Business This Year - Weather To Blame?

Recently I have asked the following people how their businesses were going this year, here in the south of England.

The owner of a large garden machinery supplier said that the usual rush to purchase, which usually happens in April / May just never happened this year.

The owner of a garden nursery that supplies bedding plants to the trade said that sales were down and below what was expected, and is trying to sell everything at a discounted price just to get rid of their stock. 

The owner of a landscape maintenance business said that getting new leads to do estimates was very hard, but even when he was able to do an estimate the rate of conversions was well down.

The manager of a garden machinery repair department said that business is very slack this year.

This year we had (in the South) a rather cruel east wind blowing over the country for the first six months, which carried very little rain and left the soil dry and the water table level low. As soon as the east wind stopped we got a little rain, followed by this scorching hot weather and causing the grass to dry up. 

How have you found business this year?

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  • PRO
    I think the work is there but conversions are down. Mainly as I'm picking what I want to do and pricing myself out of the stuff I don't fancy.
    It's certainly been the worst year on conversions but I'm really thinking it must be price that's doing it.
    • PRO
      To add the weather has been a real pain. Wet through for 2 months Feb onwards then 6 weeks dry then spells of one or the other.
      Then to top it off loads of rain after the heatwave and grass is behaving like it's spring again! Good job I'm down on conversions really
  • PRO

    Only my second year so don't have much history to base my experience on......have been booked 4 days a week for months, and 5 days a week at the moment, end of August and in to September looking a little slower.

    Stacks of border work, increased frequency of mowing, and shrub work mostly.

    • PRO

      An established van dealer i know says sales have hit an all time low      Garden maintenance enquiries are coming in all the time and people seem extra price conscious but then there are more gardeners competing for the work and more jump on the job crews who just wade in there and then but i am not getting involved with the mayhem of it all .    My criteria is does this job offer me some winter work and if so i will drop my price accordingly , just want to pace myself and weather the storm , tired of all the time wasters and bargain hunters .   

      Personally i feel the weather has helped to promote prolific growth . Kit is becoming more reliable but expensive and contractors are hanging on to it perhaps . 


  • I feel Brexit has something to do with it. People are hanging on to their money. DIY websites are quite popular and people also use youtube to educate themselves.

    Everyone wants cheap cheap cheap. I get ranted at over my cost or other peoples cost or quotes and I say its fair because of xyz and they look at me like I am crazy. 

    So yes the phone calls have dropped off somewhat compared to the last few years. But then the weather here in the south is so dry. If I were not to water my garden every day the plants would be dying. Some of my customers only see me once every 3 weeks because nothing much is growing if it does not get watered. The last 3 weeks have been crazily dry. The lawns are turning yellow and we are just into July.

    As to the plants, I note that Homebase is now undercutting everyone. Their plants are actually very good compared to professional nurseries where I get 50% discount. B&Q on the other hand is expensive and let a lot of their stock go to waste. I bought old tattered plants for a £1 and some survived. But it was the terracotta pots they were in I really wanted which were selling on another shelf for £5 to £10 each.

    • PRO

      Good point about youtube it really is a game changer , also some good informative e books which provide concise information you can read in a nano second and provide a passive income stream for the authors .

    • Your homebase comments are interesting. At the Truro branch the plant quality has gone right down since the change of company ownership.

      • They used to be very bad. I only have 3 stores and they are all quite a bit away but was amazed at the quality and the prices. For example I bought a nice big Buxus at a Nursery for £35 trade price. I got the same one at Homebase for £20.

    • I think the reality of Brexit is now beginning to seep in. I am busy all the time and have not noticed much difference myself but other gardeners here in the SW are saying that they are reasonably busy but commented that they are only doing essentials jobs as identified by their customers. The weather here is no where as hot as the South East but we have had a few days when it has been unbelievably hot. Certainly customers are thinking twice about their money. A case in point is that a customer wanted me to fixed his cheap mower rather than invest in a Honda Izzy (even though he just bought a sailing boat !). I got it fixed but did say at some point he would need to replace it with something reliable, particularly as he opens the garden to the NGS and Cancer Research.
  • PRO
    Adrian, how have you found business this year ?
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