HOW TO STARTUP AND FINANCE A PROFITABLE MARIJUANA DISPENSARY
All you basically need to open a successful dispensary is a license, startup cash, retail experience and the ability to learn and the rest will can fall into place.
We provide an example summary business plan for a hypothetical business plan; the first dispensary in Somerville, with a projected profit of $1.8 million dollars by year 3.
OVERVIEW OF AN OPERATION - EXAMPLE
Clients base- sole dispensary in small town with population 45,000
More than 2,000 clients are projected buy an ounce per month @ $250 per oz. (conservatively based on actual totals in marijuana legal states)
Revenues are $500,000 per month by year 3
Cost of product is about $300,000 on $500,000 total sales
Cost of labor is about $20,000 per month
Expenses for facilities, permits, etc are estimated at $10,000 per month
Profits are about $160,000 per month.
Donations from profit to the community, $10,000 per month
OTHER REVENUE SOURCES
On top of the dispensary ,there could be additional revenue sources: delivery service, paraphernalia, website mail-order as allowed by state and municipal laws.
DISPENSARY STARTUP CHECKLIST
Confirm that it is possible to operate a dispensary legally in your area.
Find out who is the key in deciding if your license is approved, and find out as much as you can about the decision process and strategize accordingly.
Confirm that your record is clean or is clean enough to qualify as a dispensary owner.
Know your product. Make a list of locally available suppliers and products with wholesale and retail prices.
Obtain a current copy of Federal, State or Provincial laws that apply to Dispensaries and Distribution.
Find a bank that will accept deposits.
Conduct a survey of attitudes in the community about marijuana, particularly influencers and alpha citizens.
Study risks, such as changes in Federal, State or Provincial laws that could affect the business.
Make your own spreadsheet with associated costs for legal transport, storage and security required under applicable laws.
Assemble your team: Consultant, Lawyer, manager, staff, support services.
Establish a location, tentative or actual.
Set up a documentation system with backup for all aspects of the business, purchasing, inventory, sales, safety, training, permits, etc.
Have financing in place to pay for the expenses in their entirety for the first six months.
Set up a webpage, Twitter, Facebook, and other social media accounts, but don't spring into action and expose your operation to the public until your operation is approved to operate.
Study the local laws concerning marijuana thoroughly. Find a lawyer you trust, which is one who does not manipulate situations to maximize fees. You should know the laws well yourself first and use your lawyer to confirm your understanding, or go over important issues, By preparing well and doing your research, your lawyer fees will be kept to a minimum and avoid being scammed by your lawyer for unnecessary fees.
Compile the names of the people involved in marijuana control and regulations in your area.
If you are audited or have dealings with an authority, you'll be equipped with their superior's name, contact info as well as you lawyers. While you never want to act threatening to regulatory officials, you want to project a professional, cooperative yet no-nonsense stance.
Your dispensary must be in an area where commerce in marijuana is allowed. This means applying with city hall. Again, before you go in, get to know that lay of the land and have the name of your the local zoning contact official and their supervisor. Find out restrictions that may apply to marijuana operations, such as not being allowed near child care, schools, parks or public facilities like libraries. There may be special regulations and zoning the selling drug paraphernalia to consider as well.
Face it, some people are good at creating businesses, but are terrible at running them. Ideas people that are running around all over the place are a real problem in operations.
If you're not a proven retail manager, strongly considering hiring someone. While it's not that difficult to run a dispensary, your group need to be disciplined and possess basic business skills.
COMPLEMENT YOUR SKILL SET - HIRE SOMEONE
Some people can do self analyze and realize that others have a better skill set to run the business. Other people never learn at all, cannot see their shortcomings and their business never succeeds in any great way, due to personal deficiencies. It you've done a self analysis and find that you have shortcomings as a manager, this means you have the capability to learn and adapt.
