Do you have prior experience in landscaping services, are passionate about plants, or are good with lawn care? Landscaping can be an excellent business opportunity.
The question is: How do you open a landscaping business?
You’ve come to the right place for answers.
I wrote this guide to teach you how to start a landscaping business today from the ground up.
How To Start a Landscaping Business: 9 Simple Steps
Decide on the services you want to offer.
Create a business plan.
Get the necessary registrations, certifications, and licenses.
Open a business bank account.
Get liability insurance.
Buy or rent equipment.
Set your rates.
Promote your business.
Get your first client.
Anyone can start a landscaping company. However, following these steps is the best way to start a landscaping business.
1. Decide on the Services You Want To Offer.
Determining your potential services is essential before you learn how to start your own landscaping business. This initial decision will set the foundation for your entire venture because your services help you define your niche, potential customers, and landscaping equipment.
Here are some factors to consider when choosing what services you should offer.
Expertise and experience
Landscaping is a big industry, so knowing what you can and can’t do is important.
Do you do your best in lawn maintenance services? Perhaps you’re an expert in gardening and plant and lawn care.
Reflect on your skills and knowledge in landscaping. Focus on areas where you excel.
You should also consider your prior landscaping experience because it will influence the quality of your services.
Make a list of what you’ve done, what you’re good at, and what you don’t know but would like to.
Align your services with your interests to stay motivated and deliver exceptional results.
Evaluate your financial resources to determine which services are feasible.
Equipment and stock cost significant amounts of money, so knowing the landscaping services you offer and the financial resources they can require is a prudent part of every planning.
Best Landscaping Services to Offer
By carefully selecting your services based on your abilities and market demand, you can pave the way to being a successful landscaping business owner.
Here are some services you should include when developing landscaping business ideas.
This service includes mowing lawns, fertilizing, and weed control.
This service includes patios, walkways, and retaining walls.
This service means creating visually appealing landscapes and gardens.
This service refers to the installation and maintenance of landscape watering systems.
Tree and shrub care
This service includes pruning, trimming, and disease control.
2. Create a Business Plan.
To start a landscape business, you must make a business plan.
A well-crafted landscaping business plan will serve as the cornerstone of your lawn care business, offering direction, structure, and clarity, especially in times of uncertainty.
It also has other practical uses, like when getting small business loans or appealing to potential investors.
Let’s delve into the specifics of a business plan:
Business Plan Definition and Importance
A comprehensive business plan outlines your landscaping venture’s goals, strategies, and financial projections.
It’s a roadmap that guides new landscaping business owners and plays an important role in business transactions and legalities.
A basic business plan contains the following subjects.
An executive summary overviews your company’s mission statement, vision, and goals.
This element details your landscaping services, target market, and competitive analysis.
Get insights into industry trends, customer demographics, and your competitors.
Organization and management
This element refers to your business’s structure and key team members.
Services and products
List the landscaping services you want to offer.
Sales and marketing strategies
These are your plans to attract and retain clients.
This aspect is the amount of capital you require and its purpose.
This refers to your lawn care business’s income statements, balance sheets, and cash flow forecasts.
Financial Considerations in Planning
Making your business plan is also the right time to make projections regarding your potential business expenses and potential revenue.
Consider what you need to start a landscaping business, and then determine what it would likely cost, including your startup and ongoing costs.
Your initial investments will likely include equipment and tools, inventory, vehicles, licenses and permits, and initial marketing efforts.
Ongoing costs will include any labor you might hire, operational expenses, insurance, continuing marketing strategy, rent or utilities, vehicle maintenance, and taxes.
What about how to start a landscaping business with no money? It’s possible, especially if you focus on light work such as maintenance or lawn mowing.
These days, you’ll want to invest around $15,000 to $20,000 for initial costs if you want to be considered a professional in the landscaping industry.
3. Get the Necessary Registrations, Licenses, Permits, and Certifications.
Ensuring you have the right business documents establishes your legitimacy as a landscaping business.
It boosts your business’s credibility in the eyes of potential clients and provides financial benefits, like liability protection and tax advantages for your lawn care company.
First, you must determine your business structure since it can affect your specific requirements.
