Finance for your Garden Centre
Keeping your business healthy
- Commercial Mortgages from 2% above base rate
- Lease deposit loans
- Secured Loans - £250,000 or more from 2% above base rate
- Fit-out and Refurbishment Funding
- 'Jigsaw' Funding designed around your needs
- Unsecured Loans up to £25,000 from 4.9%
- HP up to 60 months from 6%
- Equipment Lease - with no capital costs
- Cashflow support
- Merchant Cash Advances
- Working Capital Loans
- Tax Loans
Garden centres are an important part of the UK retail sector. They cay be very lucrative, but the right kind of funding can be essential for your business to succeed.
Garden centres have changed a great deal in recent years. Where once they were basic greenhouses or redundant growing sheds lined with wooden staging concentrating on seasonal planting, they have become major retail operations, frequently offering anything garden related and increasingly expanding into clothing, furniture, homeware, gifts and books.
Of course, there is a good reason for this. Large chain stores and supermarket expansion has made it harder for garden centres to be profitable with traditional products lines. Those that are thriving have embraced their new role as part of the leisure industry. That may mean offering restaurants, petting zoos and children’s entertainment, and welcoming in concessions from garden buildings and other businesses.
The combination of a wide product range and expert advice - and a family outing - is appealing to a wide range of customers. But it means that running a successful garden centre will be more challenging than ever.
Starting a basic garden centre will require a strong horticultural and industry background, to include an in-depth knowledge of plants, of garden design and of DIY.
But just as important will be business skills such as accounting, knowledge of profit and loss, awareness of cash flow and marketing - and understanding of cutting edge retailing.
Experience in a senior role in a garden centre is the best preparation for running a garden centre yourself. You will certainly need experience of both the customer-facing and practical side, dealing with gardeners' questions and sourcing and caring for stock.
You will also need to know about sourcing products of all kinds, from garden tools to foodstuffs - and potentially high end goods and gifts.
Of course, finance will be crucial to your success. Finding the lenders who can appreciate the changing nature of the Garden Centre business is essential.
At Rangewell, we not only work with garden centres across the UK. We know the challenges you face and the financial answers to them. They include funding solutions to help you:
- Set up a garden centre
- Buy a business
- Deal with staff costs
- Buy equipment with asset finance
- Provide working finance
- Deal with tax issues
Set up a garden centre
The majority of your customers will visit you by car but, really, you want your garden centre to be in a location, with room to expand, but with good transport links to get customers through your door.
Industry experts suggest that having one or two towns within ten minutes drive is essential. Having at least 20,000 households within your potential customer base may be the critical figure - but the more potential customers, the more your business can sell.
It may be possible to set up in agricultural premises, close to a population centre rather than high-cost retail premises - but whatever your ambitions, you should prepare a detailed business plan which will allow you to work out how your business will work and generate income before you commit. Your business plan will be essential to persuade potential lenders about the viability of your business - arranging any kind of start-up funding can be a challenge but, at Rangewell, we know the lenders who may be prepared to help.
Buying a garden centre business
You may decide to purchase an existing garden centre, as opposed to starting your own venture from scratch. Buying a going concern can mean that premises, shop fittings, staff and equipment are already in place, and that there will be existing customers and suppliers - ensuring that the business can generate income immediately
However, you first need to try and establish why the business is for sale in the first place. Is the owner retiring - or is it because he or she can no longer generate enough income from the business? This may not necessarily deter you. You may be confident that you can turn a failing business around, and it could help you negotiate a good price. Ask your accountant to look at the business accounts and discuss what they reveal.
Commercial Mortgages can be used to buy any kind of commercial property, and to buy a business which has a property base. Repayments can be spread over up to 25 years, and interest rates are agreed on an individual basis. We can help you find the most appropriate lenders for your horticultural business.
Running a successful garden centre is certainly not a 9-5 job. Staying open late and staying open all weekend and for bank holidays will be essential to your success. But opening seven days a week will mean arranging staff to work in shifts.
And high staff costs will need to be factored into any financial planning. Funding may be available to deal with the operational costs of taking on staff until your business is profitable.
The retail side of the garden centre business is becoming increasingly sophisticated. You need electronic POS, attractive lighting and refrigerated displays. You may need to fit out a restaurant.
You may also need to provide security equipment, a forklift and heavy duty shopping trolleys.
Whatever you require, with Asset Finance, the funds you need are secured on the asset itself. This means that if you were unable to make the repayments the lender would simply repossess it. This can reduce the cost of the finance, as lower risk to the lender usually means lower interest rates to you.
