Are you looking for advice on how to start a gardening business? Then you’re in the right place.
If you’re here, it’s likely that you have a green thumb, and like to get your hands in the dirt. You might even be helping others with their plants and gardens already.
In 2018 , American gardeners reported spending a record $47.8 billion on lawn and garden retail sales, the highest ever, with a record average household spend of $503 – up nearly $100 over the previous year (Source:GardenResearch.com). This shows that there is an upwards trend with gardening and that it’s a good industry to get into.
In this article, I’ll be answering some common questions about how to start a gardening business and explaining step-by-step on how to get started.
- How do gardening businesses make money?
- Is it a profitable business model?
- What is the cost to start a gardening business?
- What equipment is needed?
- Pros and Cons to starting a gardening business
- And how to advertise and sell your services
How do Gardening Businesses Make Money?
There are many ways that you can make money either from your own garden or from tending to others.
Here is a list of ways to make money with a gardening business:
- Sell seeds and/or seedlings
- Sell bundles of herbs (fresh or dry)
- Selling dried herb blends (savory, sweet or even tea blends)
- Selling plants to others (like a nursery would)
- Yard cleanup service
- Garden maintenance
- Garden/yard setup and planning
- And more
Is a Gardening Business Profitable?
First of all you have to remember that: Income – Expenses = Profit.
So in order to run a profitable gardening business, you need to set out a budget and stick to it! When you ensure that the expenses for your business are less than your income, then you’ll be making a profit.
One of the benefits of owning a gardening business is that it doesn’t require much space (unless you’re selling plants) because most of your work is at other peoples’ homes or businesses. This helps with keeping start-up costs down.
A gardening business can be very profitable when you have a company that stands out from its competitors, when your business is marketed to the right clients, and when your sales exceeds the amount needed to run your business.
What would it cost to Start a Gardening Business?
Start-up costs will always vary depending on how you choose to run your business . Some people focus on flyers, radio ads or even stickers when another will use targeted Google and Facebook ads, and social media accounts to get the word out.
If you’re going to travel to customers, you also have to take into account the size of the area that you’ll service. Wear and tear, gas, and time spent in traffic all add up as expenses to your business. So you have to think about if adding a larger area is more profitable to you, or does it eat away at your business profits.
When it comes to tools and supplies, don’t be afraid to ask others in the industry where they get their supplies from. There’s online wholesalers but local businesses often like to help each other out. A garden center would be a great place to start off. The networking and research you do to source your materials or mingle with others in your industry will benefit your business in the long run.
For an estimate to start-up a gardening business, we can estimate the need for things like:
- Gardening Tools (trowel, spade, shears, fork, kneeler, watering can, and wheelbarrow) – $500
- Gardening Products (compost, soil, mulch, etc) – keep a business account at a local garden center so that you can buy products as needed
- Large equipment (lawn mower, hedge trimmer, pressure washer, etc) – $1500
- Advertising (even if it’s just hosting, a domain name ,and SEO training) – $500
- Incorporation, and business license (check your local area about requirements.- $500
- At times, you may need a business permit – $50 (varies by state, check with your local government for requirements)
A gardening business can be relatively inexpensive to start up if you stick with the basics. You can spend around $3000, and you would be prepared to continue to re-invest into your business until it becomes profitable.
Other expenses that are common with gardening businesses are:
- Digital advertising
- Paying for help
- Branding and packaging
- and More
How to Get Started with a Gardening Business – Step-by-Step
If running a jewelry business is something you really want to do, here are the steps I recommend you take to get started…
1. Create a Business Plan
Get clear about things like:
- When do you want to launch?
- Who is your ideal customer?
- What services will you sell?
- How much will you charge?
- What do you need to launch?
- You can use our Business Planner to help you get clear about your goals and tasks you need to do to get your business going.
- and More
Think of your business plan as your own personal map that explains what your solution is and how you’ll get it to those that need it. It’s very important when starting a business, and helps you set your goals that will guide your actions.
2. Incorporate Your Business
Incorporating your business can bring many benefits. One benefit to incorporating your business is that it can help you save on self-employment taxes.
Most importantly, incorporating your business is one of the best ways you can protect your personal assets and limit liability. It separates the businesses assets from the owners and investors assets.
You’ll need to file a document called Articles of Incorporation.
Some important information you’ll need for this document is:
- Your Company Name
- Your Business’ Mission
- Name of Registered Agent
- Director Information
- Leadership Structure
- And Your Business’ Address
Suggested resource to help you get your business incorporated:
3. Build a Website
By having a well built website, you will not only reach more customers, but also book more clients because you don’t have to worry about being on the phone setting up appointments, waste time taking payments or reminding clients about appointments. You can have all of that set up for you, so all you have to worry about is providing your excellent service.
