How to Start a Landscaping Business [How Successful Contractors Do It]?

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Putting a solid foundation in place for your landscape business will help you succeed. Following the below steps will help you achieve your business goals.

📝Key Takeaways:

  • Get a better idea of what it takes to start a new landscaping business.
  • Find out an easy way to manage finances for your landscaping business.

It is no secret that the landscaping industry is a financially rewarding profession. Plus, homeowners have difficulty keeping their yards up, which is why landscapers are needed. So, what are your thoughts on this? Do you enjoy landscaping and the smell of freshly mowed lawns?

Considering that, you might wonder how to start a landscaping business. To get started, let’s take a peek at some of its stats and see what the lawn care industry holds for you or how booming it is.

As per the IBIS World Landscaping Services Industry Report, landscaping services will be worth $128.8 billion in 2022. Over 50% of the total gross revenue from landscaping businesses, with revenues under $500k, comes from small companies and independent companies. Indeed, these businesses have huge growth potential.

Plus, landscaping allows you to work outside, improve your clients’ homes and businesses, and help the environment. Even though starting a landscaping business might seem intimidating, it’s not as hard as you think.

If you are intrigued by the lawn care business, here is a guide to help you with how to start a landscaping business.

How to Start a Successful Landscaping Business?

There’s more to starting a landscaping business than just hard work. You have to spend at least 20%-25% of your time on maintenance. And getting your first customer is just the beginning. 

You should follow these tips to get your landscaping business off to a good start.

1. Identify your market and services

A strong understanding of your local market is one of the keys to starting a successful lawn care company. Thus, it is best to find out what your customers want in your area and what your competitors offer.

You can decide what lawn care services to offer based on this knowledge. Take a look at your competitors’ prices as well. Check out the local market to see if there are any gaps in service. 

You might also want to survey homeowners and businesses about what they need. You can encourage responses by offering discounts in the future.

Here are some landscaping and lawn care ideas that may be helpful:

  • Mowing and lawn care
  • Fall and spring cleaning
  • Design, gardening, and architecture
  • Pruning and removing trees
  • Watering
  • Fertilizing
  • Mulching grass

While narrowing down your offerings, consider your target audience. A market analysis can identify potential customers. Do you want to talk about residential landscaping? Would you like to target large companies with campus offices or office park operators? 

Once you’ve figured out your target market, check out the demographics. You can narrow your focus and develop your marketing plan as you get more information.

2. Register your business

Register your business

You need to choose a name for your business and register your business entity with the state before you can start operating it officially. If you are a sole proprietor, a “doing business as” (DBA) name doesn’t protect you from liability. In this case, the ideal option can be forming an LLC or corporation.

When you have decided on the name you wish to use, you will need to file the paperwork with the secretary of state. Ensure that no one has already claimed your name. It is usually the incorporation articles that contain an LLC’s documents.

3. Buying or renting equipment

Deciding on whether to rent or buy landscaping equipment early on is critical. A one-person operation might find renting equipment to be more cost-effective. 

If you are short on budget, you do not have to stay updated by purchasing the latest equipment or technology. Don’t be afraid to start small, then scale up as your customer base grows. Many landscaping companies started this way. This will also help you manage startup costs. 

However, if your business grows, you might get a better deal on equipment. Keep track of your rental costs to know when you should buy.

As a service provider, you may need the following:

  • Vehicles and trailers
  • Commercial lawn mowers
  • Edgers and weed eaters
  • A rototiller
  • Specialist tools

You should include these costs in the lawn maintenance and repair budget. When you have the right equipment, your customers don’t care where you bought it or whether it’s new or used.

4. Create landscape business cards

Although marketing has gone digital, business cards aren’t going anywhere. Secondly, they’re affordable and effective. It’s a good idea to pick landscape business cards that are colorful and simple. 

If you’re listing your accomplishments, make them short and sweet. Your landscaping business cards should also mention that you offer free estimates.  There’s something about this word that makes people draw toward you, and it might be what you need to get some customers to your new business.

