How much does it cost to set up a commercial grow room? With several new states legalizing cannabis in 2020, we may soon be seeing an increase in the number of commercial grow rooms in the United States. Of course, there is a lot to consider when establishing a cannabis grow room: location, branding and marketing, sales strategy, legal considerations, hiring decisions, and last but certainly not least, setup and operating costs.
Typical Commercial Grow Room Setup Costs
According to Marijuana Business Daily, the average startup cost for a large-scale cannabis grow operation is $42 per square foot. However, when you dive into different types of facilities and cultivation methods, those average costs can vary quite a lot. For instance, the startup cost per square foot of a greenhouse is $50, while an indoor grow room costs $75 per square foot to set up. Outdoor cultivation is the least expensive at $10 per square foot.
It makes sense that indoor grow rooms are the most expensive option, as factors like light, ventilation, temperature, and irrigation all need to be artificially controlled. This requires expensive equipment, but offers the benefit of more consistently high-quality yields compared to outdoor cannabis operations.
So, what are the main commercial grow room setup costs you should plan for?
Rent: The size, type, and location of the facility you select will have a major impact on your month-to-month operating costs, but also your potential to earn revenue. A larger facility will cost more in rent, but offer greater flexibility and growth opportunities.
Lighting: The two most common lighting options for indoor grow rooms are high-intensity discharge (HID) and LED lights. HID lights are less expensive, but they generate a lot of heat which can in turn drive up your climate control costs. LEDs cost more to buy, but you will save money on electricity in the long run.
Climate Control: The climate of your grow room will have a major impact on the health and profitability of your cannabis plants, especially in regards to temperature, humidity, and air circulation. A good HVAC system (including dehumidifiers and fans) is a large setup expense, but a highly necessary one.
Irrigation: Some commercial grow rooms opt for hand-watering, but this becomes less practical the more your operation grows. A good irrigation system will deliver the ideal amount of water to each and every plant while freeing up staff to perform other tasks.
Shelving: Whether you opt for tables or a vertical grow system, your plants need a designated place to grow. Fortunately, shelving is purely a start-up cost and won’t incur monthly charges like lighting, climate control, and water. Mobile shelving is an ideal solution for increasing your shelving capacity in the same existing square footage.
Consumables: These expenses include the cannabis seeds or plants you will need to purchase in order to start your operation. Soil, fertilizer, and pest control are three related costs you should plan for upfront, and may need a monthly or quarterly budget for as well.
Labor: Your staff can make or break your cannabis operation. Securing trustworthy, reliable employees is a critical part of running a successful indoor grow room; plan ahead for any onboarding costs as well as monthly salaries.
Other Supplies & Equipment: Grow pots, carbon filters, pH test kits, trimming equipment, stakes, zip ties, cleaning supplies, personal safety protection gear, drying racks, and storage receptacles are all examples of additional supplies and tools you may need to purchase upfront. You may also wish to consider purchasing and installing a security system.
When planning your commercial grow room design and layout, it is important to prioritize efficiency. Utilize each available space in a way that makes sense for your workflow; the more time employees spend traveling between each room, the less efficient your operation will be.
There are many commercial grow room setup costs that should be carefully considered. Need help optimizing your new or existing cannabis grow room? Contact Systems & Space today for more information and a free quote.