Gardening Business in Andover

Dave Garden Business Owner Andover Topiary

Dave reflects on his shipshape gardening business…and life

Dave Laing - Ed's Business Owner Andover
Dave Laing – Ed’s Business Owner Andover

There’s nothing we like better than catching up with the business owners of an Ed’s gardening business.  We often have a catch up when they are taking a well-earned coffee break.  We believe that effective coaching is at the very heart of Ed’s success.

Even once our Business Owners are very well established, communication is always strong and we love to hear what’s going well as well as giving ongoing support when required. 

Dave gives us the low down…

Earlier this week, we caught up with Dave Laing.  Dave runs his own successful gardening business in Andover. He joined Ed’s in May 2017 so is now into his third year of operation as an Ed’s business owner.  Dave took a few minutes to reflect on how he is feeling about his Ed’s journey. This is what he had to say:-

“Well, here I am with a great little gardening business. I’ve got forty great regular customers now, which was my target from day one. My business really is running smoothly now and I have a very strong sense of achievement.”

The gardening business road so far…

“I don’t want to sound smug but I really am in a very good place with my business now. I can see the fruits of all my focus and planning. At the start, the Ed’s team always stressed how important it was to put strong building blocks in place and I really took that on board and followed their advice to the letter. I am really pleased that I did that as I can see now how important it is in building a very strong business. My financials are looking really good and life is really very enjoyable. I still love gardening and get a real kick out of a job well done. I think my enthusiasm comes over with my customers and they are a really loyal, lovely bunch of people.”

Life in general…

“At a personal level, I can honestly say that life has never been better. My wife and I had a fabulous holiday in Namibia earlier this year and we are planning a trip to Corsica later this year and are also going to Cuba in the New Year. I feel fitter than I have in years and feel a lot younger than when I started my business with Ed’s.”

“When I joined Ed’s, I wanted a successful business, of course. However, I also wanted a good work/life balance and I’ve definitely achieved that. I work four and a half days per week now as I like to get finished around lunchtime on a Friday so we can have a really good weekend and some quality down time.”

“Ed’s really has been the best thing I have ever done career-wise.  My only regret is that I really wish I had started my business five years earlier, when I think about how disenchanted I was in my corporate job in that period. If I had known then what I know now, I would have jumped ship in a flash!”

…And the future for your gardening business?

“I can see me running my Ed’s business for many years to come.  I’ve found my niche and I can’t ever imagine being employed by someone else ever again. I love the freedom too much. I might go down to a four day week in ten years or so though!”

 

 

 

Gardening business Norfolk

Beautiful woodland garden in rural Norfolk

Stuart’s gardening business office for the day

The perks of running a gardening business!

Stuart Thackeray has an established Ed’s gardening business in rural Norfolk (North and West). It’s a stunning part of the world and Stuart loves being able to live in such a beautiful place, as well running a successful garden maintenance business

The background…

Having spent many years commuting into London from New Malden to work in the City as a systems analyst, Stuart really was ready for a change of career. He originally joined Ed’s in 2014 to build a gardening business in New Malden. He loved the gardening and was amazed at how quickly he could establish a good business as part of Ed’s. There was only one thing missing.  It was in the wrong location for him to feel truly fulfilled. 

Stuart had grown up in rural Norfolk and had always longed to move back there. However, he had felt that it was just impractical from a career perspective.  The seeds of an idea were germinating though…. Maybe maybe Stuart could do a job he loved in a place that he loved too?

Completing the dream lifestyle…

Stuart says ” I was amazed at how well the Ed’s business model worked when I started my gardening business in New Malden. I was pretty sure I could do the same thing in rural Norfolk. I knew that my customer profile and that the typical garden would be different. Yet I also had a strong hunch that I would be able to run a really good gardening business there. Indeed, my hunch was right!”

