How did you start?

As someone who is looking to start up in the future, I am interested to know how some of you guys got set up.

Did you get all the top gear from the off?

Did you arrive at jobs in your hatchback with tools bursting out?

I was a landscape gardener for three years back when I was 17. And ever since I lost the job due to injury I have always wanted to get back out into the gardens as a job, but responsibilities came my way and I had to settle for whatever supported my family. Now im coming up to 30 I want to make that a reality after all these years.

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  • Very interesting thread,, I am in the process of agreeing to take on 23 commercial sites with minimal experience. Talk about jumping in at the deep end, but nothing ventured, nothing gained as they say. Something I have always wanted to do and thought why not. Going to remain in my current job and employ someone I trust to look after some sites during the week and I can look after the rest on a weekend.

    • PRO

      some really inspirational stories here.  I packed in a fairly high pressure job that wasn't doing my health any good last September and joined the business my wife had set up a couple of years earlier.  We were fortunate enough to be in a position to sell my car and buy a second van - my wife has a peugoet partner and we've bought a Vivaro crew van so the kids can get around!

      I'm doing the RHS Level 2 by correspondence course which is challenging but really enjoyable.  Also learning on the job from Heather and, like others, carefully targeting our leaflets at houses where we thnk people might want some horticultural work on an onging basis or tidy ups.  Thats not an exact science but had some good results from a very small leaflet drop already.  

      • PRO

        I'm thinking of doing the RHS courses too. Seems a good option, and I'm glad you mention they are challanging, they wouldn't be worth it if they weren't I guess?

        I think the targetted leafletting is really worth it. I picked up work right away from it, And after just 2 days leafletting I had enough work to get me started. I'm fortunate to have a good area all around me that is affluent, with large houses and gardens. After just a few hours leafletting I could se the properties that didn't need gardening, those that weren't interested and the rest were worth the leaflet. If you can afford the time, it's far better I'm sure than using a company to leaflet who will just blitz an area en mass.

        • PRO

          Agree about the targetted leaflets Alex - has worked really well so far.  We are also in an area with lots of large properties with big gardens - you can tell (to an extent) which ones are possibly going to be interested.  

          In terms of the RHS course, I'm doing mine with the Horticultural Correspondence College who are recomended by the RHS.  The good thing with a correspondence course is that you can keep the course material, which is well written, as a useful resource. Quite a cost effective way to study but you do have to pay to do the exams with a registered college which is a separate cost. You also get a tutor and mine gave quite detailed feedback on my assignment which was helpful.

        • PRO

          do consider training courses -- the RHS are great qualifications - courses like that open up a huge diversity of work and it does come accross well to potential customers.

          It may be that now you just need any paid work but that in a few years you decide to start specialising or pursuing  a work direction that you arent considering right now -- studies make this much easier. 

  • PRO

    Another one who was made redundant (2 times in 2 years :( ) - after 40 years doing office work, (I'm 61 years young this year) ending up running a team of 165 across 5 countries and 3 continents.  I made over 400 job applications and loads of interviews no one wanted me... or I didnt want them :)  I was driving myself into a massive depression staring at job boards all day every day.

    I had to work out what I could do that would generate enough to keep the kids at uni--- and allow me to have a bit of money I picked on Gardening... with a side line of home maintenance.

    I started with a Honda Jazz and a single client - now coming up to 2 years on, I have a very fulll round, 3 month wait list for "big jobs" and an apprentice, who is fully booked on painting and decorating.... oh and the transport is now a VW T6. I'm thinking of hiring another apprentice this Spring,

    Re kit, I still rarely buy new stuff - only this weekend I found a 21" John Deere mower going spare for £70 - only been used on a single domestic lawn, the widow was selling it because she is downsizing to a flat. Why (though I would love to) spend £1100 on a brand new Weibeng when this with the other 2 similar mowers in the lock up will get me through next summer.

    Life is good (though not so profitable today... the rain should have stopped 2 hours ago :( ) I've lost 20kg, I'm off the heart pills, I now interview new clients with a view of " do I want to work for you, do I like the work you are offering?"

    Good luck



    • PRO

      Adam, that's fantasic  - this work has such a positive impact on your health.  Nice to see someone older than me starting again too.........

      • Reassuring hearing stories like that adam. Ive just got my first regular customer, very close to home and 2hrs a fortnight, possibly weekly. Long way to go but good to get that first customer.

        • Great new Del. Things are coming together nicely. When will you start? is it a lawn cut job? Im off to look at a mower at the weekend Honda izy HRG466, so hopefully that will be my first bit if kit if it runs nice.

    • Amazing and inspiring. Thanks Adam.

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