Rental tenants and homeowners alike are putting an increasing emphasis on outdoor space. Thanks to the recent move towards making gardens an extra room in the house with space for entertaining, demand for businesses offering maintenance services is rising. If you’re interested in starting a gardening franchise unit, here are five things you should know before signing up.
According to the Horticultural Trades Association (HTA), more than two in three people visit a garden centre every year, and the average household spends around £150 on their outdoor space. As a result, the garden retail market generates over £5 billion annually.
However, looking after even a small garden takes a lot of time and dedication. For the average homeowner working a five-day week, it can be challenging to juggle everyday life and essential outdoor maintenance such as pruning, mowing and weeding. While many people have a cash-rich/time-poor lifestyle, demand for gardening franchises is on the up.
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5 things to know before starting a gardening franchise
1. With the right approach, you can cater to a growing market
Knowing the gardening services sector inside out will help you choose and develop a successful franchise business.
For instance, people are becoming more interested in the environment and living sustainably. In fact, 82 percent of us want to attract more wildlife into our gardens, giving birds, hedgehogs and bees a safe place to find food and look after their young (Wyevale Garden Centres). Meanwhile, over 90,000 people have signed onto waiting lists for allotment space in order to grow their own fruit and vegetables. So, you can boost your chances of success by joining a franchise with an emphasis on environmental concerns.
What’s more, at a time when many people suffer from mental illnesses and high levels of stress and anxiety, our gardens provide a vital space to unwind and get fresh air. Even those who don’t have their own outdoor areas are investing in houseplants to improve air quality and mental wellbeing. In fact, 68 percent of us think about the impact of plants for health before making a purchase. So, creating and maintaining gardens with mental wellbeing in mind is likely to be a rewarding and lucrative job.
2. Your budget will depend on the equipment you need
Gardening franchises usually have relatively low initial investment costs, as you don’t need to rent or renovate a physical office or store. On the other hand, you will need to put a certain amount of capital towards equipment and transportation costs. For instance, if you’re specialising in lawn care, you’ll need one or more mowers, which can cost thousands of pounds, even if they’re second-hand.
You’ll also need a vehicle to get to appointments and transport all your equipment. Depending on your franchisor’s regulations, you may need to invest in a branded van to promote your business while out and about. And don’t forget extra costs like insurance; this could include public and personal liability, specialist vehicle and loss of earnings cover.
3. You’ll need good fitness levels and a willingness to learn
You don’t need to have years of experience to start a gardening franchise. Of course, the more you know about the sector, the better, but it’s highly likely your franchisor will run a comprehensive training scheme for new franchisees. Many franchises also offer ongoing support in the form of workshops and refresher courses.
When it comes to franchisee requirements, it’s important to be physically fit. Gardening is not easy, and you’ll need to be able to work for several hours a day if you’re to run an efficient business.
Also, franchisors will be looking out for candidates who are committed to establishing a thriving franchise unit. So, having a passion for horticulture and gardening will help you stand out against other applicants - even if you don’t have much knowledge on the topic.
4. Gardening is a seasonal business
There’s no getting away from it - your business will be directly affected by the weather, and in the UK, you could lose a lot of days to rain. As a result, you may struggle to maintain consistent revenue during the winter months, so you may want to consider having another income stream to keep the money coming in.
When you’re browsing gardening franchise opportunities, look for ones delivering additional services alongside their standard offering or jobs that can be completed all year round. For example, you could work in lawn care or install indoor plant arrangements for commercial customers.
Alternatively, you could run a seasonal gardening franchise as a way to ease into retirement or make a bit of extra income during the summer months.
5. You can maximise your income by branching out
The gardening industry encapsulates a whole host of different sub-sectors, from weeding to tree stump removal and fence installations. There are franchises operating across these various categories, so would-be franchisees have plenty of choice.
One way to maximise your income is to target commercial as well as residential customers. Your workload could include anything from simple landscape maintenance at industrial parks to looking after a company’s office plants. Often, outdoor work for businesses is less dependent on the season, so it could be worth looking into the commercial sector as a source of year-round revenue.
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Find out more about starting a gardening franchise business
If you’re thinking about joining the gardening franchise sector, why not take a look at our other resources? Find out about the six advantages of running a landscaping franchise or learn how to start a successful gardening franchise with our six-step plan.
As well as informative business guides, Point Franchise also has an extensive network of high-quality investment opportunities. If you’d like to find out about the gardening franchises currently looking for new franchisees, you can browse your options and filter the selection by cost and popularity.
Alice Tuffery, Point Franchise ©