Description of Job
• Water, feed, and tend to live plants in offices, stores, malls, lobbies, and
• Inspect a client’s premises and make recommendations for the purchase of
• Install new plants, or change plants or flowers for seasonal or holiday displays.
Indoor plants can beautify almost any space in offices, stores, lobbies, and public areas; they’re also a graceful addition to homes and apartments. Yet relatively
few of us have a green thumb . . . or the time and inclination to tend to plants in
our places of business or homes.
The basic services of an indoor plant specialist include care, feeding, and maintenance of plants on a regularly scheduled basis. You can also offer to design new
plantings, providing installation only or making seasonal and holiday changes.
You’ll need to be, or become, an expert on all sorts of indoor plants; there are
many books and web sites that can help you. Although you may be quite able to
tend to a plant that lives in a greenhouse or a protected corner of your home, your
clients (or more precisely, the plants of your clients) will exist in a threatening
world: They may not receive proper light or temperature conditions, and they
likely will be subject to accidental or intentional abuse from visitors.
Among the challenges you’ll be called on to deal with are these:
• Matching plants to the available lighting in an office, public place, or home
• Managing proper watering and fertilizing schedules
• Dealing with plant diseases and insect infestations
• Repairing damage caused by visitors who touch or cut plants
You should also be aware of which plants are poisonous if eaten by children
or pets. For installations in a doctor’s office, you might want to submit a list of
plants unlikely to activate allergies for approval by the medical staff.
Know the Territory
You can perform much of your research over the Internet at web sites about
plants; there are also many excellent reference books about selection and care of
Visit area greenhouses and garden specialists to learn about available plants,
fertilizers, cleaners, and tools. One or more of these stores may be the place you
shop for plants and supplies, and they should be glad to partner with you.
How to Get Started
Post ads and flyers at greenhouses, garden supply stores, and home supply stores.
Place ads in area newspapers and shopping guides.
Ask friends and relatives to spread the word about your availability; offer a
bonus to clients who refer new business to you.
Contact the reception desk, office manager, and maintenance departments of
large businesses in your area and offer your services. Send letters to the office
managers of doctors, lawyers, and other professionals in your area. Do the same
with managers of area restaurants.
Your expenses include advertising and promotion, reference books, and appropriate gardening, watering, and fertilizing supplies.
How Much to Charge
You can charge by the hour or use a flat rate per plant after you calculate the
amount of time required for each. In addition to hourly charges, you bill for fertilizer, cleaners, and replacement of plants that are dead or dying.
If you design and install new plantings, you should charge by the hour, plus
the cost of new plants.