SECURITY - THEFT & VANDALISM
The threat of robbery and theft from dispensaries is generally overstated and are not particularly vulnerable as compared to other businesses.. There is, however, a real threat of theft similar to that found in pharmacies or liquor stores. While complying to the security standards set in the law - which affects your choice of location - you do want to (are required) to physically secure your premises well. This means strong walls, unbreakable windows, hiring security, and a action plan in the event of an incident.
Despite being properly equipped and secure, you don't want your dispensary to look like a seedy red light district shop. What works very well is an upscale organic coffee house look. A well lit perimeter with visible cameras monitored live with quick response is a very effective deterrent. The entire shop should be monitored with cameras at all times. Product can contain sensors that activate if they are removed from the shop without paying.
At the end of the day, you want to promote a healthy, friendly relationship with your customers, so you want to keep the big brother feel (camera's, ID, tracking) to a minimum, while protecting your business and complying with regulatory requirements.
Even if you don't have the budget, to round out your team, you strike up a relationship with a local expert consultant or two, with experience in every main facet of your business. The main issues are; cultivation, legalities, storage, usage, strains, lab testing, conditions and symptoms, recreational and medical usage. To address many of these issues in house, you should have a knowledgeable budtender on staff. With this structure, you should be able to address any question-issue under the sun.
Once you have your people in order and your research done, then you can set up a simple training program that covers the essential required by law: safety, security, customer service, storage, etc.
There is a wealth of information available on the Web which can be supplemented with self study. These days you can take a course, buy your own hydroponic kit, purchase seeds, the gambit. Of course it would be good to have someone in the fold with actual experience in operating a dispensary. Hiring a good budtender is also almost a necessity.
For example, your dispensary should have a person who can answer a question like, I use marijuana for pain, but I need to work, do you have a lab tested strain that will work for me?
Find a couple of lawyers in your vicinity. Have an initial consultation (one hour) which is often free. Decide if this lawyer is for you, fees are upfront and reasonable. Do a background check if you can. To minimize fees and understand the legalities of your business, do most of the work and research yourself and then meet with your lawyer, go over the file and have see that you've compiled properly with the law.
Hook up and follow local marijuana groups that are active in your state or province. Spend a few hours per month keeping in touch with important issues, and form alliances that might deal with issues that may arise.
Business plans can really bog you down. There is a technique to get it done efficiently and quickly. Just start and blast through it. Under each section of the plan template, spend five minutes to create a few simple bullet point statements that cover the very basics. After your 5 minutes is up, move on to the next topic. If you are stumped, just type in NEED RESEARCH.
In a couple of hours, you'll have identified the areas you're confident in, areas you are somewhat confident and areas that require more information.
Example Business Plan Topic first notes : Location & Premises
Maybe the west side mall space. not sure about zoning issues
From 1,200 to 2000 sq.ft, maybe more if we get into packaging, and manufacturing.
East side coffee shop conversion at (address), might get it at $1500 per month, zoning ok, need to confirm
Other places (industrial park, mall, etc.)
Style, like a starbucks
Has customer parking
Needs to be 500 ft. from school
With this approach, of just putting in what you have, you've gotten out of the gate, and can now work on getting the other pieces and firming up the plan.
CATEGORIES OF THE BUSINESS PLAN
This example includes quick staring summary points. Just fill them in a flow of conscious style.
Upon reflection, you can increasingly tie your dreams to documented fact.
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY - OVERVIEW
Open the first marijuana dispensary in Summerville operating under State law.
A six person operation
2,000 square foot facility in commercial zoned area
Startup costs $200,000 for stock, equipment and leasehold improvements
Projected revenue year 1,2,3, $400,000, $800,000, $1,200,000
Profits year 1,2,3 $0, $200,000, $450,000
This startup stand-alone dispensary project will serve as a template to open other dispensaries and pursue other opportunities in the industry, such as cultivation
There had never been a legal marijuana business in Summerville to serve a population that has an estimated 2,000 full time and 6,000 part time recreational and medical marijuana users. There has never been a legal dispensary in the state, nor the town and at the point of legalization, no other dispensary will be located within 50 miles.