Stuart now lives in a listed cottage with outbuildings (and the obligatory Aga to dry his gardening socks on!) He says ” When I talk about our life now and how different (and better!) it is, I risk sounding like a bit of a cliché! But it really is wonderful. No more traffic congestion and my day consists of working in a variety of different gardens, mainly in rural villages around the one in which I live – Whissonsett, near Fakenham. Sometimes I have my sidekick, Monty, our Hungarian Vizsla,  with me, depending on whether the weather suits him to venture out or not! My customers love it when he decides to grace us with his presence. He usually gets a more enthusiastic welcome even than I do.” 

Gardening business helper Hungarian Vizsla dog

“So what’s the downside? Well, irritatingly I guess, I don’t really think there is one. You get the odd day of weather which is not as good as you’d hoped but give me that over a stuffy, claustrophobic commute into Central London any day. Each to their own, I suppose, but I wouldn’t swap the life we’ve built here for anything.”

 

Smashing September

The Ed’s Operators are making the most of the excellent September weather and their diaries are full of varied jobs.

The extreme summer heat has taken its toll on gardens and there is a lot of work going on restoring gardens to their glory. Once again,  we are seeing green lawns and mowing is in full swing.

In July, we posted regarding how things were going for Dave our Ed’s Operator in Andover.  We asked him how things are going now it’s September. This is what he had to say :-

“ High Summer felt quite different business-wise this year, with the extreme heat and its impact on mowing. However, with the way the Ed’s business model works, I found it really easy to cross-sell other services and my figures were on track even when the thermometer was hitting 34 degrees. “

“What it’s meant though is that much of the ‘normal’ summer demand is kicking in now. There is a lot of mowing going on at the moment  . September is usually  a fairly busy month but this year has been amazing.”

“I’m not complaining about lots of mowing though. It’s great to see lawns looking green and lustrous again. And I enjoy nothing more than creating some mean stripes!” (Just a reminder of what Dave’s stripes look like…)

“It’s not just lawns though. I’m really busy with lots of varied jobs at the moment. With all the sunshine, punctuated by some showers, everything is growing like crazy at the moment!”

“Here’s a hedge I recently did too. I tried my best not to disturb its inhabitants too much!”

“I enjoy being an Ed’s Operator all year round but this is an especially fun time of year. The weather is lovely but not too hot and the late summer growth spurt gives us a lot of opportunity to make gardens look great again. I love seeing them transform before my eyes. It’s very much looking like the current activity levels will continue through to October too. I’m just hoping I manage to get my diary clear for Christmas!  To be honest, I’m only half joking. Last year some of our Operators were working right up until Christmas Eve. Seasonality – what’s that?!”

 

Is everything in the garden still rosy for Dave?

Dave Laing - Ed's Business Owner Andover

Dave Laing joined Ed’s Garden Services in the Spring of 2017 to run his Ed’s business in Andover.

On paper, it certainly looks like Dave is doing well. However, at Ed’s we always believe that financial performance is only one measure of success. What’s equally, if not more, important is how happy you are running your business.

It’s easy to be really enthusiastic and enjoy your new lifestyle when you set out.  However, the real test is if your satisfaction stands the test of time.

So, one year in, we asked Dave whether being an Ed’s Operator has lived up to his longer-term expectations?

The short answer?

“Well, the short answer is that I’m still thoroughly enjoying running my Ed’s business. Although my wife is thrilled that I am now doing something I love, I think she secretly hoped that the novelty would wear off just a little bit. I still enthuse about it rather a lot. However, with a year under my belt, I am getting better at knowing when to change the subject!”

Can you elaborate?

Balancing the risks

“I think what has made it really enjoyable for me is that I’ve been able to get all the positives of running my own business whilst minimising the negatives. Before I looked at the Ed’s franchise route, I had loads of enthusiasm to run my own business. Yet I also had a real fear of failure and being out there on my own. ”

Balancing my life

“I was also worried that I’d get totally sucked into my business and lose perspective. There was a fear of ending up working long days and then coming home in the evening to tackle piles of admin.  I was concerned that I’d never get any lifestyle benefits as I would find it all too stressful. That hasn’t been the case at all.”

