Thank you Rhubarbgarden that is very helpful! I didn't think of damage a handyman might cause, and I was thinking of calling a couple of odd job men that I know. Might give that one a miss. And I have some questions I can ask now.
And I am feeling a bit more informed. I will look into horticultural colleges too
Look for adverts in your local post office etc. Ask what qualifications and/or experience they have. Horticultural qualifications are not essential but if a gardener has done an RHS or City and Guilds certificate you know they will be of a certain standard. If they do not have qualifications, asking the question gives them the opportunity to describe how experienced they are and you should be able to suss out from that if they know what they are doing or if it's just a money making add-on to other skills - e.g. a lot of handymen offer gardening services and while they may be fine to cut a lawn, they could cause untold damage pruning a shrub incorrectly if they don't know what they're doing.
Avoid the large companies. Whilst the person who comes round to do the quote may be qualified/experienced etc they may not be the one who comes round to do the work. You may get sent some teenager who knows nothing and is being paid minimum wage by his employer while you pay top dollar. Better to find an enthusiastic one man/woman band who is enthusiastic and motivated to do a good job.
If there are any horticultural colleges near you try posting an ad on their notice board. This is an excellent way to find someone who is enthusiastic and freshly trained, and they may be willing to work cheaply in return for the work experience.
Has anyone had any experience of hiring a gardener for regular gardening maintenance?
OH has decided he wants to hire one. We are both rubbish at proper garden maintenance, our interest and ability stretching as far as mowing the lawn. But as we live in a private rented house, we won't spend a fortune on the garden, but want to keep it neat and tidy.
We are both new to the hiring of a gardener, so wonder if anyone has any ideas/tips/experience. Any help is appreciated! I have gone onto Rated People, so will see what happens there. But I know that things like this, you need to be careful that you are not being conned!