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Advice please

Evening all

I currently work as a full time gardener for a well known charity that is currently making huge redundancies. Thankfully my role doesnt seem to be at risk at the moment however it has made me think it would be very wise to have a side gig going off that I can fall back on if the worst ever did happen. I used to have my own little garden maintenance business where I did most general gardening jobs. This time however I'd like to be more specialised focusing mainly on specialist pruning, topiary, hedges and giving adviceas I'm qualified to RHS level 3. I would like some advice on what vehicle you all think would be best suited for this. It needs to have at least 3 seats for kids, capable of carrying just one mower (something like a hayter harrier 41), long reach trimmers, and a bit of waste. I've been thinking of a berlingo van or new vivaro. Cars would be a berlingo multispace and trailer. I just dont know as I want to look professional and my target audience would be the wealthy large garden owners.

I'm very stuck but I know you guys have a wealth of experience and so if anywhere can help me its here.

Cheers

John 

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Replies

  • PRO

    Personally i would leave it until you actually need a van but if it can't wait because you sense redundancy is imminent and its going to be your only vehicle i would choose the Berlingo multispace and a trailer for the waste ( not equipment ) given your circumstances . 

    Perhaps controversial point but i have never being judged by a customer by the vehicle i drive as in most cases i park on the road where they can't see my van and not on their drive unless its a big gated property and often get the work , I dont notice anyone craning their necks to see what vehicle i drive 

    As long as you go looking smart i feel this is more important . 

     

  • Hi John,

    I'm also busy with with that kinda work for a good portion of the season. Currently I have a transporter which is ok but I'm gonna get a crafter with roof rack in the near future. With 10, 12 and 14ft henchman  ladders  and all the cutting equipent, plus green waste, the transporter is not big enough. At the minute I can load in about 8 half ton big bags with a 10ft ladder and tools. When I need to take the bigger ladders, I take the trailer. Which isnt ideal in city areas. 

    Go big is my advice. 

    Good luck

    Paul

  • PRO

    I was with a well to do client this evening walking their very large garden noting down tasks for the next few months. I had dropped my van off for a service tomorrow. THe dealer (as they do) had loaned me a brand new VW. The client immediately said "we're obviously paying you too much if you can afford a new vehicle" - now there was a note of humour in his tone.... but beware turning up in too new a vehicle, especially when starting out.

    • Adam, I kinda get the opposite comments. I'm quite happy with my 04 Renault traffic that I bought off a customer for £1300 six years ago. Like you say, all tongue in cheek though. 

  • Evening John, if it's just going to be a side line for now why not just use your current vehicle with a trailer. If things take off, then think again and you will also have a better idea of your requirements. 

    I think highlighting your NT credentials will do more for your image than what you are driving. 

    • my current vehicle is an old yaris thats on its last legs so I dont think that would be an option

      • I used to use a Yaris, now a wagon r... I only work in large properties. I can fit all my tools in the car and expect the owners to provide mowers/ladders/shredders etc, and if they don't have a large compost area, I put it on the to do list.

        1 client is embarrassed about my car so I have to use their service drive - means I probably waste an hour a week toing and froing but that's their problem. Yes plenty of comments along the lines of 'the amount I pay you' but it's been years now and the compliments they receive on their garden outweigh the little yellow car! It's your work not your image that's important.

        I used to be an under gardener for a guy who even expected the home owner to provide and service all tools! He managed to pull that off with at least 5 clients, unreal. He drove an old seat Leon.

  • Many thanks for your comments so far lots to think about.

  • PRO

    In my own experience I would prefer to have a larger van than to tow a trailer, and use bins to collect any rubbish.

    Emptying a trailer full of rubbish that is not already binned up can be a time consuming experience.

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