Maximising your garden centre: How Malcolm Scott’s expert range of services can boost your business.

This month sees one of the most celebrated and important events in the UK garden centre calendar; an opportunity to meet fellow centre owners, managers, advisors and suppliers, and a chance to gain valuable insight for the months and years ahead in terms of what to sell, when to sell it and how to develop and improve a centre’s offering. Yes, Glee 2023 is upon us!

While it’s likely most attendees have a list of what they’re hoping to achieve and find out more about, there are an ever-increasing number of relevant concerns and considerations that you might want to address so that you can identify the best operational solutions – and naturally we’ll be ready and willing to help on Stand 6G81.

As always, our master planning and expert retail experience teams will be in attendance to discuss expansion, diversifying and development opportunities at existing garden centre sites, as well as the increased footfall and extensive additional revenue an overhauled catering offering can provide, but we’re fortunate here at Malcolm Scott to be able to offer a diverse range of expert services that means we can work alongside clients to drill down to their core concerns and offer bespoke advice to meet their needs.

For example, three key issues facing most centres right now are increased staff costs and how to maximise their productivity, rising energy costs and higher business rates further to the Revaluation that took place earlier this year – and we’re well equipped to provide support

A centre’s staff are crucial to its success: we rely on them to engage with and educate the customer, helping to provide a great experience that makes them want to come back. Therefore, it’s important to choose, train and reward good staff to ensure your centre is the place to be. However, all that said, With the current uncertain economic climate, effective staffing is essential, so it’s important to review your staff rotas and use available data to consider the key times for the business versus the staff levels in-store, along with employees’ individual requirements. It may be that more efficient rostering could see peak visitor levels better served or make you a wage bill saving. Our Operations specialists will work with you to identify the most effective ways to utilise staff effectively without breaking the staffing budget.

Energy continues to be one of the biggest concerns for businesses. Spiralling costs have made everyone review their usage, but happily, rural businesses and garden centres are often well ahead of the curve when it comes to alternative energy and renewable sources. Wind power, solar energy, hydro energy and biomass energy are all more responsible, and more cost effective sources of power that will not only save a business significant funds, but will also contribute to a net zero business due to being replenished at a higher rate than they are consumed.

Certain sustainable sources are more accessible and effective than others, it’s really down to an individual business, but if you’re unsure which solution will work best for you, it’s worth a chat with our Operations experts, who can point you in the right direction.

Chances are, your business rates took a hit this year as April 1st saw the first post-pandemic Revaluation – the process whereby the VOA reassessed  the rateable value (RV) of business premises across the UK – come into force. The RVs calculated for the 2023 Revaluation were based on rental values from April 1st 2021, when many businesses were still subject to operational restrictions. The impact that the pandemic had on the market between the previous Revaluation and this year’s has seen business rates liabilities alter significantly, particularly since there is a shortage of market evidence due to the reduced number of property transactions since April 1st last year.

In addition to the Revaluation, the past 18 months have seen a number of changes announced, and while it’s essential to seek expert guidance so your business doesn’t fall foul of any legislation, it’s equally important that any relief measures are taken into account.

Happily, our sister company Harris Lamb has a first-class business rates team who can both ensure that the any new RVs have been calculated correctly, and use the Check Challenge & Appeal process to challenge new RVs where there are discrepancies.

The team will can also ensure that you benefit from the reliefs available to you and provide up-to-date guidance and support regarding the financial impact of any changes your property has undergone, so a visit to the Malcolm Scott team to raise any concerns is certainly time well spent!

Make some time to discuss your centre with us and find out more about the widespread operational and planning projects we’ve undertaken in the past year, and how we can help you resolve your issues and make your brilliant business even better!