How to start a gardening business in the UK
Are you considering turning your gardening hobby into a business? Now could be as good a time as ever. The UK’s garden market is blooming as lockdown conditions drove increased interest in nature and outdoor space.
There are various ways into the sector, from producing and designing plants, to maintaining gardens and carrying out landscaping work. But whatever your speciality, you’ll need to set solid foundations to make your new venture a success.
Below we’ve highlighted some of the key considerations that come with setting up a gardening business in the UK.
Creating a business plan
Every new business needs a robust plan to decide on its direction and outline how it’ll get there. Business plans come in various forms, but at the very least you’ll want to decide what services you’ll offer and plan how your business will grow.
You could start by researching competition in your local area. Look into what services they offer and at what price, then consider how you can differentiate yourself.
You’ll then need to think about how you’ll attract, retain and grow a client base. This could involve designing a website and setting up adverts, as well as putting up signage and distributing flyers.
What tools do you need?
The ideal tools for you are likely to depend on the types of services you plan to offer. Basic examples include:
- Spades, forks and rakes
- A lawnmower
- A strimmer and hedge trimmer
- A wheelbarrow
- Safety equipment including gloves and goggles
- A vehicle to transport staff and equipment
Landscaping businesses typically need more heavy-duty equipment such as cement mixers, while a tree surgeon would be lost without a chainsaw. Alternatively, you could rent this kind of equipment if you’re only likely to need it occasionally.
Don’t forget about tool storage too – your equipment will become your livelihood, so it pays to keep it somewhere safe and secure.
Taking care of business admin
It’s unlikely that you’re setting up a gardening business because of a love for admin. But there are various steps you’ll need to take to ensure you’re legally compliant and financially protected before starting work.
You’ll need to register with HMRC for tax, National Insurance and potentially VAT and PAYE, depending on your business setup. And, like any sector, gardening comes with a variety of risks that make buying business insurance worthwhile. There are lots of different types of insurance, such as:
- Public liability insurance to protect against accidental injury or property damage claims
- Employer’s liability insurance to protect against illness or injury claims made by employees
- Tools and equipment insurance to protect you from tool damage, loss or theft
- Professional indemnity insurance to protect against professional negligence claims in relation to your services or advice
You may also want to research and undergo training for certain aspects of your work, particularly if handling chemicals or large equipment.
It’s not easy setting up a gardening business. But if you’re passionate about working outdoors and savvy about business too, it could be the perfect venture for you.