Growing costs of energy and consumables shouldn’t stop you from growing cannabis indoors – the yield will pay off in the long run.
The average startup cost for an indoor cannabis cultivation facility usually falls within the range of $325 to $650 per square foot.
However, it is important to note that operating costs can vary significantly based on the strategic choices made during the construction and ongoing management of your facility.
Size, location, equipment, day-to-day operations, and labor costs are the factors that play a crucial role in determining the overall cost of an indoor weed harvest.
Cannabis cultivation has become an extremely profitable business with bright future prospects. In 2022, the sales of marijuana surpassed $30 billion in the US. With the increasing number of states legalizing cannabis, the industry is experiencing continuous growth.
So, more people aspire to establish their own indoor cannabis cultivation operations. Due to rising competition and uncertain economic conditions, investors have become more cautious about cost and profitability.
A good indoor cultivator can grow cannabis year-round, harvesting anywhere between 1 and 12 times per year.
Of course, there are a few disadvantages to growing indoors, including:
Beyond that, growing indoors can be EXTREMELY beneficial when done properly. The main question many new growers have is,
How much will it cost to grow cannabis indoors?
Come dive in as we explore the costs associated with an indoor grow.
Let’s start by assuming you want to create a 6’ x 6’ growing space and use soil as your growing medium. Let’s also assume that you live in a temperate climate where you won’t need to use A/C, as this will save you a fair amount of money on energy costs.
What we will not include is the price of the actual cannabis plants, as they can vary. Most clones cost anywhere from $30 to $150 per clone, though high-end clones can be more expensive.
We can also assume that our plants will be in the vegetative state for about a month and in the flowering stage for about 8-10 weeks.
If you choose to use a 1000-watt light bulb, you will likely produce 1,000 grams using a gram of flower per watt as an average. However, when you’re just getting started, you will probably get anywhere from 0.5-1 gram per watt.
You must also account for how well your plants take to your nutrients and how good you are at keeping pests away.
On the other hand, you might choose to go for a smaller closet grow.
In this case, expect to use a small grow tent. You can get a good grow tent for less than $1,000, including just about everything you need to grow your cannabis besides the plants and the soil.
Here’s what you can expect to pay in this case:
Before budgeting, it is essential to examine the variables and align goals with the design team to make a futuristic plan. Below are some of the factors that might contribute to your indoor cannabis grow initiative.
1. Startup Costs: Prior to bringing weed plants into the grow rooms, extensive planning and preparation are required. Unlike most businesses that can start by renting a building and moving in equipment and supplies, cultivating marijuana indoors requires meticulous design coordination. The size of your facility will influence costs, as larger spaces can reduce the cost per ton of HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning). Other factors, such as the percentage of the facility dedicated to grow rooms or incorporating specialty rooms like extraction rooms, impact startup costs.
2. Space Design & Engineering: Even if you have purchased an existing building for retrofitting, the assistance of architects and engineers is crucial to ensure the structure meets cultivation requirements. This includes creating an interior layout suitable for agriculture, upgrading utilities, and designing an HVAC system for cultivation. Commercial mechanical systems are usually suitable for easy cooling but may not be adequate for the high-humidity and water conditions cannabis requires. The cost of architectural design and MEP engineering can range between $4 and $8 per square foot.
3. Construction/Modification of a Building:
If you plan to construct your building from scratch, consult building plans provided by architects and MEP engineers. Factors like location, construction materials, building quality, and the number of walls needed will influence costs. Construction costs vary significantly based on project details, such as insulation material.
4. Operating Expenditures: Answering the question of how much it will cost to start a cannabis grow operation can be challenging due to the numerous factors involved. Equipment choices significantly impact water and energy usage. For example, hand watering may have minimal upfront costs but can lead to increased water usage and higher labor expenses over time.
5. HVAC Tech Options: Numerous HVAC technology options are available, each offering varying costs and energy efficiencies. Selecting a suitable equipment will depend on factors like desired humidity, temperature, energy availability, vapor pressure deficit (VPD) ranges, energy availability, scale, and location. Cultivation-specific HVAC units usually cost between $50 and $150 per square foot of canopy, excluding installation and controls.
6. Control & Automation Technology:
Proper control of irrigation, lighting, ventilation, CO2 delivery, fire systems, and HVAC systems is essential. Control and automation systems usually cost between $4 and $16 per square foot of cultivation. Basic control systems that handle equipment activation and temperature regulation are available as plug-and-play solutions. Custom solutions with better efficiency come at a higher cost.
