Minimum starting capital35%
If you like to do something with your own hands, have at your disposal a large plot and / or covered premises for work (for example, a garage or a barn), dream about your own business and at the same time do not have a large starting capital, then making figures for landscape design can be a great idea for starting a business.
The situation in the market of garden figures and decorations
Now in our country, the private home ownership industry is actively developing, including in large cities. Summer plots are already considered by most of their owners not as a subsidiary farm (as it was before), but, first of all, as a vacation spot. Accordingly, there is a demand for services and goods for the design of the landscape of the land plot - garden or house, regardless of its area.
For the decoration of the plots, not only plants and various compositions with them are used, but also a variety of sculptural forms, which are made from gypsum, ceramics, concrete, artificial stone and wood. Such figures are set right next to the house, near decorative ponds, near arbors.
Recently, there has also been a demand for products that are used as seasonal (temporary) decorations. These include, for example, garden figures in the form of various fairy-tale characters (often with special lighting that creates a special mood in the evening), which decorate the garden for a certain holiday - for example, for children's birthday or New Year's.
It is widely believed that there is practically no competition in this segment, the demand for goods is very high, and profitability, in general, exceeds all expectations. Unfortunately, in fact, this is not so at all. Competition in the market of garden sculptures is indeed lower than in the field of landscape design services. And demand is present.
However, the low threshold of entry and the bright prospects that numerous companies promise to beginners for the sale of molds, equipment and consumables for casting garden figures from plaster and acrylic stone have led to the fact that at least one or even several companies already exist in any city who are engaged in the production of such products. Moreover, their product, for the most part, is not distinguished by either originality, or high quality workmanship, or even taste.
In most cases, their range is limited to figures in the form of naked maidens, various animals, gnomes, angels with wings and other “sculptures”. Therefore, on the one hand, competition in this market is still present and quite high. But on the other hand, if you can offer your potential customers an original and high-quality product, then such a business can be very profitable and promising for further development.
How to choose material for making garden figures
The most common material for making garden figures is sculpted plaster. Novice entrepreneurs are attracted by the simplicity of gypsum sculpture production technology and their low cost. The manufacturing process of such a product involves several basic steps: preparing the mixture, filling the mixture with a special mold, completely solidifying the gypsum mortar, removing the finished figure from the mold, and in some cases applying paint or formulations to it to give various unusual effects (for example, imitating wood, metal, stone, aging effect, etc.).
With the main consumables for the manufacture of garden figures - gypsum and water, there will be no problems. However, most novice manufacturers are concerned about the creation of molds for casting sculptures. Such forms, which are called matrices, are of industrial production and are made of silicone and latex. They are distinguished by versatility: with their help, products can be cast not only from gypsum, but also from acrylic resins, concrete and wax.
They are quite durable (withstand about 350-400 cycles) and convenient to use. Their assortment is also very wide and includes several hundred, or even thousands of items, and if you wish, you can order the manufacture of molds according to your own design of any complexity. Their only minus is the high cost, especially taking into account the fact that for real full-scale production several dozens of forms will be required, at least two pieces of each type.
But at first, forms can be done independently. A detailed technology for the manufacture of such matrices with their own hands can be found on various specialized sites. In short, this process is as follows. First, a model of the future product from wax or clay is created. Then the gypsum with water is diluted to a creamy state, smeared with the resulting slurry, left to dry, and then with a spatula it is covered with a dense layer of gypsum and dried again. At the next stage, the plaster cast is removed from the model.
If wax was used to make the latter, then it simply melts and pours out through the holes in the plaster cast. When using the clay model, the upper part of the gypsum mold is neatly cut, the model is removed from the mold blank, then the two parts of the mold are reassembled, and the seam is carefully rubbed with gypsum. In the future, you can use both the obtained form of gypsum for work (with a large hole for pouring the mixture and several small holes for air exhaust), and silicone matrices made with it.
