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Garden UP Landscape
Garden UP Landscape

Garden UP Landscape, Amy Dutton

Title / Role: Owner
Location: Spokane, Washington
My successes.

I started working as a gardener back in 2005, working for another similar company. I loved it so much that I changed my college major and graduated with an AAS in Landscape & Turf Management in 2011. I opened my own company in 2015, maintaining flower gardens. We have grown exponentially over the years but kept hitting ceilings.

My SCORE mentor worked directly with me to find the problems we were encountering and helped me solve them. He helped me straighten out my financials and actually figure out my real costs. I adjusted my prices accordingly and we are now looking ahead to a brighter future and more growth! I'll be able to raise my employee's wages and still make a solid profit.

What do you do?
  • We pull weeds. Essentially. 
  • We tend to flower gardens by controlling weeds, tending to plants, deadheading, and fertilizing. 
  • We sometimes install new gardens and recently we have begun removing grass lawns to plant water-wise landscapes or lawn alternatives.
  • What sets us apart from typical "landscape" companies is that we do things organically, with elbow grease instead of chemicals.
  • We focus on holistic approaches to solving problems, while still using the most current scientific practices."
Garden in front of Garden Up Landscape.
What inspired you to start your business?

I got a job working for a gardener and loved it. I wanted to be involved in the business side and when my boss offered to help me get started I took her up on it. She gave me a few clients to get started with and I grew from there!

What's special about your business?

There aren't very many professional gardening services. Mow and blow lawn services are a dime a dozen, but true gardeners are hard to find!

What influenced you to seek help from SCORE?

We were struggling financially. I was bringing in over $300k in revenue, but not making any profit.

How SCORE helped.

I've enjoyed several of the webinar classes. Many are really basic, but I usually pick up at least a few good pointers from them. Others have been absolutely excellent and full of new information!  And as I said, my mentor has been amazing!

We adjusted our prices and will be increasing our profit, as well as raising wages which will hopefully attract more employees!

Magenta flowers
What's great about my mentor?

Ron worked closely with me and learned everything about my situation. He reviewed my tax filings, created spreadsheets, and helped me correct the spreadsheets I had. I have always kept good books, but I've never taken a formal business class so my knowledge of P&Ls was all from YouTube University. He helped me fill in the gaps.

We worked in bite-size chunks at my pace, so I was never too overwhelmed by the workload, but we also kept a brisk and efficient pace and solved the problem in a few months. I think it was about 7-8 months from our first meeting to when I implemented my new price and started giving my employees their raises.

What advice would you give to someone thinking of starting a small business?

Just start. You'll never know everything but you'll figure out the important stuff along the way!

What would you tell a fellow business owner about SCORE?

Find a mentor you love. Ron was not the first mentor I had, but he was the one that was an excellent fit for me.

My mentors
Headshot of Ron Barkley
Ron Barkley

I can help you understand your financial statements, including balance sheet, profit and loss, cash...

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801 W Riverside Ave
Spokane, WA 99201
(509) 353-2821

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Funded, in part, through a Cooperative Agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration. All opinions, and/or recommendations expressed herein are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the SBA.

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