Have a go at our Gardening Business Planning Quiz below. The results of previous respondents are then explained throughout this blog:
‘There is joy in the spring when the birds begin to sing in an English country garden’. The UK has had a long and beloved relationship with their gardens, rooted in the 18thcentury gentry who displayed their wealth and affluence through formal lawns and blooming flower borders. That gardening heritage very much exists to this day with gardening enthusiasts spending over 110 hours a year tending to plants and raking up leaves. However, as free and leisure time becomes more constrained as general life seems to get busy the average household has less and less time to spend on maintaining their outdoor spaces.
There is, therefore, increasing opportunities for gardening professionals to develop and grow new businesses. The inherent outdoor lifestyle it brings and the low-cost requirements to found any gardening business make them attractive proposals for the budding gardening enthusiast and horticultural graduates to start their own ventures.
You have landed here because of your expressed interest in learning more about the gardening business sector. Please enjoy the blog below and learn more about this ever more popular sector.
The figure below shows some of the key industry stats including market value, average hourly rate and the proportion of UK gardening based jobs. The sustained growth of the industry and the multiple applications and areas of specialism encourages creative entrepreneurs to begin their own ventures. Each adopting and adapting subtly different business plans to carve out their own unique offering.
Individuals and households in the UK take great pride in their gardens. There is a current trend of homeowners towards investing much more time and money into the maintenance and care of their homes. There is also a gentler trend towards more wholesome activities and leisure time such as baking, knitting and pottery, a group in which gardening can count itself.
Gardens can be expressed, artistic and calming and as a result have struck a chord with a new generation of green fingers, the result being that gardens are cool once again. But the fact remains that despite this increased enthusiasm there is simply not enough time for most people to dedicate enough time into their gardens which
The size and scope of the gardening industry can be proven by the high percentage of the UK workforce being employed within the sector. One in sixty-two jobs in the UK can be considered part of the gardening industry, a market worth over £24bn.
There are virtually no barriers to entry in becoming a professional gardener. Horticultural training and qualifications help but those are not mandatory. This has led to a vast number of gardening professionals in the UK, though many fewer would actually categorise themselves as a business.
A genuine opportunity
A small gardening company may expect to see 5 clients a day spending on average 1.5 to 1.75 hours with each. Larger, more successful businesses can invest in wider teams of people to cover a greater number of clients and look to take on bigger commercial contracts where possible.
Generally, a gardening business will offer a range of gardening maintenance services, though they may specialise in one specific area. Having a specialism helps to develop a brand identity and provides some much-needed differentiation in a crowded market. The 7 general categories of offerings shown in the graphic below can be further subcategorised in a number of ways, for example, specialist lawn care treatments, artificial turfing and decking or patio installations. The more refined the offering and more specialist an enterprise can become, the more it can refine its target audience and charge a premium for the services.
The most popular category for gardening businesses would be in general maintenance which 94% of respondents have identified as an offering. That kind of work can be simple and allows a business to employ additional un-skilled labourers at a low cost. These also tend to be
Offerings in a specific area like hard landscaping and gardening consulting are less common which presents an opportunity for businesses to develop a brand identity. Ultimately this leads to a business being able to charge higher fees to clients as the work is more specialist and cannot generally be performed to a good quality by an amateur.
Average Customer Spend on Gardeners
The average customer
How Do Gardening Companies Get Financed?
As previously mentioned there is little by way of barriers to entry for anyone looking to start a gardening business. That said, the better qualified a business owner is the more sought after they will be.
Given that the barriers to entry are so low the industry is a clear advantage in preparing a proper business plan in order to stand above the rest of the pack.
Graham and Beth Simmons started ‘Busy Bee Gardening Services’ after redundancy left them without a regular income. Using £6,000 of their own savings they started a small gardening business that specialised in the preparation, cultivation and planting of new seasonal borders for the residents in and around Chester. Both had previous design and plant knowledge but no clue how to start or run a business. After a £500 initial investment on a professional business plan, they had the means, in black and white, to confidently start trading with the safe knowledge their plan was a viable one.
The business has since gone from strength to strength. In a little of 18 months is providing much needed personal financial stability and has recently employed a second-team allowing them to expand operations.
Gardening businesses are shown to be particularly popular for
The layperson may be misled into thinking a fully written business plan would only be a requirement if looking for outside finance. Whilst it is true a solid business plan would be a pre-requisite for any form of form debt or equity finance the value of having a quality business plan cannot be underestimated. Even for those self-funding, a viable and robust business plan is a sure way to keep focused and accountable which will ultimately lead to better business decision making.
Importance of a business plan
The right pricing structure and awareness of strong seasonal variability are important to any new gardening business. As is the understanding of what number of customers is required to hit breakeven is key to establishing a quality and viable business.
Any serious company should look to invest in a proper, written business plan in order to maximise its potential. The graphic below shows a high proportion of gardening businesses have invested in a professionally written plan and all new ventures should look to do the same.
So what can we say about starting your own gardening business?
- The industry is in a period of sustained growth
- Low-cost venture
- Business models are generally geared towards repeat customers
- Strong seasonality to work make a handle of finances and budgets very important
- Takes time to build up a customer base and cash flow planning is therefore key
How you can succeed
The best way to get ahead of the competition and eliminate the biggest unknowns and risks when starting your own gardening business is to invest in a high-quality business plan. The investment is invaluable. We at MyBizPlan provide the highest quality and yet lowest cost business plan in the UK, for a minimal outlay you can obtain a high-quality, visually stunning, financially robust business plan. It will give you a greater chance of seeking that vital finance and in the long run, could save you thousands.
If owning and running a gardening business sounds like the kind of business for you, get started with a Gardening Business Plan from MyBizPlan. See which of our solutions is right for you by having a go at our – Do You Really Need a Business Plan Questionnaire?