BALI's Richard Gardiner weighs into rogue trader debate

BALI chairman Richard Gardiner has weighed into the debate (HW, 6 November) on the increase in rogue traders in landscaping caused by the recession.

BBC TV's Rogue Traders landscape expert Mitch Westwood said "duff" landscapers were setting up in increased numbers, while BALI chief executive Sandra Loton-Jones said many newcomers to the industry were unaware of the legislative position, including VAT and Work at Height Regulations.

Westwood backed the confidence trade associations give consumers in a market where more rogue traders are setting up, while recognising the role of small operators working as "jobbing gardeners".

Gardiner backed Westwood's comments, adding: "There is no question that, from a price perspective, operators who work in the domestic market and are VAT registered are at a disadvantage when competing against non-VAT-registered businesses. The domestic client is unable to reclaim the VAT charged by the VAT-registered contractor yet the contractor must charge it by law.

"The non-VAT-registered operator is immediately 15% (17.5% from January 2010) cheaper before selection of materials and labour is even considered.

"While there are undoubtedly 'rogue traders' among VAT-registered contractors, there is a greater risk of becoming the victim of an unscrupulous landscaper among non-registered companies if they are not members of a recognised trade association or customer protection scheme.

"Indeed, it is arguably more important for sole traders and small businesses to belong to a trade association with strict entry criteria and recognised industry standards so that the client can be reassured of their professional capabilities and trustworthiness."

"The member is also then protected against unscrupulous domestic clients who exploit smaller contractors by trying to extract last-minute discounts for often spurious claims of dissatisfaction with the work completed.

"However, there is, undeniably, a major contingent of sole traders and micro businesses, outside of landscape trade associations, that operates effectively and efficiently and represents all that is good in the industry."


Subscribe to Horticulture Week for more news, more in-depth features and more technical and market info.



Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Sign up now
Already registered?
Sign in

Read These Next

Business Planning - Brace now for Brexit impact

Business Planning - Brace now for Brexit impact

Neville Stein advises how businesses can act now to protect themselves against higher plant import costs after the Brexit deadline.

Sargent's solutions: Why landscapers are better off keeping overall control of a project

Sargent's solutions: Why landscapers are better off keeping overall control of a project

Dividing up contracts can make it harder for landscapers to retain control of their projects, Alan Sargent warns.



Attractive ornamental pear trees are great for street planting as well as gardens, writes Miranda Kimberley.


The Horticulture Week Business Awards is now open for entries

Horticulture Jobs
More Horticulture Jobs


Build your business with the latest public sector tenders covering landscape, arboriculture, grounds care, production and kit supplies. To receive the latest tenders weekly to your inbox sign up for our Tenders Tracker bulletin here.

Are you a landscape supplier?

Horticulture Week Landscape Project Leads

If so, you should be receiving our new service for Horticulture Week subscribers delivering landscape project leads from live, approved, planning applications across the UK.

Horticulture Week Top 50 Landscape and maintenance contractors

See our exclusive RANKING of landscape and maintenance contractors by annual turnover plus the FULL REPORT AND ANALYSIS


Free to subscribers, the essential guide for professional plant buyers

Download your copy

Products & Kit Resources