The book's an amalgam of advisory posts I've published on Landscape Juice since 2006.
All profits from the book will go toward keeping LJN free for its members.
However, having said that, everything I've written is available for free on either Landscape Juice or the Landscape Juice Network.
Even though the title suggests my book is for business starters, the content is ideal for anyone who has been trading for a while.
The information and advice is simply delivered so as to enable the reader to get a clear picture of how to approach business. After all, being running a business is not rocket science, we just tend to over complicate things.
My basic approach will help define or re-define the approach to business.
I'd like to thank Helen for her patience and help in preparing and editing the book for publication.
Thanks also to Craig for his encouragement.
If you've already purchased it, thank you. Please feel free to leave a comment (review) below and make any suggestions you feel appropriate. I'd love to hear your feedback.
Below are a few snippets of what the book contains.
Why start a gardening business?
A plethora of TV gardening programmes have tended to create a misty and romantic notion that a garden makeover or a complete landscaping project is quick, easy, fun and may be achieved on low to modest budgets. This has unfortunately led to the unrealistic and undeliverable expectations of the consumer, who is now under the impression that gardens are quick and easy and that employing a gardener or a landscaper is cheap.
Consequently, the stark reality is that gardening is still often viewed - despite the ongoing work we are all doing on Landscape Juice - as a second-class profession. It is also significantly undervalued compared to many other skilled trades; it's totally unregulated, hampered by the vagaries of the weather and is blighted by a common impression that everything can be renegotiated for cash.
Saleable skills and knowledge
It's the same with any profession. You can only receive the right remuneration according to the experience and skills you possess. It doesn't matter one iota if you are unqualified in some or all of the aspects of gardening or landscaping but you have to be able to deliver on your promise. You'll be foolish, bordering on insane, if you sell yourself as being experienced and skilled in certain aspects of gardening or landscaping and then expose yourself and let yourself down when trying to deliver the goods to your clients.
You also have to be aware that the price you can charge depends on the knowledge and skills you already possess. So, you have to do some research into your local gardening markets and assess what's already being charged for the service you aim to deliver. Then work out if you have the ammunition to provide those skills to receive the right compensation to create the income you need from your business.
Does every business need a plan?
No and yes. Whilst it is not necessary to write everything down, when you do so - and read it back - it is much easier to determine if you've made any errors or if what you are planning is actually viable.
Many new garden maintenance or small landscaping businesses grow organically; by that I mean they start off small, have little need for outside finance, and are just a means to provide an income for their owners, who have no real aspirations to create a large organisation.
It is these small owner-operated businesses that are often instinctively run and because they operate within a tight structure (i.e. the owner has a strict timetable of scheduled work, does not need to plan for additional staff and is not looking to expand), there is little or no perceived need to operate a business plan.
Taking time out for training or education
If you've already gone through horticulture college and have a qualification behind you, then the chances are you'll be able to get on with your new business without too much disruption. If, however, you've identified the need to top-up or widen your knowledge by taking a course, then these hours will have to be planned for.
None of us is Superman and we cannot do everything, but if you've forecast a need to work 50 weeks x 8 hours to make the kind of money you'll need to cover your costs and make a profit, then taking a few hours or a day a week from your estimates means you have to plan to make up the shortfall.
Example: you identify that you need to make £20,000 per year.
Your vehicle is an ideal place to add promotional information about your services. It may cost you a couple of hundred pounds, or possibly a lot more, but after this your advert goes exactly where you do, and no better place to be seen is the street or property where you're already working.
Similarly, placing a work board outside the house where you’re working (I would ask permission) sends out your message perfectly.
Lokks ideal but if you don't have a Kindle and have no intention of buying one is there going to be an alternative format? PDF maybe?
You don't need a Kindle or iPad to read it. Download the free Kindle app: http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/feature.html/ref=kcp_pc_mkt_lnd?docId=10... and read it on your PC