Start a gardening class business by following these 10 steps:
You have found the perfect business idea, and now you are ready to take the next step. There is more to starting a business than just registering it with the state. We have put together this simple guide to starting your gardening class business. These steps will ensure that your new business is well planned out, registered properly and legally compliant.
Check out our How to Start a Business page.
STEP 1: Plan your business
A clear plan is essential for success as an entrepreneur. It will help you map out the specifics of your business and discover some unknowns. A few important topics to consider are:
- What are the startup and ongoing costs?
- Who is your target market?
- How much can you charge customers?
- What will you name your business?
Luckily we have done a lot of this research for you.
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 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.
Who 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.
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.
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.
What will you name your business?
Choosing the right name is important and challenging. If you don’t already have a name in mind, visit our How to Name a Business guide or get help brainstorming a name with our Gardening Class Business Name Generator
When registering a business name, we recommend researching your business name by checking:
- Your state's business records
- Federal and state trademark records
- Social media platforms
- Web domain availability.
It's very important to secure your domain name before someone else does.
STEP 2: Form a legal entity
Establishing a legal business entity such as an LLC or corporation protects you from being held personally liable if your gardening class business is sued.
Form Your LLC
Read our Guide to Form Your Own LLC
Recommended: You will need to elect a registered agent for your LLC. LLC formation packages usually include a free year of registered agent services. You can choose to hire a registered agent or act as your own.
STEP 3: Register for taxes
You will need to register for a variety of state and federal taxes before you can open for business.
In order to register for taxes you will need to apply for an EIN. It's really easy and free!
You can acquire your EIN for free through the IRS website, via fax, or by mail. If you would like to learn more about EINs and how they can benefit your LLC, read our article, What is an EIN?.
Small Business Taxes
Depending on which business structure you choose, you might have different options for how your business will be taxed. For example, some LLCs could benefit from being taxed as an S corporation (S corp).
You can learn more about small business taxes in these guides:
There are specific state taxes that might apply to your business. Learn more about state sales tax and franchise taxes in our state sales tax guides.
STEP 4: Open a business bank account & credit card
Using dedicated business banking and credit accounts is essential for personal asset protection.
When your personal and business accounts are mixed, your personal assets (your home, car, and other valuables) are at risk in the event your business is sued. In business law, this is referred to as piercing your corporate veil.
Additionally, learning how to build business credit can help you get credit cards and other financing in your business's name (instead of yours), better interest rates, higher lines of credit, and more.
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.
Recommended: Read our Best Banks for Small Business review to find the best national bank, credit union, business-loan friendly banks, one with many brick-and-mortar locations, and more.
Open net-30 accounts
When it comes to establishing your business credit, net-30 vendors are considered the way to go. The term "net-30," which is popular among vendors, refers to a business credit arrangement where the company pays the vendor within 30 days of receiving goods or services.
Net-30 credit terms are often used for businesses that need to obtain inventory quickly but do not have the cash on hand.
Besides establishing business relationships with vendors, net-30 credit accounts get reported to the major business credit bureaus (Dun & Bradstreet, Experian Business, and Equifax Business Credit). This is how businesses build business credit so they can qualify for credit cards and other lines of credit.
Recommended: Read our guide on the best net-30 vendors so you can start building business credit now, so you never have to worry about cash flow in the future. Keep in mind that poor cash flow is the #1 reason businesses fail!
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.
STEP 5: 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.
STEP 6: 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.
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.
For information about local licenses and permits:
- 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.
STEP 7: Get business insurance
Just as with licenses and permits, your business needs insurance in order to operate safely and lawfully. Business Insurance protects your company’s financial wellbeing in the event of a covered loss.
There are several types of insurance policies created for different types of businesses with different risks. If you’re unsure of the types of risks that your business may face, begin with General Liability Insurance. This is the most common coverage that small businesses need, so it’s a great place to start for your business.
Learn more about General Liability Insurance.
Another notable insurance policy that many businesses need is Workers’ Compensation Insurance. If your business will have employees, it’s a good chance that your state will require you to carry Workers' Compensation Coverage.
STEP 8: 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.
If you aren't feeling confident about designing your small business logo, then check out our Design Guides for Beginners, we'll give you helpful tips and advice for creating the best unique logo for your business.
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.
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.
Still unsure about what kind of business you want to start? Check out the latest Small Business Trends to help inspire you.
STEP 9: Create your business website
After defining your brand and creating your logo the next step is to create a website for your business.
While creating a website is an essential step, some may fear that it’s out of their reach because they don’t have any website-building experience. While this may have been a reasonable fear back in 2015, web technology has seen huge advancements in the past few years that makes the lives of small business owners much simpler.
Here are the main reasons why you shouldn’t delay building your website:
- All legitimate businesses have websites - full stop. The size or industry of your business does not matter when it comes to getting your business online.
- Social media accounts like Facebook pages or LinkedIn business profiles are not a replacement for a business website that you own.
- Website builder tools like the GoDaddy Website Builder have made creating a basic website extremely simple. You don’t need to hire a web developer or designer to create a website that you can be proud of.
Using our website building guides, the process will be simple and painless and shouldn’t take you any longer than 2-3 hours to complete.
STEP 10: Set up your business phone system
Getting a phone set up for your business is one of the best ways to help keep your personal life and business life separate and private. That’s not the only benefit; it also helps you make your business more automated, gives your business legitimacy, and makes it easier for potential customers to find and contact you.
There are many services available to entrepreneurs who want to set up a business phone system. We’ve reviewed the top companies and rated them based on price, features, and ease of use.
Recommended: Find the best phone system for your business; check out our review of the Best Business Phone Systems 2021.
Start A Gardening Class Business In Your State
Select your state below for an in-depth guide on completing each of these steps in your home state.
Is this Business Right For You?
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.
Want to know if you are cut out to be an entrepreneur?
Take our Entrepreneurship Quiz to find out!
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 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 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.
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Take the Next Step
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.
Learn from other business owners
Want to learn more about starting a business from entrepreneurs themselves? Visit Startup Savant’s startup founder series to gain entrepreneurial insights, lessons, and advice from founders themselves.
Resources to Help Women in Business
There are many resources out there specifically for women entrepreneurs. We’ve gathered necessary and useful information to help you succeed both professionally and personally:
If you’re a woman looking for some guidance in entrepreneurship, check out this great new series Women in Business created by the women of our partner Startup Savant.
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 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.