5. Startup costs and prices

what licenses are needed to start a landscaping business

Now you need to figure out how much you’re going to charge. To find out what the standard landscaping costs are in your area, check what other landscaping companies charge. Make sure you’re not undervaluing your landscaping services because your competitors are.

Making money from mowing and blowing could be the key to success. A fee for mowing or blowing is one thing, and a fee for landscaping might be another.

Mowing and blowing a yard might range from $45 to $100, costing about $4 to $12 per square foot to the landscape. Landscaping design can be expensive, depending on the size and complexity of the project. 

Make sure your charges cover your overhead costs. The overhead comes from the costs of fuel, fertilizer, and workers. A worker’s compensation policy is required for employers to compensate the costs of their employees. The rates you charge should cover your costs and make a profit for you.

6. Customer Feedback & Testimonials

Getting feedback from your clients and working on it is vital to your business’ success. If you’re a business owner, your ultimate goal as a business owner is to make sure that your customers are satisfied. 

And, whenever a customer has a positive experience with your services, make sure you record a video with them. In this way, you increase the reliability of the services you provide to other customers, thereby improving their trust.

7. Promote your business

starting a landscape business

You can begin marketing when your business is set up, and you have determined what services and prices you’ll be offering. Marketing on a grassroots level can be a smart move. 

Using this marketing method, you can hand out business cards at doorknobs to spread the word about your services. By doing so, you’ll be able to get weekly clients in the same neighborhood, reducing commuting costs and travel time for you.

Listed below are some marketing ideas for landscaping businesses:

  • Ensure your website is searchable online
  • Make your business visible in Google My Business
  • Get on social media (like Facebook)
  • Get listed in relevant online directories (like Yelp and Yellow Pages)
  • (Local) newspaper ads
  • Paid search (like Google Adwords or Bing Ads)
  • A word-of-mouth referral

For example, setting up a business website will let you get found online and customers. Fortunately, it won’t cost much or take long. 

8. Optimize your operations

Automation catalyzes business growth. When you scale up your business, you can focus on the revenue-generating parts of it by automating your operations. As a side benefit, automation improves customer service and saves money and time. 

Here’s what you can automate:

Invoicing– If you automate your invoicing, you will never have to worry about forgetting your landscaping invoice and wondering if your payment went through.

Scheduling- Using scheduling automation makes the process of allocating resources in real-time very smooth and error-free.

Intelligent field service management software can automate and streamline work orders, dispatching, estimating, timesheets, and more.

9. Make yourself the local expert

Being an expert in this field doesn’t require a lot of work. You must respond to people’s questions regularly and give them helpful information online and offline.

When you position yourself as an expert, you’re better able to sell yourself and your company early on. When you are pre-sold, the customer already knows who you are, trusts you, and is willing to pay more.

10. Get a team together

landscaping companies

As your business grows, hiring employees becomes a necessity. A great team starts with good people, whether you’re hiring someone part-time to handle paperwork or expanding your team. 

Ensure every employee has a background check before working for you. You shouldn’t settle for anyone less than the best when hiring people who embody the traits you know will make your business succeed.

Why Start a Landscaping Business?

Being your boss in the landscape industry is an excellent opportunity for people in the industry already. Getting to meet and interact with people is the best part of the work. Apart from being proud of owning a business, you’re also protecting the planet.

Many consumers are gardening at home and buying bigger houses as they become more self-sufficient. Landscape sales are expected to rise by 4.9% from 2020 to 2025 as people become more interested in gardening.

There are a lot of opportunities for your new landscaping business to grow. You can help homeowners keep their properties in good shape when spring rolls around.

Besides this, here are some other good reasons why you should start your own landscaping business if you are still unsure. 

  • Easy business model

You can get started with landscaping easily because the simple business model makes it easier for entrepreneurs to copy, franchise, and scale. Getting started is also relatively cheap, and you need a couple of pieces of quality equipment, some labor, and transport.

Whether you buy a lawn care franchise or start a landscaping business from scratch, it will be based on your budget and goals. An established franchise company makes it easier to build a customer base and buy equipment.