A study of the demographics indicates that the majority of the population, baby boomers and their elders, now believe that marijuana has benefits and is less dangerous than opiates and alcohol. This means that the our market will likely follow increased consumption rates in the coming years, as seen in states like Colorado, Washington, Oregon, etc.
There is no legal source of marijuana in Summerville.
Currently, marijuana is bought online or illegally.
There is a lack of knowledge in the community about how to use the different types of marijuana (THC, CBD, oral, inhalation, etc.).
Legal supply. A quality dispensary with delivery service would provide Summerville with a quick, legally and affordable supply of of recreational and medical marijuana.
Medical support. Right now, most people don't have professional support in the use of cannabis. Medical marijuana patients will be offered a source of professional advice ,a consultation by a licensed medical doctor on how and what form, dosage of cannabis based medicines to use for a given condition.
- The demographics of the area are: (age groups to be established)
- The per capita usage is estimated to be (based on Oregon, Washington and Colorado usage)
- The population of the area to be served is 30,000
- The growth of usage in the area is expected to be (based on other states growth)
- The total market is x$
- The total market share is projected to be x$ in year 1,2,3
- There are 13 suppliers online with license
- The only unlicensed dispensary was shut down
- Some illegal growers will still be in operation
- Some people in Summerville go to a neighboring town which uses a licensed producer and provides telemedicine for its veteran clients
Why Us? Our team has a wealth of many years professional experience in all the required expertise of the business. Most areas of specific expertise at a professional level are not found in the target market.
Medical Marijuana Clinical Applications.
Pharmaceutical manufacturing processes
Web Marketing - Medical Marijuana sites with 300,000 visitors per month.
Testing & Quality Control - laboratory testing for active and toxic ingredients on medical marijuana.
Business expertise - Partners have experience in running all aspects of small to medium sized businesses.
Medical Marijuana Dr.X
Cultivation, products Dr. Y
Lab testing and quality control Mr. Z
Retali, Mrs. Q
See attached CV.
Capture 15% of the market in year 1, and gain a 50% local market share by year 3.
2,000 regular customers buying one ounce per month by year 3.
6,000 part time customers averaging 1/4 an ounce per month.
About $200,000 (see breakdown)
Based on conservative consumption rate of $200 per capita (from states with similar demographics) combined with a population base of about 45,000, the total market is about $9,000,000 per annum. Profitability is about %30 after the first $300,000 in sales. Projected sales is estimated at about $1 million.
Secondly, with the appropriate license, the dispensary can market via the internet to an audience of 35 million people. While this is a very important consideration and option, the scope of this business plan focuses only on a local dispensary.
To complete our team, we require a partner with deep experience in the traget market with working relationship and credibility with notable businesses, the city, regulatory groups and state government.
We wish to contribute 5% of recreational proceeds to the community, whether it be official or unofficial; to the city of Summerville. Sharing with the community is seen as a good way to expedite stability in the business. Medical patients will be given a 10% discount as well. This formula may change in reaction to changes in state taxation.
Upon permitting, a 2000 sq. ft retail space in the city of Summerville at a to be announced location will be leased for a period of three years with an option to continue. Required security and safety systems will be installed according to law and further to our own requirements. Product will be sourced from licensed cultivators and stocked.
MARKETING PLAN & SALES
Knowledge of a local legal dispensary will spread by mouth like wildfire. In addition, a modest campaign through traditional media and TV will insure nearly 100% coverage.
The group has successful experience in internet sales in another state, with sites that attract 300,000 visitors per month. This specific, proven expertise web marketing in the target industry will be used to make locals aware of the latest produces, promotions and special pricing.
It should be noted that locally that marijuana related sites lack serious viewership due to a lack of commitment, capital and knowledge.
