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Starting a push bike and trailer gardening business?

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AlrightKirstyAlrightKirsty Forumite
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Hi I am wondering if people think this can be somewhat successful. I am planning to start a gardening business, and to get my tools around I have built a 4ft x 2.8ft trailer (almost finished). Its big enough to carry main tools at once such as lawn mower, blower, hedgtrimmer, strimmer, petrol can, chainsaw etc. Do you think this could work? I am not expecting a lot of work to come in but since I have been off work for over a year with mental illness, me and my counsellor think it will do me good for anxiety and to ease back into work as I enjoy it and the exercise will do me good. On the other hand I have had people tell me that I should just do driving lessons and I have had money offered for a van but I would rather be earning and paying for things myself. I plan to do driving lessons and get a van and a carry on pursuing the gardening. I would just like to do some garden maintenance like lawn mowing, strimming, hedge trimming, weeding, pruning, clearing leaves up etc. And then hopefully add on more services as i go along and learn. I will hand out leaflets around the city and am prepared to bike 7 miles for a job. I also would not rely on the customers lawn mower and other tools as I would rather just come prepared. I would purchase a stihl 5 in 1 multi attachment engine so I only have one engine in the back rather than multiple, so weight would be reduced. I would like to do this and it would do me well, but I keep getting good and bad comments about whether it will work or not. I have spent £280 on the trailer so I would be sad to sell it and just go for the van without trying it out. Thanks for your comments 
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Replies

  • nosuperwomannosuperwoman Forumite
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    Hi
    Sounds good. There will be lots of people with opinions on anything you decide but they don't really know (any more than you do). When starting a business you do need to consider whether there are enough customers in the right place. Other than that you seem to have a unique selling point - your 'service model' fits current thinking on sustainability. Tool  banks, reduced emissions, low waste, grow your own, wildlife habitats, you can call yourself The Eco Gardner. That being said, it's cost and convenience that will make people pay up.
    You could start small with the bicycle trailer and grow it over time.
    Make sure you don't underprice though, ask someone who might know what the going rate is, you can always drop the price as a special introductory offer but putting it up is harder!
    Good luck, you've got a lot of work ahead but you can do it gradually. There are books on low cost start ups but you just need to do it and find out
    Never look for comfort food in a macrobiotic restaurant

  • ElephantBoy57ElephantBoy57 Forumite
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    You might do well to concentrate on older people that need their gardens doing. In my area the local council discount approved gardeners.
    I do a few gardens, using my car and own mower, I have seen others doing that too.
  • ApodemusApodemus Forumite
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    Definitely sounds like starting by bike is the best option - at least for now.  Physical work in the fresh air is always good for the soul! 

    At this time of year you could start out by simply doing leaf clearance from lawns etc, armed with nothing more than a £10 lawn rake.  But you will need to work out whether you are able to offer a complete removal service or are leaving the bags of leafs for the householders to dispose of themselves. 

    As far as I can make out, the Stihl 5-in-1 looks an interesting bit of kit but it will be a jack-of-all-trades, so always something of a compromise.  You will still need a mower as well.  And carrying everything in the trailer is going to get heavy, so I hope you live in a relatively flat city! 

    Don't turn your nose up at hand-tools and you should be able to pick these up second-hand for very little cost.

    Best of luck with it!
  • FarwayFarway Forumite
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    One thing you will need to get settled with customers at the start is waste removal, leaves as mentioned above
    Round here the council charge for trade tipping, hence no gardeners will remove waste and leave it for the householder to sort out,more so if you are biking it to the tip

    But your idea does sound interesting, and very Eco / green which would be a good selling point
    Early days yet, but how would your bike & trailer manage with lugging plants or compost to a client?

  • 25_Years_On25_Years_On Forumite
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    My gardening business has one rule. Clients must be within walking distance. I'm in a lucky village location and I have a low limit on number of clients. Admittedly I do occasionally drive to one place where I do cut the lawn but I could wheel the mower there if I really wanted to. And I could use the clients mover if I wanted to. Everyone deals with their own garden waste.
  • ElephantBoy57ElephantBoy57 Forumite
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    Farway said:
    But your idea does sound interesting, and very Eco / green which would be a good selling point. Early days yet, but how would your bike & trailer manage with lugging plants or compost to a client?
    Is it secure, to store your hedge trimmer, strimmer and other tools, whilst you are busy.

  • ArthogArthog Forumite
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    We know someone who as a lad couldn't wait to leave school, so he bought a wheelbarrow and a few tools and the day after leaving school he went round knocking on doors for gardening work.  Fast forward about 20 years and he lives in a fabulous house and owns half the village. Go for it! Take advice about safeguarding the equipment and about safety and insurance etc. There is probably a local business association to keep you up to date with changes in regulations and the law.
  • JustagardenerJustagardener Forumite
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    Great Idea! Go for it.  You can get good, quick advice on here if you need it too. Consider the battery stihl tools rather than petrol. The batteries last and keep the batteries with you, they are the expensive bits!
  • silverwhistlesilverwhistle Forumite
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    I've got the Aldi battery hedgetrimmer and lawnmower and have been very pleased, but that's with just my small garden. They'd certainly be good enough for testing the proof-of-concept before getting heavier duty stuff. Hand tools shouldn't be an issue. You might want a carrier bag holding the valuable tools and batteries to take in to the premises.
    Just personal opinion, but leaf blowers seem a bit pointless, just moving leaves from one place to another (from observation ;-) ). Better a rake and brush.
    If you are in a city I'd hope you could do a smaller radius than 7 miles which is a substantial area! Better to work on journey time and be selective, since time traveling is effectively wasted.
  • missilemissile Forumite
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    Great idea, good luck :-)
    "A nation's greatness is measured by how it treats its weakest members." ~ Mahatma Gandhi
    Ride hard or stay home :iloveyou:
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