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Many homeowners and renters with available outdoor space are choosing to cultivate fruit, vegetable, and flower gardens in these areas. Gardening classes employ master gardeners to teach courses on gardening techniques, materials, and methods to class participants.
Who is this business right for?
Do you have gardening experience and a knack for talking to small and medium-sized crowds? Do you enjoy explaining and demonstrating gardening work to others? If so, teaching gardening classes could be an excellent fit for you. This type of business venture looks to help individuals become more adept at gardening, in exchange for a reasonable fee. Small business experience or teaching experience are also beneficial for starting up such a career. Gather your materials and organize some lessons and see your students’ gardening dreams come to life.
What happens during a typical day at a gardening class business?
A gardening class business needs class participants in order to be successful. Your biggest concern, then, will be connecting learners with the classes you are offering. This means catching their attention through numerous types of advertising and marketing campaigns. Social media posts, print and billboard ads, managing a website and related blog, joining online and regional gardening forums and organizations, and communicating and networking with people at any opportunity are all excellent ways to attract students. Additionally, you'll be preparing for current and upcoming classes, which requires gathering and storing various gardening materials and designing lessons. Finally, you'll be studying some yourself to stay on top of the latest trends, products, and techniques, even if you consider yourself a knowledgeable and experienced gardener. More knowledge is never a bad thing.
What is the target market?
Your target market will consist of individuals, 30-60 years old, who wish to increase their knowledge and understanding of gardening or farming.
How does a gardening class business make money?
Gardening class businesses make money from the fees paid by students or participants to take your classes.
What is the growth potential for a gardening class business?
Gardening is a popular and healthy trend. More and more people are choosing to grow fruits and vegetables or beautify their outdoor spaces with flowers. This also means greater numbers of consumers are looking for advice and insight on how to be more successful in their gardening endeavors. By positioning yourself as a knowledgeable and experienced, yet approachable, gardener you can create a teaching environment full of eager students. Factoring in the location in which you'll be operating, there is considerable room for growth in this market.
What are some skills and experiences that will help you build a successful gardening class business?
Since you'll be explaining the ins and outs of gardening and horticulture, it’s critical you have significant experience and knowledge in growing numerous different species in various conditions and climates. You should have hands on experience and a track record of success. You should also be excited about sharing your knowledge with others. Your enthusiasm will be an important factor in attracting new students and retaining prior learners.
You should also have some experience talking to crowds, either through public speaking or as a teacher or instructor. While you can always improve your delivery and lesson plans, it is important to be able to connect with your students and convey the ideas and techniques you'll be demonstrating from day one. This type of experience will also help you when planning for classes, as you'll be able to reflect on what materials will be needed and determine the scope of learning for each class. Planning for classes maximizes the effectiveness of the lesson and gives you more of a professional rapport with your student clients.
Finally, since you'll be running your own business, you should have some experience, knowledge, or training relating to small business management techniques. You'll need to regularly consider your budget and bottom line, the best ways to advertise, market, and promote, and how to turn teaching into earning. Although your gardening know how will be your biggest wealth of knowledge, understanding how to successfully run a small business is just as important.
What are the costs involved in opening a gardening class business?
Costs for opening and running a gardening class business can be kept to a minimal, but there are some essentials that you'll need to get started and remain in business. This business requires gardening supplies, both for the instructor and for the students. You can stick with the basics to begin, but you will likely need to restock the supplies of tools, fertilizers, pots, buckets, soil mixes, watering cans, and other gardening essentials. You'll also want to create or rent a space in which to hold your classes. If you have space on your property, you may be able to create a permanent gardening classroom that works for classes year round. Chairs, workbenches, hoses, and a wheelbarrow or two are all good investments.
You'll need to spend some money on advertising, internet and phone access, a website and monitored hosting, business cards, signs and posters, and any business licenses specific to your area. You will also need comprehensive insurance, as you'll be interacting with the general public and asking them to engage in hands-on learning.
What are the steps to start a gardening class business?
Once you're ready to start your gardening class business, follow these steps to ensure that your business is legally compliant and avoid wasting time and money as your business grows:
- Plan your business. A clear plan is essential for success as an entrepreneur. A few important topics to consider are your initial costs, your target market, and how long it will take you to break even.
- Form a legal entity. Establishing a legal business entity prevents you from being personally liable if your gardening class business is sued.
- Register for taxes. You will need to register for a variety of state and federal taxes before you can open for business.
- Open a business bank account. A dedicated checking account for your gardening class business keeps your finances organized and makes your business appear more professional to your customers.
- Set up business accounting. Recording your various expenses and sources of income is critical to understanding the financial performance of your business. Keeping accurate and detailed accounts also greatly simplifies your annual tax filing.
- Obtain necessary permits and licenses. Failure to acquire necessary permits and licenses can result in hefty fines, or even cause your business to be shut down.
- Get business insurance. Insurance is highly recommended for all business owners. If you hire employees, workers compensation insurance may be a legal requirement in your state.