After basic retail is functional, in year 2 a registered nurse will be hired to interact with existing caregivers that already administer cannabis to their patients. From there, other caregivers and patients can reach out and get professional advice and medicine for their patients.
The dispensary will keep the same hours as a liquor store.
Great attention will be paid to knowledgeably servicing the customers.
A knowledgeable budtender - with professional training in the practical aspects of cannabis medical sciences - is available to assist customers.
Our consulting physician will be available to work with local physicians as required, as part of the service.
There is not new technology offered, only existing strains and cannabis based medical products from licensed producers and manufacturers. However, customized preparations of oils and mixing of strains with various qualities could be offered later on. While this part of the business might be especially profitable, we do not included potential revenues in this analysis.
EQUIPMENT & TOOLS
The list of tools and equipment is similar to a liquor store in type and cost, with an approximate cost of $x
MILESTONES - METRICS
Upon licensing, 2 months is set to set up of the dispensary in its entirety.
Inspection and opening is slated in month 3.
Month 1-3 of operation will focus on getting the retail operation to function smoothly with a moderate volume of word of mouth and walk-ins. No sales projection.
Month 4-12 of operation will focus on an full blown advertising campaign, traditional media and newspapers. The target is to do $100,000 in revenue per month at the end of year 1.
FINANCIALS - ISSUED MONTHLY / QUARTERLY / YEARLY
All financial information is available real time and accurate financials can be created at any time using a business operating software system.
- STARTUP PERIOD 3 employees. year 1
- FULL OPERATION 6 employees. year 2-3
- COSTS YEAR 1 (after startup)
$100, 000 Equipment and leasehold improvements
$50k Working managers
$40k Assistant manager
$30k Clerk cash x 2, $30k
$35k Inventory, shipping, receiving, bookkeeping X 1
Managers double as budtender in year 1
$15k Misc labor
$200k - Total fixed salary / yr $ 18k month
$5k Legal & Accounting
$10k Security and safety
$10k Utilities, Electric
$20k Marketing static: TV, news, internet
$10k Taxes: not included in above, other
$10k Promotion and Sales
$100k Total non-salary costs / yr - $10k per month
MONTHLY OPERATING COSTS
Profit loss after month 9. Assume a loss in this period.
$100,000 per month (500 ounces /sales)
$25,000 costs salary and other
$55,000 cost of product
$10,000 commission and charity
$200,000 per month (1000 ounces / sales)
$30,000 costs salary and other
$100,000 cost of product
$20,000 bonus, commission and charity
$300,000 per month (1500 ounces / sales)
$30,000 costs salary and other
$140,000 cost of product
$30,000 bonus, commission and charity
Should the dispensary attain a grower's permit, then the cost of product would be reduced by about 40%, after such an operation is up and running.
Strains 200-300 per oz. retail, wholesale 120 to 180 per oz
Specialty strains, high CBD $500 retail, wholesale $250
CBD $100 per 30 mg, wholesale, $40mg
THC $60 per 30 mg, wholesale, $30mg
Bonus to core staff based on sales (to be determined)
Cost of marijuana products (2/3 of retail)
Peripherals and accessories (option for year 2)
Marketing commission sales 5% on internet
Charity contributions to community at 5%
BRAND BUILDING - COMPASSION AND LOYALTY POLICIES
About 10 clients at one time might qualify for compassionate discounts, where the product is provided at cost. Long time clients will receive first right to purchase strains of limited quantity, special pricing and deals (discounts).
Create a profit and loss statement.
Create spreadsheet for the cost to operates
After constructing your business plan, you can now present it to investors. When seeking investors, it is advised to consider people with experience in lending.
Consider your inner circle, friends, associates and colleagues. Family and friends might be good socially, but are lousy as investors. It is suggested that you consider only people that have been good investors in the past. As the operation proceeds, veteran investors tend to roll with the punches, such as a temporary interruption in the business due to circumstance, whereas a novel investor can freak out unnecessarily or become involved in the business in counterproductive ways.
