Chairman’s spotlight: the man championing Britain’s gardeners
One of the reasons I so enjoy meeting BigChange customers is that the conversations we have always expand my mind and show me new perspectives.
This week, I had the privilege of catching up with David Newman, the founder and CEO of Newman Landscapes. He started the business in 2006, building it from the ground up (pun intended), from domestic gardening to commercial maintenance and prestige contracts.
Today, he employs 33 people, but he has big ambitions to become a medium-sized national player with his own academy, training people up in the craft and lobbying on behalf of the gardening sector.
When he said this and explained his vision for championing gardeners in the UK, he blew my mind.
“My ambition is to change the perception of gardening,” he tells me. “A lot of people think that gardening is easy – anyone can mow a lawn or trim a hedge. You put a quote in, and the reply is, ‘That’s expensive – for a gardener’. The truth is that experienced gardeners are skilled professionals, who deserve to be recognised for their work.
“We have done some extraordinary projects at Newman Landscapes, from celebrity gardens to the creation of incredible lakes, which takes careful design, planning, and execution. Gardeners handle invasive species, help maintain ancient trees, and work across huge sites for complex clients.
“Someone could lose their job today and decide to offer gardening services, and they may quote tiny prices to get started, but I want to educate people that undervaluing our profession ruins the industry and perpetuates the myth that gardening is easy, and anyone can do it. It’s time to stop taking this sector for granted.”
I love understanding the things that really matter to my customers. I really want to help David on his mission, and it’s great that BigChange is helping him to scale faster so that he can reach his goal sooner. “BigChange will revolutionise this business over time,” he says. “We have more than 1,000 sites in our ground maintenance business and now I know, at every minute of the day, how jobs are going and where we are as a business. This used to take up hours of my week and now I get an instant snapshot, which will help us grow.”
David lives and breathes horticulture; it’s in his blood. His great grandfather owned a floristry business, and his father is a Royal Horticultural Society certificate holder. “I’ve never wanted to do anything else,” he says. “Even today, I’m happy to get my hands dirty and jump in a digger or help out the team.”
A true advocate for his industry, and a skilled and passionate gardener, I can’t wait to see what David does next.