Support, support and more support

“I’ve always got exactly the right level of support from The Ed’s team. They are so good at providing support in any functional area, or even just moral support, whenever you need it. The early days in a business are always challenging but you really are guided along your learning curve. I’ve always got as much reassurance as I’ve needed. The office team is very experienced and professional but in a low-key way.  You always feel that things are always under control. They have helped Operators build up strong businesses many times over but they never lose enthusiasm and are never disparaging about your doubts. ”

Zapping the admin

“The slick but simple bespoke systems Ed’s provides you with means that you can keep all your admin to the absolute minimum. This is a significant thing for me because (a) I don’t like admin and (b) computers aren’t really my thing either (c) I’d much rather be sitting in my own garden after a long, hot day rather than dealing with either admin or computers!”

Value for money

“Even now, when the days of insecurities seem a long way off, I still feel that I get really good value from being part of Ed’s. The strength of the brand, the marketing and the amazing systems justify the investment alone. That’s without even taking into account all the ongoing support you get.”

A healthy business

“I am now in a position where I have got a strong bank of 35 regular customers.  It’s a real pleasure to work with them.  It’s also easy to arrange things so I have the option of taking on interesting new or one-off jobs when I want to.”

“I feel that already I am already in refinement mode with my business. I am now doing all the extra little things to add value to the bottom line. For someone who didn’t know very much about gardening or running a business to get to where I am today in just over a year is nothing short of amazing!”

A healthy new me

“My figures are looking good. And speaking of figures, the icing on the cake is that I look and feel fitter than I’ve done for years.  I’ve lost more than a stone with my new healthy lifestyle and I’ve got a pretty good suntan at the moment too!”

Still the thrill

“Last but not least , I still get a HUGE kick from delivering a fantastic set of lawn stripes!”

So, all in all, yes, life in the garden is most definitely still rosy for me.”

Marcus reflects…

…on his first month with Ed’s

Marcus Phillips joined Ed’s just over a month ago to run his business in Streatham, South London. Here he reflects on his first month and tells us how it has all gone …

How did you feel on Day One?

“ I absolutely knew I’d made the right decision to join Ed’s when I committed to join. As I’ve gotten a bit longer in the tooth, I know my judgement has improved a lot. As soon as I spoke with Ed and his team, I knew they were really professional and good at what they did. That reinforced the all-important quality aspect of Ed’s for me. I then took my time and looked at the detail. I also  sounded out established Ed’s Operators on the nitty gritty of it all before making up my mind. It was a good feeling to start out without any doubts about whether I had done the right thing”

And when you got started?

“That said, I still felt that I had a lot to prove to myself. Yes, the business model worked but I needed to make it work for me, with a lot of help of course! I was immediately encouraged by just how much help and support there was for me in Ed’s.  There was  even more than I had anticipated. I’ve been so impressed by Ed and his team’s passion and drive to help me to be successful and to achieve my early goals. It really is turbo-charged support!“

How are you feeling now?

“It’s still early days for me as I’m only a month in. However,  already I feel that everything is really starting to come together. I love the gardening, as I knew I would. The sun is shining, the sky is blue, the birds are singing and I’m my own boss – what could be better! The work is starting to flood in now and I’m feeling more confident in my abilities. I’ve already acquired a number of regular customers and it’s all very exciting. I can actually see my business taking serious shape right before my eyes. I’ve still got a long way to go on my journey but Ed’s is definitely the right path for me.”

Ed’s Garden Services welcomes Graeme to the team

We are delighted to welcome Graeme to our growing team of Ed’s Operators…

Graeme has recently moved with his family to the UK from Zimbabwe to invest in an  Ed’s business in Worcester Park, Surrey.   Anita, our Ed’s Operator in Wimbledon is co-investing in this well-established business, which our Ed’s Operator, Tim, has built up over a period of almost ten years. However, Graeme will be at the helm, running the garden services business on a day-to-day basis. We have been very impressed by Graeme.  We feel that he certainly has the right qualities to be a successful Ed’s Operator.

