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Gardening business...start up advice.

Discussion in 'General Gardening Discussion' started by Newbienoidea, Jul 9, 2017.

  1. Newbienoidea

    Newbienoidea Gardener

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    Hi all
    I'm looking for some advice

    I'm wanting to start a small gardening business in my local area. Grass cutting, weeding etc.i want to start off small and grow bigger hopefully.
    I'm looking for advice in a few areas I'm unsure of.
    Firstly, a lawn mower..what is best? Honda? Hayter? And what blade size is best.
    Also, insurance, I take it I'd need some kind of insurance for working in people's property?
    Waste rubbish? Grass cuttings etc, what do I need to get rid? Do I need a licence?
    And initially I will be using my small hatchback car, I can't affford a van to start so I'm hoping I can lift the mower into the back.
    Any help and advice will be greatly appreciated
    I've been looking at a Honda izy hrg466pk mower, I know it's a domestic one but to start would this be okay to start me off?


    Many thanks
     
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    • JazzSi

      JazzSi Super Gardener

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      I do garden maintenance part time & have a Honda Izy, but normally I use the customers mower, as to size of mower that would vary between jobs, one of mine takes 3/4 hr to cut using the customers ride on it would take most of the day with the Honda.
      None of my jobs require waste removing from site but if you are taking waste to a Council site you would be charged as a trader, you could take smaller amounts & stay under the radar.
      You will need Public liability insurance but it doesn't cost that much.
       
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      • ricky101

        ricky101 Gardener

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        PL insurance prices can vary dramatically, so shop around; try Zurich for starters and ask them what type of cover is needed for your work.
        Some folk use brokers, but they add on to the price one way or another.

        Even though you may not yet be registered as a business, get and keep receipts for all items you purchase that are directly relevant for running the business as you used to be able to bring all those costs into the business when officially started up.

        For a small business its possible to do all your own accounts and tax submissions, but some use expensive accountants, though book keepers are usually much cheaper.


        Have you got any clients yet or connections that will lead to work ? its a very competitive sector.

        Also consider what you are going to do for the winter months when gardening is unlikely to pay the bills....
         
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        • "M"

          "M" Total Gardener

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          Check your area for other small gardening services. Know your competition and think about your own unique selling point which will draw customers *to* you and maybe even *away* from them! If your area has a high number of small businesses offering garden services, you may have to consider looking at another area.

          Good luck for your new business :thumbsup:
           
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          • Newbienoidea

            Newbienoidea Gardener

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            Well due to circumstances my previous employment had dwindled so I have decided to take the plunge and go for it. I know it's August, and probably not the best time but for me it's the right time and I know not to expect big things to start off with. I've ordered some business cards, making leaflets and my lawn mower is on order. I'm starting off small...I have no van (for the moment) so will be using my car. I'm setting up a Facebook page and once my mower has arrived I'm going to go leaflet posting in the local area. Wish me luck!
             
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            • Irmemac

              Irmemac Gardener

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              All the very best of luck in your exciting new venture! I am sure you will have thought of all these things already, but what springs to my mind for a new business is the following:
              • Target the season e.g. advertise that you collect leaves, turn over soil, do lawn improvement work, end of season plant and border care, shrub maintenance, winter planting etc.
              • Make it clear that 'no job is too small' as this might be a good way for people to pass on your name to others.
              • Possible 'garden sitting' for those going on holiday after the schools go back, or who take longer holidays in winter, meaning that you would just keep a regular eye on the garden and tackle jobs that arise.
              This might be a good time to get yourself known and build up your confidence ready for the spring. If things get slack you could teach yourself (presuming here, as you probably already know this) to build compost bins, log stores, fire pits and pergolas, so you can have an additional few strings to your bow.

              Good luck! :spring:
               
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              • Liz the pot

                Liz the pot Gardener

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                Register or renew as a waste carrier, broker or dealer (England) - GOV.UK

                Waste licence for green waste is free, its jolly expensive round my way so I don't have many takers and you will be on a public register where clients are able to confirm you have one.
                However just having a licence shows your committed to the job.
                Insurance is a mine field, cheap ones are nearly always a waste of time as they don't tend to cover tools over a set noise limit or self propelled tools and so on.
                Good luck, many a gardener has started of from the back of their car and moved forward.
                 
