Owning a garden centre doesn’t necessarily require any formal qualifications; however, as with almost every business, gaining valuable work experience in the industry is highly recommended. In addition, it would also be advantageous to take courses in horticulture or a related field.
As the owner, you will be the go-to person for customers when they have questions pertaining to all things blooming. That being said, you should have a thorough understanding of biology with regard to plant and animal organisms, their tissues, cells, functions, and how they rely on and work with each other and the environment.
Some other helpful skills to have include business administration and management training along with being familiar with production and processing, including raw materials, quality control and ways of making and distributing goods.
Keep in mind, you will be greeting and serving customers each and every day. Therefore, it will be one of your top priorities to listen to their problems, offer creative solutions, and give knowledgeable advice.
Finance and statistics
Once you feel confident in your ability and drive to own a garden centre it’s time to look at what you’ll need to make your vision reality.
First, start-up costs can be substantial depending on the location you choose and what type of inventory you’re planning on selling. Some helpful questions to ask yourself include:
- Will you grow your own plants or buy them from a wholesaler?
- How do you plan to keep your plants healthy and disease-free?
- How will you address the various gardening trends as well as adjust your marketing strategy to appeal to a wide variety of potential customers?
- What protocol will you follow to help hire and train your staff?
Finally, estimate how much money you’ll need to start by adding up initial expenses, including the price of plants, products, equipment, and tools, as well as the costs associated with obtaining a business licence, securing insurance, and hiring qualified employees. And remember, prior to approaching any investors for a loan, it is essential for you to prepare a detailed business plan.
What to look for when purchasing a garden centre
Before you fulling commit to buying your garden centre it’s important to thoroughly evaluate your options.
For example, you will need to decide what type of garden centre you would like to own. Will you specialise solely in plants, or are you planning to offer extras like decking equipment, lighting, tools, water features and fountains, patio furniture, and additional do-it-yourself supplies?
In addition, take time to evaluate the local demographics. Ideally, you should look for an area with a high population of millennials and baby boomers. Both are proving to have an avid passion for all things green.
Finally, pick the size that you feel comfortable managing.
Licences and permissions
Licences and permits required for opening a garden centre vary from state to territory, so be sure to conduct thorough research to ensure you are compliant with all legislation.
In addition to typical licences and permits, there are also legal considerations associated with this industry. For example, you may need a license to sell from some states into others, and there are restrictions on what you can send interstate through the mail.
As an owner, it’s imperative that you adhere to state and territory regulations regarding interstate border trade.
Before finalising the purchase of your garden centre, it is always an essential step to conduct due diligence. It’s also highly recommended that you enlist the help of a trusted lawyer, accountant, or business advisor to review important documents from the seller such as:
- Tax returns and profit and loss statements from the past three years.
- Details about the value and condition of all products included in the sale.
- Financial projections and plans for future growth.
- Records of accounts receivable and payable as well as lists of any suppliers and vendors, including existing contracts.
- Evidence of compliance with all required licences and permits.
- A list of staff planning to stay during the transfer of ownership.