If you’re a natural green thumb, you may have considered ways to make money from your hobby. So, in this article, we’ll go through six easy steps to help you kick-start your very own gardening business.
Ready to ditch the 9 to 5 and start building a business you can call your own? Stay tuned as we show you how…
1. Get familiar with what to expect
Starting your own business can be extremely challenging but also highly rewarding. During the early weeks and months, you may work long hours and perform additional tasks like managing advertisements and your accounts.
A good way to get ahead of any challenges you might face is to identify them early on and prepare for them. For example, gardening tends to be seasonal, and some customers may only want work undertaken during the summer. That’s why it’s crucial to diversify and offer additional services that will bring in business all year round, such as tool maintenance and garden tidying services.
Start by writing a list of any potential issues you can think of and research what actions can mitigate them. This way, you’re being more proactive and prepared should anything arise.
2. Top up your knowledge
Whether you are a hobbyist or a seasoned professional, it’s worth topping up your knowledge to ensure that your services are what your customers want. Take some time to investigate other gardening services in the area to see what they offer, and research each service to check your offering is up to scratch.
You may also decide to enrol on a business basics course or aim to become familiar with local marketing. If you have any areas of uncertainty, take the time to research them and fill in gaps in your knowledge.
Whilst running a business is very much ‘learn by doing’, being prepared can save you frustration and stress in the long run.
3. Create a business plan
For many, writing a business plan can seem daunting or pointless in the early days. However, a strong business plan can be the foundation of a solid enterprise and help to guide you through all manner of operational decisions in the future.
Your business plan should serve to answer some key questions, such as:
- What are your goals and objectives
- What will you invest in and where
- How you plan to achieve your objectives
- Where do you want to be in the future
- What services will you offer
- What is your business model
Planning early on will help narrow your view and give you time to focus on the aspects of your business that truly matter. For example, if there isn’t local demand for a particular service, planning will mean you don’t waste time aiming for work that isn’t there or required.
4. Register self-employed
You will need to register as self-employed to sort your tax correctly – for example, the UK gives you until the 5th of October after the end of your first taxable year as self-employed to do this. Wherever you are, the process is usually relatively straightforward and can be done online.
When you are self-employed, you will need to keep a record of your expenses, complete a yearly tax return and pay income tax on your profits. If you’ve been self-employed before or have previously filed a tax return, you may still need to re-register.
5. Use organic marketing
In the early days of your new business, chances are you won’t have a huge amount of cash to dedicate to fancy adverts or slick websites. But the good news is that you don’t need much knowledge or a big budget to get your name out there and bring in business.
The term ‘organic marketing’ refers to free forms of exposure and can include social media, free business listings, search engines, videos and newsletters. The key to making organic marketing work for you is to ensure you are present in the places where potential customers will be looking for you.
So, put yourself in the shoes of your ideal customer. What keywords would you type into a search engine to find gardening services, or which social media groups would you ask for recommendations? Once you’ve discovered where and how people are looking for your services, you can join that platform and make yourself discoverable.
When it comes to local marketing, people looking for services often behave differently compared to those researching a product. This means they may be more likely to use leaflets through the door or word of mouth instead of clicking on a paid ad.
So, why not head to some local businesses such as shops or takeaways and ask if they will stock a business card or flyer for you? You might also decide to order some other collateral items for stationary and local marketing, such as letterheads, stationery, labelling, envelopes and compliment slips.
6. Maximise social media
When it comes to those looking for maintenance services, social media is a significant source of local recommendations. That’s why it’s important to get your business set up on all the relevant platforms.
You should aim to make it as easy as possible for those looking for your services to find and contact you, so ensure your contact details are easy to find and visible on all your social media sites and Google My Business. If you have a website, make sure it’s linked to your social media platforms and has a contact form page, so people visiting it have somewhere to go even if they don’t want to pick up the phone.
Using social media is about quality over quantity, and you don’t need to waste time trying to improve your profile on sites that won’t bring you any business.
Also, don’t forget local listing sites like NextDoor and Gumtree, people often head to these in search of services and recommendations, not just to find second-hand products.
Now you know how to research, plan for, and set up your very own small gardening business – it’s time to put those secateurs to work.
- Beginners Guide to Going Self-Employed in the UK
- Do You Need Business Insurance to Work as Self-Employed?
- How the Self-Employed Tax Works
Friendly Disclaimer: Whilst I am an accountant, I’m not your accountant. The information in this article is legally correct but it is for guidance and information purposes only. Everyone’s situation is different and unique so you’ll need to use your own best judgement when applying the advice that I give to your situation. If you are unsure or have a question be sure to contact a qualified professional because mistakes can result in penalties.