The plaster figures themselves are cast from a special mixture. To prepare it, 1-3% sulfuric acid is added to the water (in some formulations, alum is mentioned as such an additive - double salts crystallizing in the form of colorless transparent cubes and octahedrons), then gypsum is diluted in given proportions with this composition, which, thanks to sulfuric acid (or alum), acquires increased strength and whiteness.
The mixture is poured into a mold, which is then turned in different directions to evenly distribute the gypsum inside. After the casting hardens, another portion of the fresh solution is added to the mold. After the gypsum has completely dried, the figure is removed from the mold, cleaned with a brush dipped in water or in a solution of sulfuric acid, and painted.
In addition to gypsum, for the manufacture of garden sculptures by casting, artificial or acrylic stone (polystone) and concrete are also used. Both the one and the other material are more durable than gypsum, but the technology for producing large products from them has a number of features and disadvantages. For example, polystone is called the material of a new generation, it does not form cracks and does not have porous places, is resistant to microorganisms and moisture, to adverse environmental conditions (high and low temperatures, exposure to direct sunlight).
Polyresin figures are made from two-component compositions based on polyester resins or polyurethanes with the addition of various pigments. These materials are very toxic (the main poison is styrene), therefore, when working with them, you must strictly follow the safety rules. Both the working room and the storage room for finished products must necessarily be equipped with good hoods (two or three hoods may be needed in the workshop, depending on the area and production volumes).
In addition, all workers should use personal protective equipment - chemical respirators. To organize even a small production of figures made of acrylic stone, additional investments in the purchase of special equipment will be required. You will need at least a vibration table, a vacuum compressor and an airbrush for painting finished products. The cost of one airbrush will be from 4-5 thousand rubles, depending on the model. The total cost of equipment is estimated at 25-30 thousand rubles.
Another problem of organizing the production of garden figures from a polystone is associated with the cost of production. Experts advise using only foreign materials. According to manufacturers, in imported resins after polymerization the styrene yield for two days is 98%. The remaining 2% is released within one to two weeks after the product has completely cured.
Raw materials of domestic production are of low quality, which also directly affects the safety of products made from it: the cheapest artificial stone can emit harmful fumes during the entire life of the product. However, imported raw materials are much more expensive. And often products made from it cannot compete in price with similar products of Chinese production (even taking into account the cost of transporting the latter and preparing all the necessary documentation).
In addition, it is unprofitable to produce large-sized and complex sculptures from a polystone. As a rule, small and medium figures are cast from this material for decoration of a simple form. There are two main ways of manufacturing products from a polyresin - by solid or hollow casting. For this, compound or fiberglass molds are used, as a rule. The latter are more difficult to use. Metal molds are used extremely rarely due to their high cost (especially when it comes to complex castings with a large number of different parts).
The technology for manufacturing concrete sculptures by vibrocasting with the use of plasticizing additives, in general, is similar to the technology for the production of polystone products. The manufacturing process in this case consists in casting a mixture of concrete with various additives into special forms with continuous compaction on a vibrating table. The main raw materials for the preparation of the mixture are cement, water, sand with a screening of hard non-metallic rocks of a fraction of 5 mm, a plasticizer, modifier, resin and colored pigments.
The advantages of this technology and the materials used are the strength of the finished products and the diversity of the range of products that can be produced in this way. In particular, in addition to your own garden sculpture, you can also make balusters, fence elements, wall panels, tiles, balustrades, etc. The main drawback of this direction is the need for additional investments in the equipment of the production room.
In addition to the aforementioned vibrocasting technology, the technology of vibrocompressing hard mixtures with low water content can also be used for the manufacture of concrete garden sculptures. Using this technology, the initial costs will be less, but the quality of the finished product will be slightly lower, and the range will be limited (in color shades and in complexity of execution).
Finally, products for landscape design can be made of wood. But if you start the production of garden sculptures from plaster, half-stone or concrete, you can even with minimal knowledge and in the absence of experience in this area, then all the subtleties of working with wood can be mastered only empirically, which takes a lot of time.
