Medicinal and recreational marijuana laws are changing across Canada and the U.S. as more and more provinces and states opt for legalization. Grow facilities for marijuana plants are incredibly unique and complicated, and most are a far cry from the creepy, dark basements seen in the movies. These hydroponic facilities have HVAC-specific needs and provide new opportunities for HVAC contractors who are prepared to meet this market’s untapped potential.
Growers operating legal businesses or those with capital are investing in equipment or spending money on repairs and maintenance. Analysts expect the service opportunity to grow faster than the rest of the economy, creating an excellent opportunity for maintenance agreements with these facilities.
While the growing marijuana market is filled with opportunity for HVAC contractors to cultivate and nurture, it is also a market rife with mixed opinions about servicing an industry tied to social stigma. One of the biggest keys to the success of these operations will be finding skilled contractors who are both capable and willing to service them. While some contractors’ express hesitancy and displeasure with marijuana facilities, others see tremendous growth potential.
Besides industry acceptance, another challenge will be finding technicians who are capable of servicing this market. It’s a high security market, especially in the labs and grow facilities. Technicians must have the technical knowledge to do the job, and many grow facilities also require them to be bonded and sign confidentiality agreements. Companies must also have someone on call every day, 365 days a year, to maintain the contract because if equipment fails, that can cost a company a lot of money.
Taking on these projects and maintenance contracts can be financially lucrative. The marijuana industry is unique in that customers are not going to the phonebook or Google to find contractors — it’s all word of mouth. Growers will have very high-tech equipment and they will pay a premium to maintain it. The upside of this business is once they get a contractor they trust to take care of them, there are likely to be quite loyal.
A Look AhEAD
Ongoing maintenance contracts will be a significant aspect of the future of marijuana facilities, and job creation will be focused in rural areas. This appears to be an emerging market with long term potential.