Interested in starting a gardening franchise business but don’t know where to start? We’ve gathered the best tips for becoming your own boss in the industry.
Many Brits love their gardens and take pride in a beautiful outdoor space. Increasingly, spending time in the fresh air is recognised as a way to combat poor mental health, particularly among the younger generations.
However, people lead busy lives and often lack the time or skills to maintain their outdoor spaces themselves, so demand for gardening franchise services is on the rise. More and more Brits are turning to professional gardeners to keep their lawns and flowerbeds looking trim, as well as carry out other important tasks.
Today, the gardening industry is worth £5.7 billion (HTA) and is set to expand, so it’s a great time to invest in a franchise offering garden maintenance services.
Tips for writing a gardening franchise business plan
Writing a business plan is a major step in the process of launching a business. It not only helps you set out your intentions for your unit and work through your ideas, but it can also boost your chances of securing funding from a lender.
Here, we’ve outlined the most useful tips for creating a plan for a gardening franchise. Before we get started, why not find out more about the key elements of an effective business plan for a broader overview?
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1. Choose your specialism
You might think one gardening business is much like the next - but you’d be wrong! Companies in this sector differ significantly; you’ll find franchises specialising in services as diverse as tree stump removal, fencing and interior plant installations.
While you might like to cover all bases, you’re more likely to provide a high-quality service and build trust with customers if you choose a particular niche. You’ll have the chance to develop your skills and do one job extremely well, as opposed to doing many jobs adequately.
Research the market to find the sub-sectors with growing demand and identify your potential customer base. You could also look at other local gardening businesses to see which ones are performing well. Once you’ve completed your market research, you’ll be in a better position to start looking at franchise opportunities.
2. Decide when you’ll work
Most gardening franchises provide plenty of flexibility when it comes to franchisees’ work schedules, but you can narrow down your choice and start to plan ahead by setting your hours. Will you work full-time or operate your business on a part-time basis? Will you aim to work 9-5 or get cracking early?
One factor you’ll have to consider is seasonality. No matter your work ethic, the weather will inevitably get in the way of your plans. So, if you’re not happy to rest on your laurels during the winter months, you’ll need to find a way to keep your business running by offering additional services.
3. Think about your business structure
The main question to ask here is whether you’ll complete jobs yourself or take on a managerial position and hire a team of gardeners to do the work for you. Often, gardening franchises will support you as you develop your business and recruit employees, so you can grow your unit over time.
If it’s your intention to build a team, you should think about how you’ll find your ideal staff members. Where will you advertise your job opportunities and what will your recruitment criteria include?
4. Identify a USP
Even if you work within a particular gardening sub-sector, you should always consider your unique selling point. For instance, if you start a lawn maintenance business, why would homeowners use your services instead of those offered by a similar local company? You might like to consider incorporating an extra element into your business plan, such as a quick call-out option.
While considering your USP, you could also spend some time working out how you’ll build trust with customers. Gardening franchises have the chance to generate repeat business and secure ongoing contracts with clients whose gardens need regular maintenance. So, you should plan a strategy to keep people interested.
5. Create a financing plan
A large part of your business plan should be dedicated to your finances. Establish your budget and how you’ll access funding if you need to. Within this section, you should develop a pricing plan so you can stay consistent in your invoices. Think about whether you’ll charge by the hour or per job, and whether you’ll set a minimum call-out fee.
Also, it’s worth looking into gardening equipment. Find out whether your franchisor will help you access the tools you need or secure loans to finance them. Certain items, such as lawn mowers or larger vehicles, can cost thousands of pounds, so you should set out your purchasing strategy ahead of time.
6. Establish a marketing scheme
It’s likely your franchisor will take care of promoting the brand on a regional or national level, but you’ll be responsible for spreading the word in your local area. Once you know your target market, you can choose the most promising advertising method for your business.
For instance, if you plan to work mainly with busy families and pensioners, you could aim your marketing material at local groups, such as children’s classes and bowls clubs. If you want to minimise spending in the initial stages, you could save money by using social media to announce the launch of your gardening franchise business.
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Learn more about joining the franchise industry
The thought of running a franchise can feel overwhelming initially - there are lots of rules to acknowledge and pressure to reach performance targets. But building up your understanding of the industry will help you succeed.
Here at Point Franchise, we have a huge selection of business guides specifically crafted to support franchisees and prospective investors. Take a look at our range of articles to expand your knowledge or use the search box to find other articles.
Alice Tuffery, Point Franchise ©