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.”

 

Gardening Business In Oxshott

Garden Business Owner Oxshott - Chris Webb

Chris Walker has recently joined Ed’s to run his Ed’s gardening business in Oxshott and surrounding areas. Chris comes to us with a lot of sound, practical business experience. We are sure he will apply this well to his new Ed’s gardening business.

We asked Chris for some background to his brand new Ed’s gardening business:-

The background…

“ For many years I played a very active part in the running of a sizeable and successful family business. We realised our goal of selling that business around two years ago. However, I stayed with the business for a period to help with the transition. Once the business was well and truly handed over, I started thinking about what I really wanted to do next. I was very fortunate to be in a position to have such a free rein to decide what to do. However, I was conscious that this was a great opportunity. That made it even more important to make the right choice.”

“I needed to take a systematic approach . So, I sat down and thought about what I really enjoyed in my previous job and also what I wished it had that it hadn’t! There was a clear tick in the box that I knew I really enjoyed running a business. I was good at working with customers and wanted to do something where the results were really measurable. On the minus side, I wasn’t getting enough time to spend with my young (and growing!) family.”

“I thought about a range of things but I kept coming back to how I would love to be gardening all day. The great outdoors has always held great appeal for me and I am happiest when I am physically active. I also wanted to run a proper business and didn’t really fancy starting from scratch. Whatever I did, I wanted it to be a quality business too.”

“My idea started to crystalise…a gardening franchise business was the way forward…”

Why an Ed’s garden franchise business…

“Fortunately, I happened to know another Ed’s business owner. I knew that he was really enjoying running his business and was happy with the decision he had made. Next, I contacted him and asked him to meet up for a chat. In the meantime, I read up on everything I could about Ed’s. I was impressed with their brand and the quality of everything I read online. When we met up, it was clear that he backed all this up and had never looked back since starting this business. I was more than happy to move on to the next stage. We then set up a meeting with Ed and the Office team.”

The decision-making process…

“I found the process really easy and I was pretty convinced even before going into the Office. The Ed’s set up is ambitious, professional and supportive and they have a great brand as well. When I met Ed, he was as I expected. He came over as very switched on and clearly focused on continuing to develop Ed’s but also approachable and likeable and, very importantly, practical. It struck a chord with me that he ran his own Ed’s gardening business on his first step of the journey. I got all the information and have followed the process to the letter but, to be perfectly honest, my mind was made up from the first meeting.”

“After I signed up, we started putting all the building blocks in place for my vehicle, kit, training etc. I have now gone live and what a brilliant time of year to be starting a gardening business!”

The future…

“Clearly my immediate plan is to get a really efficient Ed’s business up and running and performing well. On the longer term, I’m trying to keep an open mind but, I must say, I do like the idea of having a few teams of staff and running quite a sizeable outfit. I know the Ed’s business model can take me there. I’m also really looking forward to getting some life-work balance into my life and spending precious time with my young daughters. I’m happy to work really hard but I love the idea that I can work that to fit my personal commitments too. I am really happy that I’ve made my decision and I’m so looking forward to getting started properly and to getting to work in some gardens.”

We wish Chris all the very best with his brand new Ed’s gardening business.

Gardening Business Training for Success

Gardening Business Growth…

The Masterclass…

We had a really excellent Ed’s gardening business franchise training session last week. Many of our Ed’s Operators attended a fantastic workshop.  It was run by local businessman … Phil Harrison.

Phil has experience of successfully growing a significant gardening business over a period of thirty years into what is currently a million pound concern.

In Phil’s words, ”I really enjoy the role with Ed’s. It reminds me of  when I was striving to develop my own business. At the time, there wasn’t the opportunity of joining a successful gardening franchise business that would help set you up and support you through the early years.  I really was making it up as I went along! It’s really enjoyable meeting the Ed’s Operators who all have a burning desire to move their businesses forward.  They have a great brand and support system with Ed’s.   There is really nothing stopping the Operators from reaching for the stars. For my part, if I can share any of my experience with them to help them through the challenges they will face, I’m more than happy to do so.”

The Format…

Phil started off his workshop with an overview of his own journey to success.  This was appreciated as some of our newer Ed’s Operators hadn’t met him before. He then moved on to split the attendees into working groups to discuss and feed back on specific topics, such as ‘how to recruit and keep the best people’ to other performance-enhancing subjects. In this session, Phil moved between the groups when they were discussing their topics and then facilitated the feedback sessions.

