So you’ve fallen down the rabbit hole of gardening during the pandemic. Now you’re thinking of turning your newfound hobby into a business opportunity – whether it’s as a gardening tools supplier or as a freelance gardener. But before you do that, be aware that there are many other things you should prepare yourself for. Working in the business of horticulture means more than just a rudimentary knowledge of topsoil conditions and fertilizer.
What would it involve?
They say that you should make a business only out of things you know and are passionate about, and this is no exception. The goal of gardening may be to create beautiful landscapes and outdoor spaces, but the process of it is dirty, unglamorous, and requires a lot of manual labor. Even if you garden a lot for your own home, there are still some things about the gardening and horticulture industry that may surprise you.
When you work in the gardening business, you need to remember that you’ll be dealing with pests, poisonous plants, and plants you may be allergic to. Needless to say, this isn’t the line of work for someone who has a pollen allergy. You’ll also have to be more than comfortable with being outdoors, even during inclement weather.
You’d have to know about many types of plants and what places, climates, and soils they would thrive in. You also have to be well-versed in other things such as irrigation and landscaping in general. Your consumers would include homeowners and landlords, estate agents, housing agents, schools, heads of public spaces, and many more.
A varied consumer market is good, but that also means they may ask you about other things peripheral to gardening, such as irrigation and paving. There are also different kinds of gardening machinery you’ll need to know about, such as lawnmowers, hedge cutters, and leaf blowers.
If you’re a home gardener who’d like to make a business out of your passion for horticulture, it’s best that you still undergo some training and education for the other aspects of gardening. If you’re going to be offering your services as a gardener, you’ll also need to build a good portfolio. On the flip side, if you’re only planning on selling plants, soil, seeds, and pesticides, you’ll still need knowledge on storing and transporting these materials.
What would you need?
Apart from training and the proper equipment, you’ll also need transport services to understand the needs and conditions for storing plants, soils, and chemicals.
Find your niche
The gardening market is chock-full of big-shots like Home Depot and even small businesses that have developed large followings over time. To set yourself apart from the competition, you may have to start with finding a niche and figuring out how to serve it. If you’re planning on offering your services as a gardener, what kind of gardening would you specialize in – general landscaping or something more specific such as topiary? The same goes if you’re planning on being a supplier for gardening tools and equipment.
Build an online presence
Make sure to get the word about your brand, products, and services out there. Don’t rely on social media platforms for your sales. Remember that social media sites are, first and foremost, marketing tools. Letting your social media accounts shoulder your online presence also means that you’ll be limited by the tools of those platforms.
However, when building a website, you’ll have access to a range of different tools and customization options for all your business needs. Your customers and clients would have much smoother and convenient transaction experiences when ordering products from your website rather than your official Instagram account.
As you continue to build your business portfolio, your website will also be another place to put those finished projects – apart from your social media channels, of course.
Good website design and the use of good images are key. You may have to hire a photographer, graphic designer, or art director to help you with these tasks. An art director or graphic designer will help you craft your brand’s look from the logo to the packaging. He or she will also help you to curate your marketing materials and social media posts so that they’re cohesive and eye-catching. Consumers will equate your brand’s visuals to the quality of your products and services, so visuals could make or break your brand.
There’s much more to the horticulture industry than your newfound hobby in gardening will prepare you for. Before you decide to make a business out of your green thumb, make sure to consider the things on this list first.