 

Here is what Graeme has to say about his decision to join Ed’s:-

The background…

”I have spent all of my career to date in the transport sector in Zimbabwe. We have had plans to move to the UK for some time. However,  I have been waiting for the the right business venture to come along in order to make that move.”

Taking the plunge with Ed’s…

“I have known Anita for many years and found out about Ed’s through her. It was clear to me that she had developed quite a scale of a garden services business. She also clearly really enjoys what she does.   When the chance to buy Tim’s business arose, I had no doubt  that it was the right move to make.”

“It was clearly a very good business to invest in, within a respected and well-established garden services franchise business.  It also fitted perfectly with my aspirations for a healthy, outdoorsy job.  I am used to wide-open spaces in Zimbabwe. I couldn’t  stand the thought of a job where I was cooped up in an office all day.”

“I’ve had lots of support through the buying process from Anita, Tim and Ed’s of course.  I feel very well supported and I have found the buying process  a lot less scary than one would imagine”.

The future…

“I am very excited about taking this venture forward. The business is already strong and I love the challenge of taking it to the next level of success. We’ve only just signed the deal but I’m really looking forward to rolling up my sleeves and getting on with running it.  I love the fact that I will have a healthy, outdoors lifestyle. It is a  big bonus.  I may miss that African sunshine for a while though!“

We wish Graeme all the very best with his new venture.

Work-life balance is real at Ed’s

Work-life balance is very important to us at Ed’s. In our view, it’s a key measure of a successful life.

Generally, when someone thinks about setting up their own business, the matter of work-life balance often springs to mind. People love the idea of the freedom of running their own business.  However, they are often cautious about getting in over their heads (like Paul, our Garden Operator in Bristol, almost did in the photo above).

The truth is that, at Ed’s,we find that the reverse seems to be true. Once our Garden Operators get their businesses up and running, they seem to get a real sense of reclaiming their lives as well.

We get strong feedback from our Garden Operators that, with Ed’s, they have strong feelings of empowerment and freedom.  This sits alongside security in the knowledge that, as long as they adhere to the business model, the financial results will follow through. Although they work hard, they have more free time than they would have anticipated.  This is underpinned by Ed’s office support and our continuing mission to make their business administration as low-maintenance as possible. The upshot of all this is that Garden Operators can run their own successful franchise businesses and still have a rewarding life beyond their business.

Too good to be true? Well, here’s a snapshot of what some of our Garden Operators have been up to over the past twelve months. Over and above running their own successful businesses of course.

Weddings

Wedding bells have certainly been chiming in Ed’s world. Paul, who runs his Ed’s business in Swindon, got married in December last year. Keeping the theme in the family, his son also got married abroad in the summer of this year.  Paul and his new wife were able to fly out to Santorini for the wedding…and stay on for a great holiday.

Nick, our Garden Operator in Sevenoaks, is about to get married any time soon ( and has already had several excellent stag parties, we are reliably told!)

Finally on the wedding theme, James, our Ed’s North London Garden Operator, recently got engaged.  James proposed towards the end of 2016 while on holiday with his girlfriend in South East Asia. They got married in the Kent countryside in September.

Children

On another celebratory note, Paul, our Garden Operator in Bristol, is eagerly awaiting the arrival of baby number two.  With impeccable timing, this little star is due to arrive on Christmas Eve. Paul already has a soon to be three-year-old son.

Paul says, “ In my time with Ed’s, my whole life has transformed. It’s great to know I have the financial security to tackle the expensive business of having children. Luckily I have a flourishing business to support my flourishing family! I consider myself very lucky to have the work-life balance that I have. I have financial security and the freedom to manage my own diary. Although I work hard, I don’t have to miss out on important family events.”

Furry(ish) Children

Stuart, who runs his Ed’s business in rural Norfolk, also had a new addition this year.  He acquired Monty, a rather dashing Hungarian Vizsla puppy. Monty has established himself as Stuart’s new apprentice, although he decides which days he works depending on the weather! Stuart says “ Monty already has some very good interpersonal skills and, when he decides to grace us with his presence, he charms all of our customers. It’s a bit unfair really because I am the reliable, conscientious one who does most of the work but Monty always seems to win the popularity vote!”

