, left my stats sheet at the other spot and was trying to recall them off the top of my head, so i will go get that and update it later with more detailed price breakdown.
As a long time bldg contractor, I can tell you, when it comes to companies who sell detached structure kits, the 'helping with obtaining necessary permits" can end up being little more than a sales pitch. First, in the eye of all county bldg depts, a greenhouse is still just a detached structure. That said, yes, it will be required to meet all code standards of that particular county. But there begins your local county bldg dept 3 card monte show...

First, the greenhouse is not a typical detached structure and therefore, most bldg code standards DONT APPLY. Ca county bldg departments would like you to believe they do, but its just not possible. So at this point, companies offering permit assistance should be asked - " Exactly why do I need a permit...?" An example would be the snow load requirements. Applicable with any normal structure that includes a typical roof system ie; engineered wooden trusses, the trusses are engineered/constructed to meet particular snow load area requirements. But greenhouse kits dont necessarily come with engineered metal ribs and even if they did, how in the world can a snow load capacity be guaranteed or arrived at when 6 mil PLASTIC FILM is being used as the roofing material and while Im at it, where does the roof end and the side wall begin so you can actually begin to do snow load calcs? If your greenhouse is of arch design, where on a half circle arch is the majority of the snow load?? Ask your county bldg counter dude person that...

(Pulling out soap box now) -The different counties have jumped into the permit loaded MJ greenhouse game with the idea that they are gonna make a ton of permit fee money by using the old reliable detached structure permit requirement standard - sq footage. But unfortunately for them, if you look close at county bldg code requirements, the greenhouse, no matter the size, doesnt fit ANY standard detached structure because for the most part, all it is is a metal frame with plastic skin...It literally defies almost all county code requirement logic. And they know it!

The second amendment of any county bldg code beyond the first that states any structure larger than 120 sq ft requires a bldg permit is - IS THE STRUCTURE PERMANENT? Well, is a greenhouse considered permanent? If you pour a foundation and bolt it down, it deff is. But what if you decide not to have a permanent foundation. Can a metal frame and plastic skin resting on metal tracks be considered permanent? If you and 3 or 4 of your grow-buds can pick up and move a 20 x 20 greenie, that doesnt sound permanent. Have that argument with your county bldg dept and listen to them stammer and stutter.

Permit fees - Typical county permit fees are based on the sq footage of the structure. Even if a greenhouse was fair game for permit fees, would it be fair or even sensible to be required to pay the same fees on a structure that has 1/10th of the building materials a wooden structure contains? After all, its nothing more than an ag structure right? The county has jumped into the greenhouse permit fee game so fast, no one has even considered that the permit fee requirement, if any, should be a lot less simply because there just isnt much there once the structure is finished and its intended use is very minor other than the MJ part...

There was a time when counties didnt give a hoot about you putting up a greenhouse. But now, like all things 215, there's money to be made, even by your local county...cc
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