There are two key types of Asset Finance:
Hire Purchase lets you hire equipment until you have paid for it, when it then becomes your property.
Agreements generally last between 12 and 72 months and require a 10-20% deposit plus fixed monthly instalments, after which the equipment becomes yours. HP may be most suitable for equipment you will use for the long-term.
Equipment vendors may offer HP arrangements to support their sales. Arranging finance from a specialist lender can be more cost-effective and mean substantially reduced costs.
Leasing is much like a rental agreement. You pay a monthly charge to use the asset and some arrangements even include maintenance. Your new equipment can pay for itself with the extra productivity and revenue it generates for your business.
Funding your operation
Your retail business will require stock. You may be able to grow a proportion of the plants you sell - but operating as a nursery as well as a garden centre may mean that your business is actually less profitable - you will only be able to generate profit when your plants are in season and ready to sell.
You may need to buy in stock to meet the demand even during seasons when your own plants are selling well - and certainly during the rest of the year.
You will need funding to provide this stock - and for covering your outgoings during slow seasons.
Remember, you should expect busy spring and summer seasons - but autumn and winter may be less lucrative, unless you are able to bring in other lines such as gifts to keep customer numbers up.
Working Capital Finance could help, with loans that can help to keep the cashflow positive and deal with stock and staff needs. Another alternative may be Merchant Cash Advances, which provide funding as an advance on your card takings.
Both can be arranged to help you deal with seasonal variations, as well as to help you stock up for the busy times of the year when you must have full shelves.
Your garden centre business may face large quarterly VAT or annual tax demands. These can cause problems with cash flow, and mean major costs that need to be paid without delay - which can be a problem if seasonal variations mean your income is down.
Tax Loans help you to spread the cost of your tax demands into affordable regular monthly payments. They can also help you avoid issues with HMRC, with the potential penalties and reputational damage that this may entail, by letting you spread the cost of paying your tax over the entire year.
REAL EXAMPLES OF WHAT WE CAN DO
Find the most competitive funding to buy a business
Help an established grower set up a retail operation
Source a lease arrangement to provide refrigerated retail
Find the most competitive finance for seasonal cashflow support
Help arrange funding to build a refreshment room in an established garden centre
Why choose Rangewell for your financial needs?
At Rangewell, our team is made up of finance experts with backgrounds in various sectors. We know garden centre operators - so when you call us, you can talk to someone who understands the questions you have - and knows the answers to them.
We also understand the special challenges of running a garden centre. Most business loans are based around monthly repayments - but your business will have seasonal cashflow. Fortunately, we know lenders who are able to make arrangements for quarterly repayments, or even tailored lending agreements to reflect seasonal income streams.
Getting the funding you need is vital for the future of your garden centres business. The simplest way to do it may be to call us at Rangewell.
Helping you build your profits
Versatile fundingAt Rangewell we can help you find the most appropriate finance for any funding need your business faces.
Work with experts who understand garden centresAt Rangewell, our team includes experts in the retail sector who know the financial solutions.
Providing solutions for equipmentWhether you need retail displays or a to fir out a restaurant, we can help find solutions.
Reducing riskSome funding can present a risk to your business - we can find those that minimise risk.
The scale of funding you needThe more business you do, the greater your funding needs may be. We can find funding to grow with you.
Affordable cash flow solutionsA cashflow support facility may be costly. We can help ensure they are manageable.
Download Rangewell’s free and detailed guide to Finance for Garden Centres
What types of finance are most suited to Garden Centres and Horticulture businesses
How Asset Finance gives your Garden Centre the edge when it comes to equipment and machinery
How finding the right business finance provider can save your Garden Centre money in the long-term
Why exploring all your funding options can often beat 0% finance deals offered by suppliers
Are there any downsides to business funding and how can your Garden Centre business avoid them?
What paperwork you need to prepare to complete a finance application
Common terms explained, including interest rates, finance terminology, long-term and short-term finance
Do I need a registered office in England and Wales to be eligible for business funding?
Are all lenders authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and what does this mean?
Download our free resource on funding for Garden Centres and grow your business
You must have the right funding arrangementThere are many forms of business finance. Getting the most appropriate type for your particular needs is essential to avoid keep costs under control.
Asset Finance means a monthly commitmentInvesting in new machinery with asset finance will mean repaying from month one. Turnover may not increase immediately.
Long-term financial commitmentsYou may not be able to pull out of a finance arrangement once it has been set up.
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