You may not have considered starting a gardening franchise before, but doing so could be a great move. More and more people are ditching their trowels and secateurs in favour of hiring a professional gardener to do the work for them. So, what gardening franchises are there?
Britain is a nation of keen gardeners. Or, at least, it used to be. It seems our reputation for tending to plants and flowers is under threat, following a study commissioned by fruit tea brand, Honest. The research revealed that although creating an attractive garden is top of the ‘to do’ list for many, we just don’t want to get our hands dirty.
While a third of the study participants said they had no interest in gardening, others cited a lack of time and confidence as the reason for not getting more involved. This puts gardening franchises in a great position, able to pick up the tools for carry on where homeowners left off.
Other statistics demonstrate just how lucrative the gardening sector is. The average household spends roughly £150 per year on their outdoor space, and the ornamental horticulture and landscaping market generates around £24 billion annually. This leaves space for over 568,000 jobs, so one in every 62 people is involved in the gardening industry.
Why start a gardening business?
If the statistics we just listed aren’t enough to get you itching to join a gardening franchise, let’s go through some of the sector’s other advantages.
- You can spend time in the great outdoors. Many workers are stuck inside at a desk all day. By starting a business in garden maintenance, you can get plenty of fresh air and enjoy all the psychological benefits of gardening and being outdoors.
- It keeps you fit. If you’re carrying out general gardening tasks, you will constantly be moving, stretching and balancing. This is great for your health; in fact, experts believe you can burn off 87 Mars bars a year just by doing light gardening, such as raking and weeding, for an hour a week.
- You can choose your working hours. Obviously, you’ll need to work in daylight hours, and these will be limited in winter months, but with this in mind, you can adapt your schedule to suit you. If you prefer to sleep in, you can simply extend your day and work into the evening. Alternatively, start work earlier and take the afternoon off, or take a break in the middle of the day – the choice is yours.
- You can choose how much money you make. Because you are your own boss, you can choose to increase or decrease the number of hours you work in order to reach your own income targets. There’s no need to work eight hours a day if you don’t want to, and there’s the potential to work longer and make more money if you need it.
- You can increase your income by offering different services. There’s no reason to limit yourself to weeding and trimming hedges. Why not introduce related services into your portfolio? You could sell gardening products or even teach garden maintenance in scheduled classes.
- You can create fruitful business partnerships. During your time as owner of a gardening business, you will probably need to get in touch with gardening products retailers or wholesalers. You could extend your network of contacts and potentially reduce your expenses by partnering with retailers, equipment lenders or educational facilities.
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Gardening franchise opportunities
There are plenty of different options out there, so take a look at our top five gardening franchises:
1. Ed’s Garden Maintenance
Ed’s Garden Maintenance is the UK's largest gardening franchise and 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.
This franchise transforms customers’ lawns through treatment programmes. It was founded in Michigan in 1973 and, since then, has opened more than 60 franchise branches in the UK alone. If you become a TruGreen franchisee, you’ll manage tasks like scarifying and raking, aerification, weeding and eradicating moss, algae and weeds from paved areas.
- Becoming a TruGreen franchisee: Once on board, you’ll have the chance to grow your gardening franchise business over time by managing a fleet of branded vehicles to take your services to your customers.
- How much you need to invest: You’ll need to make a minimum investment of £8,400 and a total investment of at least £28,000.
- What you get for your investment: Business support includes a two-week training programme with one-to-one guidance and group seminars. You will also receive guidance with online and offline marketing, sales techniques, accountancy and financing, customer service and health and safety. On top of this, you’ll get the chance to gain a Pesticide Application qualification from the National Proficiency Council (NPCT).
3. Countrywide Grounds Maintenance
From weeding to tree surgery, clearing gutters and even maintaining sports fields, Countrywide Grounds Maintenance offers a range of services. It was founded in 1984 and, since then, has worked to generate a £26 million turnover.
- Becoming a Countrywide Grounds Maintenance franchisee: You’ll be joining a gardening franchise with a reputation for excellence and 50 regional offices supporting over 12,000 site locations.
- How much you need to invest: As a franchisee, you’ll be required to invest a total of £250,000.
- What you get for your investment: All franchisees attend a three-week training programme, receiving both classroom-based and on-site coaching. Once you’ve completed this, you’ll be responsible for managing a team of highly skilled grounds maintenance staff and generating sales to develop your franchise.
The UK fencing market is estimated to be worth around £500 million. Colourfence provides high-quality alternatives to traditional wooden fencing with a 25-year guarantee against rotting, warping and peeling. Unlike its timber fencing counterpart, these Zincalume high-tensile steel fences do not need maintenance and can even withstand winds of up to 130mph. They were even listed as one of the top 10 gardening products on the BBC Gardening website.
- Becoming a Colourfence franchisee: You’ll have exclusive rights to sell Colourfence’s product selection in your own protected territory of 150,000 homes. If you want to increase your income, you can pitch for commercial projects too.
- How much you need to invest: Setting up a Colourfence franchise unit costs around £35,000, and you’ll need to make a minimum investment of £20,000.
- What you get for your investment: Colourfence trains you not to become an expert fence-fitter, but a successful business owner. So, you’ll be taught a mixture of management, administerial, practical, technical and sales-related skills. This will help you build and run a thriving franchise unit in no time.
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This isn’t strictly a gardening franchise, but it does install and maintain plant displays for businesses, hotels and homes across the UK. Although it works mainly with plants, flowers still constitute a large part of the business.
- Becoming an Inleaf franchisee: If you’re physically fit and have the ambition to provide a high-quality service to customers across your territory, Inleaf wants to talk to you. Click here to get the process started.
- How much you need to invest: You’ll need to raise a total initial investment of £22,750. This will generate an expected revenue of £116,448 after two years and grant you the rights to trade under the Inleaf name and brand image.
- What you get for your investment: The Inleaf franchise package includes a detailed operations manual and access to custom-built systems, which will help you produce professional and accurate quotes in minutes. You’ll also get expert training and mentoring throughout the first six months of your franchise journey.
Become a franchisee today
As our daily lives get busier and more stressful, the need for a beautiful outdoor space increases. Gardeners provide a vital service, carrying out the tasks we don’t have time to do ourselves. To find out how you can become part of this thriving industry, browse our list of gardening franchises here.
Alice Tuffery, Point Franchise ©