Your Gardening Ability
If you’re thinking of starting a gardening business, then your gardening ability has to be something you give careful consideration.
A love of gardens, gardening, plants or landscape design are often at the heart of many people’s decision to set up a gardening business. And rightly so, as if you’re going to be involved in selling gardening products or services, it certainly helps to love the subject! However, although your gardening ability is a key factor, you can still sometimes get by without having the greenest fingers in the world. For example, if you’re setting up a company or going into partnership with someone else, it’s possible to bring in all the business skills and experience and work with someone else who’s the gardening expert.
However you’re working, and whether you’ve got the gardening skills or your partner has, some degree of knowledge on gardening matters is important if you’re going into this line of work. It’s understandable that potential customers may want to know what experience you have and it will be beneficial to your business if you’re able to provide them with details.
Courses and Qualifications
If you’ve done any gardening courses, or gained gardening qualifications, this will be vastly important and could boost your sales pitch. You can mention details of qualifications in any promotional literature you produce, or on business stationery and business cards. In fact, if you currently don’t have any qualifications, it may be worth looking into doing any relevant courses or training before you set up your business, as many people would prefer to work with trained gardeners. If you’re keen to specialise in an area such as garden design or landscaping, then having qualifications often becomes more important.
If you don’t have any courses or qualifications behind you, then don’t panic. It’s not always essential though – practical experience and testimonials from satisfied customers do count too.
When you’re first starting out, it can be tricky building up examples of customer testimonials when you’ve not yet done any work and it’s a bit of a catch 22 situation. One way of overcoming this is to offer to do some work for free for individuals, businesses or large public gardens. Or you could even offer to shadow the work of well-known gardeners, to pick up any useful tips, tricks and advice. This will give you some useful details to add to your promotional material, plus some testimonials to be able to offer new customers.
Don’t forget to get clued up on plants either. Whether you’re planning on planting out gardens, or tackling weeds for customers, you need to know what’s what and be able to identify a healthy plant and a weed. You’ll learn about planting on many courses, but plant knowledge is also something you’ll pick up through your work and it will develop and broaden over time.
You may find it helpful to specialise in one particular plant area, such as becoming an expert in hedging, trees, fruits and vegetables, alpine planting, water gardens or herbaceous planting, as this will then narrow the subject matter somewhat and give you a clearer focus. This doesn’t mean you can’t offer more generalised gardening services, but does give you a chance to stand out from the crowd a bit and offer a more specialised service to anyone that wants it.