Sargent's Solutions

Alan Sargent is an independent gardens consultant. His latest book, The Landscaper's Survival Manual, is available from www.alansargent.co.uk.

Sargent's solutions - the benefits of CPD for your business

Continual learning is an essential part of the job and professionals should embed it in their work process, says Alan Sargent.

Sargent's solutions - what you need to know and do before becoming a sole trader

Careful preparation is essential for anyone moving from a full-time job to being self-employed, says Alan Sargent.

Sargent's solutions - self-employed vs employee status? The pros and cons

Think long and hard before deciding to switch from self-employed status to a full-time position, Alan Sargent advises.

Sargent's solutions - protecting your professional integrity

There is a way to ensure your clients appreciate that you are more than just a general dogsbody, Alan Sargent advises.

Sargent's solutions - this issue he works through the pros and cons of rebranding

Rebranding can be very useful but avoid confusion or clients could think that you have ceased trading, Alan Sargent warns.

Sargent's solutions - pay attention to detail to avoid contractual pitfalls

A focused and thoroughly professional business approach can help to prevent potential disputes, says Alan Sargent.

Sargent's solutions - caution advised in signing up to perfection

Any request from a potential client for a 100 per cent clean and tidy job should set alarm bells ringing, Alan Sargent warns

Sargent's solutions - investigating the business case for investing in new kit

There are solid business reasons for improving efficiency by investing in new equipment.

Sargent's solutions - facilitating staff training

Training for gardens staff can be arranged through colleges or by bringing in skilled artisans on-site, Alan Sargent explains.

Sargent's solutions - managing a garden part-time

Being asked to look after a garden on a part-time basis raises many issues that need to be addressed, says Alan Sargent

Sargent's solutions - managing landscape business expansion

Care should be taken when expanding a rural business to win more work in lucrative larger towns, says Alan Sargent.

Sargent's solutions - Educating clients on aftercare

Aftercare and educating your clients can stop your work being neglected after you have finished a job, Alan Sargent advises.

Sargent's solutions - On collaborating with the main contractor

Steps can be taken to back up your professional approach when working for a main contractor, says Alan Sargent

Sargent's solutions - On the value of good staff

The importance of highly skilled senior gardens staff is overlooked in the rush to make cost savings, Alan Sargent warns.

Sargent's solutions - Communicating contract terms

Presenting terms and conditions is expected of you as a contractor, writes Alan Sargent