This is my first post and I'd like to say that I have found the forum incredibly helpful so far when researching many different topics.
A bit about myself: I have worked in gardening jobs on private gardens, commercial sites and those open to the public for many years but have always had a dream to go it alone. After some research on here and some courage I have begun the process to set up my own garden maintenance business. I am still employed full time but hope to do jobs in the lighter evenings until I can get enough clients to go full time alone. I have a van and some tools, insurance etc. Initially I will do maintenance but would like to do one offs and landscaping later. I bought a waste carriers licence so I can do garden clearances too.
I would really appreciate some advice on the following topics:
Business phone - I have read mixed reviews on how a landline number looks professional vs a mobile number. Some have mentioned using TTNC for a virtual landline number, which I think is great though I'm wondering if it is worth the expense when just starting out. I am a bit reluctant to put the mobile number as my only contact. Do you believe it is worth having a local landline number that directs to my mobile, even though it costs about 10p per minute to receive calls? This would be as well as paying credit to use data/calls with 02.
Machinery - For about £1000 I'm going to buy the best I can afford, which at this point is a Honda Izy 18" mower and Stihl FS94CE strimmer. I was thinking of buying a Stihl HS82R hedgetrimmer as I use them at work and they are reliable. I know that isn't much money but I spent most of my budget on the van.
Storage - Contemplating whether I need to rent a storage container or just keep the tools in the van/garden shed. I am aware of van theft and that is my biggest concern. What are your opinions on that?
Pricing - I know this comes up a lot so I'll keep it simple. I've worked out all my costs to get a minimum price per hour. For regular maintenance would I just add a profit margin to that hourly figure then add cost of using machinery on top of that? I understand quoting for the job is better but not quite sure how that would work for doing 2 hours of mowing and weeding etc.
Admin - I'm tempted to use accounting software like crunch or xero, but trying to keep my costs down. I am a little confused as to the process you need. Do you post a quote to the prospective client and then once doing the work post an invoice with payment details and print one for your records?