- Investment sought:
- Equity offered:
With fastgardener, you can book a gardener in seconds with our easy-to-use website and mobile app.
All our gardeners are vetted local professionals who are insured, trained and fully equipped for complete peace of mind. We cover all the gardening essentials in a simple, competitive, hourly rate.
We also intend on providing a full-lifecycle garden management service for our customers to design, build and maintain their garden effortlessly. This would incorporate:
(i) innovative garden design (supported by UAV/drone technology).
(ii) landscaping project management.
(iii) personalised garden maintenance plan and automated scheduling of ongoing maintenance visits.
With fastgardener, designing and maintaining your dream garden has never been easier.
In effect, we act as a broker bringing buyers and sellers together; we capture demand from consumers and federate this to our network of professional gardeners, designers, and landscapers across the UK.
We believe there is significant friction in the search and selection process for finding tradespeople, including gardeners. To our knowledge, there is no recognisable national brand for domestic gardening services, and consumers are forced to search and select from a fragmented market of local firms and service providers.
Our users can easily book a professional gardener with transparent pricing. Because we don't have the same overheads as a gardening service company, we believe we can focus more resources on branding and advertising. With a strong brand, consumers should be able to identify us as the go-to destination for quality gardening services.
Feedback from our customers suggests that they like the ease and hassle-free way of using us to book a gardener - this is where we've started. We see great opportunity in a holistic garden management service that covers the full lifecycle through garden design, landscaping, and maintenance. This is currently planned to go-live in 2017 subject to funding.
Substantial accomplishments to date
• September 2015: founding team of 3 assembled
• March 2016: phase 1 “MVP” went live
• March 2016: first booking & revenue generating
• June 2016: phase 2 live delivering system improvements and fixes critical to enabling scalability
• February 2017: co-founder with industry experience joins full time
• April 2017: phase 3 live delivering automations and substantive enhancements to the UX
• May 2017: second co-founder joins full time
• May 2017: monthly revenue roughly triples from the previous month. (+285%)
• Expected September 2017: phase 4 planned go-live to enable enhanced design service
• 375 registered customers
• 75 registered gardeners
• 320 appointments booked in 2017 (YTD)
• c.750 hours booked in 2017 (YTD)
• over 650 Facebook likes
• over 600 Twitter followers
We take a commission (currently 10%) of the hourly rate charged to users. We intend to expand commission to include green waste removal, fertiliser/pest control products, bulbs, and plants.
In the future, we plan to include higher margin services through garden design, landscaping project management, and subscription-based garden maintenance service.
We're looking into providing autumn/winter maintenance services such as salt gritting drives, pathways and patios, jet washing patios, drives and decking, and leaf/guttering clearance.
Use of proceeds
The primary use of funds will be dedicated to growing the business and attracting a high volume of customers via multi-channel marketing campaigns including SEO, Google AdWords, social media promotions, digital PR and targeted door-drop media.
The secondary use of funds will be for platform development; improving functionality, user experience, and analytics. This should help grow the product beyond an introductory service and attach a greater value for customers and gardeners. We believe this “full lifecycle” management will be ideal for our cash-rich, time-poor target demographic.
Through automation and cost-conscious budget discipline, we believe we have minimised overheads. Nevertheless, the final use of funds will be to cover pay allowance/ staff salaries and core operating infrastructure (e.g. server hosting, telephony, stationary, etc.)
Our target market are cash-rich, time-poor people who need help maintaining a garden. We believe they will pre-dominantly be in the AB socio-economic category and often owner-occupiers. As such, typically 35+ years of age with children and/or pets. They may be highly paid professionals whose jobs will typically entail a commute to major urban centres.
Our focus is mainly on London's "Green Belt" and the Home Counties.
We also serve property management companies. Following lean start-up philosophy we're not pre-empting who our market is and are instead working to meet real customer needs, and trying to adapt our business to better service such requirements and demands.
Characteristics of target market
Annual spend on gardening worldwide is £144bn. There are estimated to be 71,820 professional gardeners in the UK. With an average income of £17,763, we estimate that £1.27bn is spent on professional gardeners in the UK each year.
A recent survey (AXA, 2017) indicates that on average people in the UK spend £473 per year on their garden, and considerably more in the South East and London where this number rises up to c.£600 per year.
Another survey (Churchill, 2011) suggests that 6 million (12 per cent) Britons pay for cleaners, gardeners, handymen and other forms of domestic help.
To our knowledge, there is no prominent national brand for professional domestic gardening services in the UK and the market is very fragmented. In some areas, local firms can dominate, although operational capacity tends to limit expansion beyond a small geographical area.
Whilst we intend to concentrate our marketing efforts on digital - Google Adwords, Facebook and Twitter promotions, SEO - we also intend to invest in physical media such as magazine inserts and door-drop media. We are also looking to work with local schools to run regular awards for art and poetry based on a gardening theme. This should give us great community engagement but also engaging content that people may want to share via social media.
We also intend to activate PR and engage journalists in the major newspapers (all the major papers have established gardening sections) and special interest publications (e.g. BBC Gardeners’ World, Gardens Illustrated, etc.)
Finally, our aim is to set up trade stands at major events (e.g. RHS Flower Shows, etc.) to build brand awareness.
We believe we have 3 main groups of competitors: job posting sites such as Gumtree, lead-sellers such as Rated People or Bark, and direct competitors. We view local gardening firms as potential partners and collaborators, not competitors.
To our knowledge, lead sellers (e.g. ratedpeople.com) charge subscription fees and charge per lead. We have no sign-up or subscriptions fees – it’s free. With lead sellers, there is a risk that a gardener pays for a lead but doesn’t win the job. With fastgardener, gardeners only pay a commission for jobs they’re getting paid for. The lead sellers are generalists who provide a portal for most professional services.
We believe that focusing on gardening enables us to provide a better quality of service. We also believe that our focus will enable us to ultimately outcompete on SEO as we will have better domain authority.
We expect our target market will generally avoid using Jobs boards (e.g. Gumtree) given the friction of the search and selection process, and prefer to use our service as it’s quick and convenient.
We have identified a couple of companies who we believe are close competitors and who we closely monitor. One is geographically limited, hires staff in-house, and offers other services (e.g. cleaning). We should have lower overheads as a result of leveraging the “gig economy” rather than hiring internally.
The other is a recent entrant and only offers services in a very small area of the country. We have no geographic restriction. We can operate wherever our gardener network allows us which already goes as far afield as Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Our specialisation should, ultimately, enable us to outcompete on the crucial aspect of organic search.
We believe funding will allow us to aggressively grow, consolidate a first-mover advantage and expand our service to provide a comprehensive garden design, landscaping, and maintenance service that, to our knowledge, none of our competitors offer.