If you’ve got an office job, starting a gardening franchise could seem like the perfect business venture. You’ll get to spend time in the fresh air and put all your effort into creating beautiful outdoor spaces. But how do you get started? Here’s what you need to know.
Over time, more and more people are outsourcing their gardening duties to a skilled professional. While most of us appreciate having an outdoor area where we can relax, many feel they lack the skills or know-how to maintain their garden, or simply don’t have the time.
Why start a gardening franchise business?
- The gardening sector is on the up - Gardening is a quintessentially British pastime and it has become a big industry. In fact, there are over 560,000 jobs in the horticulture and landscaping community – that’s one in every 62 jobs. And in the UK, we spend around £7.5 billion on garden goods and £2.4 billion on gardeners and landscapers every year (The economic impact of ornamental horticulture in the UK report). As these spending figures demonstrate, the market is large enough to support a diverse array of businesses and extensive franchise networks.
- It offers flexible working hours - Gardeners don’t have to stick to the traditional 9-5 routine. While you’ll want to do your jobs during daylight hours, you’ll have the opportunity to adapt your schedule to suit your requirements and allow for any existing commitments.
- You can develop relationships with repeat customers - It’s likely you’ll be able to secure some ongoing contracts with customers. Many people need help maintaining their gardens on a regular basis, so you’ll have the opportunity to create meaningful friendships with your clients. Although this might not seem like the biggest perk of the job, it will probably contribute towards a fulfilling career.
- You can work outside - There aren’t many industries offering the chance to spend most of your time in the great outdoors. Doing physical work and breathing in the fresh air is not only good for your fitness levels, but for your mood and mental health as well.
Tips for starting a successful gardening franchise business
1. Research the market - If you’re not already familiar with the gardening sector, you should take the time to investigate business ideas. Identify the areas where customer demand is growing and find out about any requirements for companies completing jobs in those sub-sectors.
2. Choose your specialism - Once you’ve got a solid base of knowledge about the market, you’ll be able to decide which gardening services you’d like to offer. While you might be tempted to try to tick every box, it’s often a good idea to specialise in a particular area. Then, customers will be more likely to appreciate you as a skilled worker.
3. Decide on the type of business you’ll run - You have lots of decisions to make at this stage. For example, will you work part- or full-time? Will you complete jobs during spring and summer and cut down on your hours during the winter? Will you offer a special service, like one-hour response times for people in need of emergency help?
4. Identify your customer base - You’ll have a huge number of potential customers when you join the gardening industry. It might be helpful to try to define your ideal client so you know how to position your branding and marketing material. Here are just a few examples of gardening franchise clients:
- Busy families
- People with physical limitations
- Holiday properties
- Flats with communal gardens
- Residential and care homes
- Schools and universities
- Public garden owners
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5. Gain a qualification - Gardeners don’t necessarily need formal qualifications, but having one should put you ahead of the competition and help you win more clients. Many local colleges run courses allowing pupils to achieve nationally recognised certificates. Why not pursue your studies whilst starting out as a gardener and building up your experience?
6. Create a pricing structure - When you’ve built up your business, you’ll need to create a simple pricing plan so you can charge customers consistently. Work out whether you’ll set costs by the job or per hour - or a combination of the two, depending on the work. You may want to establish a minimum call-out charge too, in order to avoid losing money on small jobs.
>> Read more:
An example of a gardening franchise
The gardening sector is home to a diverse array of businesses, from fence installation firms to tree stump removal companies and artificial grass businesses. Ed’s Garden Maintenance is just one of the franchises offering investment opportunities at the moment. Keep reading to get inspiration for your gardening franchise, or to find out how you can start your own business under its branding and proven model.
Ed’s Garden Maintenance
Ed’s Garden Maintenance is a great prospect if you’ve got your heart set on running a traditional horticultural business. It has developed a network of more than 35 franchisees growing successful businesses across the country.
- Becoming an Ed’s Garden Maintenance franchisee: When you join this franchise, you’ll be in control of your own timetable. You can even run your business part-time alongside another source of income or spend more time with your family. This low-investment franchise opportunity really does allow you to achieve a healthy work-life balance. What’s more, jobs are priced individually rather than per hour, so you’re not restricted by a low hourly rate.
- How much you need to invest: You’ll need £15,000 to set up your own Ed’s Garden Maintenance business.
- What you get for your investment: You’ll benefit from being part of a recognisable brand and get all the support and training you’ll need to promote your franchise and build a local customer base. You will also have access to a central administration centre providing a constant flow of customer enquiries.
Find out more about our selection of gardening and landscaping franchises to kickstart your business venture. Alternatively, why not browse our catalogue of handy articles? They’re designed to give entrepreneurs the information they need to make smart choices in the franchising industry.
Alice Tuffery, Point Franchise ©