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Can I specialise?

Evening allI am in the process of starting out on my own. After a career break raising my children I've decided doing a maintenance round would best suit my family life. I have 10 years experience estate gardening, especially border work. The question is. Is there any call for specialised work such as bed maintenance and pruning? I worry that having a maintenance round you have to be a jack of all trades. I live in Surrey and I know there are a lot of large gardens in the area but would people expect you to do everything in their garden?

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Replies

  • PRO

    Yes there is. I work at two large estates and at one they have a guy who does the veg and borders and a bit of spraying/leaf clearing/pruning (although we both do this)  and at the other I wish I could find someone who'd be willing to just do the beds.

    • PRO

      Me too

    • Where abouts are you?
      • PRO

        Somerset so a bit far for you.

  • I have been working in garden maintenance as a sole trader for over 25 years doing the type of work you have described. I have never advertised and never been out of work. I haven't owned a mower for at least 15 years.
    Go on give it a go! There is plenty of work out there
    Peter
    • Thank you for your confidence
  • Amy, there is a real shortage of gardeners willing to do border maintenance such as weeding and general border maintenance such as planting out and supporting perennials etc. You should emphasise your credentials when scouting for work. I am a former NT head Gardener and there is plenty of work for skilled gardeners. Price your skills accordingly as there are plenty of gardeners who can carry out a mowing and a hedge cutting service. The vast majority of my customers own large gardens that require a Gardener with plantmanship skills. Also be prepared to try your hands at other things too. Good luck!
  • PRO
    Hi Amy, I am in Surrey and can say 100% if you know your way around a garden border then you will get plenty of work, there are a huge amount of gardeners in our area that just want to cut lawns and hedges but very few who have the knowledge to take on technical gardens with Herbaceous borders etc, personally I love it. The horror stories I've heard from clients about "Pro gardeners" trying to fluff their way around the garden when they don't have a clue what they are doing is scary. Good luck, it will be super...
    • PRO

      Definitely a demand for weeding , preparing ground , maintaining and creating herbaceous borders , bedding out and specialised pruning and rejuvenating of shrubs .   Smaller gardens may expect you to offer the full package , mowing a small lawn and clipping a box hedge perhaps as part of your service .  Larger gardens tend to use contractors and lawn maintenance companies for the bigger jobs .  Make it clear from the start what you are prepared to do and that it will meet customer expectations , sometimes there is a lot of can you just do jobs which can challenge your comfort zone . good luck .

  • Thanks for all your advice. Would you charge hourly or per job? I understand I may have to try new things but if I can get off the ground by doing things I love and know it would give me confidence to grow
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