As a country we’ve spent much of the last 12 months at home, so a new venture that lets you enjoy being in the open air could seem more appealing than ever. And with National Gardening Week and warmer weather around the corner, you might be thinking about starting your own gardening business.
If you’re not sure where to start, read our 9-step guide to becoming a gardener below.
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Spring prompts many people to think about getting their gardens into shape, which makes the next few months a good time for setting up a gardening business.
If you love the idea of being outside (all year around) and are prepared for physically tiring days, then read our top tips on setting up, marketing and growing your business.
First you need to come up with a catchy name for your gardening company. It should be memorable, show your brand’s personality, and help you stand out against competitors. Importantly, make sure the name isn’t already taken by someone else and read up on intellectual property laws.
For some lighthearted inspiration, check out our Business Name Generator.
Writing a gardening business plan will help you decide on the strategic direction of your company, what services you’ll offer, and how you plan to grow. Take the time to understand your potential customers, plan your marketing, and prepare a budget for initial and ongoing costs.
Having a business website and social media platforms means customers can easily find out about you and the services you offer.
You can also make a business profile on Google for free – this means your company will be easily spotted on Google maps and in search results.
You’ll need to register as self-employed with HMRC and file your tax return by 31 January every year.
While we live in a digital world, a business card can still be a great way to advertise your gardening services. You can leave them with potential clients at garden shows or with customers when you quote for a service.
Don’t worry if you lack graphic design skills, there are tools such as Canva and Adobe Spark where you can use templates to create your own business cards and marketing materials.
Put time and effort into your marketing and advertising and you’ll start seeing your client base grow. You could distribute flyers to houses with gardens in your neighbourhood and advertise in garden centres and shops – and don’t underestimate the power of word of mouth.
Along with residential gardening, you could explore whether local authorities, commercial properties and holiday lets need gardening services too. Once you have a list of contacts, you can keep customers updated with any new services or seasonal recommendations for their gardens.
Sorting out public liability insurance for your gardening business should be high on your priority list. This can cover you if you injure a member of the public or cause damage to their property.
It's also worth keeping in mind that you're legally obliged to cover any employees – even if they're only temporary – with employers' liability insurance.
One good way of attracting new clients could be to offer a well-priced tidy-up service for gardens that need some attention after winter. Your spring package could include basics like mowing, trimming and weeding, getting gardens neat and prepped for planting.
While spring usually brings a whole bunch of gardening events across the country, this year might look a little different. However, if you establish your business now, you’ll be ready to meet potential clients and people in the industry when events are safely back in our calendars.
Looking ahead, you might want to apply for a stall at different events. Selling your homegrown products or running a workshop can be good ways of promoting your gardening business.
But remember, you’ll probably need stallholder insurance if you're going to trade at events.
While not essential, a horticultural qualification can give you practical skills and help you stand out to customers. The Gardeners Guild has a range of gardening qualifications and you can also pay for a membership to list your services in their gardening directory.
The tools you’ll need will depend on the services you’re offering, but here are the basics to get you started:
As you'll be out in all weathers, you'll need a pair of good boots, micro fleeces, and waterproof jackets and trousers. You might also need compost, lawn care products and plants if you offer landscaping services.
Larger equipment such as lawn mowers and hedge trimmers can be hired if you’re just starting out. Whether you're hiring tools or have your own, make sure you have tool insurance to protect you if your tools are lost or stolen. Most importantly, you’ll need a van to transport all of your equipment between clients.
Are you thinking of starting a gardening business this year? Tell us in the comments.
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