Carry out a skills analysis

Before you start looking at your own individual markets, and working further on market research, you'll need to carry out an analysis of the skills you currently have. The tools of our business are not too important at this time. Whether or not you have the latest gardening gismo means nothing if you're not able to use it properly. You will need to identify your own skills and recognise what services you can immediately offer. I stress immediately, as knowledge and skills are things which you...

Interpreting your answers

Why do you want to be self-employed Certainly being self-employed has its attractions. It's estimated that around 80 of the working population would like to be self-employed. The question is why Why would so many wish to give up all the rights of an employee to branch out on their own While there are lots of advantages to being self-employed, there are also some perks that initially you may have to forego the daily social contact with your work colleagues support in making decisions. Starting a...

In the business

Next month you'll find your services in great demand as the autumn begins in earnest. If you've worked hard during the winter, moved mountains in the spring and had a busy summer so far, why not take a break and have a holiday I shut my business completely for the latter two weeks of August and take a well-deserved holiday. Obviously, if you are operating either a gardening round or a lawn-cutting service, this will not apply to you. But for anyone else operating an all-year round gardening...

Survive succeed and prosper

Remember back in Chapter 2 I told you about the importance of business planning Deciding to grow your business into a larger enterprise is simply another stage in your business plan. If you haven't yet started your gardening business then I'd recommend you write a written goal along the lines of - 'In a whatever time frame you're planning when I've established my business my goal is to expand my business to include commercial contracts'. By doing this at this early stage you are carving the...

Summary

A gardening round can provide a good income, provided it's set up and run correctly. 2. Here's a low cost start-up opportunity that's easy and fun to operate. 3. Reliability is often more important to your clients than being the best gardener in the world. You'd don't have to be a wizard at every aspect of gardening in order to start here, but you must be willing to learn new things and listen to what your clients tell you. 4. Make sure you set prices to allow enough return to make the...

Keep it simple

Even the smallest of gardening rounds will require some basic administration systems if you are to be successful. Nothing fancy is required. If you have a personal computer you may wish to keep your systems on your hard drive. But make sure you maintain a back-up disk in case your system crashes and you lose your information. My own personal preference is to keep my client records on a manual record card system. The main advantage of doing it this way is you don't first have to turn your PC on...

Case study

Two years ago, Andy was made redundant. At the age of 48 he wasn't holding out enormous hope of getting another job like his previous one. Wrongly or rightly, he believed that his age would stand against him. Fortunately, at the time of Andy's redundancy, his wife Sally was promoted and received a large salary increase, which meant that financially they had enough to cover their monthly outgoings. Prior to Andy's redundancy, their two small children were looked after by a nanny while both of...

Creating a cash flow forecast

The cash flow forecast below Figure 1 can be copied and adapted to suit your own business needs. The principle will remain the same - receipts less payments equals net cash flow. Monthly cash flow may be either positive or negative. Obviously your goal is to maintain a healthy, positive cash flow running through your business. However, this will not always be possible. Unforeseen circumstances may have a negative effect on sales, for example bad weather and the like, or something that requires...

Preparing a profit and loss forecast

While a cash flow forecast will help you predict what monies are likely to flow in and out of your business during any trading period, you may find it useful to prepare a profit and loss forecast. The difference between a profit and loss forecast and cash flow forecast is that your profit and loss forecast will demonstrate how profitable your business is likely to be based on your anticipated sales and expenditure. It will be particularly useful for any business that sells goods as well as...

Operating costs

The costs involved in starting such a business are relatively low, assuming that you already have many of the tools. Other than those, there are the following costs to consider cost of providing and running a vehicle This is an ideal way for those planning to run a gardening round to bridge that seasonal gap between October and March, ensuring that you keep a steady flow of cash coming into your business. My own experience is that during those awful months when all hell breaks loose with the...

Beware of setting unrealistic objectives

When I first started my gardening round, clients told me how many hours they would require my services. But when I began to work out what they actually wanted me to do, it was often impossible to achieve this in the limited amount of time they were willing to hire me for. When I pointed this out to them, they either extended my hours to cover what needed to be done, or reduced the list of tasks so that I could achieve them in the time allocated. However, I could have avoided all the stress and...

