Bonsai is much loved hobby for enthusiasts all over the world but can you make money selling bonsai trees? There’s not much better than earning a living from your passion so in this article we break down figures and potential ways to turn your bonsai hobby into a business.
You can make money selling bonsai trees but it’s definitely not the most efficient way to earn a living from the hobby, due to the time taken to grow a tree that fetches a good price. Can selling bonsai trees supplement your income? Absolutely! Through researching I have found that there are definitely better ways to have a bonsai tree business without ever needing to grow and sell a tree believe it or not. With the surge of online businesses and platforms like YouTube, you can easily have a profitable bonsai business with little to no startup costs.
Lets Talk Numbers…
So firstly you’re going to need to consider where you will run this business from – you need somewhere to grow your bonsai trees. We won’t include the cost of this as it’s very situational but you’re going to need a piece of land or something indoors like a large greenhouse to grow your trees in. Here’s a run down of the items you’ll need to buy to start the business off:
This should set you back anywhere from £1000-£3000 depending on the scale of operation you want to run. It’s advised to start with a large number of trees, but manageable – this could be 250-400. If we say you are going to be trying to sell these as relatively untrained trees within the first 3 years, you can expect an average of £40 per tree – netting you £10,000 – £16,000 in profit. If you are looking to sell the trees years later as more trained trees that fetch a better price point, you will earn substantially more. Scaling this up and using cuttings from current parent trees can of course make growing trees a much quicker process and allow you to greatly increase your inventory.
How Much Bonsai Trees Are Worth?
The price a bonsai tree can sell for depends on a huge amount of different components, which I address in this article ‘How Much Money Are Bonsai Trees Worth?
‘. In short, bonsai trees can sell from anywhere as little as £20 and as much as £1,000,000. The value of a bonsai is gauged by looking at mainly:
-The age of the tree
-Scarring of the bonsai
Typically you’re going to be able to sell young untrained trees for a rough guide of £20-£100 at about 3 years old depending on the health, style and condition. These trees can be sold as gifts for starter kits or special occasions like weddings or mothers day – they typically aren’t the best quality but they will definitely sell to people less interested in the actual art of bonsai.
If you are selling trained trees that are probably around the 15 years old mark, these will fetch substantially more depending on all of the usual factors. These trees will typically be sold at nurseries or online forums and can fetch anywhere from £500-£10,000, of course going a lot higher if the tree in some rarer circumstances. If you have the time, patience and love the process, it’s a great little business model to give you a bit of extra cash but due to how long it takes to turn around one well trained bonsai, it’s not the best business unless it’s at scale like a nursery.
Thinking Outside The Box
Earning a living from the actual bonsai trees itself can be a very lengthy process and potentially not the best way to approach making money from bonsai. By thinking outside of the box and looking at a few successful businesses, we have narrowed down a few other genius ways you can make money from your passion.
YouTube – Publishing content on YouTube is a great source of passive income for thousands of people across the world. It’s an extremely low barrier to entry as all you need is a camera and something to film! Once your content is approved for Ad sense Ads, you already have a profitable, passive business! Take a look at channels such as Herons Bonsai, this type of content is evergreen, if you pardon the pun. You can earn a living from bonsai by filming videos showing your tree collections, wiring, projects, pruning, watering guides, everything bonsai!
Drop-shipping – Why not start a store online selling bonsai products! E commerce is a huge business and there’s no reason you can’t make a living this way! Selling products from bonsai suppliers on places like eBay and Amazon could be a great way to make money from bonsai. There are a lot of tutorials and courses online to learn how to generate the traffic and make your first sales.
Courses – Online education and in person education are HUGE businesses across the world! Why not start a course and earn money from bonsai that way. This could tie in perfectly with the YouTube business model discussed above as you could monetise your YouTube viewers by offering them a course where you teach your expertise when it comes to bonsai. If the online model isn’t to your fancy, why not start one in your local area to supplement your income, teaching bonsai techniques on the weekends!
You can make money selling bonsai trees but it’s absolutely not a quick road! You have the option of either selling well trained trees which take a lot longer to grow but fetch a higher price, or younger untrained trees that take just 2-4 years to grow and fetch a lower price tag. In terms of which is the better solution, it depends on your goals and timescale of your business plan. It can definitely be done but I would do some extensive research before looking into taking it too seriously, it isn’t going to be the fastest way to riches.
If you’re serious about trying to make a living out of bonsai trees, definitely check out the ‘thinking outside the box’ solutions outlined above as these are extremely effective ways to start a business with very low overheads and a very low barrier of entry. Setting up an industrial sized bonsai grow can be expensive, time consuming and you’re looking at a very long time before you actually get a penny out of it – meaning I wouldn’t recommend it as a viable strategy for the majority of people looking to earn a living.
Starting A Huge Bonsai Grow –
Costs – A large grow is going to cost anywhere from £1000 – £3000 to setup, providing you already own the land.
Upside – This size of grow could earn you £10,000 – £16,000 in the first 3 years.
Starting A YouTube Channel About Bonsai –
Costs – If you own a phone/camera and bonsai trees, £0.
Upside – A large passive income over your lifetime as the videos will be evergreen (earn you money for as long as they’re online).
Selling A Bonsai Course –
Costs – Very hard to say an exact cost depending on whether you’re doing an in-person course or online. Either way, you’ll have to pay for the marketing of the course (Unless you have traffic coming from a YouTube Channel).
Upside – Again it depends hugely on prices and the way you want to structure your course!
Disclaimer – This is not financial advice, do not take it as such. This is merely meant for educational purposes, do your own due diligence before starting any sort of bonsai tree business. There is risk involved with starting any sort of business.