Anniversaries

Clive, our Garden Operator in Hampton, recently celebrated his ten-year anniversary with Ed’s. Not one for a lot of fuss, when asked how he’d like to celebrate, Clive opted for a pub night out with Ed. Rumour has it that this went on into the small hours.  Nevertheless, ever the professionals, they were both on the job, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, the following morning.

A move to the seaside

Other life changes have been afoot within Ed’s. John, who previously ran his Ed’s business in Norfolk, decided, with his wife, that a move to the seaside was in order. Consequently, John has recently relocated his business to Christchurch, Dorset.  John says, “We’ve always loved that area and I know that you can make an Ed’s business work anywhere, so why not live exactly where we want to.”

Hobbies

On a sporting achievement theme, Steve, who runs his Ed’s business in Hersham, recently won a prestigious award for his commitment to his local cricket club. Steve does many things for the club, from coaching juniors, to being groundsman (a good fit!) and even running the bar.

Steve was recently presented with  his OSCA (Outstanding Service to Cricket Award) at a glitzy event at the Oval.  He beat stiff competition to be the overall winner for the whole of the cricket-loving county of Surrey. Steve says “My business is very important to me but I also love my cricket. I find it really rewarding in a different way. I am so lucky that I can have both in my life. In my previous job, I would never have had the flexibility to invest so much of my time in my cricket.”

Holidays (and more holidays!)

Moving on to the important area of holidays, believe us, there have been lots over the past year. However,let’s focus on one very special one. Mark, our Garden Operator in Bournemouth, had a great summer business-wise but still found the time to take a three-week holiday of a lifetime with his wife. It started with a trip to Vancouver before they set off on an amazing Alaskan cruise.

Mark says “ When I told friends I was taking three weeks off, they were incredulous. How on earth could I do that – as a gardener, running my own business AND over the summer!! The truth is that it was all quite straightforward. I planned my workload in advance and, with effective backup from a fellow Operator and the Ed’s Office, everything was under control. In fact, if you look at my financials, the impact was minimal. On the other hand, the memories, we’ll have forever.”

Finally, and very sadly, one of our team – who will remain anonymous – is having to miss our Christmas party this year because he is going to be on holiday on the Caribbean island of Antigua. And it’s his 8th week of holiday this year!

So there you have it – the proof is in the pudding,  as they say.

Ed’s Garden Operators do get a lot of fulfillment out of running their businesses but it certainly doesn’t have to be all work and no play. There’s a lot more to being happy than just work.  At Ed’s we firmly believe that people run better businesses when they feel that their life is in balance.

Grow yourself a better life with Ed’s.

 

 

 

Dave’s Stars and Stripes

Dave Laing - Ed's Business Owner Andover

Dave Laing joined Ed’s Garden Services in the Spring of 2017 to be an Ed’s Garden Operator in Andover. Prior to joining Ed’s, Dave had been a Works Manager for an engineering firm.

At Ed’s we pay a lot of attention to reviews and Dave has had some excellent ones from his customers. So, here goes – Looking back on your first six months, how did we do, Dave?

“Well, I was totally sure that I had made the right decision for me when I joined Ed’s. I’d really taken my time in my fact-finding phase. I had looked at lots of general information about franchising as well looking at other garden franchises. Ed’s were very open and honest.  They were always available to talk anything through and there was no pressure to take things to the next stage. I felt I was making my own decision to join and doing so with my eyes wide open.”

“My Ed’s experience has more than lived up to my expectations. My tailored training package was great. I particularly enjoyed learning from established Garden Operators, Mark and Paul, who did everything in their power to make sure I got off to a great start.”

“I’ve had excellent support from the Ed’s Office Team. One of the things I really like about Ed’s is the low-key professionalism. They just do exactly what they say they will. They also guide and support you to do as you set out to do, but not in an overpowering way.”

