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Accounting for Market Gardeners

Running a market gardening business requires patience, skill and knowledge. It can be physically demanding to plant, produce and harvest vegetables, fruits, flowers and other plants on a commercial scale. There are also environmental considerations plus you might need to negotiate with wholesalers, restaurant owners and the public. It can be tough given the seasonal factors but having an accountant who understands your business can give you a competitive edge. Our Principal, Mal Wells was raised on a dairy farm so he understands the seasonality, risks and issues confronting market gardeners.

Of course, the growing importation of fruit and vegetables into this country has placed further pressure on prices and production costs seem to always be on the rise. Many market gardeners are worried that locally grown produce will slowly be replaced on the supermarket shelves by cheaper imported food from New Zealand, China and the US.

T he industry is also subject to technological change and the introduction of plasticulture has expanded the possibilities of year round crop production. It's challenging irrespective of your level of production. You could be targeting local farmer's markets or a much bigger scale operation. Here at Hyde Cooper Wells we have the industry knowledge to help you succeed and our clients include the full spectrum of market gardeners from roadside vendors through to very large commercial operations producing tonnes of fruit and vegetables. We also service a number of flower and plant nurseries and market gardeners have certainly become a niche area within the practice.

Apart from the usual small business compliance issues of GST, BAS, PAYG and Superannuation, we assist clients with managing their cash flow and selecting the right software for their business to prepare invoices and manage their payroll. Too many business owners use the wrong accounting software which ends up costing them more in accounting fees but our client brief includes helping you cut the cost of compliance and that often involves training you to use the software.

We believe marketing can be the difference between success and failure for a market gardener whether you sell your produce at markets, online, direct to restaurants or even schools. We often start with discussions about your branding (business name, logo development and slogan) then address the importance of your website and social media strategy.

Having an accountant who understands the mechanics of the horticulture industry can potentially give you a commercial advantage. Over the years our team of accountants have mentored dozens of market gardeners through the various stages of their business life cycle – from start up right through to sale. They bring experience, technical knowledge and most importantly, an intimate understanding of your industry to the table.


Starting a business is a bit like building a house. You need solid foundations that include the right business structure, the most suitable accounting software, adequate and appropriate insurances, a marketing plan including a lead generation website and various social media channels.

Your choice of business structure is critical and there are a number of different options such as sole trader, partnership, company and trust. Asset protection is a key consideration when selecting a business structure and you also need to take into account your family situation, your forecast level of profit and your future plans regarding admission of new business partners.

Accounting software is another foundation brick in the business wall and the wrong choice can be catastrophic. Poor financial records are one of the biggest causes of business failure in this country and up to date, accurate records let us make informed business decisions. Our mission is to make sure your accounting software matches your business needs with your level of accounting skill. The wrong choice of software can lead to records that resemble a 'computerised shoebox' which conflicts with our brief of helping you reduce your bookkeeping and compliance costs. Where required, we train you to use the software to reduce your costs and frustration.

As you know, to build a house you also need the right tools. When 'constructing' your business we also use a number of tools including our start-up expense checklist to identify all your potential establishment costs. It dissects your start-up costs into several categories including tools, equipment, IT expenses, professional fees and marketing costs. These figures can then slot into a cash flow budget template to produce projected trading results for your first year of operations.

For a market gardener your van or ute is arguably your most important business tool and you can download our Motor Vehicle Tax Guide from the resources section of our website. It explores the alternative methods of claiming your vehicle expenses and the distinction between a business and private trip for tax purposes. In addition, through our affiliate partners we can also assist with vehicle finance (chattel mortgage, CHP or lease) and get you fleet pricing on your new car, ute or light commercial van that could save you thousands of dollars.

We are business start-up specialists who can provide you with a comprehensive range of services and tools to get your market garden off to a flying start. We can compare the performance of your market gardening business against industry benchmarks so you understand what is working in the business and what needs working on.


As accountants we operate in a crowded market place. We recognise the fact that your marketing can be the difference between gloom and boom whether you sell your produce at markets, online, direct to restaurants or even schools. In fact, it’s our services beyond compliance that distinguish us from other accounting firms.

Most market gardeners rely on their reputation and referrals to grow their business. While these ingredients remain important, you need to shift your marketing focus online. Increasingly local searches like ‘organic fruit Cranbourne’ are driving traffic to your website which is often the first touch point with a potential new customer. As you know, in business, you only get one chance to make a good first impression and your website is your 'online shopfront' and silent sales person working 24/7 to promote your business.

Over the past few years we have worked with dozens of clients to help them create affordable, quality lead generation websites that are responsive to smart phones and tablets. We can help you plan and build your website, optimise it for Google and assist you with your content including video production and digital publishing. If your website lacks calls to action or lead magnets we'll help you build them and we'll also introduce you to strategies like re-marketing and search engine optimization to drive more traffic to your website.

We can assist you with your branding (business name, logo and slogan), your corporate brochure, blogs and help you harness the power of social media to win more referrals. If you aren’t using some of these marketing techniques your business probably won't reach its full profit potential.

We can help you understand the Four Ways to Grow A Business plus identify the key profit drivers in your business. We can walk you through a number of profit improvement strategies and even quantify the profit improvement potential in your business. Our role is to make sure you don't leave any profit on the table and if you're a market gardener we offer you a range of accounting, taxation and business coaching services including:

  • Start-Up Business Advice for a Market Gardeners including the business structure, accounting software, insurances, registration requirements, vehicle claims and finance, marketing, website design and content etc  
  • Advice regarding the Purchase or Sale of a Market Gardening Business
  • Spreadsheets and Tools including a Start-Up Expense Checklist, Business Plan Template and Cash Flow Budget.
  • Provide Advice and Assistance with the Establishment of Your Business Structure (sole trader, company, trust, partnership etc.) taking into account issues like Asset Protection and discount Capital Gains Tax Concessions
  • Business and Tax Registrations for ABN, TFN, GST, WorkCover etc.
  • Preparation of Business Plans, Cash Flow Forecasts and Profit Projections
  • Accounting Software Selection and Training – Bookkeeping, Invoicing, Quotes & Payroll
  • Preparation of Finance Applications for the Bank
  • Preparation and Analysis of Financial Statements
  • Bookkeeping and Payroll Services
  • Tax Planning Strategies
  • Marketing Audit including an evaluation of your Branding, Brochure and Website
  • Advice and Assistance with your Website Development, Content and SEO
  • Wealth Creation Strategies and Financial Planning Services
  • Industry Benchmarking and KPI Management
  • Vehicle & Equipment Finance (Trucks, Utes, Diggers, Chattel Mortgage & Lease)
  • Monitoring and Controlling Labour and Sub Contractor costs
  • Advice & Assistance with Pricing and Claiming Motor Vehicle Costs
  • Recession Survival Strategies
  • Advice regarding Employee Relations and Workplace Laws
  • Business & Risk Insurances
  • Business Succession Planning

In summary, we are so much more than just tax accountants. We are ‘business and profit builders’ who provide strategic advice and practical business solutions that could give you a serious competitive edge in your industry. We work hard to understand your business and over the past decade market gardeners have become a niche industry within our firm.

If you're an ambitious business owner looking to boost your current results or if you're looking to get your business off to a flying start we invite you to contact us today. You can expect practical business, tax, marketing and financial advice that could have a profound effect on your future business profits. To book your FREE, one hour introductory consultation simply call us on (03) 5995 3466 or complete your details in the box at the top right hand side of this page and we will be in touch.

Hyde Cooper Wells - Build Your Business & Grow Your Wealth