Choosing the right structure is fundamental when starting your landscaping company. Here are the most common options:
It is simple to set up but offers no personal liability protection.
It suits multiple owners, but personal liability remains a concern.
Limited Liability Company (LLC)
It provides a balance of liability protection and flexibility.
It offers strong liability protection but involves more complex formalities.
An LLC, or Limited Liability Company, is often considered the best choice for a lawn care business for two main reasons.
It combines the simplicity of a sole proprietorship with personal liability protection. An LLC separates your assets from your business’s liabilities, safeguarding your finances.
It offers flexibility in management and taxation, which benefits small landscaping businesses.
Important Licenses, Permits, and Certifications
Once you’ve determined the appropriate structure for your business, you can start getting the legal documents that landscape professionals need for their business.
Here are the most common examples:
A business license validates your business’s legitimacy and is often required at the local or state level to make you an official business entity within a specific jurisdiction.
Depending on your location and services, you may need permits to protect natural resources, such as wetlands or waterways, during your landscaping projects.
Ensure your employees receive safety training and certifications, such as CPR or first aid, to handle potential emergencies on the job site.
Commercial driver’s license (CDL)
You may need a CDL if your business involves operating large company-owned vehicles to transport landscaping equipment, materials, or crew.
You need a landscaping license for your business to take on clients in some states. Inquire at your county clerk’s office to learn about the specific business licenses you need in your state.
4. Open a Business Bank Account.
Opening a business bank account is critical to your business.
A separate business bank account helps distinguish your personal finances from your business transactions.
It also streamlines financial operations, aids in tax compliance, and makes it easier to do your bookkeeping, such as tracking income and expenses.
Here’s how to open a business bank account.
Research local banks and select one that offers suitable business options.
Prepare your business’s legal documents, such as the EIN (Employer Identification Number), business licenses, and personal identification.
Schedule an appointment with your chosen bank and bring the required documents.
Discuss your needs with the bank representative to determine the appropriate account type.
Make the initial deposit into the account.
Ensure you have access to online banking services for easy account management.
Connect your business bank account to payment methods, such as invoicing software or payment processing tools.
Maintain organized records of all business transactions to facilitate accounting and tax reporting.
5. Protect Your Business With Liability Insurance.
Get general liability insurance to safeguard your own business.
It’s a type of business insurance policy that shields your business from financial losses in case of accidents, property damage, or legal claims.
Your landscaping insurance acts as a financial safety net in case unforeseen events happen to you or your employees on your job sites.
But liability insurance is the bare minimum of business insurance your landscape business should have.
You should also get the following types of insurance for better protection.
This insurance protects your business assets, including equipment, tools, and office space, from damage or loss due to fire, theft, or natural disasters.
Worker’s compensation insurance
This business insurance covers medical expenses and lost wages for employees injured on the job, ensuring compliance with labor laws.
Commercial auto insurance
Your personal vehicle isn’t the only thing you should insure. Insuring your business vehicle is also important to cover accidents and damages.
6. Buy or Rent Your Equipment.
Investing in the right landscaping gear is critical for your new business.
The equipment you choose and how you acquire it can significantly impact the quality and efficiency of your services and your overall profitability.
Two common options are to purchase or to rent.
Purchasing equipment will give you full ownership and control of important equipment for your business. It’s more expensive upfront but an investment that can save you money in the long run.
On the other hand, renting is cheaper initially and less financially risky, but you won’t own the equipment. The rental costs also add up over time, making it more costly.
Essential Landscaping Equipment
Regardless of how you plan to acquire them, here are the top equipment and tools you need to know how to start a yard work business.
Trimmers and edgers
Wheelbarrows and carts
Shovels, rakes, and hoes
7. Set Your Rates.
You’re well on your way to knowing how to run a landscaping business, and the next essential point that needs to be set is your service rates.
While you can adjust your pricing strategy however you like, the goal is always to establish competitive yet sustainable pricing.
Here are a few factors to include in your planning.
You need a good grasp of the landscaping market to have great pricing. Research local competitors’ rates and industry averages for guidance.
Cost of goods
Calculate the labor, materials, equipment, and overhead expenses you spend on a single project. Factor in things like fuel in case the job site is far away and special charges for specialized equipment.
