Gardener, Green Jobs!
Has anyone ever accused you of having a green thumb? Do you love working outdoors, especially in the backyard or garden? Well if you do, and you’re looking to make some extra money on the side, then you should consider becoming the neighborhood gardener.
Gardening can be a fun hobby for many people, but with the busy lives that adults lead it’s easy for them to get behind on their outdoor chores. That’s why starting a gardening business can be a great idea. You can help your neighbors get caught up on their gardens and flowerbeds, cleaning up the weeds and overgrowth that surrounds their homes and backyards.
Plus it’s the business that keeps on giving: weeds never stop growing, and bushes will always need pruning. Do a good job the first time, and your name will be the first thing on your clients’ minds the next time they notice the weeds creeping back up between their rows of tomato plants. It’s a job that can easily turn into a flourishing business.
So what do you need to do to get started in the business of professional gardening? It’s not as hard as you might think; In fact, you could probably even get started today.
1) Clients. Of course, the basis for any business is a list of people to work for! Try going door-to-door in your neighborhood, talking to your neighbors and letting them know that you’re starting a gardening business. It’s also a great idea to take with you some information about your business, like a one page flyer with a list of services you’re offering along with all of your contact information. Make sure that the next time your neighbor thinks about plants, they think of you.
2) Tools. You’ll also need some basic tools to get started, but you’ve probably got most of them in your garage already. A shovel, garden hoe, digging fork, garden rake, pruners, gloves, and a wheelbarrow are all tools that will make your time in between the rows a whole lot easier. Some jobs will require you to purchase special items, too, like spreading hay around certain plants or supporting taller plants like corn and tomatoes with wooden stakes. Anytime you have to purchase supplies make sure that you clear it with the homeowner first. Surprising your clients with a larger-than-expected bill is a good way to lose them.
3) Transportation. While you won’t always need transportation to get to and from a job, it’s still a good idea to have some available if you need to make a gardening run. This could include picking up plants from the local nursery, offering pine straw delivery out of the back of your truck, or hauling off old brush and dead vegetation to the local dump. If you can’t drive yet then no worries; there’s still plenty of work you can get done with two hands, a wheelbarrow, and a little sweat.
Starting your own local gardening business can be a rewarding way to make money. Few jobs allow you to create something, and there’s a satisfying feeling when you know that you’ve left a plot of soil better than it was when you arrived. Your clients will remember your work, too, and will think of you the next time that their gardens and flowerbeds get out of hand. The business of gardening definitely has some serious growth potential!
Job Summary: Gardening
- Suitable for age range: 12-22 years old.
- Safety and security: There are several things to keep in mind so that you stay safe when gardening. Be mindful of poisonous plants and animals; it’s not uncommon to see snakes and poison ivy around garden spots. Be mindful of the sun, too. Always drink plenty of water and wear sunscreen when working outdoors, especially in the summertime.
- Can improve your: Physical and mental health, as well as learning the basics to maintaining a successful service industry business.
- Can continue as a career? Many people go from gardening as a hobby to providing outdoor services to customers full-time. Gardening can grow into jobs working with nurseries, in retail supply stores, or landscaping.
- Required soft skills: Understand customers’ needs, willing to put in hard work regardless of outside conditions.
- Required hard skills: Ability to sell customers your services, talk to strangers, operate many different gardening tools, thorough knowledge of gardening skills and plant identification.
- Resources and network:
o About.com – How to start a new garden
o Jobs in Horticulture, Inc. – Your source for horticulture jobs!
o Almanac.com – Vegetable garden planning: beginning gardening
o Better Homes and Gardens – 10 steps to beginning a garden
o Gardening Journey – Vegetable Gardening for Beginners
- Where & how to find one? Talking with your neighbors and starting your own business is the best way to get your hands dirty. After gaining a little experience and putting back a little money you can start thinking about ways to grow your business, or take your skills to an established business like a nursery or farm to earn a check without the stress of being your own boss.
- Estimated pay: Pay is usually established by the job, but if you’re dealing with a client that insists on paying you by the hour, try to consider how long the job will take you to complete, and work in your hourly rate that way. Check out this helpful article at the examiner.com that details what clients should expect to pay their gardeners for various tasks.