Thinking of buying a Covid resistant business? There’re some great environmental investment opportunities at the end of this path!

Despite the pandemic, one sector is still growing and offers some great opportunities. For those seeking a new career, a business investment, or perhaps diversification of an existing business with the acquisition of an environmental company, the grounds maintenance and landscape sector offers unique potential.

Maybe you or your existing business is concerned about the environment, maybe expanding in an eco-sensitive way would be a great way to make a difference to the environment, maybe even offset your carbon footprint? If you’re hard working and enjoy the great outdoors, there are currently some unrivalled business opportunities in the professional gardening sector.

There are four main elements in the sector:-

  • Landscaping and Ad-Hoc work
  • Garden and Grounds Maintenance
  • Arboriculture
  • Weed Control

Depending on ambition and talents you could choose to specialise in the domestic or commercial sector - one or more – or all of the above – it’s possible to sub-contract or get training in aspects such as safer weed control, or tree work - there are many courses available, even a career path that can lead to Chartered Environmentalist though the Arboricultural Association.

“A good business may already have a small team of staff dedicated, qualified and experienced in those aspects, enabling you to hit the ground running!”

The Franchise option is worth considering, and an established brand saves many years of earning a professional reputation, but instant marketing can come at the cost of available territories and rules – for example you may have to stick to one work type, and there’ll be a range of one off and ongoing fees – for example a percentage of your turnover or profit, when the business becomes viable.

Buying an established business

Another way is to consider is buying an established business. This offers far greater control, established income levels, and flexibility to manage the business and its opportunities how you see fit.

A good business will have proven financials, and may already have a small team of staff dedicated, qualified and experienced in many aspects, enabling you to hit the ground running! Over many years they’ll have gotten to know all their customers and their needs, and got rid of customers who treat their gardeners badly. They’ll have established successful procedures for payment control so they don’t accumulate up bad debtors.

Leveling out seasonal workloads

Having a mix of contract types can work well, leveling out seasonal workload capacity, for example tree surgery can be done in winter, when the grass isn’t growing. Fine turf (golf greens) can also be prepared out of the growing season. An established company may also have snow clearing and gritting contracts!

Garden Design and Landscaping - and more on-off or ad-hoc work can be done all year round, fencing, paving and much more from small back gardeners to school eco and play areas. Check out the forums such as Landscapes Juice to get a feel for the sector.

Pandemic resistance

Many investors are be worried about the effects of the recent pandemic, however, grass doesn’t stop growing, and it has been proven that environmental businesses can continue to operate! Gardens and facilities cannot be neglected. Whilst the Covid Pandemic has affected and even closed down many businesses, many in this sector are continuing to work safely and it booming.

Some more established companies report have waiting lists of weeks and months as often they’re already booked up with regular work, so any extra is a bonus and gives great potential to grow rapidly from a solid foundation of well-established customer base.

Growth and investment

If you are looking for growth and investment - some companies will have established regular work with larger Blue Chip clients and local authorities. These are usually quite difficult to acquire - requiring a plethora of polices such as quality assurance documents and

procedures that require specialist sector expertise to draft and can take many years to develop and fine tune. Professional standing will need to be exemplary with organisations such as Constructionline. With the “groundwork” done and no hefty franchise fees a small company with a proven track record, could offer great value - a stepping stone to £100,000-£1m+ contracts.

Businesses of this nature are rarer or course, but offer far greater opportunity to expand from just making a salary, to growing into much larger company – or even a franchise that can be rolled out.