Helping Our Customers Succeed | American Hydroponics
Welcome to our monthly webinar from American Hydroponics. I’m Jenny Harris and this is Joe Schwartz. You probably recognize both of us both from a lot of our Facebook live videos or our other webinars so here we are.
Normally we’re over on the other side of the HC OE greenhouse, but here we are in from the vine crops. You see behind us some brand-new tomato plants – they’re nice, and it’s a beautiful view right here. We’re going to talk to you a little bit about what our hydroponics company does and who we are. You may not know if you’re new to the industry or just kind of checking things out, you may not know exactly who AmHydro is so I’m going to give you a little bit of history about the company, and then we’re going to tell you how we can help you as a grower succeed in your business.
AmHydro (i.e. American Hydroponics) is located in Northern California and we were founded in 1984, so we’ve been around for 34 years which has been a long time. And in that time, we have seen everything about hydroponics come and go and we just keep going along with the flow.
We have some tremendous expertise – you all know Joe of course, one of the leading voices in the hydroponic industry right now. Our staff has over one hundred years of experience. Within our staff, and not only hydroponic, but many of our growers have also done dirt farming or soil farming as well. So, they have experience in both hydroponic and soil, but we do have over a hundred years of hydroponic commercial growing.
Another thing you may not know is that all of our components are made right here in the US, so all of our channel is made here in the US our trades are actually made right here in Humble, California – (Northern California). Our channel also is the only FDA approved food grade HDPE which is why they’re so durable. We have customers that have been using our channel content for over 20 years. The same exact channel so our channels are designed to last, and they’re designed to last a long time – just like your business.
We have customers in over 66 countries around the globe, and many across the United States and North America. So, what I’d really like to get down to is how we help our customers succeed.
Our philosophy here at AmHydro is to ensure that we help every grower understand what hydroponics mean and what this business going to mean for the majority of our customers that go into a hydroponic business.
We do have schools that are using it. We have a system now at the University of Arizona Boston College, and a lot of other universities, and a lot of high schools are starting to teach hydroponics. We have elementary schools that also use our systems – we have developed a system specifically for elementary schools that can go from classroom to classroom so that each of the kids can have an opportunity to learn how to grow in a hydroponic system.
The majority of our customers are people probably like you who are looking to start a hydroponic business and so every business and every customer that we come across, we want them to be accessible as possible.
Hydroponics is becoming really popular right now, so every customer that we outfit with a system we want to make sure that they’re successful and just to raise the entire industry up so that’s what we do and we have a couple of different ways of doing this.
The first way if you’re brand new to hydroponics which is super simple is just with the get growing packages. We only manufacture the growing system – we don’t make greenhouses, we don’t make environmental controls, but of course Joe’s going to talk to you a little bit about the partnerships we have with all of the players in the industry.
Even with the growing package, which is considered a standard package. We also have a commercial-grade package, and our most popular, of course, is the 10k – and that produces 2592 plants every single week. Also, that comes with a greenhouse just like what you see here.
The environment controls the nutrient system with everything except the land and construction of the of the greenhouse is included in this package it comes with a year all of our systems that we sell, it comes with a year of annual support and we do that because we want you to get ahold of us if you have any questions. We don’t care if you call us, email us, FaceTime, Skype, Whatsapp us, we deliver support in every way possible. We can even come out to your facility. And we do that typically with standard packages, and we know that every location is different.
So, Joe I don’t know if you want to talk about all the different vendors that we work with.
Sure – what we’ve done for many years is designed and build hydroponic growing systems for specific commercial farms, but based on consumer demand changes in the industry, we’ve had a lot of interest in kind of the if you will turnkey or all-in-one package. We have people that have come to us that are looking for the whole package – they want consulting and training and they want a greenhouse hydroponic system with a high level environmental controller basically all put into one kind of a farm in a box if you will.
For a lot of years, we really hadn’t done that, specifically because as we’ve worked with worldwide leaders in environmental control systems, some of the top greenhouse manufacturers in the world, biological pest control companies – we really have worked with the best and developed a great network of some of the best of the best across the board in the industry.
