selling plants from home

cheflara(z6NY)February 13, 2006

Hi, My daughter always seems to have extra plants and wanted to sell them out of our home, like a yard sale/plant sale. We live in the city. She didn't know if there are any regulations for selling plants in western New York.

Any help would be much appreciated!

Cheflara

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penny1947(z6 WNY)

Cheflara
i have sold plants for the past two years and never had a problem. I have also sold them through Buffalo Buy and Sell which is a group on Yahoo. This year I started offering seeds on my website for sale.

Penny

    Bookmark   February 14, 2006 at 6:45AM
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gottagarden(z5 western NY)

As long as she's not having a yard sale/flower sale every weekend, there's probably no problem. I've gotten many fine plants at garage sales. Of course, if you ask the authorities, they will probably tell you that you need a business license and need to pay taxes on your sales. If she keeps it low key, and only once in a while, you should be fine.

    Bookmark   February 14, 2006 at 7:22AM
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cheflara(z6NY)

Thanks, Penny and Gottagarden, she would only be selling plants occasionally. I will check out Buffalo Buy & Sell also.

    Bookmark   February 14, 2006 at 1:55PM
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penny1947(z6 WNY)

Here is the link to the main page of Buffalo Buy and Sell
Penny

Here is a link that might be useful: Buffalo Buy and Sell

    Bookmark   February 15, 2006 at 4:18AM
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oldroser(z5)

One of the things you have to be aware of is that your house insurance does not provide liability coverage for a business. There have been several instances where garage sales caused a problem - someone was injured and because they were on the premises to buy something, the insurance company said there was no coverage for their injury. Usually companies will consider one garage sale an incidental occupancy but two or more could be considered a business and if someone tripped and sprained or broke an ankle, you could lose your house. That's why it's better to sell at a Farmers Market - away fro your premises. But if you caused an injury away from home and it was because of a business operation, that could cause a problem too. This kind of thing is what keeps lawyers in business.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2006 at 7:53PM
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cheflara(z6NY)

Thanks, oldroser, you've given me serious food for thought on the perils of selling out of my home. The Farmer's market sounds like a good idea.
Cheflara

    Bookmark   February 15, 2006 at 11:23PM
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herbalbetty

Be very careful here. You DO need to have special permits and licenses in order to sell plants in NY state. An inspector needs to come around and ensure there are no diseases or pests. Most farmer's markets will insist on seeing your nursery license for this. A single garage sale probably won't get you into trouble, but several sales from your house just might. Also, call your insurance person to see if you have coverage or not. He/she is the only person who will know for sure.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2006 at 7:46AM
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penny1947(z6 WNY)

I guess I must be very naive. I would never think of someone attending a yard sale and suing a homeowner . When I offer my plants for sale, I set them on a small table out at the end of my driveway right by the sidewalk under a tree. Then I move them inside later in the evening. Most people don't even have to come into the yard. A farmers' market is a good option if you have LOTS of plants and plenty of mature in bloom plants so that you can sell enough to cover your expenses. People at the markets I have been to want plants that are already blooming for instant gratification. Flats of blooming annuals seem to do much better than perennials. Just my own observation.

Penny

    Bookmark   February 16, 2006 at 8:02AM
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crankyoldman(z5 NY)

There actually is a license you need to get in NY if you want to sell plants. It costs $100, and as herbalbetty mentioned, someone does have to come around and inspect the plants. This will be the first year I will be selling plants, so I looked into it. It's called a Nursery Dealer's license. If you are at all interested in starting a business in NY, the state has a really helpful website that tells you what sorts of licenses and so forth you need:

http://www.nys-permits.org/

    Bookmark   February 17, 2006 at 2:53PM
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tastefullyjulie(Lewiston, NY 6)

Cheflara, does your daughter work on the computer at all? She could try ebay if she doesn't mind packing the plants up. I've purchased live plants on ebay before and they've done really well.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2006 at 8:54PM
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cheflara(z6NY)

Tastefullyjulie, my daughter uses the computer and has purchased plants online, including ebay. She has been happy with her online plant purchases too. I have wanted to sell things on ebay anyway, just a matter of learning how, and I know it's not supposed to be difficult. After reading the various posts, I think she could do one or two yard(plant) sales a year and/or sell on ebay without getting into some legal problem. Yet, it seems like this state could find a way to make a kid selling lemonade some kind of law breaker....
Cheflara

    Bookmark   February 19, 2006 at 12:36PM
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crankyoldman(z5 NY)

Just so you know. NY state law applies to people selling plants even if the plants are not being sold to people in NY. All they care about is that the seller is in NY. So if you sell online only, they still want you to get a license. This is my situation. Thing is, it is not just to get revenues for the state but to make sure that diseases and bugs don't get spread around. So if she thinks she is going to make more than $200 profit a year, she should go ahead and get the license. Licenses can make a person realize that maybe there is something really to it and that they should get more serious about it. You can end up with a job you like a whole lot.:) Also, if she ends up doing well and wants to claim the expenses as business deductions instead of having to report the income as coming from a hobby, having a license would help to show she was serious. This is especially true if she is going to sell on ebay - it's no secret that the IRS is dying to target ebay next, because it's a goldmine of uncollected taxes. I know she is just starting out, but it is good to consider these things.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2006 at 8:39AM
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cheflara(z6NY)

Thanks, Crankyoldman, I was wondering about plants being sold on ebay...and you made it clear that there was a license required for the reasons you mentioned (diseases, pests). I don't know yet what she plans on selling, but I wouldn't want to sell or be sold diseased plants(or spread anything because of carelessness), so I wouldn't have a problem getting a license for her. It would be nice if it ends up a serious business for her. If you can answer another question, how does a piece of paper (license) prevent someone from selling a diseased plant? Is there a test or something one takes to insure they know about bugs/diseases before they are allowed a license? Just curious how it works....
Cheflara

    Bookmark   February 21, 2006 at 10:28AM
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crankyoldman(z5 NY)

They have the option of actually coming to your place and checking to see if the plants are diseased or not. You know, I don't know if they check in other states or what, but I know I have not ever bought plants from a NY state business and gotten diseased or buggy ones. But I have gotten plenty of buggy ones from businesses in other states.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2006 at 3:21PM
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pamghatten(wny5)

I didn't have a license when I first started, but decided I'd rather be safe than sorry.

I got my license and someone came out to inspect my gardens in March! I could see their foot prints in the snow. I had to laugh, don't know what they could see in the snow, but they also could come any time.

I don't care when they come .. it only makes good business sense to sell healthy plants .. makes people come back for more!

    Bookmark   February 23, 2006 at 12:56PM
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