Landscaping Business Plants Seeds for Growth After Successful 2021

ON The landscaper chef is celebrating his third year in business with a full order book for the remainder of 2021 as MBS Gardens capitalizes on excess demand for garden remodeling with new expansion plans.

Forest Hall’s Michael Bell-Saunders, 40, has announced plans to expand MBS Gardens and hire new employees to enable a move to larger commercial projects in 2022 with the support of North Tyneside Business Factory.

Michael, a former head chef, founded MBS Gardens in 2018 to provide landscaping and design services to residential customers in and around the northeast. Initially involved in smaller garden maintenance projects, the company has developed into a complex gardening and landscaping company for private and commercial customers throughout the region.

Michael Bell-Saunders comments: “The business really started as a personal challenge to see if I could make self-employment a success for myself and my family. Looking back on a full order book by next year, I am pleased that I made the right decision to go out on my own at a difficult time.

“I used to be a chef, but the antisocial hours weren’t right for a young family, so I switched to landscaping to encourage my own creativity and apply some of the skills I’d learned while managing garden spaces. I really got to work thinking that maybe it could be something I could do about running my own business. I accepted the challenge and within a week MBS Gardens was in stores. “

With two children and a then three-month-old baby at home, Michael founded the company with the support of his wife Gemma, who had just been fired from her position as a university lecturer. Together they created the basis for MBS Gardens, with Gemma taking care of the back office business and Michael managing the entire garden design, offers and workforce.

Michael comments, “It was difficult at first to move from being an employee to looking after all aspects of the company. It was a baptism of fire in many ways as we were so early on our business trip that sourcing tools and supplies to get jobs done was difficult. However, over time, our confidence grew in both the company’s potential and our own capabilities, and today we are considering how to upgrade the company to develop our brand and increase the capacity to run projects at the same time.

“We have been fortunate enough to build an excellent reputation and have moved from residential projects to commercial work for schools and communities. We have also expanded the garden design side of the business to offer a 3D computerized design service to transform outdoor spaces from concept to completion. The design side of the store has proven incredibly popular given the demand from people who really want to remodel their outdoor space after the lockdown. “

Michael and Gemma are now partnering with North Tyneside Business Factory to manage their business scaling as they enter a new phase of growth. With plans to hire permanent employees and increase capacities.

Michael adds, “Our business consultant at Business Factory, Janice Ross, was an invaluable source of advice and guidance as we began looking at how we could grow the business in a sustainable way. We would like to expand our team, but also further develop our current customer base in order to enable more tendering options for longer-term commercial landscaping and maintenance contracts. Janice made excellent use of her wealth of experience and contacts to develop our new business strategy, but she was also able to put us in touch with a specialist consultant who can help small businesses learn the basics of sourcing and successfully bidding. “

Michael and Gemma worked with the team at North Tyneside Business Factory, the North Tyneside Council’s business promotion program supported by ERDF and provided by TEDCO Business Support.

Janice Ross, management consultant for North Tyneside Business Factory, comments, “The hard work and dedication of Michael and Gemma have not only resulted in a solid new business pipeline, they are also taking steps to secure the future of their company with a new growth strategy for jobs and create opportunities. It has been my pleasure to serve as their sounding board to this day and I look forward to working with them to ensure the future success of MBS Gardens as we finalize a growth strategy to lead them through 2022. “

For more information on the services available through the North Tyneside Business Factory, please call (0191) 605 3110

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