  • Consistent demand

Markets are unpredictable, and the economy fluctuates a lot, so businesses have to deal with these things daily. Landscape services will never go out of business regardless of the economy. The world will always have grass and plants that need maintenance to survive. Even though landscape projects are seasonal, you can count on a steady income most of the year.

  • Customizing a client list

Running a landscape design business allows you to select your clients. In this case, you can service locations closest to you, saving you time and fuel. If you want, you can focus on better-paying clients and avoid people with unrealistic expectations. Choosing a client list that suits you allows you to work flexible hours. Working on a project-by-project basis will enable you to set your schedule and avoid following a 9-5 schedule.

Requirements to Establish a Landscaping Business

Continuation of education

It’s no surprise that you wear many hats, whether you’re an owner of a small business or an employee, a landscaper, a bookkeeper, or a customer service representative. To remain competitive in these fields, you must stay on top of the latest developments. You might change hiring practices or client preferences in communication styles. 

As part of the landscaping side, you’ll need to get trained to use (or replace) several pesticides, which will be introduced and taken off the market periodically. You should be proud that you’re a lifelong student and an entrepreneur.

Legality

Make sure you choose the right structure for your company. You can form a company as a partnership, sole proprietorship, LLC, or another type of business. You need to determine the pros and cons of each option. For small businesses, LLCs (limited liability companies) limit your liability in case of a lawsuit. Depending on the structure, you may qualify for franchise tax, or you may not. Would you like to venture out on your own or with a partner? This will also require a lawyer and an accountant since your company’s nature will change.

Licensing, permits, and trademarks

Since you’ll be dealing with chemicals, fertilizers, insecticides, etc., you’ll need a business license. Using fertilizers, getting rid of waste, removing irrigation, and using pesticides require different licenses.

Create Professional Estimates for Your Landscaping Services

InvoiceOwl is the software to make accurate estimates with professional-looking templates that can be customized in minutes.

Frequently Asked Questions
  1. How profitable is a landscaping business?

    It’s typical for landscaping companies to earn between 5 and 10% profit margin, while an independent landscaping company can make between 10 and 12% profit. The result is that even the companies that consider themselves profitable and successful fall short of their potential.


  2. How do I start a landscaping business?

    If you’re interested in starting your own landscaping business, there are many things you should consider before getting started. To start a landscaping business, you should develop a unique business plan. Make a list of your expenses, define your target market, and invest in branding your company. The prospect of starting your own lawn care business can be both exciting and overwhelming. It’s a big task to bring brilliant services to your customers, hire your own staff, and attract new customers – there are many things you need to consider.


  3. Is landscaping one of the most profitable services to offer?

    In this strategy, the general rule of thumb is to try to break even on maintenance as soon as possible and maximize profits by enhancing, irrigating, and taking care of the lawns. Mulching and mowing are two of the least profitable landscaping services, and they may even be unprofitable at the end of the day.


  4. Is it necessary to have qualifications to start a landscaping business?

    Success comes from being one of the best! Regardless of whether there are minimum requirements to start a landscaping maintenance business, you should pursue formal training to set your business apart from well-meaning amateurs.


  5. How do you charge for landscaping?

    Residential jobs aim for a margin of 15 to 20%, and commercial jobs aim for a margin of 10 to 15%. A high gross margin can be achieved by marking your total cost by a percentage higher than your gross margin.

Conclusion

With InvoiceOwl, you can manage quotes, schedules, and invoicing and get paid faster for landscaping businesses. Using this software, you can focus on the most critical aspects of your business and keep close tabs on them. 

With our invoicing software, you can get automatic invoicing. Any way you charge your customers is fine. With InvoiceOwl, you can automatically create invoices when a customer places an order.

By having full control over your finances, you can concentrate on growing your business. You can automate purchase order verification and give quick estimates via your account payable team.

You can try InvoiceOwl for free for 14 days and find out how it can benefit your landscaping business.

Author Bio
Jeel Patel
Jeel Patel
Founder

Jeel Patel is the Founder of InvoiceOwl and is the main curator & writer of the content found on this site. With ideals of quality, commitment, and perseverance, he believes in creating lasting business relationships with the clients.

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