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How to Sell Your Garden Centre

The garden centre is a strong pillar in most local communities - so, here is your guide to handing the torch to another.

Garden centres are an exciting business venture. They bring joy and beauty into people's lives, and they sell a sustainable, low-threshold range of products to an ever-growing customer base.

Originally focussed on plants, pots, and compost, modern garden centres also carry a range of exterior and interior decorations, various tools, and outdoor furniture.

As a garden centre owner, you have every right to be proud of the business you have built.

In an increasingly corporate market segment, the time might just be right to reap the fruits of your hard labour.

Here's our guide on how to make the most of the opportunity!

Is growth good or bad when selling?

Take a good look at your garden centre's performance over the last three to five years.

A steep growth can be great - but it can also ring alarm bells for potential buyers.

For example, have you had several discount events – offering free compost with every plant purchase or low prices on lawn mowers in the winter - which have made your profits creep up in the last year?

Keep events seasonal and regularly spread out across the year to avoid suspicion.

On the other hand, stable performance with minimal profit fluctuation will show potential buyers the venture is solid and, thus, desirable.

If your numbers are not looking so positive, you can either take some time to turn the business around before selling it or simply accept the loss and sell it immediately for less.

Preparation and saying goodbye

Preparation must begin from the moment the idea creeps into your mind. Therefore during this preparation, always make sure your business documentation is complete and neatly organised - that means all permits, building and/or land documents, bills, tax returns, and any other paperwork that will be relevant to the new owner.

If you ran a tight ship, that should not be a problem, but do not underestimate the bureaucratic side of things.

Another thing to consider is the human factor. A modern garden centre is tied up with numerous other ventures, from suppliers of gardening tools and plants all the way to the local bakery that delivers the donuts and bagels for the obligatory coffee and cake corner.

Signal to them that you are putting the business up for sale and, if you are satisfied with the business relationship you have had, assure them you will recommend their services to the new owner.

If you believe that your food offering is a unique and substantial asset to the business, then it is always worth discussing the possibility of speaking to the business about their contract being rolled over to the new proprietor.

The other human resource you want to engage includes your loyal customers, the people who helped you build your business up.

Reach out to them to let them know of the change, thank them for their business, and make them feel appreciated. This step will also help you detach from the business and step out on a positive emotional note.

How much is your garden centre worth?

Aside from timing and most recent performance numbers, determining the sales price of your garden centre should take several more factors into account.

One thing to be determined is the popularity and proximity of the competition: Is one of the big chains closing in on you, or are you in a relatively unencumbered market position?

Are there risks looming on the horizon?

Most garden centres will be relatively spread out amongst local communities; therefore you will tend to have an advantage to most

other business sectors when selling.

Your reputation and local standing can be major assets in price formation.

Finding the right person

Finally, do not underestimate the importance of finding the right buyer to continue hoisting your flag.

Take your time to look for someone with similar dedication, sensibility, and heart, to whom you will hand over the keys confidently.

A garden centre carries a large amount of community spirit, which should also be reflected in the way it is run. So, ensure you find another owner who will fit into the area. Make sure they have drive, vision, and backbone to move your business forward.

Only so will you sell your garden centre with a clear conscience and a happy heart.

Paulyne Antoniou

About the author

Paulyne as Head of Content has produced regular videos and editorial for many years with small businesses, franchises and industry professionals.