So, based the needs of the consumers, we have put together these bundles that really provide the very best in terms of both value productivity and quality so we kind of wanted to put all of them together for people now while we’ve talked about these bundles as kind of a turnkey, all-in-one package everyone is very specific; however, because depending on where you are based on your geography infrastructure that you have there are certain considerations on the type of greenhouse structure and the type of environmental controls that we use say in the northern Canadian territories is very different than what would you say in the Caribbean.
So, all of our components we specifically designed a get growing bundle like a 10k growing model – has the same size greenhouse the same size growing system has approximately the same productivity, but a lot of the features of the greenhouse and growing system are specifically custom and modified for your specification, so while it is a turnkey package, it is not kind of cookie cutter one size fits all.
So, depending on where you are, depending on your situation, the package will be specifically designed for you so that’s kind of unique in the industry we don’t have a lot of those types of opportunities, but we’ve spent 30 years developing relationships with all the leading manufacturers in North America and beyond and, so we want to put that together to provide the best value and we’ve built numerous get growing bundle systems over the past two years. We have several more on the construction right now and so they’re very popular and for many consumers, that’s really the best way to go.
For example, just like what Joe was saying is we do work with all sorts of different ones and specifically talking to the get growing bundles we can give you an example we work with Atlas greenhouse or Agrotech, we’ve worked with are Noix and Nexus, we’ve worked with all different greenhouse companies to provide what would make you most successful in the in the industry and win where you are in your location.
For example, we have one customer who just received his equipment from us, but how that worked was you know his budget was a little bit off we have no problems introducing you directly to the greenhouse manufacturer and you can discuss with them because that’s their expertise. Our expertise is in growing systems, our expertise is in horticulture, and in growing in a controlled environment and our expertise is the knowledge in the hydroponic industry. We’re a greenhouse manufacturer, their expertise is in a greenhouse so we would introduce you, we could handle it if you wanted to, but otherwise we can introduce you to the greenhouse manufacturer and in the case of the one account that I’m thinking of, he was a little shy in his budget to have the standard greenhouse and so we introduced him in this case to Atlas greenhouse, and he was very close – he was really only about an hour’s drive from Atlas so he talked directly to them and outlets set him up with a greenhouse that was still a perfectly suitable for his location. A commercial greenhouse – it came in about ten thousand dollars less than what we traditionally would have put in our budget, so by being able to talk directly to the vendor and having us being able to introduce him to that particular vendor, he was able to save a little bit of money because of the location he was in, so that’s an example.
Greenhouse manufacturers we work with of course, Seeds is another one that we you know we talk a lot about sometimes we get like Joe just mentioned we just had a conversation with someone up in the northern territories wanting to grow a certain type of seed. Well, that would be or a certain type of lettuce than what our customers in the Caribbean or in Singapore or in India or in Japan what they might want to grow or even in Louisiana even though it might be let’s just say it would be a different variety that was more that is better suited for their particular location.
For us, it’s all about the grower having a successful business and that successful business clearly means profitable business so you have to be able to sell to grow and sell marketable produce at the end of the day and that’s what would make your business and what would make our relationship with you a success is the idea that you’re able to sell marketable produce and regardless of what that produce is it might be a lettuce mix or romaine or some variety of that and you can call us up and we can help you based on your location with our relationship with the different seed companies we make a recommendation to you about what lettuce or what romaine or maybe a specific type of basil or something else that will grow really well in your region and work for your market.
So, those bundles, even though Joe mentioned they are kind of cookie cutter in the sense that they come with everything you need turnkey or not, we would not sell something that we did not feel would not make you a successful grower.
Another huge significant portion of our business is the custom systems and when we say custom systems sometimes people get a little bit freaked out because they think oh well custom means more pricing is exactly the same the difference is you might already have a greenhouse or you might have only space in your location for a certain size greenhouse – well, with that we can size out the green house for you and then we can design a system that is the most product most product productivity possible in that green house and we can design the system for you so whether you get an eight-foot channel or a 12-foot channel or we have customers that have 20 feet channel, the price is no different – it’s always the same price – we sell it by the linear foot, so, you’re not paying more if you have an 8 foot channel versus a 12 foot channel versus anything else you’re paying the same price per square per linear foot is anything else, so that makes us a little bit unique.
