Opinions Please

thegardengeeks(4)August 2, 2007

I live in the St. Cloud area and have discovered my love for playing in the dirt. This summer a friend of mine asked me to come to her new home and look at her gardens to help her sort out what was a plant and a weed, she said she called around for help with this, but the cheapest she could get it done was $100 just for someone to come out.

After a few days of helping her weed, she thought it would be fun to start our own business doing just this...weeding, watering, mulching, planting, and some designing.

We are now called the Garden Geeks. We have never advertised (yet)but have already had a few people that want us to work for them. Some have bad backs and others just either have no time or no clue.

What do you Minnesotans think...do you think this will work? Any ideas or suggestions? Would love some advise!

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leaveswave(.)

I wonder if this is a thinly disguised ad.

Garden Coaching is a growing field:
www.gardenrant.com/my_weblog/2007/07/calling-all-gar.html
www.sustainable-gardening.com/DirectoryofGardeningCoaches.php

    Bookmark   August 2, 2007 at 11:07AM
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thegardengeeks(4)

Thanks for the links...and sorry you thought this was an Ad. I am only doing it my neighborhood and everyone on here loves to garden so this would be a silly place to run an ad. :o)

I really do just want peoples opinions as so many here on gardenweb have been so wonderful to me. Again, thanks for the links and so sorry if I stepped on any toes.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2007 at 11:46AM
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leftwood(z4a MN)

$100 isn't that expensive, IMO. Sure he/she may only spend a couple hours at the site, but there is time to and from, gas money, scheduling time (and often rescheduling because people don't seem to consider this a business, and seem to think canceling is inconsequential), etc.

If you are going to incorporate, or start a business on paper, I'll bet "Garden Geeks" is already taken. I know someone who's name is Garden Geek on a garden forum like this.

(Who would have thought there would be another Leftwood? I tried to sign on in Yahoo groups as Leftwood years ago, but it was already taken!)

When you say you've discovered gardening, it's hard to tell how long you've been gardening, or what kind of background you have. Weeding doesn't take too much training for monetary compensation, but landscaping, designing, pruning . . . excuse me for being such a stickler. Those who have gotten to know me on this forum already know I can be picky. Excepting the spammers, people here are pretty honest.

So, a really snazzy name in my opinion, Garden Geeks. It's all in the advertising. Just be true to yourself.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2007 at 6:55PM
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adamterrie(4)

It does appear that the name "Garden Geeks" is still available with the Minnesota Secretary of State. If you are wanting to use the name, please be aware that you must either file a certificate of assumed name with the Secretary of State or otherwise create a business entity with the name (as alluded to by Leftwood). There are basic forms that can be downloaded directly from the Secretary of State's website at:

http://www.sos.state.mn.us/home/index.asp

    Bookmark   August 5, 2007 at 7:51PM
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julie_mn(z4 MN Henn)

I say GO FOR IT!!!
Have fun! Learn - enjoy and stick with people you know and trust, and who know and trust you both for the first few go rounds this year. See if this is something you could stay with for a few years. You will never know unless you try!
Then, this winter, learn about setting up a business- State- Federal- County and City rules will apply. Know what laws and rules may affect you, even if you never go as far as setting up a business. Find out if liability may be an issue- and how big an issue it may be. Will you need insurance? Will you need $$$ for tools? An accountant? A lawyer for contracts? Will you be an S-Corp? What business structure works best for you both? Can you find labor for those heavy muscle jobs- or experienced labor for the detailed jobs- Tree cutters- paver layers- irrigation specialists- and the like. Do you need to learn more about plants and gardening? Would you consider going back to school and becoming a master gardener, a horticulturist? Talk to others in the trade. Look for mentors. Then, after you have studied the details, decide if you have the desire to draw up a five year plan- and follow it.
This is a big decision- with some big rewards- but working for your self is also a big responsibility, and not easily achieved. If you have families- consider their needs into the mix- as your new business WILL be "the new baby" in the house and will suck up most of your time and energy.
Will your passion for what you will be doing sustain you through the rest of what needs to be done to do it right? You may never know- unless you try.
I say go for it! Give it your best shot!

    Bookmark   August 19, 2007 at 2:14AM
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meeperx(z4/5 Mpls)

It sounds like what you are offering is a "garden care/maintenance service" as opposed to the more traditional "lawn care/maintenance service" (keep the weeds out/make the garden look neat and tidy, etc).

There is also the "geek squad" element to it:

"we come to you"
"we quickly, efficiently solve your garden dilemmas"
"we are the people you call when you just have a small problem/maintenance issues-and aren't in need of comphrensive landscaping/design services"
"our prices are reasonable and our rates are easy to understand"

I think this is a great idea-I've thought about doing something similar myself. I know St. Cloud somewhat (have relatives there) - and I think your target market would probably be folks who like buying lots of beautiful plants at Thomsens-but don't have the time/energy/expertise to keep their garden visions alive.

As for accounting-having run two small businesses with partners myself-my advice is follow the K.I.S.S. route(keep it simple stupid) At most, you might want to form an llc (limited liability corp) just to protect yourselves from a liability standpoint. Try to keep your business accounting/structure as SIMPLE as possible at first. Talk to an accountant friend/tax preparer about the easiest structure for you and your partner to set up and keep going-you don't want to spend all your money/time on the accounting side of things.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2007 at 11:19AM
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meeperx(z4/5 Mpls)

Good gardening coach website

Here is a link that might be useful: Gardening Coach Susan Harris

    Bookmark   August 19, 2007 at 11:39AM
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mimi_stpaul(z4Mn)

Distantkin, No indeed NOT it didn't strike me as a "thinly disguised ad" it sounded just as you intended it to sound like. A VERY GOOD IDEA that you are excited about. There is no need to take life so seriously that you forget to experience the joy around you.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2007 at 1:46PM
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