Whether you’ve been home gardening for years or you jumped into the hobby during quarantine, you can finally see what all the fuss is about with growing and maintaining plants. In fact, maybe last year’s home-based activities have shifted your priorities and inspired you to consider a whole new career in gardening!
Making your passion into your profession is a luxury that most people only dream about. Gardening, however, can be really lucrative as a subset of the landscaping industry. If you are ready to scale up your hobby and help other people design and maintain their gardens, here are a few tips to get you started.
Choose a Specialty
At home, you’re doing a little bit of everything that pertains to gardening. You likely designed your garden layout, laid stone paths, constructed raised planters, planted flowers and shrubs, and maintained it all by yourself. If you plan to start a business based on your gardening interest, you’ll be able to section out which of these functions you like the most and specialize in that!
Professional gardeners and landscapers are often hired or contracted for specific services, like lawn care, hardscape design, plant installation, or maintenance. As you develop your business plan, you get to decide which services (or combination of services) you would like to provide.
Though hobbyists are able to focus on preference, you’ll have to take your competition into consideration to succeed in a booming market. Research local businesses to see what services they offer and what their customers are saying about them. You’ll need to choose services that fill gaps in their offerings or exceed their quality to get a foothold in your local market.
Though years of home gardening experience can teach you some really helpful tips and tricks, customers may be more likely to hire gardeners and landscapers with degrees and experience to complete expensive projects.
If you are interested in getting an education in your chosen field, there are degree programs in horticulture and landscape design at several schools throughout the United States. You can also find job and volunteer opportunities that could provide gardening experience that will show your customers your skill.
Further, some types of work may require special certification to complete. Stay on top of those regulations to make sure that all of your work is up to your local government’s standards.
Invest in Supplies & Equipment
If you thought maintaining your own garden was expensive, the equipment and materials that you’ll need to start your business will be a much larger investment. Purchasing large equipment like lawnmowers and tillers could cost thousands, while sourcing the best and most beautiful plants and supplies for clients’ gardens will be consistently expensive as well.
To combat this, you can look into some smart shortcuts for large purchases. For example, consider renting some pickup trucks for business use rather than purchasing new vehicles. This way, you can have regular access to large vehicles that are capable of towing your machinery without having to worry about too much upkeep.
For supplies, try building relationships with quality vendors near you. You may be able to negotiate deals with plant nurseries to get the best plants for less.
Build an Online Presence
Lastly, a budding business needs to get its name out to potential customers and display its best work. For a creative, design-based field like gardening, try out social media marketing to post pictures of your completed projects.
Potential customers will be able to find you easily as they search for the appropriate businesses. Most importantly, you will be able to communicate your prices, services, and quality to the public so they know what kind of work you can do!
With all of these tips in mind, you’ll be able to successfully transition from the home gardener to business owner seamlessly. As long as your business plan accounts for specialized services, necessary certifications and experience, equipment investments, and a smart marketing strategy, you’ll be able to share your love of beautiful outdoor spaces with customers in no time.