What’s Working for Hydroponics Product Businesses Like?

Since the technologies and methods used by growers of traditional food crops like leafy greens and cannabis are so similar, there is often a strong overlap of skills between these two verticals. Industry insiders like M&F Talent often use the word “hydroponics” when referring to businesses and professionals who work in both CEA and cannabis. Generally speaking, hydroponics product businesses like Advanced Nutrients and Grow Strong Industries are thought of as ancillary companies in the cannabis industry. Namely because, they don’t handle cannabis plants or products themselves – but rather service other organizations and home growers who do so. 

As seen in many facets of the cannabis industry, working for hydroponics product businesses presents both opportunities and challenges. 

Hydroponics Product Businesses: Explainedhydroponics product businesses

The term “hydroponics product businesses” refers to companies engaged in manufacturing and retailing horticultural equipment primarily targeted at cannabis cultivators. Notably, during the period when cannabis remained illegal across the United States, “hydroponics” served as a covert term for cannabis grow supply stores. These hydro stores like Grow Generation offer a range of supplies for cannabis cultivation, extending beyond those tailored for the soilless growing typically associated with the term hydroponics

The broader hydro industry encompasses garden supply and cultivation technology companies that mostly cater to the cannabis industry. However, many of these organizations also produce cultivation technology for growing food crops in vertical farms and greenhouses. 

What Types of Jobs are in Hydroponics?

Due to the technical nature of hydro products and the wide-ranging customer base in the industry, there are diverse jobs available in hydroponics: 

  • B2B / Direct-to-grower sales
  • Retail store management
  • Research & development
  • Organic chemistry 
  • Supply chain & logistics 
  • Electrical engineering 
  • Customer support
  • Marketing 

The hydroponic industry encompasses all the skills and talents needed to manufacture, market, and sell hydroponic products to commercial growers and retail stores. 

Changing Job Dynamics with Hydroponic Product Businesses

A notable trend in the hydroponics industry is for equipment manufacturers to partner with cannabis cultivation businesses. When commercial growers purchase a large amount of equipment and/or nutrients, they will also receive the support of horticultural experts from the hydroponic product company. Consequently, new career opportunities in grower support are emerging worldwide within hydroponics product companies. hydroponics product businesses

The Fluence website explains grower support jobs like this, “Fluence has dedicated regionally-based horticulture services specialists on staff that assist our customers in getting the most out of their investment. A successful grow is not just about lights, but making all the key inputs work together seamlessly. Our team of trained horticulture service specialists at Fluence know how to make that happen. They access your entire ecosystem, offering recommendations to maximize your grow in both the quality and yield of your crop. They bring many years of experience working with growers across the globe, and have seen the widest ranges of environments, allowing them to help make the most optimized choices for your grow.” 

Professionals in these roles collaborate with commercial cannabis growers to develop best practices for cultivation and troubleshoot product-related issues. The demand for grower support extends across various horticultural verticals, including lighting, nutrients, substrates, smart grow technology, and irrigation systems.

Benefits of Working for Hydroponics Product Businesses

Hydroponics product businesses generally boast longer tenures compared to their counterparts in plant-touching cannabis businesses. For instance, HydroFarm, a prominent horticultural equipment company, has operated since 1977. Consequently, careers in the hydroponics products sector often offer greater job security than those within the volatile, startup-heavy plant-touching vertical of the cannabis space. Moreover, many hydroponic product businesses provide health insurance and 401k plans for employees, a practice often lacking in the cannabis industry. Overall, hydroponics product companies offer some of the most stable work environments within the cannabis space.

Hydroponics product careers are well-suited for individuals with a technical inclination. Whether in sales, operations, or product development, hydroponics professionals typically possess a deep understanding of complex horticultural concepts like light lumens and air exchange.hydroponics product businesses

Especially in retail stores, roles within the hydroponics industry are ideal for customer service professionals. Retail sales staff at hydro stores engage with customers daily, assisting them in understanding the benefits and drawbacks of various products. 

Challenges of Working for Hydroponics Companies

While hydroponics product careers offer more stability than many cannabis jobs, the industry does not experience the rapid growth witnessed in plant-touching businesses. This is partly because the hydroponics industry is well-established, with certain key players holding significant market shares. Moreover, specific grow equipment verticals, such as horticultural lighting, are oversaturated, leading many companies to struggle financially.

The traditional retail hydro store model is also becoming outdated, with direct-to-grower sales teams increasingly dominating the market. As cannabis legalization spreads throughout the globe, hydroponics product companies are forging partnerships with commercial growers. Consequently, soil, fertilizers, and grow equipment are being sold directly to cultivation companies in bulk, bypassing distributors and retail stores altogether. These factors collectively contribute to an unpredictable job market within the hydroponics space.

Looking for a Hydroponics Career? Contact M&F Talent

Mac & Fulton Talent Partners is the premier recruiting agency in the hydroponics space. Whether you have traditional horticulture experience or a background in cannabis, we can help facilitate your next career move. 

Contact us today to get started!