How to Grow a Garden Business
If you've been looking for an easy home based business that you can start with a minimal investment, it may be time to put that green thumb of yours to work. Gardeners for hire have been featured in a number of magazines, newspapers, ezines and televesion spots. It is one of those green jobs that allows avid vegetable gardeners to make money doing what they love - growing food! Not only can you earn a respectable income, you may even get the added bonus of free food from the bountiful harvests you produce for your clients.
Step One: Planning Your Business
Deciding what types of services you will offer comes first. It would be wise to include a number of products and services that will accomodate the different needs of your clients. Perhaps some may want to start with just a small herb garden, or raised bed vegetable patch. Others may need help in designing a patio garden. When it comes time to sell your services, you will find that some clients want a huge garden, and others just don't have the space available. It is up to you to be creative, and design plans to meet a variety of needs. Once you've decided on the services, pricing is next. Don't sell yourself short on this. Gardening is hard work, and you deserve to be paid. At the same time, be competitive. There will be a number of expenses for each garden that you plant, from soil, compost and mulch to raised bed planter or plant containers. Make sure that you cover the expenses including any delivery fees, taxes, etc.
Step Two: Developing Your Marketing Materials
Your marketing should include a website with photographs, brochures, business cards and press releases. A blog can also be extremely effective. All of this means you have a little bit of preparation to do. Writing about your services, and photographing your gardens is extremely important. Your goal is to sell your service, so you need to tell potential clients what they will get from you, why they should hire you, and you need to make it all sound irresistible. Please keep in mind that the content of your marketing will be most people's first impression of you. Try to sound intelligent, don't make promises that are too good to be true, and check your spelling and grammar.
Your website does not have to be elaborate, but it does need to be well thought out, visaully appealing, and look professional. Don't include a bunch of graphics, boldface type and colored text or highlights. Your site should have a home, an about, services, contact and photos pages. Include enough information to sell your service. You may also want to include products for sale.
Your blog is a great vehicle to keep your customers up to date on your business, as well as attract new business. Always link to your website.
Your business cards, postcards, brochures and flyers should look professional. Although color print can be more expensive, it is worth it to make your marketing materials stand out from the rest.
Sending press releases to local publications is a great to announce your business. In order to get them published, they need to be newsworthy. In other words, they cannot just be a written advertisement. Don't ignore this aspect of promotion. It can be extremely effective. Include your website in every press release you send out.
Step Three: Find Your Clients
You may be surprised to find that there are a number of individuals and companies that are interested in your services. People that have always wanted a vegetable garden, and just didn't have the time or thought they didn't have the space. Restaurant owners and chefs that would like to grow their own herbs, vegetables and fruits. There may even be hospitals, retirement centers and assisted living centers that would be interested in the benefits of growing fresh foods for their clients. Get out there, share your knowledge, hand out business cards and brochures and keep going until you get your clientele built up.
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