Running my own gardening business, this is a question that I just love answering! But to answer “What do gardeners do in the winter?”, I need to start with what we do in the Summer!
It’s no secret that gardening is definitely seasonal and for me, I am most busy from April to October, giving me 7 months of working full time. Not just full time, but with long summer days and new inquiries flooding in, I find myself very quickly working 12 hours per day and struggle to get a weekend to myself. If you think about it, the average person works 8 hours per day, and in peak season, us gardeners are technically working 1.5 days per day (if working 12 hours per day), thats 2.5 extra days in a 5 day week. The key to any successful gardening business is to not be afraid to work long summer hours, as this will allow you to budget for the winter when work starts to slow down and these extra 2.5 days per week will allow you to do that, providing you can get enough business through the summer.
As well as the above, another very crucial part of running a successful garden maintenance business is to look after your regular customers. Most of my customers have me work on their gardens every 2 weeks from April to October, which drifts off to just once per month as winter approaches. So the remaining 5 months of the year, you will find your earnings quite literally cut in half. But at the same time, providing that you have budgeted for the winter then this shouldn’t be a problem, and will in fact allow you to actually look forward to the winter, allowing you to spend more time with the family at home!
Of course you will still get the occasional inquiry asking you to clear leaves, provide a grass cut etc., but there is one job that you may actually get an increase in inquiries. This is tree pruning. The best time of year to do a large cut back of a tree is in the Winter as they lay dormant. Any tree pruning calls that I get in the summer, I will explain this to them and book it in for the winter, and any calls I get in the winter, I will explain that it needs to be done now.
So that ‘s it really! I push my tree pruning customers back to the Winter, work longer hours providing garden maintenance in the summer to budget for the Winter and take any odd jobs such as leaf clearances that come my way.
Remember, if you are asking yourself “what do gardeners do in the Winter” as you are thinking about starting your own gardening business, be sure to start at the beginning of summer to have a better chance at building your customers, and keep your full time job, offering gardening services on weekends until your weekends are fully booked. You can find our guide to starting a new garden maintenance business here.
If you have any questions, pop a comment below and I will try to answer as best I can!