The UK has many treasured outdoor spaces that attract local and international visitors all year round, while many enjoy their gardens at home. However, implementing and maintaining a quality outdoor space can be challenging so professional gardeners can be in high demand.
If you have a passion for gardening or horticulture and are considering starting up your small enterprise, read our guide on how to start a gardening business.
Read our guide on ten reasons to start your own business. opens in new window
What type of gardening services to offer
There are many different types of gardening businesses to consider starting, depending on your interest, skills, and demand for services opens in new window that are local to you.
Garden maintenance services entail everything from regular lawn mowing to general garden maintenance.
Garden landscape and design services involve designing and creating attractive and functional outdoor spaces bespoke to your client opens in new window, including assessing the site, creating landscape plans, selecting plants and materials, and encompassing landscaping such as patios and water features.
Tree surgery is a professional service designed to care for, maintain, and remove trees – and is generally carried out by skilled and qualified arborists.
Tree surgery services may include tree pruning, tree felling, crown thinning, tree planting, tree risk assessments, stump removal, and emergency tree work.
What customers need gardening services?
Another consideration is whether you want to offer domestic, local council, or commercial gardening services – or a mix of all three.
Different customers may require different types of service opens in new window, equipment, and skills.
- Domestic or residential customers – homeowners with private gardens as part of their property.
- Business or commercial customers – organisations such as companies with work involving landscaping and maintaining outdoor workplace environments.
- Public sector customers – organisations such as local councils that require maintenance via tender for parks, social spaces, and services for council-owned sites such as care homes.
What skills and qualifications do you need?
If you want your business to stand apart from the competition, it may be beneficial to obtain a horticulture certification opens in new window, as this demonstrates your knowledge of plants, garden design, and various garden maintenance techniques.
You might want to investigate training opens in new window in gardening services such as garden design and landscaping, maintenance techniques, and different types of foliage.
You will need to be on top of business admin, invoicing opens in new window, and cash flow opens in new window, and it can be a good idea to learn more about starting and running a small business, such as using the free Learn with Start Up Loans opens in new window resources.
As your business involves the public, you’ll need to obtain public liability insurance opens in new window to protect your business from potential claims if a customer or third party suffers from an accidental injury or any property damage due to your work.
If you plan on employing staff opens in new window, you’ll need to obtain employers’ liability insurance.
A significant amount of different costs opens in new window can be involved with starting a gardening business – from equipment and consumables to storage and overheads.
Types of costs may include:
- costs for gardening equipment and tools can vary depending on the kind of services you intend to offer
- overheads such as secure overnight tool storage
- expenses such as fuel for machinery and transportation
- costs such as van and trailer
- business expenses, such as registering your company and obtaining insurance.
Once you have decided on your gardening business and factored in the money you need to get started, you could look into getting financial support for your venture opens in new window.
Start-Up-Loans offers a government-back loan of up to £25,000 opens in new window plus a year of free mentoring to help you launch your gardening business.
Attracting customers and marketing strategies
One of the most effective ways to attract customers is to create a user-friendly website opens in new window showcasing your gardening services, including pictures of your recent work and testimonials.
You could consider advertising opens in new window in local newspapers, community magazines, or on local radio stations.
If you’re looking to establish a larger-scale gardening business, then it is a good idea to attend local gardening or business events or join community organisations to network with people in relevant industries that can refer customers to your services.
Public sector organisations may tender gardening service contracts through government procurement platforms like the government’s Contract Finder platform opens in new window.
Scaling your business
Once your business has a regular customer base, you might want to consider expanding your business. opens in new window
Some of the ways you can do this are:
- if there is a high demand for gardening services in your area, you may want to obtain additional skills opens in new window, such as landscaping or bespoke maintenance services, to appeal to the broader category of clients
- as your business grows, hiring additional gardeners or support staff opens in new window may be necessary; but you must take the time to invest in their training opens in new window and offer supervision.
- ensure you have online and in-person avenues of communication with clients and try to respond quickly and professionally to inquiries and concerns – this type of professional conduct may help win and retain customers opens in new window
- consider offering long-term clients opens in new window referral discounts and encouraging your customers to leave reviews online
- consider expanding your business to other locations outside your usual vicinity, for example, driving to another region to work on projects or opening a branch opens in new window of your business in a different area.
Thinking of starting a business? Check out our free online courses in partnership with the Open University on being an entrepreneur.
- Entrepreneurship – from ideas to reality opens in new window opens in new window opens in new window
- First steps in innovation and entrepreneurship opens in new window opens in new window opens in new window opens in new window
- Entrepreneurial behaviour opens in new window opens in new window opens in new window opens in new window
Plus free courses on finance and accounting, project management, and leadership.
Reference to any organisation, business and event on this page does not constitute an endorsement or recommendation from the British Business Bank or the UK Government. Whilst we make reasonable efforts to keep the information on this page up to date, we do not guarantee or warrant (implied or otherwise) that it is current, accurate or complete. The information is intended for general information purposes only and does not take into account your personal situation, nor does it constitute legal, financial, tax or other professional advice. You should always consider whether the information is applicable to your particular circumstances and, where appropriate, seek professional or specialist advice or support.