Determine your business’s desired profitability level according to your business goals.
Account for employee wages and benefits.
More complex tasks such as architecture and building may justify higher rates than simple tasks like lawn maintenance.
Charge more for specialized skills or equipment. Specializing in something niche and high value makes way for more profit potential since you’ll dominate the market.
Consider the affordability of your target clientele. A residential landscaping project might have a different price range than commercial clients for roughly the same tasks.
8. Promote Your Business.
Your small business marketing strategy is indispensable to starting your landscaping business. It’s not just an option but a necessity.
Marketing encompasses all your activities and strategies to promote your landscaping business startup. Effective marketing ensures that your target market knows you exist, understands what you offer, and chooses you over the other landscaping companies.
Luckily, a good marketing plan doesn’t have to break the bank. You can do plenty with a small marketing budget.
Here are some budget-friendly ideas to help you market your landscaping services.
Create a professional website.
Showcase your work, services, and contact information on a business website. It will serve as a hub for all your marketing efforts.
Leverage social media.
Utilize platforms like Facebook Business, Instagram, and LinkedIn. Share project photos, engage with the community, and build an online presence of your existing business on these platforms.
Use online directories.
List your business in local online directories such as Google My Business, Yelp, Yellow Pages, and more to improve visibility.
Attend local business events and join networking groups to establish professional connections.
You can join associations like the National Association of Landscape Professionals and connect with your industry to learn best practices to attract customers.
Hand out flyers.
Go door to door and distribute marketing materials in your service area—partner with home improvement stores or local gardeners to display your printed materials in their shops.
Advertise in the newspaper.
Purchase a spot in your local newspaper for your advertisements.
Use vehicle and equipment branding.
Use vehicle wraps or magnetic signs with your business name to advertise your company wherever you go.
Get involved with your local community.
Sponsor, participate, or donate to community events to increase your local presence.
Create referral programs.
Use incentives to encourage word-of-mouth marketing. Reward satisfied clients who will refer your services to others with discounts or freebies.
9. Get Your First Client and Provide Exceptional Service.
Your first landscaping job is significant because it sets the tone for how your business will run in the next few weeks.
The difference between a good review and a bad one (or even an okay one) is significant in landscaping. You need to exceed your first customer’s expectations and have a solid base of trust that you can use to market to more clients.
Here are some landscaping business tips you can implement.
Explicitly ask for reviews.
After completing a project, request feedback from your clients by verbal agreement or follow-up texts or emails. Be sure to emphasize how grateful you will be and how much it will help your company.
Ask clients to connect on social media.
A simple like, share, and follow goes a long way to promoting your social media page. Aside from their review, their interaction with your page can boost your social media visibility, potentially widening your audience.
Make booking easy.
Streamline your booking process to be efficient and user-friendly, ensuring a seamless client experience.
Provide business cards.
Offer business cards to your clients, making it simpler for them to recommend your services to friends, family, and colleagues.
Optional Steps When Starting a Landscaping Business
You now know the basics of how to start a landscaping company, but there are optional strategies you can implement if they fit your time, budget, and business structure.
Consider your business plan and see if these strategies align with your preferences.
1. Build a Team.
If you want larger projects, hire employees and build a reputable team.
Hiring employees can help you scale your business, allowing you to take on more jobs and specialize in high-value tasks such as irrigation system design, backyard lighting, pond building, and more.
However, your overhead will increase exponentially, too, so only do this after careful planning and balancing costs.
2. Set Up an Office and Storage Facility.
Having your own dedicated space makes your business look more professional and enhances operational efficiency by providing a centralized location for administrative tasks, client meetings, and equipment storage.
However, it also has some drawbacks, especially in terms of cost.
If you’re new to landscaping, choosing a rented space over a home office may not be the right time. As your business grows, you should consider investing in a separate office and storage space to scale your operations.
3. Take Advantage of Project Management Software.
Project management software is a valuable tool designed to streamline and optimize the management of large and complex projects, such as landscaping jobs.
This tool allows you to schedule jobs, track projects, manage tasks, and communicate with clients more efficiently.
That said, most software has a learning curve for complete beginners. You need to consider whether it’s worth the time and effort to learn a new tool when you can use it working on your actual landscaping projects instead.