7. Weed Grow Room Lighting: Lighting choices impact both yields and energy bills. High-pressure sodium (HPS) lighting tends to use more wattage and generate more heat, increasing the load on your HVAC systems. However, HPS lighting is generally cheaper than LED options. However, LED technology is gradually improving and becoming more cost-effective. Your lighting cost would range from $40 to $60 per square.
8. Grow Racking Arrangements: Efficiently organizing marijuana plants within your grow space requires the use of grow benches and racking systems. Rather than placing weeds directly on the floor, you should utilize these systems to streamline organization and plant maintenance, reducing labor hours.
You should go for vertical grow racks that are designed for multi-tier cultivation, allowing you to stack your plants in the nursery, veg, and flower stages. This maximizes your space utilization but can be a bit more expensive than basic benches.
The addition of more plants will necessitate more lighting, requiring an HVAC system capable of handling the additional load while maintaining proper airflow.
The cost of benches and racks for indoor cultivation options varies based on factors such as mobility, multiple tiers, and irrigation methods.
If you go for basic single-tier benches, you will be required to pay from $10 to $12 per square foot of canopy, with prices increasing for additional features.
Water Treatment, Irrigation, & Fertigation: Ensuring a clean water supply is crucial for cultivating a healthy cannabis crop. Various water filtration options are available, including reverse osmosis (RO) membrane filters and screen filters. Additionally, disinfection measures such as ultraviolet radiation (UV) and oxidizers like Ozone can be incorporated based on your preference and budget.
Many cannabis growers automate nutrient injection through fertigation to maintain consistent nutrient recipes and reduce labor costs.
Each method has its own advantages and cost considerations. Drip irrigation is comparatively inexpensive, and it is commonly used with substrates like soil, coco fiber, and rockwool.
Hydroponic flooding, on the other hand, involves intermittent flooding and draining of benches, usually using rockwool cubes. Flood tables are popular among commercial cannabis growers but may not be feasible in larger facilities.
The aeroponic technique delivers water and nutrients periodically through misting, providing precise control over water usage and nutrient delivery.
The costs of water treatment, fertigation, and irrigation systems depend on your location and preferences. For example, an RO system is often used to remove impurities from municipal water, but its necessity varies based on water quality.
Installation & Maintenance of Security Systems: Security surveillance is essential for cannabis grow operations, as it is often required by cultivation licenses and ensures the protection of the business and staff.
Security installation can include fencing, cameras, alarms, and security guards. Costs for these systems can vary significantly based on your unique requirements.
Note: Different cost estimates for an indoor cannabis harvest are not all-encompassing, and they are subject to change over time.
So, it is important to consider other factors such as taxes, licensing, labor, marketing, and distribution to determine the actual cost of your project.
Yes, it can be cost-effective to grow cannabis if you go for sustainable cultivation. You should expect to pay around $70 to $340 on consumables, like nutrients and substrate, per year.
Your grow style will significantly impact the price. The most inexpensive option is the use of organic living soil.
Meanwhile, the strategies like companion planting, organic feeding, composting, recycling water, and efficient waste management not only minimize the environmental impact of your marijuana harvest but also significantly cut grow costs.
The energy consumption of your cannabis grow room, as stated by the Northwest Power and Conservation Council (NPCC), can range from 2,000 to 3,000 kilowatt hours (kWh) per pound of product.
This data highlights the significant power requirements for indoor cannabis production. However, if you switch from 1000-watt HID lights to low-wattage LED grow, you can save a significant amount on your energy costs.
If you are embarking on a start-up venture, you should anticipate an average yield of around 35 grams of dry cannabis flower per square foot per harvest.
However, if you have well-established operations with fine-tuned genetics and cultivation protocols, you can expect higher yields ranging from 50 to 70 grams per square foot per harvest.
This variance in harvest highlights the importance of experience and optimization approaches in maximizing cannabis cultivation outputs.
On average, it costs $150 to $1000 to produce a pound of cannabis. The cost of producing a pound of marijuana varies significantly depending on factors like the state, location, climate, growing methodology, and the level of cultivation efficiency employed.
A well-optimized and efficient business can reduce production costs to as low as $150 or even less for a pound of cannabis flower. Conversely, the expenses involved in growing the same pound of flower can reach as high as $1,000 in certain cases.
Implementing efficient cultivation methodologies plays a vital role in controlling production expenses and determining the profitability of a cannabis harvest.
Need further assistance with the cost evaluation of your indoor cannabis startup? Let’s know. We’re hare to extend all-out support! Also, if you’re looking to get your hands on some high-quality, creativity-inducing marijuana clones, make sure to get in touch with us here at Big Daddy Clones.
Give our professional staff a call at 877-262-6192 today! They will get back to you as soon as possible. We look forward to working with you.