ALLIED TRADERS IN THE HORTICULTURE INDUSTRY

Allied trades are the businesses that support the horticulture industry, supplying it with chemicals, tools, machinery, construction materials, soils, fertilizers, garden products, plant labels and anything else. Allied traders are involved in both creating and marketing a very wide range of products.  Allied trade companies include some of the largest and most significant companies in the industry.

Where Do They Work?
Some allied traders develop, manufacture and market their products to trade-users or retailers. Others licence the rights within a particular country or region, to manufacture products from a parent company or individual who owns the international rights, and others import or buy products from a manufacturer and operate as a distributor.

Opportunities
Often product developers come to horticulture via other industries, for example:
• An engineer or mechanic who creates a new tool or machine
• A chemist or chemical engineer who creates a new fertiliser, pesticide or other chemical product useful to horticulture
• An entrepreneur who sees a need in a horticultural setting and develops a solution.

Many medium and large horticultural companies will employ or sub-contract appropriate people to develop new products. Large chemical, tool and machinery companies are constantly developing new products, and improving on old products. Potting media companies are always testing and modifying the range of potting media they offer for sale.
Opportunities always exist to develop a distribution network within a local or regional market that is not adequately serviced.

Establishing an allied trader business may not be difficult if you choose your product range well (only offer things that are in demand) and you manage the business properly. Any new business requires a significant investment in stock, so these are not businesses that are usually started up without some serious financial backing.

The ‘Achilles heel’ for any allied trader is always going to be poor sales - so anyone who has effective sales skills will always have opportunities to find employment in sales or marketing with an allied trader.

Larger allied traders employ staff in everything from PR and marketing to administration, stock control, dispatch and product development. Opportunities exist in all parts of the allied trade industries - but the remuneration and opportunities for promotion can vary.

What is Needed?
The most important thing you need is to know the products you are selling, their strengths and weaknesses, how they are made, maintained and used.  Some allied traders may be professionals or tradespeople from another industry, bringing skills that are needed in the horticulture industry (e.g. chemists, engineers, mechanics, plumbers etc.). Others may start out as a horticulturist, farmer or gardener, who sees a need or opportunity, and develops a product as a result.
Allied traders are sometimes, but not always, skilled horticulturists.
It always helps to have strong foundation knowledge of horticulture, because the people who you deal with will be gardeners, farmers or horticulturists. If you know the client or customer better, you can deal with them better.
If you want to be an allied trader, you may enter this occupation by using skills you already have as leverage. If you are a tradesman in something else think about where those skills might be useful in horticulture.  If you have experience in sales or marketing, you might look for work selling or marketing horticultural products.

 

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