The recession has impacted on so many individuals and businesses and Gardens Galore is no exception. But by focussing on its non-sales activities and by 'thinking out of the box' the company says it's in good shape for the future.
I asked owner Jim Byiers a bit about his business.
How was Gardens Galore established?
I spent a large portion of my working life in construction and on building sites. I've always had a passion for gardening throughout my life but it wasn’t until the late 90s that I decided to turn this passion into a career. In 1997 Gardens Galore was established as a small landscape gardening business.
How has Gardens Galore developed over the years and who has been involved with its growth?
The company first consisted of myself and my son Jamie, who had conveniently just completed his qualifications at a horticultural college. Later on, in 2003 my son Scott also joined us.
It was perfect because Scott is a joiner by trade and brought a wealth of experience in decking and fencing to the business. Scott is also very good at training.
In 2004, Jamie's wife Jen became the fourth Byier to join the company - by now the business was starting to become a family affair - bringing along invaluable management and admin skills. Jen is often thought of as the glue that holds the company together, managing finance, HR, sales and marking and customer service.
How many people do you employ and how many teams have you out on sites?
We employ fourteen people in total.
Mike McKay is our longest standing member of staff beyond the family. Mike joined us as a landscaper in 2004 so has been with us for about 8 years now. He actually came to us from a kitchen porter position but had been a construction engineer in the past. Jayne has been with us a similar amount of time too, she joined in 2005 – we couldn't function without her help in the office.
We have five working vans and we send guys out in teams of two. This means that customers are dealing with the same two landscapers for the entire project. We’ve found this really helps the guys get to know their customers and it makes it easier for us to find out what they actually want
What is the company’s inspiration and ethos?
The company has a simple ethos that has carried us through each and every project, big or small - No problem, Sort it. We are proud to be flexible and not just at the beginning. This flexibility shines through at each stage of the project from the first garden visit to the last sweep of the brush.
Flexibility is something we believe allows our customers to have their perfect garden brought to life and means we can be as creative as the client demands. It also means we have a personal investment in every project and we take the experience away with us every time.
We also work in partnership with a number of organisations including Investors in People, Better Business Partnership and the Federation of Small Businesses. Our involvement with these organisations ensures that Gardens Galore is continuously setting strong foundations business and working together with local communities is a large part of this.
Has the recession been a challenge for Gardens Galore?
Yes it really has. To many, having a garden landscaped is a luxury not a necessity so it’s something that falls off the radar when money is tight. We made a decision to invest in areas of the business other than sales. We tried to think outside the box so decided to invest in developing our website and online presence. We needed to keep moving and we realised that there were opportunities for us online.
What is the training policy at Gardens Galore?
Does GG send employees to college?
We think that landscape gardening is something that needs to be learnt on the job, there isn't much you can learn from a book as it’s about gaining experience and talking to people and understanding what customers want. All our employees have equipment certificates and often take specialised courses in garden design and gardening but other than that everyone learns on the job.
Gardens Galore is based in Perth and covers Perthshire, Edinburgh, Glasgow and the whole of central Scotland.
Company name: Gardens Galore
27 Lynedoch Road
Telephone: 01738 553014