But there is practically no competition in this segment, and the demand for exclusive wooden sculptures, figures and decorations for landscape design is very high. The master takes from three days to two to three weeks to make one simple wooden sculpture. To organize such production, you will need a set of special tools for carpentry and woodcarving, brushes, paints and varnishes, adhesives based on epoxy resin and PVA, as well as the main raw material - well-dried wood (you can also use woodworking waste).
It is best to work in a closed, dry room equipped with heating systems (for the cold season) and ventilation (for removing wood dust and chips). If for painting products made of gypsum, concrete or polyresin, either polymers are added to the mixture directly at the production stage, or an airbrush is used to paint the finished sculpture, then the tree is most often painted manually using ordinary brushes and paints.
This increases the manufacturing time of one product and its total cost. However, experience shows that buyers are willing to pay more for a quality sculpture made by hand from a safe environmentally friendly tree. As a rule, figures are made from wood based on Russian folk tales, stylized decorations and play complexes for children in the form of huts, garden swings, slides, etc.
Organization of a garden sculpture business
So, to organize a business for the production of garden sculptures and landscape design elements, you will need to register as an individual entrepreneur and determine the form of taxation. In addition, you will need a room for work with an area of 15 square meters. meters, depending on production volumes and used technologies, equipped with heating and ventilation systems; an outdoor room or place (with a canopy) for storing finished products; work tools, molds or special equipment; transport for transportation of products.
Please note: garden sculptures, as a rule, are dimensional goods that require special transportation conditions (especially when it comes to complex figures with individual parts that can easily be damaged by careless handling). If you do not have your own freight transport, you can rent it with the driver if necessary.
In the absence of a large place to store finished products, experts advise first to make one sample of each item and take high-quality photographs. In the future, they can be used to create a print catalog or post on your own site. If you are just starting your business without large investments or are engaged in the production of labor-intensive work (for example, from wood), which imposes objective restrictions on the possible volumes of production, then you can sell your products and accept orders for production from end customers - owners of garden plots.
It is most effective to directly search for clients by placing ads in advertising publications, on local websites and forums, as well as putting up advertisements on the territory of various horticultural partnerships, distributing leaflets and booklets in the private sectors of your city. Small volumes of such products can also be sold through separate specialized stores (usually floral or in the format “all for home and repair”).
You can also offer cooperation to wholesale and retail companies that sell street gaming equipment (slides, swings installed in yards), various parks and cafes (especially in coastal areas, where there are a lot of people with children). It is beneficial for medium and large enterprises to work with retail chains, although getting into their stores will be difficult and costly. A promising direction for the organization of sales and the search for new orders is cooperation with companies that provide landscape design services. But, as a rule, there are few such companies even in big cities, and perhaps they are already working with your competitors.
Special attention deserves the question of creating your own online store. It is widely believed that, firstly, its development requires large investments, and, secondly, that this method of finding customers will not be effective in this case. The site can be made independently or with the help of friends, so the cost of its production will be minimal. Website promotion will cost much more, but at first it will be possible to do without it, using the site as an online catalog of its products and indicating its address in its leaflets, booklets and business cards.
Garden Sculpture Financial Performance
The profitability of a garden sculpture business is estimated at 35% on average. This indicator may vary, depending on the materials used. It will be higher when it comes to the manufacture of products from cheap gypsum, and lower in the case of the manufacture of wooden products of complex shapes.
The minimum cost of organizing such production will be from 15 thousand rubles (these funds will be required to purchase materials, tools and minimal equipment). In the future, as your business develops, it will be possible to think about cooperation with experienced professionals - designers and sculptors. С их помощью вы сможете разработать собственные уникальные изделия и наладить производство оригинальных форм-матриц для отливки, продажа которых может стать дополнительным источником дохода.Sysoeva Liliya (c) www.clogicsecure.com - a portal to small business business plans and guides