HomeAll VideosDo you want to start a Christmas tree farm, ask yourself this.
Do you want to start a Christmas tree farm, ask yourself this.
November 1, 2023
Starting a Christmastreefarm can be a blessing or a curse. You need to know what you are getting yourself into before taking the leap. The single biggest question to ask yourself is can I wait ten years to make a profit. I have seen many abandoned treefarms where the owner couldn’t make it to point of sale. Many things go into making a treefarm work. You must know you are in it for the long haul and choose whether you want to be a U-cut or wholesale farm. @FlanaganHomestead
Hello Rob here from the Flanigan Homestead in Eastport Christmastree Farm I'm out here on the farm today People are always asking should they Start a Christmas tree farm and uh what Does it take and I today I'm going to Answer a couple of the most important Questions that you can ask yourself Before you actually uh even plant a tree In the ground uh first of all I want to Clear something up you know you you ask A lot of oldtime Christmas tree farmers And they're like oh you can't make any Money today and you can't do this you Can't do that and I'm out uh but if You'll notice those Farmers that have Been around for a long time they're Planting again and again and again and And why is that cuz cuz you can make Money okay I'm not going to say it's Going to be easy I'm not going to say You're going to get filthy rich but you Could definitely make money and if you Have some land and you enjoy working Outside then Christmas tree farming May Might be for you uh on my small anre Christmas tree farm that we have here we Only have spaces for like 7,000 Christmas trees in the ground and we're Currently our trees are mostly small we Didn't do enough planting a few years Ago so we're not open for a full season But uh when we do get in about three More years I believe it'll be we're
Going to be able to stay open all from Thanksgiving on and and sell a lot of Christmas trees and at that point in Time I believe just to get just round Numbers uh our annual revenue is Probably going to be about $65,000 a year here and we're going to Have about $20,000 in annual expenses so It's it's not something my family is Going to be living on but uh those are Uh rough estimates you know with Inflation and different costs of things Coming and Going it's just kind of my best guess as We're building our business plan and When I say annual revenue that's co uh Costs and revenues and expenses that we Know that we're going to have every year So for instance you know we know we're Going to buy seedlings and plant every Year we're going to do herbicide we're Going to have labor cost uh we're going To have shearing cost which is a huge Amount of labor cost and then because We're a UK cut Farm well it doesn't Matter which type of farm you are uh You're going to have a lot of labor cost During Harvest and we're going to you Know we hire a lot of Crews so that the People that come out and uh come to our Farm they they have a lot of help and They don't have to do a lot of work and My boys do the work if you have a ukup Farm you might not have to do that but
Uh anyway Uh but that's just annual revenue then There's always upgrades that I didn't Figure into that you know do you need to Put down new gravel roads do you need to Build a uh shed or a shop to sell things Out of do you need to buy a tractor and As I've once heard it said uh Farmers Don't make money they just buy more Equipment and that's there might be a Lot of Truth to that okay so the number One most important question you have to Ask yourself before like do I want to Buy start a Christmas Tree Farm is do You have time and do you have the Commitment for that length of time uh This is noted like an annual crop where You put the vegetables in the ground and They grow up that fall and then you Harvest them and you're done you need to Know that uh you need to ask yourself am I still going to be on this land in 7 8 9 10 years or do I have access to this Land am I going to still be living here Do I will I be able to continue to do The labor myself for the next seven Years um how am I going to get this for 7 years cuz you're going to have zero Zero profits for at least 7 years and Depending on your business plan you know It'll be interesting to see how it comes In we'll talk more about that in a Minute so but are you a willing to make That commitment for seven years where
You're spending money every year you're Doing labor every year and you have zero Income and I don't mean to paint a Drastic picture but uh that is the Single biggest hurdle you got to get to Where where you start making the profits And as you drive around the Pacific Northwest here as a Christmas tree Farmer I recognize places where I'm Driving out in the countryside and I'll See rows of nobles that are now 30 40 ft Tall and that's a farm where somebody Had good intentions and they didn't Follow through and they walked away and Now we've got Nobles that are just Growing up really tall and they're not Even really good for Timber so uh that That was just a loss there another Important question you have to ask Yourself is do you want to be a u cut Farm or a wholesale Farm and I know a Lot of farms are both for instance uh When we first started before we built up Our customer base we started doing uh U Cut Christmas tree farm and we had Enough for small wholesale not bringing In the big tractor trailer trucks but uh You know we'd sell a 100 to a friend to Sell down at the corner or whatever but Uh you can be both but uh you need to Figure out what you want and if you Think you want to be U Cut which you know can be nice if the Customers come out to your property and
Just take the trees Uh you need to make sure you have a Customer base for what you want to sell Is there competition out here is there Enough people living out here that They'll buy our Christmas trees that's The single most thing for uut if you're Going to have a uut you definitely need To have parking for one and you need to Have a barn shed shelter of some sort to Sell out of and uh keep your customers Warmer and keep yourself dry during the Harvest season so those are two big Thing uh if you want to be a u cut two Of the biggest things you got to look For do you have enough parking and will You have do you have a structure if You're doing wholesale you don't have to Have the parking but you do have to have The ability for big trucks to access in You got to be able to bring a Bor in uh You don't necessarily have to have a Barn or anything like that because You're just going to cut the trees load Them up in the truck and be gone but uh You do need to make sure that you have Roads so that a a big truck can come in And haul off the trees if you're going To be a wholesale Farm and when I was talking about Dollars I was talking about how you're Going to have to wait a lot of years to Get your return if you are doing Wholesale you can get your return a lot
Quicker meaning uh I see a lot of people Out here lease land for 10 years to do a Wholesale Christmas tree farm and They'll start growing trees and they'll They might start harvesting them in S 8 Nine years and they don't Harvest you Typically Harvest all the trees in one Year the trees don't grow all at the Same rate plus you might not need all The trees so they'll sell off some trees At 7 years at 8 years at 9 years and Then be done with the farm but you your Entire investment can come back to you In that amount of time in my situation We have a UK cut Christmas tree farm Where we're try intentionally having Different levels of trees so over our 7 Acres approximately that we have planted Out here we have trees that we planted Just this last year trees that are being Harvested and we try to keep a balance My our our eventual goal is to have About 1,000 harvestable trees every year And so we need to have the different Heights so every year we have more Income than we have expenses and we want To get it so that we can you know on a Good year sell a th000 trees on a bad Year maybe 650 trees and keep going in Between in that range and so we have a Continuous income so uh we've been out Here for 21 years and so we're at that Point where where we're selling trees Every year replanting trees and and
Making money so a wholesale you might Have a field and then you're done and Whereas this way we're going every year We have an annual income that we can Count on and it's nice to get a few Bucks in your pocket right before Christmas all right that was just a Couple quick questions you have to ask Yourself if you want you're thinking About grow starting a Christmas tree Farm uh then there's obviously a lot More to do in all the planting and Herbicides and everything else it takes To take care of and grow Christmas tree If you're interested in that please Subscribe to my channel I have a Christmas tree playlist that's I think About 80 videos long at this point in Time and as always thanks for joining me On the Flanigan Homestead where Christmas trees are my business teaching Including horiculture is my job and Outdoor projects are my passion hope to See you again soon be blessed everyone