Spring has arrived… hasn’t it??

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How did everyone fare with the weather over Easter? We had a particularly bad time of it here in parts of Northern Ireland and, as if the icebergs weren’t bad enough (we’re not good with icebergs), our little island of suburbia here in Templepatrick, suffered almost three days without electricity. We have had the odd power cut before, but never three days!?

IMG_0508Now I don’t know if anyone is watching ‘Revolution’ on Sky Atlantic at the moment, but it was exactly like that in our house when the power went off… chaos, anarchy, panic, deprivation, lawlessness… but after only about 3 hours. Being deprived of light and heat, while difficult enough, were just the tip of the iceberg… our Titanic moment came as one after the other iPads, iPods, iPhones, and laptops all faded into the metaphorical icy depths.

This all happened on Friday morning and by Saturday afternoon we’d had enough… the world as we knew it had crumbled. Arctic winds blew down from the north (or upstairs as we like to call it), we’d lost touch with the ‘outside world’ (we ended up buying a battery powered radio from Asda and huddling around it for heat and information), and the future looked grim. But I’m an avid follower of both Bear Grylls and River Cottage, and I do know a thing about survival and self-sufficiency. However, so does Geraldine and she booked us all in to a local hotel!?

 We turned up there with just about every piece of re-chargeable electrical apparatus we could lay our hands on, from Shuffle to toothbrush, and spent the evening listening to the hum of no less than eleven sockets charging life back into the Apple™ family and launching a metaphorical lifeboat to the Andrew family. We were rescued… at least for the time being.

 We had to check out of the Dunsilly Hotel by midday the next day and as we drove away at 12:01pm, having managed to release Rachaels vice like grip of the door frame, it was with some trepidation that we headed back to the frozen wasteland that we had once called home.

 Our fears however proved unfounded, and all thanks to the endeavours of hundreds of engineers, both locally and flown in from Scotland and RoI, who battled the elements to successfully restore power to the area by around lunchtime on the Sunday, to resounding cheers of joy and relief in the Andrew household.  And that was pretty much Easter… we like to think we took Rachael away for a lovely (and unplanned) hotel stay only 5 miles up the road and we’re thinking of going to Lisburn (20 miles… ish) next year.

 It took some two weeks for the snow and ice to thaw… time to reflect on what I normally done around the Easter break, which of course always signaled the onset of Spring, and the first opportunity to get all those little jobs done around the garden… weeding, patio cleaning, fence painting, soil turning, yard tidying, seed planting, lawn maintenance, gutter cleaning, pot planting, hedge trimming, (I know, you’d think I lived on Southfork Ranch instead of a house in a Cul-de-Sac), but in the intervening period the list has only grown and not diminished.

 Thankfully though there’s plenty of help at hand in the shape of a number of franchised business offering a whole range of garden/outdoor services, from lawn cutting and simple garden maintenance, to full scale landscaping services.

 before2 after2A gardening franchise isn’t just for green-fingered fanatics. In fact, the sector’s main appeal is that it’s a profitable and stable market (there are over 16 million homes in the UK with a garden), and one that has shown significant growth in recent years. The Horticultural Trades Association estimates the industry is currently worth £9 billion and employs over 300,000 people.

 The business format varies to match all types of aspirations, from being a fully integrated management opportunity to a relatively low cost, simply run, single operator van based business with lafter3ow overheads.before3

 Working hours vary depending on the season, in early spring,  and to catch up on all the winter disasters (see above!), franchisees can be working all day to fit in all their jobs, but it tends to be more relaxed in the summer and working hours are usually 9am until 5pm. In the winter, often weather dependant and hence less busy, you might only need to work from 10am until 2pm.

 Earning potential varies, and as with most franchises, indeed most businesses, the more you put in the more you get out but, as an approximate guide, franchisees in year one can expect to earn £20,000 to £30,000, increasing by perhaps £10,000 to 15,000 per year.” So why not take advantage of this huge industry with a gardening franchise?

 If running a garden maintenance business sounds appealing or you’d just like to find out more then don’t hesitate to get in touch to learn about many of the franchises that are currently available on the market.

 And if you’re a franchisor in the gardening and home maintenance sector why not get in touch to talk about getting a free listing on the franchise opportunities page in the Bigfishfranchising.com website.

bill@bigfishfranchising.com                                      22nd April 2013