If you’ve gotten sick of working inside a cubicle and dealing with office lighting, you’ve likely considered starting a business or working from home. If you have a green thumb and love spending time outside, you could make a good living as a home-based gardener. Although little or no experience is necessary, gardening can be developed into a full-time occupation, with plenty of demand for reliable and dependable individuals.
Gardeners perform many tasks, including watering, trimming, raking, digging, planting, hoeing and leaf-blowing, to keep their customers’ homes and yards looking beautiful. You can earn between $18 and $20 an hour on your own, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Landscape architects can earn even more than a gardener. You’ll need a college degree in landscape architecture to build fountains, ponds, rock formations and certain irrigation systems. While you may pursue this option later on, there is still plenty of opportunity in performing the basics for homeowners.
In a field with such high turnover, reliable performance at a fair rate will put you ahead of most of your competition. Your customer base will take root with word of mouth. Monthly maintenance schedules with clients keep the bookkeeping relatively simple in a home-based gardening business. The National Gardening Association and American Horticultural Society offer solid online resources for gardeners.
Benefits of a Home-Based Gardener Business
Forget sitting for eight hours a day; as a gardener, you’ll get plenty of exercise outside, helping you maintain a healthy weight. With so many homeowners struggling to manage busy schedules, you’ll have continual demand for your services. With a mix of regular clients and the occasional one-time cleanup of unkempt properties, you can earn a steady and sustainable income.
Issues Associated with a Home-Based Gardener Business
While it might feel wonderful after years cooped up in an office building, all of that sunshine can have drawbacks. Prolonged exposure to the sun can cause health hazards like dehydration and even skin cancer; you’ll need to invest in protective clothing to keep yourself safe.
While exercise is great for your health, if you aren’t used to repetitive bending, reaching and squatting, you can develop back and joint problems.
Finally, your income is largely dependent on the weather. During the winter, you will likely have few clients, if any, so you’ll have to carefully budget throughout the year so you have enough money to pay your bills in the off-season.
What You Need to Get Started
When you’re getting ready to launch your new business, you’ll need the following:
- Good physical health: You’ll need to be in excellent shape to handle the work. Prepare for the job by engaging in cardiovascular exercise and strength training.
- Marketing Materials: To get the word out about your business and attract your first customers, you’ll need some marketing materials, from a basic website to business cards.
- Basic lawn and garden equipment: You will often be expected to supply your own tools, including a shovel, rake, hoe, lawn mower, weed eater and trowel. Note that a commercial mower can cost around $2,000 but you can start smaller and scale up as your business profits.
- License and Insurance: Each state has unique licensing laws and insurance requirements. Check with your state’s small business association to find out what you need to get started.