Senior Member
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Joined: Tue Nov 17, 2009 7:47 am
Location: Ohio

Whats a fair price to charge for starting seeds?

I have an add on the local craigslist offering plant starts or seed starting services, this is the first time I've thought to offer this. I'm not out to make money or anything, I just have the equipment (lights, flats and a big heated table) to do it easily and wanted to help people out cause I know how difficult it can be to fine that specific plant start your looking for.

There is a guy that is wanting me to start around 200 or so decorative plants to be ready this spring. He has the seeds just not the equipment or know how to start them. He's wanting to know what I would charge, but really I don't have an idea as to whats "normal" or even fair, any suggestions? Like I said, I'm not trying to make money, so I don't want to insult him with a high amount, but I figure the power for my lights and the electric heater for my germination table over a few weeks will be about $10-15 or so to run, plus my time, plus the medium (jiffy pellets are what he preferred out of what I told him I liked to work with), is $.50/plant fair? Thats not much but with 200 plants it will be $100, is that to much? I thinking total for everything its going to be about $.10-$.20/plant out of pocket expense final cost for me.
USDA zone 5b, Sunset zone 35

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Location: TN/GA 7b

It partly depends on how well started you are talking about, what size plants you are going to be handing over. I sell off my excess at my church, well started 6 -10" high plants in 3" pots and I charge $1. per plant for them. Course the $$'s are going to the church so no one feels bad about it. If the plants are going to be smaller, like the baby ones in 6 packs that the stores sell, then you can't ask as much for them.

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Joined: Sun Feb 21, 2010 12:56 am
Location: Northern Indiana

Sounds more than fair to me. He would have to pay $1.00-$2.00 per plant if he bought them at a nursery, or more if he bought them ground ready from someone like me at a farmer's market. So I think that $.50 is a happy medium between covering your costs and not insulting your friend. Oh, he's not your friend? Just some guy you met through craig's list? Well then stop worrying about his feelings and charge a little more for your time, It's more valuable than you think. Besides, people don't trust the quality of things that are too cheap.

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Joined: Fri Jun 20, 2008 8:45 pm
Location: Chester, VA

I sell my seedlings for $1.50 per plant if that helps
Shan -
Who is learning to garden and loving every minute of it!

Senior Member
Posts: 152
Joined: Thu Apr 09, 2009 10:10 pm
Location: Southern Oregon

Considering your electric bill, your time, your pots and your soil-add that up plus water if you pay for it and then try to come to a price. This is not like selling 'extras' which I've done too, for friends, for fifty cents. This is someone who has a business and it's a business related expense for him. You will use heat mats for a while, lights for months and 200 or 400 pots depending on whether you have to uppot them...I would try to go a little higher. I think .75 is fair as a wholesale price.
The spiritual life is first of all a LIFE, it is meant to be lived-Thomas Merton

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Joined: Tue Jan 26, 2010 1:56 am
Location: Marin County, CA


I think you should first find out what your growing first, that way you can decide what you think he would be selling them for or using them for. If it was sunflowers, they are easy to grow and sell for pretty cheap so you could charge anywhere from $.50 to $1.00. If it were something harder like japanese maples which need to be cold stratified, I wouldn't charge less than $3. They are much harder to grow and are sold for hundreds of dollars when they are only a couple years old. It seems like you don't want to ask too high because you have never done this before and you are doing it for the experience only. This may be true, but from a business perspective, you need to get payed correctly for the services you give. Also, if he ever comes back to you again, which he probably will, he will expect to pay the same price. This is a good reason you shouldn't lowball yourself. Think about it like this. You will need to wake up everyday, check the plants, water them if necessary, check the lights, heating mat, check for any pests, and check the ph of the soil and humidity. Also remember that when you commercially grow you use high amounts of fertilizer and "plant steroids" which can cost a lot. Also any pesticides you may need to kill flies or gnats, and fungicides to kill molds which may occur. You need to have a sterile environment to commercially grow, one gnat or one fungus can wipe out an entire table of plants within 24 hrs if left untreated, so now ask yourself if $.50 is too much? $1 is probably the minimum I would charge unless the plants were ridiculously easy to grow, like sunflowers.

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