The Pros and Cons of Starting a Landscaping Business
Before offering landscaping services, it’s important to understand what you’re getting into fully. Here are the advantages and disadvantages of this type of business.
|Low barrier to entry||High start-up costs|
|Work flexibility||Intense competition|
|Steady demand||Weather-dependent outdoor tasks|
|Potential for recurring profits||Seasonal fluctuations|
|Highly scalable||Physically demanding|
Low Barrier for Entry
Starting a landscaping business isn’t difficult, even for beginners. Anyone who knows how to operate a lawn mower and a solid network can start a lawn care business and then move on to more complex services.
As a landscaping business owner, you can set your own schedule, rates, service offerings, and target service areas. This flexibility allows you to tailor your business to your preferences and lifestyle.
Lawns and gardens require ongoing care, ensuring a consistent demand for landscaping services. Although seasonal variations may occur, the need for maintenance remains constant.
Potential for Recurring Profits
Establishing long-term relationships with clients can lead to recurring business, which means a consistent source of income.
You can start from simple and low-cost services to complex and high-value services. Scaling can include hiring specialized employees, offering more services, and targeting new markets to increase revenue.
High Startup Costs
Acquiring the necessary lawn care equipment, tools, and vehicles can be costly, particularly for those who have just started in the industry. Initial investments can strain your finances, so you must have sufficient capital.
The landscaping sector is highly competitive, with plenty of new and established businesses vying for the same clientele. To stand out, you need effective marketing and exceptional service.
Weather-Dependent Outdoor Tasks
Adverse weather, such as heavy rain or extreme heat, can disrupt work schedules and impact earnings, especially for seasonal services.
Depending on your location, landscaping services may experience seasonal fluctuations, with increased demand in spring and summer and reduced demand in winter. Managing cash flow during off-peak seasons may require creative solutions.
Landscaping work can be physically demanding. Typical days involve manual labor, lifting heavy equipment, and exposure to outdoor elements. It may pose challenges for potential business owners unused to physical labor or those with physical limitations.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What Is a Landscaping Business?
A landscaping or landscape design company provides services related to outdoor property enhancement. This includes designing landscapes, lawn care services, gardening, tree trimming, and hardscape construction.
Is Starting a Landscaping Business Worth It?
Landscaping can be highly profitable and fulfilling for those with the right skill set and preferences.
What Do You Need To Start a Landscaping Business?
Making a landscaping startup is relatively easy. You can start with as little as a lawn mower or trimming implements. You first need your market plan, legal paperwork, and equipment to establish a legitimate small business.
Is It Hard To Start a Landscaping Business?
It’s easy to start in this line of work, but it can be costly depending on the type of equipment you want to get, the number of people you want to hire, and other factors I discussed above.
Consider all the factors I discussed before opening your landscaping business.
How To Start a Landscaping Business With No Experience?
Like starting any business, some experience in the market and industry is more advisable for starting a landscape company. You might have to take additional steps, like learning the basics of landscaping and getting some experience, before opening your landscaping business.
However, the steps I discussed above will still apply.
How Profitable Is a Landscaping Business?
Your profitability can vary wildly depending on your clientele, services offered, and your overhead costs.
Can Anyone Make a Landscaping Business?
Do you want to know how to start a landscaping business for dummies?
Starting a landscape design business is something that anyone can do. Even if you only have something as small as a lawn mower or want to invest thousands of dollars. You can start with or without prior landscaping experience.
However, you must be okay with physically demanding tasks if you want to start a landscaping business.
Do I Need Education or Training To Create a Landscaping Company?
You don’t need to be a college graduate to start this line of work, but you need to know the industry and the work required.
What Is the Best Business Structure for Landscaping?
An LLC is the best business structure for your landscaping startup because it separates your personal and business finances, protecting your personal assets if your business fails and goes bankrupt.
How Do I Create My Landscaping Business Name?
You can decide on any name you want. You must include it in your business license applications to make it official.
The Bottom Line
Landscaping is a great opportunity for people looking for a reliable, creative, and physical business.
I hope my guide has helped you understand what is needed to start a landscaping business and how to start a successful landscaping business.
You can learn how to start a lawn care business if you want to start smaller and offer a more specific service.