Can I make a living out of gardening?No comments
I would like to start my own gardening business. Have you got any pointers?
I’d be the last person to put the breaks on a dream, especially a plant-related one, but having tried a few horticulturally-themed businesses I feel I’m well placed to offer a little advice.
You’d be wrong if you thought that ain gardening is all fair weather. The truth is that if you’re setting yourself up as a jobbing gardener you’ll end up working in all weathers and doing the jobs the owner either doesn’t like or physically can’t do. It can take years to find a client who’s keen for you to take cuttings and design the container planting – you’re more likely to be turning the compost heap.
However, this may be just the escape that you’re after – having a realistic head is a great start and being physically fit is an even better one. But be warned, if you’re not good with people then you’re in trouble as every garden has an owner and every design plan has a client.
About eight years ago I opened a gardening shop. In order to help make ends meet I also offered a border planning service and soon realised that it was really hard to charge for advice. So many people can’t understand why you’re not just happy to give it in exchange for tea and biscuits, so however knowledgeable you are you need to have a business head.
After two years of running the shop it was evident it wasn’t for me. I quickly discovered that I missed working in a team, the premises wasn’t big enough, I hadn’t earned a penny and I was left with no time to do what I love best – gardening. A word of warning though; giving up a business is almost as hard as starting one, especially when it’s on the high street.
I’ve never regretted going through this process as it has given me a real insight to business start up and I’ve been able offer sensible advice to friends and horticultural students. I now have the greatest respect for those that make it work, so the rest of the advice comes from them.
My advice would be to go on a business training course locally and gain a relevant gardening qualification. In our March issue (out in mid Feb) we will bring you the latest in gardening courses. Good luck.
Tamsin Westhorpe - Editor, The English Garden magazine