Eds Operators enjoying training session

Even Baloo was paying lots of attention to the proceedings!

Baloo paying attention in class

With all the formal discussing done, we moved on to the informal socialising part of the session, which was equally as valuable. Over pizzas and drinks, the Ed’s Operators were able to catch up with each other and also have specific chats with Phil on a one to one basis.

The Reviews…

As with all our training sessions, we asked our Operators for some constructive feedback. We got some very positive reviews: –

• Steve’s review – Steve has been an Ed’s Operator in Hersham  for more than ten years, told us, “I thoroughly enjoy listening to Phil. He really knows his stuff and has done so well with his business. There are always good ideas to take away and implement in my own gardening business. The social aspect is great too; we’re very lucky to have such a good group of Ed’s Operators. It never really feels like work.”

• Marcus’ review – Marcus joined Ed’s last year to run his business in Streatham told us, “I was very impressed with that training session. I am ambitious about where I want to go with my Ed’s business and that’s exactly the kind of training session that fuels my drive to take my business as far as I possibly can. The focus is very much on the practical and tactical and that is hugely helpful. Phil is really inspiring.”

• Mark’s review – Mark , who has very recently joined us to run his Ed’s business in Ramsgate, said, “Training sessions such as these remind me of why I was so sure Ed’s was the right franchise for me. I could never get access to this kind of stuff if I were going it alone. The pitch is just right. Phil is very informative but fun and never patronising. I wish my training sessions in my previous corporate life had been half as valuable as this!”

The  Conclusion…

So, how did we do? All in all a great training session and at just the right time of year to fire up and focus our Ed’s Operators on what they want to achieve in the season ahead.

Spring Flowers were in attendance too

We’d like to say a huge thank you to Phil for putting together such a valuable training session for us. We also wish all our Ed’s Operators  all the very best with their businesses for the season ahead and beyond.

Gardening business in Ramsgate

Mark's branded vehicle

Mark Stanton has just come on board to run his own Ed’s gardening business in Ramsgate and surrounding areas. His career experience gives him a great foundation for running an Ed’s business.

Mark’s very own gardening business! We asked him to tell us a bit about his decision to join Ed’s:-

The background…

“ Well, my background is in electrical and electronic engineering. Before joining Ed’s I was a European Sales Director for a large American Company. I had worked there for 30 years and managed a team of European salespeople.

Although I had a successful career, increasingly I felt that the joy had gone out of my job. I was travelling way more than I wanted to.  My health was suffering due to stress, poor diet and a sedentary lifestyle. My wife was frequently telling me that she would rather I was fit, healthy and alive than a successful businessman who was ill and highly stressed. We realised it was time for a major rethink.

As luck would have it, redundancy came my way. I needed an opportunity like this and I jumped at it! The question was the what next? I have always found gardening and designing gardens enormously therapeutic, relaxing and rewarding. It’s true that I loved doing both my own garden and the gardens of friends and family.  I even completed a diploma in Garden Design – just for fun! When I was particularly stressed through work, my wife would banish me to the garden for a few hours. Afterwards (apparently!) I returned a much happier person! All of this gave me the answer I needed. The future had to be a career switch to a gardening business!”

Why Ed’s garden franchise…

“I was attracted by the challenge and freedom of running my own gardening business.  I also knew that a good franchise framework could help me to have a scale of gardening business to generate decent earnings.
My next task was to find the best in the business.  Following much research, I decided there was no question that was Ed’s. Their brand, in particular, impressed me hugely.”
The rest is history and an exciting new chapter in my life was to begin.”

The decision-making process…

“It’s really funny but I felt I already knew a lot about Ed’s even before I’d spoken to anyone in the Ed’s team. Their public domain information was very informative and gave a great insight into what the Ed’s business and business model are all about. It was all very professional and informative but clear to understand where the value lay.

When I came to speak with and meet Ed and the Ed’s team, it all just reinforced my initial impressions. The feeling was they were very professional without any corporate stuffiness and there was a real sense of ‘all hands to deck’ to help Operators realise their ambitions. Although I asked all the difficult questions to be absolutely sure, it was an incredibly easy decision to make. I knew I loved gardening and I had every confidence that Ed’s was the right vehicle to support me through to achieving my goals. I felt like I just fitted in from the outset.