If you go to the bank, or financial institution, find out if they normally give out the kind of loan you're looking for. If you are applying for a grant, is the money really available for your type of operation, or does the funding realistically go to other groups? Then there is crowd funding, which is a very viable option you should research, but a campaign is certainly not recommended until you have your act together nearly entirely.
In fact, this basic concept goes for everyone in the operation, each person has their own expertise and demonstrated skill set for each aspect of the business. Not to overcomplicate matters, running a dispensary does not require Einstein's, mostly good solid capable workers of experience.
Secure the necessary funding. Startup costs average about $250,000 to $500,000. You want to have extra on hand, $50,000 to firm up lease, lawyer and other costs...
While costs vary depending on your location, start-up costs average about $250,000, but may range up to $500,000 This figure includes various costs, including the application for a license (usually nonrefundable), securing a storefront, growing or purchasing product, insurance, and other expenses. Even with the best business plan, it may be hard to secure traditional financing, so be sure that you have enough assets to invest before you start. If the regulations in your area allow for it, you can also minimize your risk by investing with partners.
Hire a good CPA. Possibly 1 in three are very good. Find that good one. Source friends and associates may have a line on an accountant, but make sure that they (friends) possess good judgement before following through.
Hire a Certified Public Accountant (CPA). A good CPA can help you navigate the financial side of your business. A CPA will know how to file the appropriate tax forms and can also manage your overall finances, including payroll. Because marijuana dispensaries are still technically illegal at the federal level, they run a higher risk of being audited by the IRS. A good CPA will help protect you in the case that you’re audited.
Buy or rent a suitable place. Because dispensaries can be a high-risk (if often high-profit) investment, many people prefer to rent property before buying. If you are renting, disclose that you plan to operate a dispensary on the property. Keep all local ordinances in mind when looking for a property.
There are tools you can find online such as traffic pattern information, demographic data (household size, income, etc.), and traffic generators such as other businesses and recreational locations in the area. These will help you determine what location will receive optimal traffic for your dispensary.
IMAGE maintain a respectable image. Dispensaries can face significant social and community pressure, and if you don’t maintain a respectable, friendly image, you may well find yourself out of business. Always be pleasant and respectful to your “neighbors,” and consider doing the following:
AVOID offensive or overly drug-related signs, symbols, and images out of your storefront.
Operate a clean, well-lit store with friendly and knowledgeable customer service. Hire security guards to keep loiterers and thieves away and provide patients with a sense of security.
NETWORK with local government and police offices. Let them know you have no criminal intentions and that you are a respectable, community-minded small-business owner.
MARKET the business. Many traditional media outlets, such as Facebook and Google, do not allow marijuana-based businesses to advertise with them. Instead, reach out to local doctors’ offices that provide referrals, and promote yourself on websites such as Hemp American Media Group. And of course, build word-of-mouth through great customer service and quality products.
CONDUCT customer surveys. There are hundreds of varieties of marijuana and a wide variety of ways to consume it, including smoking, edible products such as brownies and dried flowers, and oils. While there aren't many wide-scale, rigorously scientific studies available about what types and forms of marijuana are best for which conditions, your customers may have preferences or may have been told to find a certain type by their physician. Conducting some market research by doing surveys will help you stock the products your customers want the most of.
RECORDS keep meticulous records. Because of the uncertain legal status of many dispensaries, it’s vital that you keep careful records not only of your expenses, but also of all of the product, who interacts with it at what growing and processing stages, and the patients who purchase it. This information will help protect you in the event that you encounter legal trouble.
420EVALUATIONSONLINE NOTES: By getting your medical marijuana ID card, recommendation and cultivation permit for California, you're also supporting the creation of very useful content for patients, recreational users and cannabis business people. Our documents are used at State dispensaries, cannabis clubs, cooperatives, online delivery services and other points of access in California and some precincts in Nevada.