Starting your own local gardening business is an exciting step on the journey to entrepreneurship
However, it’s not as simple as offering your services and finding customers
You need to properly equip your business with everything you need for success. After all, the tools you need will vary depending on the services you intend to provide. For example, if you think there’s a market for tree cutting in your area, the tools you will need will be very different from doing weekly garden maintenance for a number of clients.
It is important that you have a selection of good quality and long-lasting tools available as you cannot rely on the client having the equipment you need or to the standard that you need it.
This article will focus on 5 of the most important tools (or their categories) that you will need when creating a small local gardening business – maintenance and one-off jobs, but not hard landscaping or tree surgery.
These tools are usually the last to be thought of, so we’re starting with them in this list. You need to have a system to quickly keep on top of invoices, payments, customer jobs, and records so that you can devote as much time as possible to bringing in money and taking on jobs.
You also need to focus on marketing your business. While there are numerous online marketing tactics that you should look into, most ways people find a local gardening business is when walking out and about and seeing one. Word of mouth and recommendations from neighbours are strong in the gardening market, and you need to take advantage of this at every opportunity.
Of course, you should have a top quality service and interact well with customers to get that all-important word of mouth, but you can’t run the risk of your name slipping their minds.
You should look into an online printing service to print high-quality business cards with your company details and have a few with you at all times – you might be stopped while working, and having a pack of business cards in your van can open up several jobs for you.
Your vehicle is also a powerful marketing tool – make sure it is always maintained, and look into vehicle wraps to draw attention as you pass by. Again, this is a free advertisement for your business, and it will go directly to the local audience you want. If you want to take your marketing a step further, consider getting a branded fleece or t-shirt to wear when working.
Clearly, hand tools are going to be a mainstay of those needed to create your business. These are the ones that a client is most likely to have already, but they won’t necessarily be well maintained to do the job quickly and well. A few essentials you should always have well-sharpened and ready to go are:
The jobs that a client is most likely to bring you in for are those that they cannot do themselves – that might be due to difficulty, age, or lack of equipment. So having a range of garden power tools will mean you can jump on any job which comes your way. Consider finding a multi-tool kit that covers several of the functions you need. The essentials would be:
- Lawn mower – consider the gardens in your area; do you need a ride-on mower as well?
- Lawn Aerator
- Chain Saw
- Hedge Trimmer
- Leaf Blower
- Another tool that you might find helpful is a lawn edger
You should research and investigate the types of jobs available in your area and the types of gardens that are generally around. This will impact the types of tools that you might get. For instance, if you’re in a built-up town that mostly has small gardens, then you need agile equipment and can use a system that runs off one battery (though you should have a number of spares ready to hand).
On the other hand, if you’re in an area with large gardens, you should look into petrol tools as these won’t give out halfway through the job.
These accessories are the type of tool that you don’t realise you need until you’re mid-job and desperate. You’ll build up a collection as you gain experience in running your own business, but here are some to have when you start up:
- Various gardening gloves, including long-armed and extra thick for spikes and thorns
- Safety gear – including chainmail trousers, safety goggles, hard hats, etc. This will depend on the tools you use. You should ensure you have safety equipment suitable for each one.
- Watering can
- Waterproof extension leads
- Knee pads
Again, the vehicle you need will depend on the services you’re offering. It may also depend on the amount of storage you have for your equipment. If you need to store everything in your van, you will need something contained and secure and big enough to hold everything you have.
If you can keep most at a safe location and only take the tools you will need for the job, then you have more flexibility in the type of vehicle. If you decide you want to include waste removal in your services, then you could look into a pickup van, which will make it easier to transport waste away.
You might want to look into buying or hiring a chipper that can be towed – this will allow you to break up the waste but potentially spread it on the existing garden as mulch. This would take care of the problem for the customer and stops you from having to pay tip fees and the fuel costs of lugging the waste around.
So there you have the top 5 tools (well, categories of tools) that you will need to start your small gardening business. Some might be needed before you start, and others you could choose to pick up as the jobs that require them arise.