Another Newbie!

Hi guys.

I stumbled across the forum earlier today. I've learnt more about my future business this morning than I have during the past 3 months. Finally, some genuine people with good and honest answers. 

A little about me first and then just one question for now. I am 53, and have been employed by one comany or another for ever!! All of my jobs have been sales or retail in one form or another. Currently I manage a garden centre shop. I have to admit that the guys in the nursery are a real font of knowledge, and I learn something new everyday. Anyway, for one reason or another, my wife has agreed that I can become self employed in any field that I can make a contribution to the holiday fund. I was once a wedding photographer (ran the shop too), and now take photos that sell with agencies. This means that I can fit this income stream around a real job. I also play in a couple of bands at the weekend evening. So between them i have an income. Oh i forgot to mention that I'm a background actor too..........

Anyway, over the last couple of years, i have had lots of customers ask if i could recommend a gardener, tree surgeon, somebody to lay a lawn etc, and i have given their numbers to a couple of colleagues that work privately during their days off. But recently I've thought that maybe i should take some of the leads myself and create a business from it. With my other income streams i'm able to make the leap into self employment knowing that it'll take some time to build a regular client base and referals. 

I have a few question which i'll get to ask at another time, but here's the first:

I'm really only looking to work in lawncare. I don't think that i have enough knowledge to do general gardening, my plant knowledge is still far from ideal, although i'm hoping that i'll reach a point where i can be a little more confident and take on general work. I'm guessing that a lawn client will ask for some pruning or something one day which i'll research and then be able to add it to my skill set. I deal with lawns, turf, feeds, seeds, chems etc at work, and am comfortable with questions from the customers. I obviously have practical experience, but only my own gardens and those of friends and family.

Oh yeah, the question! How limiting is specialising in lawns going to be as a new business? I have time on my side in many respects, and don't need to take on anything that comes along. Doing jobs that are beyond me (ie not doing them well) is surely more damaging to a business than not doing them at all? 

Thanks for your replies in advance.


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  • hi Dave welcome to the forum 

    it is possible to make a living just doing lawn cutting as some on hear do, the pitfalls as I see it is when there is a prolonged dry or wet spell either too wet to do it or no grass to cut as it has died off 

    I am surprised that you have time to put another string to your bow also you will require descent pro tools to do the jobs that are reliable  

    • Thanks for the reply.
      My other interests take as much or as little time as I can give, so I can keep my days full, even in the winter months.
      I have a number of equipment suppliers through the garden centre so have been looking at the kit I need to start with. I've set a budget to get me going, with a couple of upgrades if it works out for me.
  • I am also looking into setting ip a lawn care business. Last year my wife set up small part time gardening business as she loves gardening, any larger jobs she gets she enlists my help. I have been in the same job for 35 years and next year have the option of cutting back to 2 or 3 days per week which would allow me the time to do something else. I know my wife could easily fill my time with gardeneing. Whilst I do enjoy general gardening I was thinking of concentrating on lawn care. I was looking at the 2 day course at Writtle College and obviously would get my PA1/6 certification.  Having read a lot on here recently I do believe that it gets to the point where its no good just thinking and talking about it, you just have to do it. There are may franchise operators that seem to do very well out of lawn care so there must be the demand!  

    Best of luck to you.

  • PRO

    A gardening business is very different from a lawn care business. Apart from the obvious tehnical knowledge, the customer charactistics are different in terms of visits per year / revenue, and this leads to needing a vastly different number of customers to be viable...and this leads to a big difference in marketing investments needed - lawn care needs a lot more marketing spend.

    A see a lot of people think about going into lawn care, get the technical training, buy the kit, and then wonder how to get customers on a shoestring (all been spent). Start the other way. Work out who the customer is, where they are, how you will reach them (and pay for it!), what services you will offer them, for how much. Only then when you have a plan that you're confident it,  go out and spend money on the minimal kit needed to start.

    • Thanks Andrew.
      I'm in a fortunate position where I get a few leads through the door of the garden centre each week. It's a small family business, do they don't mind the staff doing extra work on their days off.
      I'm working on a website, leaflet drop, social media ad, and a large ad on the costumer notice board in the shop.
      We also have a good range of equipment in the shop do I can kit out pretty quickly if need be.
    • PRO Supplier

      Sound advice Andrew.

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