I’ve now done most of my training and have got my garden business set up and ready to go. There has been a lot to organise but I have been guided through it and have really enjoyed the whole onboarding process. It has all gone very smoothly without any glitches at all. It has been infinitely less daunting than setting up an independent business would have been.”

The future…

“My main challenge, after 30 years in a corporate world, has been to have the self-belief that I can become successfully self-employed. However, I’ve come to wholeheartedly believe that I really can. However, it is still great to have the safety net of a successful franchise behind me. I am now more excited than nervous about the future and it helps knowing that my wife and family (not to mention the Ed’s team!) all believe in me 100%. I’m more than ready to go and just can’t wait to get on with building my gardening business.”

We wish Mark all the very best with his Ed’s business.

Marcus goes global!

Marcus, our Ed’s Operator in Streatham, had high ambitions for his business when he joined Ed’s early this year. However, not even he thought he would be expanding his business overseas before the year was out!

Marcus told us all about his latest venture as follows…

“I’ve done quite a lot of work for a lovely customer with a stunning house. They have a beautiful garden and I absolutely love working in it.  They have been very pleased with the results of my labours and are now one of my firm regular customers. I know they really appreciate my work and I get on very well with them.”

“However, I was stunned when they asked me if I would be prepared to do some gardening for them in France!  It turns out that they have another lovely property in the Dordogne region of France. That garden needs a bit of care and they think I’m just the man for the job! They’ve offered me an all expenses paid trip there in springtime if I would be happy to go and sort things out for the season ahead.  They even invited me to fly my family out and tag a few days holiday on to the end of it to explore the region. What an opportunity!  I was really flattered that they were so happy with my work that they are prepared to go to those lengths.”

“Of course I said Yes and will manage my workload to fulfil my commitments to my other regular customers”

“So we are all good to go. All that remains is for me to brush up on my French. My tools are all very well maintained but, I have to admit, my French is just a little bit rusty!!”

Adding another string to our bow

The Ed’s office was an exceptionally busy hub  last week. We hosted an advanced lawn care course for our Ed’s Operators.

We came up with with the idea for the course in our last group training session back in September.  A number of Operators thought it would be really useful for their businesses.  Although mowing is our core service, we love to support our customers to have the best lawns that they possibly can and looking after lawns properly is a big part of this.

Mark, our Ed’s Operator in Bournemouth, volunteered to take the idea away. Mark then did some research to establish what kind of course would fit the bill, found a good provider and passed the details on to the Ed’s Office to make it all happen. Steve, our Ed’s Operator in Hersham helped out with some of the hosting arrangements. We did the rest in the office and…hey presto, we had a course.  More than twenty Ed’s Operators signed up for the course so we ran the course over two days.  We had Operators with 10+ years with Ed’s and others, who are less than a year with us.  The feedback from our Operators was overwhelmingly positive, with everyone was saying how much they were looking forward to turning the course into something practical to add to their businesses.

It’s great having our Operators visit the Ed’s Office.  Wellington gets  very excited about seeing them too… especially at lunch time!

 

At Ed’s we are extremely committed to great training. We believe that the best training is focused on adding tangible value to our Operator’s businesses. Our mantra is to keep training real and interesting.  It has to be well worth our busy Operators taking time out of their businesses for.

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.”

Are we cutting the mustard?

Marcus has now been with Ed’s two months, getting his business up and running in Streatham, South London. We asked him to take a quick break from his busy schedule and give us the lowdown…

So, Marcus, how are we measuring up?

“ I’m still absolutely loving being an Ed’s Operator.  It is super busy and there is so much more work for the taking than I had anticipated, even with the knowledge of the strength of Ed’s brand. The challenge is meeting demand, never ever whether there is enough work. That thought doesn’t even cross my mind.”

“I feel much fitter already. I am tired at the end of a long day’s work but it is a good kind of tiredness. It feels like I have really achieved something and my energy levels are high because I feel very positive about what I am doing. The gardening is great and I love having the freedom to build my business up how I want to, with the support I need right at my fingertips.’”

“Another aspect I really enjoy is building relationships with my customers. I thrive on the fact that my business is such a personal one and is very service-oriented. It is so satisfying to get great feedback and reviews – very validating. Everyone loves a job well done, but my customers are so appreciative of what I do.”

“Have I made the right decision? Yes, one hundred and ten percent. I’ve got two months under my belt now and I’m actually even more enthusiastic about it all than I was when I first started.”

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.”