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Gardening business - possible small issue

(19 Posts)
Geoff0409 Mon 31-Mar-14 19:48:39

I would like to start a small domestic gardening business (I am not an expert but not too bad and always work hard). I do have an issue though. As gar as I am aware it is illegal to transport petrol-powered tools such as a mower and strimmer etc in the boot of a car (I can't afford a van at all), as it is a health and safety issue to do with petrol fumes - the tools need to therefore be sealed off during transportation. I can offer a service using my electric tools, but wasn't sure how professional this looked and how I would approach a customer that I would need access to a plug. I have an extension lead so it is not too difficult and obviously I would reflect this by having lower charges but wondered if anyone knew anything about this and what your opinions on this would be if you needed a Gardener? I will also post under Business Start-Ups just in case of different advice and help.
Many thanks,

MrsCakesPremonition Mon 31-Mar-14 19:53:49

Could you get a trailer? Not sure if that is safe and secure enough.
FWIW I wouldn't object to giving you access to power, so long as felt your service was good and reasonably priced (and I knew in advance).

Gooner123 Mon 31-Mar-14 19:56:48

Yes,a trailer is what you need,as for electric tools,I wouldn't bother personally.

LaurieFairyCake Mon 31-Mar-14 20:34:58

I've got battery powered tools which are good.

Realitybitesyourbum Mon 31-Mar-14 20:37:25

My hard landscaper currently doing my garden asked me for a plug this morning to plug his radio in! I don't think its a problem.

Geoff0409 Mon 31-Mar-14 23:32:40

Thanks for your replies. A trailer is not an option for my car I don't think. I appreciate that a lot of people wouldn't mind. Coming from a fellow Gooner, why wouldn't you bother with electric tools Gooner123 ? , and where did you get your battery tools please Laurie ? Are they used for just your own use or do you use them for business at all? I have seen various makes but wasn't sure how long the battery lasts for (quite pricey for my budget).

LaurieFairyCake Mon 31-Mar-14 23:35:19

I use the Ryobi range, not for business though. They are in general better than domestic tools.

sunbathe Mon 31-Mar-14 23:37:16

Depending on where you're working, a push mower might be suitable? Obviously for the smaller lawn!

Just doing weeding could be popular too?

MyICDiscalledsparky Mon 31-Mar-14 23:41:44

Our garden is too big for electric tools, which is why we need a gardener. We have our own petrol mower, petrol strimmer, chainsaw etc and the gardener uses our tools and charges us less because of this. We also provide the fuel. He doesn't have a car at all but still manages to find enough work.

I know a lot of older people around here who have their own mowers, etc and need a hand doing the lawn and garden.

Geoff0409 Tue 01-Apr-14 18:25:44

Thanks for all the replies. Seems that petrol tools are a given - at least a mower anyway. For a hedge trimmer though I have had a look and found some of the lithium-ion battery powered/rechargable would be good - the battery lasts ok and the prices are not too bad. Thanks again for all the responses. Sparky - how does your Gardener get from job to job?

Gooner123 Tue 01-Apr-14 19:43:02

Hi Geoff,the reason I favour petrol tools is because a lot of the gardens I do are just too big to run cables,also a lot of the time the home owner is not at home,or going out,so I can't get at the leccy.
When I first started I got a lot of my machines second/ hand from gumtree,picked up a nice Makita hedge trimmer for £50 that is still going strong several yrs later,also if you get some really rough ground that needs cutting you don't want to bugger up your nice new mower but if you've got a cheap one it doesn't matter so much.
The only thing I would say is get decent hand tools.
And Come on you Gunners...

wonkylegs Tue 01-Apr-14 19:49:53

We've got battery powered hedge trimmer & strimmer for our garden which is a decent size -1.3acres.
We've got 2 batteries for each so one is charging whilst we're using the other. I prefer the electric one to the petrol ones as they do the job perfectly well but are lighter.
We have a ride on mower though as there's far too much grass.

MyICDiscalledsparky Tue 01-Apr-14 21:55:50

He catches the bus and he spends 4 hours here each week.

Geoff0409 Wed 02-Apr-14 10:59:54

Thank you all for your help and advice with this.
Spark, can I be cheeky enough to ask what you pay for your Gardening please?
Wonky, fair play having a ride on mower - must make it a fun job.
Gooner, GREAT idea to look on gumtree - hadn't even considered it. I'll also have a check on ebay. How long have you been gardening for a business please? Can you also let me know roughly how much petrol you go through in a day/week please? P.S. If we don't win the FA Cup this year we will never win it. Com on you Gunners.

Gooner123 Wed 02-Apr-14 19:31:29

Hi Geoff ,I've been involved in horticulture all my working life,been part time gardening for a long time,and full time for a few years.
I've got a large jerry can that I fill up & some smaller plastic ones so that I can mix up 2 stroke when I need it,I only fill the big can once or twice a year,although I do use some owners ride on mowers & they supply the fuel ( I have a reduced rate for that ) .It will really depend on how much mowing your doing,the hedge cutter & strimmer are quite economical.

Geoff0409 Wed 02-Apr-14 19:44:37

Thanks Gooner. If you'd told me a few years ago that I'd consider it as a business I would have told you were mad. I didn't like it at all. Then I started working on my Mum and Dad's and started to really enjoy it. My Mum's is in her fifties and has been quite ill with cancer, but touch wood is much better now and really likes what I've done. Now it is one of my most favourite things - it's helping me lose weight too. What do you do in the winter to keep your business going?

Mirage Wed 02-Apr-14 20:01:57

I've run a gardening business for 14 years and never used my own power tools or mowers,my customers always have their own and outside plugs.I also have a small trailer if need be too.

In my experience,it is easy to find people to mow lawns,cut hedges,do slabbing ect,but harder to find a gardener who knows about plants and is happy to weed borders and prune properly.

Good luck with your new

OwlCapone Wed 02-Apr-14 20:05:44

Can you not drain the fuel tank on your tools and transport the fuel in a proper petrol can?

Geoff0409 Thu 03-Apr-14 10:15:16

Thanks All. OwlCapone - yes I can do that. I was just worried as they say it's a health and safety issue with regards to the fumes that petrol gives off - ie. you need to be in a van where the back is sealed off from the cab/seating area. Great username by the way smile .
Mirage - my idea was that I could provide 2 or 3 levels of service - 1 if I used all my own tools, 2 if a customer had their own, and 3 charge a little more if it was a lot of heavier work. Ideally I would like a few customer's like yourself and keep costs down for me and for them. I am going to get a hand/push mower (aswell as a petrol one) too as once a lawn gets under control I think they give a really nice finish and it is good for the environment and my green credentials. It is important to me that I offer a personal and reliable service more than anything else. You are absolutely right with regards to the mowing brigade - the gardens are small in my road and the guy opposite me has gardeners just to cut his front and back lawns. The front is around 15 metres squares and the back around 45 square metres. 2 of them turn up and mow, strim the edges and use a blower (no broom or sweeping) and I have timed them a couple of times and the longest they have been there is 14 minutes! God knows what they charge. Then another neighbour has a gardener but he doesn't tell them when he'll turn up (not even which day he will be there). I would like to set myself apart from those types. With regards to pruning, while not an expert, my Mum and Dad have a Ceonathus that was about 6 or 7 foot high and hung over the garden about 10 to 12 feet - my Mum was adamant it should be left alone, however with alot of reading up and a little persuasion she let me prune it last year. I was quite brutal pruning it right back but there is plenty of fresh growth on it now. I honestly think it would be dead if some everyday bod had been allowed to do it.

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