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How to Buy from Nurseries and Growers

By: Rachel Newcombe - Updated: 29 Nov 2010 | comments*Discuss
Garden Nursery Plants Gardening

If you’re offering practical gardening services or running a landscape gardening business, then the chances are that you’re going to need reliable sources of plants and trees on a regular basis. If you’re keen to buy from nurseries and growers, here’s a useful guide to doing so.

All gardening businesses doing any form of hands-on gardening or garden design work will need to be able to access good quality plants, flowers and trees, from a reliable supplier. Nurseries and growers are the natural choice to use for supplying all the plants you need, especially if they’re based locally.

In the first instance, when you’re starting out, it’s a good idea to approach all the nurseries and growers in your area to see what they offer and whether they’re interested in supplying your business. Some growers may specialise in particular plants, so might not be ideal for general plant needs, but will be useful if you suddenly need a certain species.

In the case of some of the smaller growers, be prepared that they may not be able to take you on as a customer immediately, as they may already have plenty of clients and may not be able to commit to supplying anyone else. However, it’s always useful to have made contact and you could leave them with all your contact details, so they can get back in touch with you at any time, should their supply circumstances change.

Buying From Nurseries

With nurseries or garden centres you’ve got a bit more chance of being able to access the plants and supplies you need from the outset, as they’re usually run on a larger basis and are able to cope more with extra demands. In the first instance you could either give them a call and explain the details of your business and how often you’re likely to need plants, or call in for a chat. The latter approach is perhaps a bit more personable, as it gives you more of a chance to chat about what you’re planning to do with your business and gives you the opportunity to find out more about them and how they operate.

If you’re going to call in, it may be handy to find out first when their quiet times tend to be, as it’s not much use if you arrive shortly after a delivery, when they’re short-staffed or in the middle of their watering schedule. Take along some of your business cards to leave with them (they may even be prepared, once you’re established, to pin up your card on their noticeboard for customers looking for a gardener or landscape designer).

Find out full details about how the nursery or garden centre operates, whether you have to place a minimum order for business purchases, how much notice you have to give to buy plants, whether you can set up a business account and pay it off monthly, or whether you have to pay for each purchase as you go along. It’s also worth asking if they deliver, or whether you have to collect all purchases yourself, and if they offer any discounts for business buyers.

Be polite and courteous with your negotiations, as it’s always good to keep on good terms with people and businesses who you’ll rely on for essential supplies. If you hit on a good nursery, garden centre or grower, you may be able to build up a great working relationship that works for many years to come.

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