The Full Guide to Becoming Self Employed: Gardener

Many find the field of gardening an interesting work prospect. With opportunities like horticulture courses or degrees available, it’s easy to get ahead in the industry. Gardening offers a stable income, that can be relied upon seasonally. But how do you go about breaking into this sector when self-employed?

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Becoming a recognised gardener

Working as a gardener doesn’t require much other than experience. No matter what specific garden-based profession you’re hoping for, getting a base level of training is an easy way into the field. 

Training & qualifications

It’s important to create and follow a plan that suits your aspirations.

You should first get experience as a gardener. Learning how to plant and care for various flora. You could then decide to move to other fields such as horticulture or landscaping. It’s a horticulturist’s job to know how to cultivate fruits, nuts, and vegetables. They also grow ornamental plants and even medicinal plants. It’s a landscaper’s job to know how to plan, shape, and build outdoor spaces.

Depending on the type of work you’re looking to do, you’ll need qualifications on top of training. Horticulturists often have bachelor’s degrees in relating fields, such as horticulture, biology, botany.

Landscaping is more complex, being broken down into more specific sub-categories although in general, it doesn’t require a degree. In order to become a landscaping professional, you should consider taking on an apprenticeship. Make sure that it’s in the area of landscaping that you’re looking to work in.

Apprenticeships provide the opportunity for on-the-job experience with exams and technical training throughout. They also offer a wage and other benefits you normally only get from work, such as holiday pay. For more details on the specific qualification you’re after, go to the City & Guilds website.

Starting the business

Starting a professional gardening business is difficult. You need to decide on the scale, client type, and work type that you’re willing and able to take on. This begins with the difficult choice of sole trader or limited company.

Setting up a company as a sole trader means that you are fully responsible for the business. Any business decisions are also the owner’s sole responsibility. You can have employees as a sole trader, but if you are considering expanding and becoming a larger company, a limited company is the better choice. Being a sole trader is best suited for gardeners or horticulturists who mainly work on personal properties and small businesses.

Setting up your business as a limited company makes it an entity in its own right, and you an employee. Decisions are made by the shareholders of the company. You would pay yourself through a salary and dividends.

Limited companies are more suitable when a business expands its employee roster, Limited companies are seen as larger scale. Larger clients are more likely to take you on, which should be taken into consideration when making the business.

For any trade, you will need an efficient way of invoicing your customers. Why not pick up the Invoice24 app and make this process something you can do hassle-free, as and when needed. 

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