- Define your brand. Your brand is what your company stands for, as well as how your business is perceived by the public. A strong brand will help your business stand out from competitors.
- Establish a web presence. A business website allows customers to learn more about your company and the products or services you offer. You can also use social media to attract new clients or customers.
Select your state below for an in-depth guide on completing each of these steps in your home state.
Where can I find a business mentor?
One of the greatest resources an entrepreneur can have is quality mentorship. As you start planning your business, connect with a free business resource near you to get the help you need.
Having a support network in place to turn to during tough times is a major factor of success for new business owners.
What are some insider tips for jump starting a gardening class business?
Teaching gardening can be rewarding and fun. It can also require quite a bit of work. You're sure to run into competition, either from other gardening classes near you or from internet tutorials, which are quite popular. The key is to market yourself as specific to an area, climate, or gardening style. There are unique types of gardening and farming that work best for certain regions. Consider what information will most affect your clientele and focus on improving yields for these areas or techniques. You might also want to focus on specific plant species you know some gardeners have trouble growing. By offering something different, you'll be able to attract greater numbers of students. Of course, you can still offer introductory or novice classes, as well, but niche horticulturist options are recommended.
How to promote & market a gardening class business
Marketing and promoting this type of business requires some general advertising formats, as well as some more specific and partnered methods. To begin, create a website and social media accounts for your business. These forms of communication and promotion can be relatively inexpensive and will provide you with at platform to begin communicating with potential students and other gardeners. Opening lines of communication to introduce yourself and what you can offer will serve you well, as word of mouth recommendations are very powerful advertising tools. You can also register students for your classes through your website.
Next, you'll want to have some business cards, flyers, and road signs printed to communicate the time and place where you'll be holding your classes. You can also ask local garden and farm supply businesses if you can leave cards or flyers at their counters or in their windows. This will allow you to approach partnerships with local businesses, as well. By asking them for advertising space, you can in turn advertise these businesses to your students through your classes. You might also be able to make a deal to purchase class materials through them at a discounted rate or even offer classes at the store locations. Your partnerships with local businesses can significantly help your overall reach and business success.
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How to keep customers coming back
Since you're relying on positive student experiences to draw more students in and retain existing ones, you should strive to give students a meaningful and insightful class curriculum. Give each class your best effort, but always leave a little for the next class. Interlock the information so that students will need to return to future classes to complete their training. Keep in contact with your students, both during and after the classes have concluded. These personalized relationships will then help foster new and expanded student experiences.
How and when to build a team
As you begin your business venture, you may be able to go it alone or with one other helper or co-teacher. An assistant is always a bonus, especially in a hands on teaching scenario. Until your business is thriving and attendance is consistent, though, you likely won't need many other employees, if any.
State & Local Business Licensing Requirements
Certain state permits and licenses may be needed to operate a travel photography business.
Learn more about licensing requirements in your state by visiting SBA’s reference to state licenses and permits.
In addition, certain local licensing or regulatory requirements may apply.
- Check with your town, city or county clerk’s office
Get assistance from one of the local associations listed in US Small Business Associations directory of local business resources.
Most businesses are required to collect sales tax on the goods or services they provide. To learn more about how sales tax will affect your business, read our article, Sales Tax for Small Businesses.
Maintain Personal Asset Protection
Don’t think that just forming an LLC, or any other type of business, will save your personal assets in case of a lawsuit or other matter by itself.
When your personal and business accounts are mixed, your personal assets (your home, car, and other valuables) are at risk in the event your LLC is sued. In business law, this is referred to as piercing your corporate veil.
Two of the simplest steps that will protect your business, and yourself, are to:
Open a business bank account
- This separates your personal assets from your company's assets, which is necessary for personal asset protection.
- It also makes accounting and tax filing easier.
Get a business credit card
- This helps you separate personal and business expenses by putting your business' expenses all in one place.
- It also builds your company's credit history, which can be useful to raise money and investment later on.
How much can you charge customers?
The costs to run this type of business can be fairly small, but you will need to factor in materials costs for each class. Make sure you charge an amount that more than covers operating costs, yet isn't so expensive that it deters potential customers. Research the costs for similar hands-on seminars or classes in your area to help gauge appropriate and competitive rates.
What are the ongoing expenses for a gardening class business?
Most ongoing expenses will be the tools and materials for explaining your gardening techniques. Lumber, soil, pots, and gardening tools are some examples. Additionally, you'll need to pay for internet and phone service, website hosting and maintenance, and some advertising.
How much profit can a gardening class business make?
A gardening class business can earn a reasonable amount of profit, most likely in the area of $7500-$10,000 annually.
How can you make your business more profitable?
Once you're established as a successful and knowledgeable teacher and gardener, you can look into teaching some more niche aspects of gardening, farming, and horticulture. Grafting, cloning, and pollinating or building planters and greenhouses might be too advanced for some, but will be interesting classes to offer in order to gauge student interest. You may also consider opening your own gardening shop, where you can offer students the same products you use in your classes.