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

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If you're a field person & have a green thumb, you are already into a landscaping business. To help you kick-start your landscaping business, we've put together a beginners' guide.

đź“ťKey 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.

Anyone who has a yard is aware of the labor-intensive maintenance required. However, if you enjoy yard work and cherish the aroma of freshly cut grass or a garden that has just been mulched, you might have thought about establishing 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.

The landscaping sector is expanding. The industry has expanded at a 2.5% annual pace over the last five years. Future projections indicate that the landscaping services industry will expand at a CAGR of 4.5% every year. Additionally, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment of landscapers is expected to rise by 10% between 2019 and 2029.

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

Cut Down Traditional Method Costs & Time

Use estimating and invoicing software to slice down the excess cost spent on starting 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 steps to start a successful landscaping business:

1. Identify your target market and decide on your services

2. Choose a business name and register your business

3. Buy or rent the required equipment

4. Get business cards printed

5. Decide on your landscaping rates

6. Get customer feedbacks & testimonials

7. Market your business

8. Optimize your business operations

9. Position yourself as an expert

10. Get a team together

To get your landscaping business off to a good start, let’s discuss these steps in detail.

1. Identify your target market and decide on your 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 the 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 clients. 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 landscaping business plan and marketing strategy as you get more information.

2. Choose a business name and register your business

You need to choose a business name 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.

Register your business

When you have decided on the business 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 articles of incorporation that contain an LLC’s documents.

3. Buy or rent the required equipment

Deciding on whether to rent or buy lawn care 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, pickup truck, and trailer
  • 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. Get business cards printed

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 for your new business.

5. Decide your landscaping rates

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.

what licenses are needed to start a landscaping business

Making money from mowing lawns 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. Ever thought of what is the average labor rate for landscaping? Here is the answer to your question.

6. Get customer feedbacks & 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 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. Market your business

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

starting a landscape business

You can hand out business cards on 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 promote your Facebook business)
  • 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 marketing

For example, setting up a business website will allow you to be found online, improve your business presence, and attract customers. Fortunately, it won’t cost much or take long.

8. Optimize your business 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, automated estimates for landscaping contractors improve 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.

To make things easier, you can use InvoiceOwl to automate your estimating & invoicing processes. By using the software, you don’t have to waste your time making manual estimates & invoices.

You can simply create an estimate in a few clicks, send it to the client, get it approved, and convert it into an invoice with a single click. You can even request payments from clients and get financial reports automatically created in the software.

9. Position yourself as an 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, both 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

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

landscaping companies

When you hire employees (whether full-time or part time employees) make sure they have a background check before starting work 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 own boss in the landscape industry is an excellent opportunity for people already in the industry. 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.

Landscape sales are expected to rise by 4.9% from 2020 to 2025 as people become more interested in gardening. So, there are a lot of opportunities for your 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 business if you are still unsure.

Pros of starting a landscaping business:

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Scalable

    You can start your business by providing a single service, say lawn mowing services, and expand to include additional services like gardening, landscaping, tree trimming, and weeding. With so many possibilities available, businesses can grow as client demands change.

  • Customizable

    There are numerous ways to customize the landscaping business to meet your goals or level of landscaping experience. You can decide to run your business as a sole proprietor, doing everything yourself, or you can become the marketing whiz who oversees several landscaping teams. You also have the option of pursuing home contracts or commercial construction contracts.

  • Workforce

    If you grow exponentially and need workers, the bulk of this sort of workforce can learn on the job and doesn’t require any formal qualifications. As a result, there will be no costly hiring or training expenses. However, this labor often has a greater turnover rate, so take caution.

  • Franchises

    There are numerous well-established and respectable landscaping business franchises available, if you’re seeking to buy an existing business model to build on. Additionally, you may think about buying an already-running company, which would give you access to its clientele and equipment.

Cons of starting a landscaping business:

  • Seasonal

    Landscaping is a seasonal service. By the end of October, your client accounts fall into dormancy, unless you reside in a location with mild winters. If you’re seeking an all-year business, you’ll need to find a way to broaden your service line (like adding snow removal services) to keep operations going all winter.

