I get knocked down, but I get up again...

...they're never going to keep me down!

Things haven't been going too well these last few weeks. Whilst I've kept a couple of great customers I've lost a load to a father and son team of 'experts' who offer a complete gardening and handyman service for £6.50 per hour (for both of them!), and I've struggled. Attempts to keep customers with "but you can't exactly expect competence at £6.50 an hour" has been met with "but they're only £6.50 and there's two of them!" Hate to think where their gardening and building rubbish goes, and the aftermath of their chainsaw job on a small Buddleja was a work of art (in a harsh, modernistic way). I know that these guys will lose customers as their reign of chaos spreads, but in the meantime I can't sustain myself without the work.

For now I've taken a part time job with a local nursery. With a background in commercial growing I should make myself useful! The money is less than I could be taking per hour working for myself, but is a better prospect than not being able to pay the rent etc. I'll be honest I'm a bit gutted; I take pride in what I do and being self employed was, I hoped, my chance to take control of my life a bit more.

I'm not giving up. Things are complicated, but they could be so much worse! Hopefully I'll be back on track soon, but in the meantime I'm relieved to have a job.

Just need to decide which account I need my wages in, personal or business!

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                    • This is why I started Ben's Botanics several years ago... when I was working at the nursery I had to focus my efforts on what they wanted me to grow. 900 leylandii won't ever excite me, but the plants I was more interested in weren't the kinds of thing they wanted to grow and sell. Rather than get frustrated or bored I set up BB as an outlet for the information I built up; a day spend weeding or caning also became a day to plan things for the website!

                      We all have dull elements to our work, but I guess I'm lucky in that I find weeding, mowing and hedge trimming good fun!

                    • Me too - the best book I own!

  • Focus on your customers, not your competitors.
    You need to find your USP and push it, show them your value.
    Does the nursery you are working in deliver? If not, ask the boss if you can do a deliver and plant service for him, you'll meet lots of people who might become your clients.
    • PRO

      Nifty idea ;) Like that.

      • PRO

        Great shout Jody. I also echo the comment about your website Ben, try adding some info about services, area's covered etc. Something to let potential customers know what you are and what you do. Best of luck !

    • Good idea... I like that.

  • PRO

    at that price they not be around long so keep going as you are and wait for the customers to come back when they fail to turn up for a few weeks

  • Ben - your plant skills are clearly evident but IME that is a door opener and not the clincher to long term relationships looking after beautiful gardens for lovely clients.  The clients you need see that in you....but first of all the rest of the garden is calling.

    With the abilities to get the lawn looking good, the hedges smooth and neat, the borders brimming with mulch.....IME....the client knows you are for real and the planting that follows is top notch.  You should deliver on these needs first while fostering the desires of a real plantsman to care for the gardens into the future.

    You need to serve the basic instincts of the clients available to you....foster & nurture their desires.....i.e. planting schemes that you are the absolute expert in........and then deliver.

    And then, in a developed way, you have a client with desire and aspiration and someone who can :->

    Good luck mate, Eugene 

    • Thank you! I know that the opener will come from the need to get the lawn done and the borders weeded etc, but at the moment I'm finding even those customers thin on the ground. I'm very pragmatic about it, and know that securing customers and income is the first priority, the important thing in the here and now rather than where I'd necessarily like to be.

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