If you are thinking about starting a landscaping or gardening business, there are a few basic thoughts to keep in mind.
First, be sure that you will have enough knowledge to get started. You can always use more, however, so read on. One of the keys will be to surround yourself with the types of information you will need. The key to being an expert is not that you necessarily have all of the answers in front of you. Instead one of the most important points is that you should be in the position to find the information. If someone wants a beautiful red flower that will match another in her garden, you need to know where to find the information. That means that you should work on acquiring a set of books that will help you.
Once you have a knowledge of gardens or the books you will need, then you should think about what services you want to provide. Some landscapers and gardening provide primarily consulting services. You can expand your business, however, if you will be planting or designing the gardens, and you will allow your business to expand even more if you consider doing work for commercials properties. You should not bite off more than you can chew, however, so be sure you think about how you will find employees, how you will pay them, and what you can handle.
Once you have a firm business plan in place, you need to take care of your personal finances. If you have a job, it is best that you keep it, at least for a little while. Do not make the mistake of trying to quit your job before your gardening business takes off unless your family does not depend on your income. If you need to continue working, it will be easy to work around your full-time work schedule and get your gardening business going part-time. You also should work to pay off all of your bills and to try to get some money put aside for lean times. Many businesses fail simply because the owner cannot fund her or his family during slow times for the business. Try to prepare for those problems now.
Once you get all of that into place, you can begin to purchase the equipment you will need. Landscapers may be more likely to rent much of their equipment. You should invest in a good trailer that can be hitched to your truck or a rental-type van. You want to be able to carry plants and other supplies easily. You also will need basic tools for digging and planting and of course gloves, hats, and other supplies for your workers. You can rent excavators, backhoes, and other equipment until your business earns enough that you can purchase that equipment.
If you are a gardener, you should be able to purchase some more of the supplies before you get started. You will need the same assortment of hand tools and the trailer as the landscaper. Gardeners need basic tools, such as shovels, trowels, and watering cans. Think about your own garden and spend some time in a gardening supply store. What are the basics? You need to be stocked up on these supplies so that you are prepared when jobs come in. You also may want to get a weed eater and a lawn mower. Some people who hire a gardener will require maintenance work, so you will need this equipment.
Once you have completed these tasks, you should be ready to start on your gardening business. You will need to print flyers, buy ads, and otherwise drum up business. Also consider networking by joining local garden clubs and the chamber of commerce. You may even want to volunteer to do a few city gardens to show off your work to the community (in exchange for advertising, of course). Remember that the biggest source of business for any service-oriented company will be word of mouth. Keep that in mind when you are dealing with your customers. You want them to be satisfied so that they will recommend you to their friends and your business will grow as beautifully as the gardens you have planted.
By Julia Mercer
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