Launching an online garden design business during 2020
5 months since we launched the online garden design business that is My Garden Design. Here’s how things have gone so far
Was launching a new business during lockdown a good idea?
The idea for an online garden design company just for landscapers was “born” several years ago. As a landscaper myself, I know the value of good garden design, and I know all of the potential pitfalls of working with the client’s choice of garden designer. I had a vision of an online garden design business that was easy and convenient for landscapers to use and offered a potential new income stream for smaller landscaping businesses.
The national lockdown in March 2020 meant that my landscaping business was temporarily brought to a standstill. Sites were made safe and shut down, staff were furloughed and all of a sudden – I had time on my hands. Fortunately for me – so did the very talented website developer Gary Marshall of Uthink1.
It felt brave, launching a new business during lockdown – and maybe a little reckless. But the opportunity was too good to miss. My business adviser, Neville Stein, helped me to dot the “I’s” and cross the “t’s” and lo and behold. Mygardendesign.co.uk went live on 17th July 2020.
About the business
My Garden Design is an online garden design company to make life easier for landscapers like myself. Landscapers who sometimes struggle to work with garden designers.
Don’t get me wrong, there are some fabulous garden designers out there, ones who understand the technical side of landscaping as well as the aesthetics. They are a joy to work with. There are also some who can design a very pretty garden but sometimes overlook frustrating little details like levels, access or build budget. These are frequently the designers who suggest changes part way through the build. As fantastic as their ideas may be, to work with a designer that you just don’t gel with can bring unnecessary stress to a project.
One of the biggest potential pitfalls for a landscaper working with a garden designer is the time scale. In this day and age, consumers expect speedy service. For a landscaper to quote for a job he or she needs a garden design to quote from. Customers don’t want to wait several weeks for a design followed by another fortnight for a quote. By the time the quote arrives in their inbox, they’ve got fed up with waiting and accepted a verbal quote from the man with a van who gave the neighbour’s cousin a good price for their brick weave. You know the sort – no written quote, no health and safety, no-one to contact when it all goes wrong? The ones that give the industry a bad name?
My Garden Design takes as little as 3-4 weeks to come back to you with a professionally designed layout plan. Even better – the plan will carry your own company branding.No one need ever know that the work has been outsourced and you can style yourself as a landscaping design and build company.
Features and Tools to make life easier for landscapers
No need to wait for office opening hours or to take complicated measurements. Our quick quote facility asks you to type in two numbers before letting you know what your online garden design will cost. The length of the garden and the width. That’s it. As simple as that. Prices are based on the area of the garden and will appear on your screen within seconds. You can get a quote for an online garden design while you are talking to your customer so that the sales process can be as smooth as possible.
Garden design brief questionnaire
If you’re a landscaper who is new to garden design, it’s easy to overlook some of the details a designer will need to create your layout plan. Our client brief questionnaire ensures that every eventuality is covered. Right down to where the bins will sit.
How to guides
As you will probably be the one submitting site survey details, we’ve developed some “how-to” guides to help make sure you gather all the information with one site visit. Of course, if you prefer, we can arrange a professional site survey for you. There is a cost to it, but it will save you time and you’ll have confidence in the results.
Selling garden design
Landscapers are good at landscaping. Not many of us are confident in our skills to sell garden design. Don’t worry, it will come with practice, but to help you, we’ve created some selling tools that you can use to overcome customer objections.
Normally, if there’s an objection to paying up-front for a layout plan, it’s because the client didn’t realise that garden design and landscaping are separate disciplines. Our downloadable handout explains the importance and the value of garden design. It’s written in “word” and there are spaces to enter your own logo and contact details for a more professional look and feel.
It helps too, to introduce the concept of garden design in the very first conversation you have with a prospective client – so that they don’t get any surprises. Our client contact questionnaires can be emailed to new customers or discussed on the phone. Download them here.
Each week, we add a new article to our website. I have to admit I’m flattered that so many industry influencers have written blogs to help landscapers develop source materials, develop their businesses and solve some of the problems that landscapers and business owners experience on an almost daily basis.
Check out our blog section to keep up to date with news and views.
The response to our new online garden design service
We’re only 5 months from the launch date and so far we’ve been blown away by the response to the new service. New enquiries come in every day and our designers have been working on some great projects. Back gardens, front gardens, driveway designs, planting plans, and more.
We’d love to share all of the designs with you – but are keen to preserve our client’s privacy. Not everyone wants the client to know the design has been outsourced. You’ll find some examples of our work on the website and there are lots of pictures on our Facebook, Instagram, Linkedin, and Twitter accounts.
What will 2021 bring for online garden design?
My Garden Design is a brand new business and we have lots of ideas for developing our service through the next year and beyond.
Next on the list is to make online planting plans more convenient for landscapers. You’ll be able to get prices online, upload details about the shape, aspect and function of planting schemes and maybe even order plants at discounted prices – we’re still working on that last bit.
We hope to be able to share more case studies with you, from concept to completion.
Most importantly though, we’ll be listening to landscapers and constantly striving to help solve online garden design conundrums. Whether it be video user guides or more selling tools – we’re here to help.
Let us know what you need
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