Our custom systems cost no more than it would be for a standard system. With that custom system, we can work with whatever you have. Again, our goal is to make you successful because as you’re successful, we become successful as well. So, that means sharing greenhouse sharing the different seed vendors may be the environmental controls or maybe nutrient delivery systems – whatever it is, we want to work with you to make you successful and make those introductions for you in the industry. The other piece that’s probably the best thing that AmHydro really excels at is our expertise with our 34 years in the business.
There’s no one that really has more knowledge than we have both in our staff and just in the longevity in the business, so we do a lot of consulting we do if you have a big project, anything an acre or larger, we can do project management for you right from the inception from the concept all the way through to harvesting your first harvest and your workflow we can do farm management again when you have these larger projects and you’re working on multi acre projects we can come in and do farm management.
What most people are interested in is the consulting side of the business and the other thing before we get into the consulting just to let you know we also provide a year’s worth of grower support for every system we sell because again, we want to make sure that you’re doing this correctly and in a way that makes money for you.
Joe, you want to tell us a little bit about the consulting side of things?
Sure. A lot of the commercial consulting that growers need can vary quite a bit depending on the situation of the grower. I’ve been consulting in the commercial industry worldwide for about 17 years and we’ve been able to bring AmHydro’s additional experience and we can offer consulting services literally from start to finish of a project or very individual specific components to your growing plan so whether you need assistance with biological pest control, whether you need assistance with system and greenhouse design, custom applications workflow management, crop scheduling, actual cultural practices, etc. – we have growers all the time that want to understand what the best way to prune is and lower and lean their tomato plants for example what varieties of lettuce are better for cut salad mix versus whole heads. I mean really it runs gamut for whatever information. We’ve been commercial growers, as Jenny mentioned. We’re over a hundred years of commercial growing experience. I have almost 60,000 hours of greenhouse time, which is a long time, but basically we’ve seen a lot that’s in the industry.
We bring our experience and can provide that to you and rather than just kind of offering kind of an all and all-encompassing course if you will or training. We can offer very specific components. That being said, we can also write growers manuals for operations. We do grower training, we’ve trained a number of commercial growers who are now in some of the more notable and high-profile commercial farms across the United States and Canada. We can also do troubleshooting – that’s also a lot of what we do so if you’re having specific production issues or problems we can come in and evaluate what’s going on and make recommendations increasing your production, lowering pests and disease problems, all of these things are things that we would offer, so any situations of problems that you have, we can certainly talk to you and you can contact us, talk to us about what’s going on or what you need, and we can help you from there. With that, you know the other thing is we can offer growers support training so you want to learn about grower training and we can do that in a number of ways.
Joe mentioned of course writing the manuals and stuff like that, but one of the most common ways we do that and, you’ll notice on your screen if it’s not up there now, it’s going to come up is we have these grower seminars that we offer and their two-day growers cinema seminars and you not only get the horticultural and the plant biology as well as the business side of things but you’re going to work in the greenhouse as well and it has been a tremendous time and we keep the class as super small. We don’t allow more than 15 people at a time to come to the classes and that’s very intentional right because everybody has again their unique situation so in the last seminar we had we had people here from burkina faso, we had people here from that want to start a hydroponic in India, we had people that wanted to start something in Idaho, and people in one start in Texas, so you can see all of those are really different locations and that allows them a lot of time, a lot of interactions to say yeah, but what about when it gets really hot outside you know how or how do you deal with humidity and so that two days worth it’s packed and full of information, but you get to come in here in the greenhouse and really work it and see what’s it’s going to take for me to make a viable business out of this. We have a special up there on the screen for you and I would encourage all of you I think we have we’re getting close to capacity as I mentioned – we keep them super small, around 15 people, so I would encourage you if you have any interest at all to be sure and sign up for that because our classes always sell out, we always end up with a full class.
And the other thing that we have is a course every Thursday, we have a Facebook live. It’s just a three to five minutes, we of course have our seminars once a month we have the webinar just like this one. Our next webinar is September 20th and that one’s going to be on hydroponic seed varieties so there may be some seeds that are great in the field and you want to take those and you’ve had great luck with them out in the field and you want to bring them inside and they just you know fail miserably here in in the greenhouse well we can give you some tips on what you want to look for and have a successful greenhouse seed variety in all that whether it’s lettuce or tomatoes cucumbers chard kale whatever it is we’re going to give you some tips on what might be the best greenhouse seed greenhouse varieties to grow so hope you enjoyed it!