HOME SERVICE AND GARDENING BUSINESS OPPORTUNITIES
Home service industries such as house cleaning, child care and gardening are boom industries in Australia today.
More and more, in many households, both husband and wife are working, leaving less time for gardening. With two wages, they are better able to afford to pay someone to do their gardening jobs.
The services you could consider providing include:
- Normally done on a weekly or fortnightly basis in the active growing seasons - less often in winter.
- May include trimming edges on each cut, on every second or third cut, or not at all.
- May be a "quality cut" service, for top quality lawns using top quality cylinder mowers.
- May be a basic cutting service using standard rotary type mower.
- You may or may not be required to remove lawn clippings from the site.
- This service may be provided as part of a routine maintenance contract which you attend to every week, fortnight or month.
- Pruning is also done as a once off, or once a year job, for example, roses and deciduous fruit trees in winter.
- Removing unwanted branches from trees (they might be dangerous, getting too near a building, or simply not wanted by the customer). Normally a once off job.
- You need special equipment and skill to do this safely and properly.
- Insurance costs are generally quite high.
- A highly specialised area of tree work requiring more skill and experience than tree lopping. Strictly for arboriculturists.
- Sometimes a one off job, more commonly part of a regular maintenance contract.
- It may involve chemical weed control (spraying) or other methods (e.g. hand weeding).
- Normally involves identification and spraying to control pests and diseases. May also involve other control methods.
- Repairing and improving an existing lawn.
- Involves such things as topdressing, weed control, thatch removal, aerating, feeding, and watering.
GENERAL GARDEN MAINTENANCE
- Usually employed on a weekly or fortnightly basis for a set number of hours to do some or all of the jobs needed to care for the garden (i.e. feeding, watering, weeding, lawn mowing, pest control, pruning, etc).
- Often included in a gardening job, often expected!
- Many gardeners do not offer this service, others do.
- You should clearly indicate to customers whether you do or do not remove rubbish.
- Normally a one off job involving weeding, pruning, spraying, replacing dead plants, additional planting, lawn renovation and perhaps some minor landscaping.
- Usually a more major task than other garden services.
- Involves such things as earthworks, rock work, drainage, lawn construction, paving, installation of watering systems, planting, etc.
- Offering design advice or a full landscape plan.... Often, but not always, attached to a nursery or landscaping business.
IRRIGATION DESIGN & INSTALLATION
- Designing and installing irrigation systems
- Service used by home owners, factories, companies, estate developers, councils.
- The move to water efficiency has seen an increase in irrigation system sales and installation over the previous few years.
INTERIOR PLANT SERVICE
- Installing, maintaining plants in offices, buildings and display areas.
- May involve routine maintenance once a week in most situations.
CONSIDER ALL OF THE ABOVE OPTIONS AND DECIDE WHICH SERVICES YOU WILL OFFER AND WHICH YOU WILL NOT OFFER.
It is strongly recommended that when dealing with the public or plants, that training in that particular field is recommended. Some fields listed above will require registration in appropriate associations. It would be in your interest to achieve acceptance into these associations as they can promote business.
The options presented above are traditional opportunities which comprise the vast bulk of opportunities in garden and landscape businesses. Those areas are less risky than new, niche, or trendy areas. They probably offer a greater opportunity for a secure income for most people. However, there are other options, and if you are able to be innovative you may do well to develop a different type of service in a new or niche area. Here are a few ideas:
The world is a diverse place and there are always small groups of people who will respond to unique services and products which are not catered for. To be successful, you need to develop something different at both the right time and in the right place; and establish your business before any serious competition develops.
Examples might be such things as:
This business will require previous qualification and experience. The tasks involved may cover pest and disease identification and control, garden design advice, fruit and vegetable advice, fung shui, etc. It may be possible to charge more as it would be a professional service. You can provide written reports and advice. This business may link up with other businesses to do landscape construction or other tasks if the consultancy business is not set up for it.
This business would deal specifically with small lot property owners (town houses, courtyards, etc). A high degree of quality would be expected with an eye for detail and perfection. It would be best directed at inner city dwellers.
This business could design and install a garden area which is completely hydroponic.
The client will have a relatively hassle free garden, that can look good and provide fruits, herbs and vegetables for his/her table. Routine maintenance, perhaps once a month might be offered as an optional extra service.
Other Themed Landscaping
Japanese, Malaysian, Santa Fe, Rainforest, Native, etc. are all theme gardens that a business could specialise in designing and constructing.
Topiary or Bonsai Maintenance
This business could provide routine maintenance for bonsai or topiary plants, potting up, feeding, and pruning or training. Such a service would only succeed in places where there are affluent clients with topiary or bonsai collections.
Holiday Garden Care
This business could offer to take care of peoples gardens when they go on holidays. People who might not normally employ a gardener could be attracted to such a service. It could take time to develop such a service, and the work might become seasonal (eg. Long hours in summer, and short working weeks in winter.
This business might specialise in helping a gardener reduce water needs and better manage water in the garden. The service could involve such things as installing irrigation, mulching a garden, installing deep watering pipes for large trees, changing plant varieties, or redesign of gardens for better water conservation.
Plant Finder Service
This business may source out various nurseries for clients who are after specific plant species (usually the rare and unique). Instead of the client running around, you may be hired to do the searching and collecting the plants. Plants may range from a small 140mm pot to 4 metre trees, individually or in mass numbers - the opportunities as a plant finder could be used by other nurseries, councils, landscape companies and home gardeners.
COMPLIMENTARY FRINGE SERVICES
There are various other services which are not strictly "gardening", but are often provided as an extra service by a gardener. If appropriate, you might consider offering the following extra services along with the "main" business you develop.
Swimming Pool Maintenance
This can involve vacuuming, testing water, adding chemicals if needed, and cleaning the pool filter
This might involve simple things such as painting, removing/treating rust on metal surfaces, oiling squeaking hinges, repairing any damage to walls or doors etc.
Cleaning Gutters and/or Windows
Gardeners sometimes have the opportunity to remove firewood from one property, store and dry it, and then sell it to another client as firewood.
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