It’s been a while since I’ve updated my blog. We’ve had quite the whirlwind spring so far. First, I’ll let you know what’s going on with the greenhouse. The greenhouse and five acres it sits on are going for $399,000. I applied for a commercial loan through our bank, and they worked so diligently with me to get all of the paperwork filled out correctly. I spent dozens of hours poring over seed and plug catalogs, making elaborate spreadsheets, talking to dealers and the owners, and figuring out every expense we could account for. I submitted the paperwork, but it was at that point that we hit a snag. For a traditional commercial loan, they need a 20% down payment. That’s $80,000. We don’t have $80,000 laying around. So I looked into a small business loan through the SBA. They require a 10% down payment. That’s $40,000. Again… we don’t have $40,000 laying around. We spent weeks selling everything we could, but to no avail. We were only able to raise about $5000 in such a short time.
We were denied a commercial loan because we couldn’t afford the down payment. I talked to the loan officer and she reassured me that as soon as we can come up with $40,000 she would gladly allow me to reapply for consideration.
But where are we going to get $40,000?
We heard of one option that was a bit out there, but workable. We could set up a C-Corp, set up stocks for our personal business, and move moneys from my husband’s 401k over to our own stocks. It sounded too good to be true! He has enough in his 401k, though just barely. After all, we’re only 30 years old. But… as you can probably guess… there is a hitch. It would cost us $5500 to set up the C-Corp and get everything going. Then there would be another $1400 in additional expense, followed by an $1100 annual fee to keep the stocks and paperwork going.
We don’t even have the $8000 we’d need to do that. And even if we did, after discussing it in depth, neither my husband nor I are willing to risk his entire 401k, even to make our dream come true. We need another option.
Back to square one.
I don’t know when or if we’ll be able to come up with $40,000 for a down payment. I know I can turn a good profit and make a good life for our family if we get this greenhouse operation. I know I can do it. I’ve run the numbers several ways. Even after paying for start-up materials, signage, maintenance, the monthly commercial loan payments, advertising, worker wages, taxes, propane, utilities, etc… we’d still make more than what my husband currently makes in a year. And that was on the conservative side. That was only selling half of the stock I could fill the three main greenhouses with in the first year. By the second year, I’d have all 9 greenhouses on line.
But I don’t know where the initial money is going to come from.
It’s true, that old saying about the rich getting richer. Starting a business costs money. If we had just $40,000 for the down payment, I’d already be in the greenhouse getting it cleaned up, putting on new plastic, and preparing it for next spring’s sales. Heck, I might even start earlier and do poinsettias and Christmas wreaths.
What about our house? Our dream house. The one we spent a decade saving up and planning for. Well, we’d love to be able to hang onto it. We could turn it into a rental and retire up here. Or we could sell it. *sigh* I know. It makes me sad to even think about selling something we put so much work into. We looked into it. We’ve had multiple realtors out to assess the value and give us options. We even thought we could come up with the down payment by selling our house and land. The realtors popped that bubble. The sale of our house might give us a tiny profit ($8-10,000), but it wouldn’t be enough. If we could sell our house for the $40k profit, we’d probably do it in a heartbeat and begin a new dream for a new house after the greenhouse was up and running.
So here we are, floating adrift, continuing on with our lives as if the greenhouse operation isn’t going to happen. I had high hopes for a while. I am still hanging onto them in the back of my mind. That greenhouse would mean financial independence. If something were to happen to my husband, I’d still have a way to make a living. It would mean stability – no more moving to follow work opportunities, no more yanking the kids out of their schools and away from their friends. It would be doing something I love every day.
Our last hope now is to keep scrimping and saving. My husband is doing everything he can to see this greenhouse vision through, and I really hope it’s not too little too late. The greenhouse has been on the market 5 years already. Will it stay on the market another year if that’s how long it takes us to come up with the money? I don’t know. My husband has given up the job he loves here, close to home, and has re-enlisted with the company he was previously with. He will be leaving for Afghanistan, to be a contractor in a war zone, within the next few weeks.
I feel sick that he’s making such a sacrifice. He doesn’t have to, but he will. Because he wants a better life for us. He wants financial security. He wants us to have this greenhouse… and this is the only option we seem to have left.
He’s going to be gone for a year. It’s a sure bet that we’ll be able to save up for the down payment in a year of him working over there, but I worry he won’t come back. He’s been over to the Middle East twice before now. We used the money from the previous stints overseas to pay off our debts and buy land, never even thinking we’d have an opportunity like the greenhouse. I was so proud to tell people he’d never have to go back there, back to being awakened in the night by mortars, living apart from everything he knows and loves. I was so glad to have him back. And now… he’s leaving again. For us. For our future. I wish there was another way.
Well, now that I’m damn near close to tears just thinking about him leaving, how about I move onto a more cheerful subject? The garden. I’ve been working hard up until I got sick a couple days ago. It’s all planted, and I’ve been able to keep up with the weeds so far. Once I’m over this sinus infection and chest cold, I’ll get back to work out there again. It’s a big area to keep weeded. In case you don’t remember, our garden is about 7500 square feet, or 8 times the size of our house. Maybe big is an understatement.
That’s the garden so far. Everything is small because way up north we don’t have a long growing season. It’ll shoot up and amaze me, I hope. Keep checking back for updates! I’ll try to be better about it this summer. Things get pretty hectic with kids home all summer and the homestead needing all sorts of work to stay in order. Maybe my next post will show you how big the orchard is getting. We might actually get some cherries and plums this year! Yahoo!
If you are a gardener, and you’d like to share your blog, please leave a link in the comment. I’d love to see what you’re planting and hear about your experiences playing in the dirt. My garden isn’t enough to sate my addiction – I need more! If I like your blog, I might even add it to my blogroll so I can stalk it. 🙂