  • Start-Up Costs

    Depending on the sort of landscaping company you want to establish, you will need equipment and a means of transportation for it. In certain situations, this can require paying a considerable amount of money up front.

  • Competition

    If you look in your local phone book, you’ll see that there are many landscaping and lawn care businesses near you. Due to a number of competitors, you will need to compete on price, which will reduce your gross margins. Do some local research, and if you can, talk to current lawn care businesses about the situation there.

  • Multiple Operations

    Lawn maintenance involves more than just mowing the yard. In reality, there are many things to take into account while running a full-time landscaping business, including advertising, sales, marketing, personnel management, estimating & invoicing, and more.

    While a team handles a portion of it, every person you hire gets a slice of the pie you’ve created. It’s quite possible to stretch oneself extremely thin, particularly in the first year.

Requirements to Establish a Landscaping Business

  • Continuation of education

    It’s no surprise that you wear many hats, whether you’re the 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 for 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 landscaping 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, a sole proprietorship, an 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 the event 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

    • Business License

      While starting a landscaping business does not require any specific industry licensing, several states do necessitate a business license.
      If you satisfy specific requirements, the majority of states will demand that you apply for a state business license, but it’s a fairly straightforward procedure. A business license might cost between $15 and $200 per year, depending on the state.

    • Employer Identification Number (EIN)

      Obtaining an Employer Identification Number (EIN) is essential when starting a landscaping business. The EIN serves as a federal tax ID which you will need to open a bank account, file taxes, recruit staff, or submit a regional permit application.

    • Pesticide Charter

      Several states require you to get a pesticide charter in order to use pesticides as one component of your services.

    • Insurances

      Even though your landscaping business is just getting started, you should still insure it properly to safeguard both you and your assets.

    • Some of the insurance you’ll probably require for your business is listed below.

      • General Liability Insurance
        In the event that you are sued for property damage or personal injury, this coverage will safeguard you and your business.
      • Workers’ Compensation Coverage
        If an employee gets injured at work, workers comp will cover anything from medical charges to legal fees.
      • Equipment Breakdown Coverage
        Your equipment is essential to running your business, so having this coverage in the event of an unplanned failure may be quite beneficial. If your equipment malfunctions due to an eligible cause, it will be compensated for a repair or replacement.
      • Business property insurance
        Business property property insurance is basically two coverages combined into one. Business property insurance covers your office structure, while business personal property insurance insures the assets held by your own company.
      • Business Owner’s Policy
        In reality, this is a package of coverage that also includes property insurance, general liability insurance, and business insurance. Most of the coverages you’ll want for your landscaping business are available here in this single policy.

How Much Does it Cost to Start a Landscaping Business?

Costs must always be taken into account when establishing any service-based business. We’ve done the expense research and gathered some general, approximate figures for the establishment costs of a landscaping service for you.

Starting from scratch, you’ll require an investment of between $10,000 to $15,000 for transportation, supplies, promotion, and other business expenses.

If you are a homeowner, it’s likely that you already have it all you require to get going, but you might need a few more tools as you go. You may have to spend between $2,000 and $5,000 to establish your business.

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.


  6. How much can a landscaping business make in one year?

    Owners of landscaping businesses can make between $25,302 and $147,577 per year in income, according to Payscale statistics. By putting an emphasis on high-quality work, responsive customer support, and effective marketing, you may reach the top end of this spectrum. But keep in mind that starting a business takes time, so be patient and persistent with your growth!

Conclusion

That’s all there is to it! a comprehensive guide on how to start a landscaping business. The toughest part of everything is always the beginning, but the journey is what makes it worthwhile.

It’s simple to establish a landscaping business, but you’ll need the right tools and high quality materials & supplies to complete the job. To start your business, make sure to evaluate what you already have and set aside more money for tool purchases. Take baby steps and grow as you draw in more happy customers and increase your earnings.

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.

United States

Ashburn

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