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                • Jiffy

                  Jiffy Not a Bright Spark

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                  Check the car tax rules, because your car may be "Private Light Goods" and your car insurance just to make sure your not breaking the law

                  Good Luck
                   
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                  • clanless

                    clanless Super Gardener

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                    Good luck with your new venture :dbgrtmb:.

                    As a new venture with just yourself I assume - you will be a sole trader - this is risky - if anything goes wrong your personal assets are at risk - there is no limit on liability.

                    As things take off - consider setting up a limited company - you can buy ready set up companies off the shelf for a couple of hundred quid - if anything goes wrong then the company is liable and there is a limit on liability.

                    Would suggest talking to a small business advisor to see about start up grants etc.:blue thumb:

                    My top tip would be to get a liveried van as soon as you can - it gives the 'right' impression to new and existing customers.:spinning:

                    Give some thought to health and safety - the law has changed to exempt small operators from full compliance with the h&s regulations - but this doesn't mean you can disregard them. You'll be wielding potentially dangerous gardening equipment on someone else's property - it's an entirely different ball game to tending to your own garden.:smile:
                     
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                    • Newbienoidea

                      Newbienoidea Gardener

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                      Thankyou for your help :)
                      I plan to start small, I know a lot of people through friends of friends etc who need there grass cutting on a regular basis. This I plan to do to start with. Could you explain the car tax rules? My insurance is covered for using my car as business use and I'm classed as self employed already, so that's already done :)
                      I plan to dispose of the green waste in the customers green bin when I can, the waste licence is a good idea and also would look good on adverts etc..and if it's free even better.
                      I have looked into public liability insurance which comes in about £80 a year, and that covers me for damage to people's property up to £1million. My tools are items I have either already got or ones I have bought cheap, so tools insurance I'm not to concerned about at the moment.
                      Thanks.
                       
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                      • Liz the pot

                        Liz the pot Gardener

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                        It will take a while to find your feet, don't worry it will all come together in the end.
                        You can't beat working for yourself and you never know where it will lead you.
                        There's a shortage of gardeners round my way, I'm slowly winding down and I'm no spring chicken anymore but I wish I had done this before I became an Engineer in the air movement field.
                        I've also met my companion through work so it's strange how things turn out or though we are completely different in many ways.
                         
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                        • Newbienoidea

                          Newbienoidea Gardener

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                          Thanks. It feels a bit daunting, so many things to consider but I feel if I start small as you say things will just grow naturally. One thing which you may be able to help with...
                          I registered self employed about a year ago now, and I was doing work mainly for one person at his property. When I registered I just put my name of business as 'J. Burrows' and said I was a handyman, as I did various things from cleaning or brushing, grass cutting etc etc. Now I want to do the grass cutting, garden maintenance more I have made up some leaflets with JB garden maintenance on them...I think it is more direct to what I do. Will this affect my current situation just being called J Burrows? My invoices have always just said J burrows and my address, I plan to keep them like that unless I need to change?
                           
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                          • Liz the pot

                            Liz the pot Gardener

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                            I just use my name, always have. When you do the self assessment I just add my name in the company name section. I've kept it simple, no need to complicate things my end.
                            I use Accountz for my accounts but I've access to accountants through my companion but I keep it simple and it works for me.
                            I just invoice under my name.
                             
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                            • Newbienoidea

                              Newbienoidea Gardener

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                              Thankyou!

                              Who do you use for insurance if you don't mind me asking?
                              For now I want small grass cutting, weeding, tidying jobs to get me started then hopefully build up to offer more services (hedge cutting etc) when I can :)
                               
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                              • CarolineL

                                CarolineL Gardener

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                                As Ricky101 says, you can transfer costs of things bought privately into the business and then count its cost against income - I had an accountant once who didn't realise this, even though it was on a leaflet that THEY gave US! (So I gave up on accountants, and did my own instead.) If you do intend to do 'more serious' jobs, definitely consider the limited company route - for a small company you only have to submit very simple accounts. As @clanless said, if anything went wrong (eg you accidentally sprayed weedkiller and killed everything in the garden!) you are not personally liable. If you get a pressure washer (secondhand), you could do patio cleaning (though be careful and don't blast soft sandstone!)
                                 

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