With people shopping online more than they have ever, having your business and services easily available will not only help bring more clients to you but is also a great way to build a trustworthy reputation fast through online reviews.
For less than $500 you can buy a domain and get hosting. These two assets are the foundation for starting a business website.
4. Map your Customer Journey
Customers don’t like when things are complicated (people look elsewhere when frustrated or confused), and when you make more work for yourself you end up lowering your profits.
A smooth customer journey goes hand in hand with providing excellent customer service and makes the process much more enjoyable for everyone involved.
When I go to a website and have difficulty locating services they offer, or worse can’t figure out how to even contact them, I’m quickly deterred and look for a business that’s set up better for my needs. I’m a busy mom that often doesn’t have the luxury to spend hours navigating multiple sites to find the service or product that I’m looking for, and I’m sure most people can relate.
My customer mapping journey used to be more a gamble than a journey. It would consist of making contact with a potential customer, and giving them something like a business card. I would hope they would follow up or reach out but I was left with no way to contact them to let them know of anything new and exciting with my business.
Then I learned to streamline my customer mapping journey and it started to look more like this…
Making contact with a potential customer and selling them to go to an opt-in page in exchange for a free and helpful gift (like a purchase discount or lawn care tip!), or to a sales page to make a purchase.
Mapping helped my business focus on targeting my ideal potential customers and persuading them to go to my website where I could follow up. I found this sales approach to be much more beneficial to my business.
Your customer journey could look like this:
- Make contact with a potential customer (through an online ad, or social media post)
- Spark their interest with a compelling free offer(doesn’t have to have monetary value, people love free tips or ideas)
- And, have them go to either an opt-in page to get the free offer or to a sales page to buy one of your services from you.
Your business shouldn’t be a gamble left to chance and by mapping out your customers’ journey, you are bettering the chances for your business to succeed. Instead of relying on business cards or stickers to get customers to your website to check out your products.
Your sales process may look more like…
- Internet ad
- Opt in page
- Offer lawn care tip
- Sales Page
Customer journey mapping shows you how to turn some from a complete stranger into a customer who trusts your products(and hopefully willing to share about your services).
5. What Equipment is Needed?
What equipment that you need to start your gardening business will be dependent on what services you are wanting to offer.
A basic equipment list to start a gardening business is:
- Rake, Shovel, Trowel, Spade, Fork, Sheers, Watering Can, Gloves and Hose
- Lawn Mower, Hedge Trimmer, and Leaf Blower
- Insured vehicle large enough for all equipment
6. How to Advertise and Sell
When you start your gardening business you’ll want to get the word out about your new adventure. Nowadays, the internet has created new ways that help to build awareness of your brand and reach more people than you could have in the past.
Google and/or Facebook ads are great ways for you to market to people with specific interests and needs geared towards your business. Businesses are even using social media accounts to get the word out. It’s best to set up business accounts even if you have a strong following on your personal account–this helps with credibility and building trust with your customers. Plus it can be nice to have your personal life separated from your business.
Even though most people are now relying on the internet to meet their consumer needs, we still can’t forget about offline marketing.
Offline sales and marketing should basically be approached the same way you would with online marketing. The best way is to target the type of customers you want and that need your business the most.
You may want to increase brand awareness by doing things like handing out business cards or stickers at garden centers, flower shops, or even going door to door.
7. How Do I Get Customers to Pay Me?
You’ll most likely be busy with your hands in the dirt so you’ll want to be set up so that it’s easy for your customers to pay you on the go.
Here are some recommended services:
ThriveCart – You can use this to set up one-time payments or recurring payments. Check out the full ThriveCart Review here.
Leadpages – Leadpages can be used to design very nice landing pages, and with the pro plan, you can accept payments thru Stripe.
Grow your Email List to Get More Clients!
When you are out meeting new people who are ideal customers for your services, make sure to get them added onto your email list. If you give something in exchange (such as a free lawn care tip) for email addresses, you can build up an impressive client list very quickly. Then when you launch a new service, you’ll be able to launch to a targeted list of buyers who have already shown an interest in your gardening business.
8. Make Money
Once you have stand out service, people are aware about your business, and an easy way to take payments; then you’ll be making money.
Starting a gardening business can be a great business if you love the outdoors, and working with your hands. You can start off in your neighbourhood to keep costs low and offer low cost perks like watering the lawn. When you have a brand that solves a problem, and when your business is marketed to the correct customers, you’ll be successful.
Get started with our free business planner, and begin getting a clearer picture of your goals. If you have any questions, you can leave them in the comments section below.If you’re ready to get started with your business, I recommend you check out the Startup Entrepreneur’s Toolkit and learn how to master the process of getting consistent online sales.