How To Start Your

AN INSIDER GUIDE TO SETTING YOURSELF UP AS A PROFESSIONAL GARDENER This book is dedicated to the memory of my mother, Mary Power Published by How To Content, A division of How To Books Ltd, Spring Hill House, Spring Hill Road, Begbroke, Oxford 0X5 1RX. United Kingdom. Tel 01865 375794. Fax 01865 379162. email info howtobooks.co.uk http www.howtobooks.co.uk All rights reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or stored in an information retrieval system other than for purposes of review...

Is your idea viable

So far in business planning you have looked at How much money you need to earn each and every month to keep a roof over your head and the wolf from the door. Analysing your skills. By now you should have a fairly good idea of some, if not all, of the services you are going to initially offer to prospective clients. Cash flow and the importance of keeping money flowing through the business so that you can meet private and business commitments.

Potential earnings

Your earnings will depend on how many lawns you cut and at what price. If you want to make a full-time, profitable business from lawn cutting, my advice is that you aim to cut fewer lawns but charge more because of the quality of your workmanship. Don't underestimate what's involved. Even a self-propelled mower becomes hard work when you're doing it all day. There's a lot of bending down and emptying grass boxes as well as moving heavy garden furniture such as tables and chairs away from the...

Parttime

Running your own gardening business is all about satisfying needs the needs of your customers. One of the main advantages of running a gardening business is that you are not tied to set opening hours as would be the case were you to have opened a shop. This means you can run your business to fit in around your present commitments. Maybe you only want to work one or two days a week. If so, then the way you run your business will differ from those who wish to make this a full-time, all-year-round...

Planning is something we do already

Whether it's just picking up a newspaper to check what programmes are on television, or phoning to book a table at a restaurant, planning is something we do already. There's nothing magical about it. It's part and parcel of our daily lives. So don't let the idea of having to prepare a business plan turn you off. It really is simple. Before I started my business, I bought a book on writing a business plan. It was a lengthy, tedious affair and something that I finally abandoned when the author...

Beware of plans that are too ambitious

Regrettably, many of the gardening design programmes on the television fail to give any indication of what the finished garden is going to cost. Often the costs incurred in creating these gardens probably exceed the value of the house. Bringing in heavy-duty cranes to lift boulders and gigantic concrete supports over the roof of a two-storey semi doesn't come cheap. Neither does the cost of hiring a specially adapted low loader to take stones the size of those at Stonehenge from a quarry in the...

Further education

Colleges offering correspondence courses The Horticultural Correspondence College Freepost 9GW, Chippenham SN 15 2BR Tel 0800 378918 The Institute for Horticultural and Rural Studies Cranmere Road, Okehampton, Devon EX20 1UE Tel 01837 659600 International Correspondence Schools, Freepost 882, 8 Elliot Place, Clydeway, Glasgow, KLC School of Interior and Garden Design Unit 503, The Chambers, Chelsea Harbour, London SW10 OXF 4 Highlands Road, Hadleigh, Suffolk 1P7 5HU Tel 01437 828796

Mobile plant nursery

If you enjoy growing plants this is an ideal way to turn a hobby into a business. Provided you have space available in your garden to keep your plants, then this business can be run successfully from home without having to rent any property. It involves you either growing the plants from seeds, or purchasing 'plug plants' and bringing them on then selling your plants at car boot fairs, exhibitions, shows, markets etc. It's a relatively straightforward business to run and can be very profitable....

Learning from others mistakes

Many people who start a business do so with plenty of enthusiasm and a real desire to succeed. However, this is not enough. There are some valuable lessons to be learnt from John's case study It vital that you discuss your idea with those closest to you, particularly those who share your life. Arriving home one day and announcing to your husband, wife or partner that you have given up the day job, and decided to garden full-time for a living, isn't the way to do...

Whats in a name

What you call your business is important. Be wary of using cliched names. There are far too many Joe Bloggs, the West Country's answer to Groundforce, or Mary Silver, Green Fingers Gardening Services. Try to be upbeat and upmarket when deciding on what to call your venture. Avoid choosing a name that suggests what you're offering is cheap and cheerful. Be imaginative, inspiring and remember that your name will be with you for as long as you're in business. When I carried out my initial market...