Maintaining gardens is enjoyable, creative work. Most people enjoy seeing beautiful flower gardens outside their homes or businesses, but don't have the time or skills to keep these gardens looking their best throughout the year. If you are an accomplished gardener and like self-directed outdoors work, you can start your own garden maintenance business.
Assess your market. Evaluate the lifestyle, demographics and landscaping preferences of homes and businesses in your area. Ask landscaping firms in your area whether they provide ongoing maintenance services, or only landscaping instalment. Find out what gardening maintenance professionals charge in your area.
Draw up a business plan. Determine how much money you will need to generate from your garden maintenance business to meet your lifestyle and family needs. Add overhead costs--fuel, equipment, transportation, taxes, insurance and advertising--to this base figure. Then you can calculate how many hours you will need to work to generate this sum of money. Consult the Small Business Administration's Small Business Planner website or a local small business assistance program to turn this information into a practical financial plan for your garden maintenance business.
Hire an accountant to help determine your bookkeeping needs so you can pay your self-employment taxes and any payroll taxes if you hire employees. Determine how you will cover expenses involved with any injuries; garden maintenance is hard physical work that could lead to at least occasional on-the-job accidents. Discuss business insurance with an insurance professional so that you will have coverage if you accidentally damage someone's home or plantings. Apply for any start-up equipment loans you may need from a local bank or small business organisation.
Begin marketing. Print up a flyer or business cards that clearly state your services. Post these flyers or cards at garden centres and community bulletin boards. Knock on doors at homes and businesses with gardens that could use some perking up, and offer to spruce up one small area for free as a demonstration of your services. Give cards to local builders, landscape architects, and large landscaping companies. These businesses install landscaping, but can refer customers to you to keep their landscaping looking good over the years.
Grow and maintain your business along with your customer's gardens. Return customer calls promptly, keep your commitments, and do a tidy job. Leave satisfied clients with extra business cards they can give to friends.
Use a special planting as a sort of living calling card. For example, use an orange crocus as a logo and plant a few orange crocus near each of your customers' doors to remind them to call you when the flowers bloom the next spring.