Alan Sargent is an independent gardens consultant. His latest book, The Landscaper's Survival Manual, is available from www.alansargent.co.uk.
Any request from a potential client for a 100 per cent clean and tidy job should set alarm bells ringing, Alan Sargent warns
There are solid business reasons for improving efficiency by investing in new equipment.
Training for gardens staff can be arranged through colleges or by bringing in skilled artisans on-site, Alan Sargent explains.
Being asked to look after a garden on a part-time basis raises many issues that need to be addressed, says Alan Sargent
Care should be taken when expanding a rural business to win more work in lucrative larger towns, says Alan Sargent.
Aftercare and educating your clients can stop your work being neglected after you have finished a job, Alan Sargent advises.
Steps can be taken to back up your professional approach when working for a main contractor, says Alan Sargent
The importance of highly skilled senior gardens staff is overlooked in the rush to make cost savings, Alan Sargent warns.
Presenting terms and conditions is expected of you as a contractor, writes Alan Sargent
Maintaining detailed communication with your clients is key to ensuring prompt payment, Alan Sargent advises.
Renaming your company can help to attract more work but there are potential pitfalls to be avoided, says Alan Sargent.
Following a method statement can help you to convert a high level of enquiries into actual work, Alan Sargent advises.
Offering discounts can undermine the value of your services and do more harm than good, Alan Sargent warns.
Pay attention to the wording and timing in your quotations to protect against cost escalations, Alan Sargent advises.
Preparing the right set of questions is key to a successful interviewing technique, Alan Sargent advises
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