“I found the support of the office to be invaluable in dealing with all my early concerns. Sometimes you are looking for practical advice and sometimes it’s just moral support. It’s reassuring to know that there are people who have a lot of experience to help you along the way. Looking back, I think that if I had gone it alone with my business, I would have found this initial period extremely stressful but, with Ed’s, I have never felt out there on my own.”

“And the acid test…I had my first business review a few months ago. My performance has definitely exceeded my expectations.  Also, reviewing things objectively made me realise just how much my business had developed in a short period of time. All things considered, I’d have to give Ed’s a five star review!”

“I really enjoy the gardening too and feel fitter than I have for years. I get great satisfaction from transforming gardens. Quite apart from the stars, just take a look at my stripes!”

Ed’s bids a fond farewell to Adrian and welcomes Peter

Peter (left) and Adrian sealing the deal

Ed’s Garden Maintenance is the largest UK garden maintenance franchise, with a network of 44 Operators.

Ed’s is delighted to welcome Peter Dixon to our team of Business Operators. Peter has just signed up to buy Adrian Thomas’s established Ed’s business in Southampton.

At Ed’s we encourage Operators to create value from their investment for the whole of the lifecycle of their business and that includes at the end, when they decide to hang up their gardening gloves. With careful planning, Operators can sell their businesses on to new Operators and leave Ed’s with a significant cash sum. It’s a win-win situation for all parties:-

  • the established Operator moves on to retire or do something different having realised a good cash sum for their efforts.
  • the new Operator acquires a business where they do not have to start from scratch as they start with a bank of customers to service
  • Ed’s gets a new Operator to replace the exiting Operator.

Adrian says ” I’ve really enjoyed my time with Ed’s and after five years, and reaching age 65, I have decided to retire and take the opportunity to realise some capital from the business.  Indeed, the real potential of building a readily saleable business was a major consideration in my decision to join Ed’s in the first place.  The way the business model works means that you can build value into your business by establishing a regular customer base and on top of that you have the intrinsic value of the Ed’s brand to sell on. Having decided that I wanted to achieve a good sale at some stage during my fifth year, I took advice from Ed’s on timing, valuation and marketing the business at an early stage and followed their guidelines about how to sell a business to the letter. The results have come through and I’m delighted to be handing my business over to Peter.”

Peter says “I am very excited to have bought an established garden maintenance business from Adrian. I look forward to developing the business further and enjoying the lifestyle.  Adrian has been very supportive, teaching me the ropes of the business and making sure that the handover of customers goes well.  I am confident that owning a franchise in the gardening business is the best way to go and taking over an existing franchise is an added bonus.”

We wish both Adrian and Peter all the very best with their future plans.

Ed’s scores a hat trick of three brand new Operators

Ed’s Garden Maintenance is the largest UK garden maintenance franchise, with a network of 44 Operators.

Ed’s is delighted to welcome three brand new Operators to our flourishing Ed’s team.

Pete Henchey has joined our ever-growing team of Operators to run his own Ed’s business in Sutton Coldfield. Pete was previously a college lecturer.

Dave Laing has joined Ed’s to run his own garden maintenance business in Andover. Dave was a works manager for an engineering firm before joining Ed’s.

And hot off the press… Bob Dulieu has just signed up to run his Ed’s business in Horsham. Bob was previously Managing Director of a Risk Management consultancy.

Whilst Pete, Dave and Bob have joined Ed’s from diverse career backgrounds, they all have the common goal of wanting to fully leverage the Ed’s brand to grow successful garden maintenance businesses.

And finally, here’s what Ed himself has to say…

We are delighted to welcome Pete, Dave and Bob into our team.  These are really exciting times for Ed’s and our brand is gathering a lot of momentum and is performing well. It is great to be bringing high-calibre individuals on board to share the action. We know that with the right attitude, armed with the Ed’s business model and brand, these businesses can really prosper as is demonstrated by many of our established guys.  We look forward to supporting our new Operators to realise the goals and aspirations they have set for their businesses.”