How to Become a Self-Employed Gardener

If you are looking to become a self-employed gardener, it may be difficult to know where to start and what it all means, especially if self-employment is new to you.

Here I share my 10 Steps to Go Self-Employed that will leave you totally prepared to become a self-employed gardener, as well as unravel the confusion around registering and taxes.

1. What is Self-Employment

When you become a self-employed gardener you’ll work for yourself rather than someone else. This brings with it certain responsibilities.

When you go self-employed you:

  • Are responsible for finding your own gardening work;
  • Decide whether you want to accept or decline a gardening job;
  • Need to have your own method of transport, mobile phone and gardening equipment;
  • Will not receive sick pay or holiday pay, so you will go without earnings during these times;
  • Need to register as self-employed with HMRC, work out your own taxes and as we’ll file a tax return

2. Naming Your Self-Employed Gardening Business

When you become a self-employed gardener, you can choose to name your gardening businesses after yourself or use something different.

What you choose to do is entirely up to you.  But there are some do’s and don’ts when it comes to names that you should make yourself aware of.

3. Pricing for Your Gardening Services

The amount a self-employed gardener can earn varies depending on services, experience and location.

Typically self-employed gardeners can expect to earn at least £15 per hour.

Whatever hourly rate you choose to charge for your gardening services, make sure that you will earn enough to cover all your household bills. As well as considering how long it will take to build up your gardening work until you reach your desired salary – after all your personal bills like rent or mortgages won’t wait.

4. Marketing

Without customers, you won’t have a business. Marketing is all about exposure and letting people know you are looking for business. Setting out a good marketing plan will get you in front of the right customers and most of all ensures you spend your money on marketing in the right way.

5. Registering with HMRC as a Self-Employed Gardener

If you earn more than £1,000 as a Self-Employed Gardener, then you’ll need to register with HMRC.

Once you go self-employed you are responsible for:

  • Working out your own taxes;
  • Paying Income Tax as well as Class 2 & Class 4 National Insurance on your business profits;
  • Completing a Self Assessment Tax Return online by 31 January each year and paying any tax due.

Ready to learn more about self-employment taxes? Read my post on Self-Employment Taxes which shows you how to work out how much tax you’ll need to pay on your earnings.

6. Getting Paid by Your Customers

When you become a self-employed gardener you’ll need ways to take payment from your customers.

It can be as simple as cash, but in today’s cashless society you may need to take credit cards as well using a card machine like Sumup.

7. Bookkeeping

Administration and taxes are a lot easier if you choose the right bookkeeping system.

Bookkeeping is the recording of your day to day business transactions – essentially that is who has paid you and all the costs you’ve paid for, along with keeping all your receipts and invoices.

How you choose to record your business transactions is up to you. But choosing the right bookkeeping system will make:

  • Invoicing easy;
  • Automate allocating your income/expenses;
  • Calculating your taxes stress-free;
  • Store all your receipts safely in the cloud.

There are lots of automated bookkeeping solutions on the market, but only a few that are designed with the self-employed in mind.  

If you are struggling to decide on a bookkeeping solution, then read my post on How to Choose the Right Bookkeeping System If You’re Self-Employed.

8. Business Bank Account

Opening a business bank account will simplify your business administration. It’s also recommended by HMRC, although not a legal requirement.

Knowing all your business transactions are contained in one place will take all the stress away at tax time.  And if you choose the right bookkeeping system, it will link to your business bank account to pull all the transactions in. A real time saver.

Choosing a business bank account can be confusing, so my guide helps you to find one that works for you.

9. Business Insurance for Self-Employed Gardeners

When you’re self-employed, business insurance offers you protection and peace of mind.

There are seven different main types of business insurance:

  1. Professional Indemnity
  2. Public Liability
  3. Product Liability
  4. Business Equipment
  5. Business Interruption
  6. Employers Liability
  7. Business Motor

Although it is unlikely you will need them all, you may need more than one. If you aren’t sure what business insurance you need then take a look at my post on Business Insurance.

10. Tech & Equipment

When you become a self-employed gardener, it’s your responsibility to have all the equipment you need.

As a gardener, this can be costly.

Setting up a start-up budget will:

  • Get you thinking about what equipment you’ll need for the gardening services you plan to offer;
  • Give you an idea of how much money you’ll need to spend upfront to get set up.

About Anita Forrest

Anita Forrest is a Chartered Accountant, spreadsheet geek and money nerd helping financial DIY-ers organise their money so they can hit their goals quicker.