How To Put Your Green Thumb Into Business
Are you one of those gifted folks who can grow anything? Do you enjoy designing gardens and flowerbeds? Wouldn’t it be great to earn a living sketching out your ideas and spending days planting? Well, you can do it by starting a landscaping business.
Well, you can do it by starting a landscaping business. You can work your dream job and decide your hours. All you need is a basic knowledge of plants and a liking for the great outdoors. A good sense of visual design doesn’t hurt either.
Begin by taking photos of any landscaping projects you have worked on, even if it is in your own backyard. If you don’t have any examples, consider doing a small flower bed or two for your portfolio. Use the best photo to make flyers and ads to run in the local papers.
When looking for work and dropping off flyers, keep your mind open. Don’t just hit homes, anywhere that has a patch of dirt is a potential client. This includes hospitals, grocery stores, schools, etc. The possibilities are endless.
In order to suggest design ideas, you need to know what grows best in your area and what is available. Visit the local nurseries to find out and make notes on prices so you can quote your clients for projects without extensive research. You should also know how much space each plant needs when it is fully grown and what plants make good temporary fillers until shrubs and such are mature. The best way to keep this knowledge on hand (unless you happen to be a memorizing prodigy) is to buy a complete plant book for your area.
Another necessity is a vehicle that you can dirty up. A pickup is ideal, but any car that can carry small trees, shrubs and such is fine. Buy a tarp to lay down if you don’t want soil everywhere.
You will need some basic tools, which as a gardener, you probably already have. Spades, trowels, a wheelbarrow, rake, etc. You will be providing these items, not your client, so make sure you have the basics.
When quoting a project, remember to factor in all costs, such as soil, fertilizer, and transport as well as labor and plants. Discuss your plans thoroughly with the client ahead of time. Once you have the whole yard dug up, it isn’t nice to have someone start changing their minds on where the path should go.
If you feel capable, you could expand your landscaping to include paths, gazebos, and irrigation systems. If not, let your client know that these options will require hiring experts and add that price to your quote.
Landscaping is a great outside job and you will have a certain amount of freedom both in design and in hours. If you have teen children, it can be a great family business as well and it will bring in further long-term work as you return to replant and maintain the gardens you design.