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Q&A with Gary Finnie from Garden Rooms & Glamping

Written by: Mettle editorial
4 min read

Covid and the cost of living crisis changed where people work and how they holiday, leading Gary to start his own garden shed installation business.

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Tell us about your business? 

I started Garden Rooms & Glamping early in 2022. As the name suggests, I install garden rooms and glamping pods across Scotland, but in a more sustainable and eco-friendly way. I create a seamless modular building process that is both innovative and non-invasive, which makes the installation quick and hassle-free.

The garden rooms are for people who want an extra room or home office that can be used year-round. They are fully insulated with double-glazed windows and doors and are made bespoke to customers’ needs. 

And then you move on to the glamping pods that people can rent out. With everybody making use of their home offices now, and the cost of living means people have fuel issues, supply issues, and even affecting holidays, it seemed like a good business to get started. Covid brought about a bit of a turning point too – people weren’t just looking overseas to escape and realised the beauty this country had to offer.

Glamping pod

What does a typical day look like? 

I start off by looking at emails over breakfast. Then it’s out and about for the day, doing physical work installing the sheds and going to merchants to buy materials and such. Sometimes when I am on one job, I will take some time to go measure up another unit. Then there is the customer comms, replying to people on WhatsApp and social media. Once that is all done and dusted, and I’ve put in the orders for the next job, I go home to have my tea and sit down for a bit before looking at the accounts. 

What is the best part of being a business owner? 

It's a double-edged sword. There are some negatives, but it does come with a lot of freedom. It gets to a point in your growth where all your aspirations of being your own boss and being able to take a day off whenever you please start to disappear. 

Once you have responsibilities – and if you get employees then even more so – then you become really busy. People always say you can take time off when you want or have a lie-in because you have no boss, but you do have a boss. Your customers are your boss. Suddenly you have five bosses at once and that sense of freedom changes, but it does come with financial return. You’re committed to your customers, meeting their expectations and growing your business. 

Tips on how to start your business: 

What was the most difficult part about getting your business started?

I’d say marketing and finding my customers, as the first one. Anybody can go online and market to your potential customer base, so standing out is important. As part of that, building relationships with my suppliers wasn’t difficult but really important. After that it was making sure that the first few units were placed properly and the customers were happy, to kick it all off.

I’m a member of the Federation of Master Builders and also a Marshalls registered landscape installer and a Government Trust Mark Registered Installer. This helps to get my name out there through their websites, which has helped build trust and do some of the marketing for me. 

Garden shed

What are the benefits of having a Mettle account as a small business owner? 

It's easy to open, which is helpful initially when everything can be quite daunting. You can open the account online and being backed by NatWest means it’s trusted too. There are lots of different accounts out there, but who are they really? That backing was a major selling point for me.

Once open, the app is very easy to use and its all your account. Things like being able to use invoicing is very helpful for a small business. The word ‘easy’ should be used a lot when describing Mettle. 

You can find out more about Garden Rooms & Glamping on the website or Facebook.

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At Mettle, our aim is to give everyone the financial confidence to work for themselves, and that’s no different with our content. We want to give small business owners, freelancers and sole traders the tips, tricks and industry updates they need to run their businesses. 

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