How to Start a Landscaping Business 101
Getting into the landscaping business is not as hard as it may seem. If you love gardening and taking care of the environment, then this is the right place to find out how to start a landscaping business. In case you’re not sure whether this is what you need to do, check out the following arguments for or against setting up the business.
Pros and Cons of Setting Up a Landscaping Business
- It is a stable business. Taking care of a lawn is a perpetual account, which means it is an ongoing and profitable activity. Most likely, your customer base will need you to mow their lawns at least once a week.
- Using consumables. Besides getting their lawns mowed, people also need some other consumables, such as fertilizers and treatments for bugs or for weeds. These need to be used every 4-6 weeks, which means that you have again a constant source of profit.
- It’s scalable. You can just start by offering mowing lawns services, but as you expand the business, you can include some other services as well: weeding, gardening, trimming the trees, and so on. As such, you can scale your business endlessly, depending on the consumer demand.
- Entry-level employees. If you are indeed scaling up the business, you may need to hire more people. Finding entry-level employees is easier than qualified ones, so you save up money on training and recruiting.
- It’s a seasonal job, which means that it’s perfect for people who have summers off. Teachers, students or people who work during winter are perfect for this job.
- The same pro argument can turn into a negative one if you live in an area with harsh winters. By the end of October, you will have to close your business down due to the weather conditions. This is something to keep in mind when you are planning how to start a landscaping business and how to organize it.
- It may be costly. Of course, it depends on the type of lawn care you want to provide and the volume of work. However, you have to keep in mind that starting up such a business can prove to be quite costly. You must pay for equipment, transportation, consumables, as well as the required paperwork. Remember that there is no guide on how to start a landscaping business with no money.
- A simple search on Google will show you that there are tens, if not hundreds of other lawn care businesses. Starting a landscape business from scratch may be hard, but it’s even harder if you throw your money out the window. What would make your yard work company better than the rest? Why should people choose you?
- Economic risk. Usually, when people go through financially rough times, they tend to cut out expenses that are not essential for them. Lawn care is such a domain, and people prefer to do it themselves instead of outsourcing the job.
- Boring at times. If landscaping is not really your business, then you should think twice before starting a landscape business. It does require quite some effort, money and patience, and if you’re not willing to do it, it will fail.
Now that you know a little bit more about the ups and downs, you can go on to read this guide on how to start a landscaping business!
How to Start a Landscaping Business on Your Own
Set Up the Business
The first thing you need to do is to set up a landscape business plan. This will help you respect all the legal procedures and manage your finances as well. A good solution is to get a consultation with an accountant. They will tell you everything you need to know about taxes and financing sources. You need some financing in order to get the proper equipment and to go on until you get new customers.
Important! Don’t forget about getting the right licenses. Check out the legislation for each state and see what papers you need. Usually, among the information you will find on how to start a landscaping business there is also the requirement of a toxic chemicals license. Because you are working with fertilizers and pesticides, you need an extra license. There are other licenses as well, so make sure you know about them.
Landscaping Like a Professional
A professional landscaping service is focused on a niche. Before starting to get involved in everything that a business implies, you should think how to differentiate yourself from other similar businesses. Find your best points and capitalize on those.
Buy the equipment you need. Here is a brief list of the equipment pieces you need:
- Lawnmower – a riding mower might be more efficient, but it can be a little too expensive.
- Edger – one gas-powered edger will be useful for trimming the edges of a lawn. People often need that around driveways or walkways.
- Gardening tools – If your business also offers gardening services, make sure you include a rake, a shovel, and a weed puller.
- Safety gear – working with machinery implies the fact that you need gloves, together with safety goggles. If the machinery is extremely noisy, you should also include buying hearing protection on your plan on how to start a landscaping business.
- Transporting the equipment and the crew – the type of car you need depends on how big the equipment is and how many employees you have. The minimum requirement would be a trailer. Alternatively, you can also go for a large van or a truck. Of course, you can also upgrade the car depending on the scaling of your business.
- Insurance – ideally, your equipment should be insured, so that you can be protected in case it gets stolen or it simply breaks.
- Other small items – people don’t usually take this into account, but there are lots of small items you need. Among these you can count watering cans, foam knee pads (for your employees to plant in a comfortable manner), extension leads (useful for electric power tools), twine (good for tying plants up), as well as a push broom.
Keep in mind that not all the equipment needs to be new. A second-hand machine can also work well and it can save you some serious money. However, make sure that it is in a good state before purchasing it.
Grow Your Business
After you managed to get everything set in place, the next step is to focus on growing your business. Expanding should be an essential point on your how to start a landscaping plan, so consider that. Always remember to take advantage of advertising. Initially, you can do it with the help of small-scale tactics: door to door or giving out flyers with your company. An excellent point that will save you up lots of money is social media.
1. Social Media Advertising
Thinking of how to start a landscaping business and advertise it with no money? Well, social media is the answer for you. Set up a Facebook page that shows your work. Use networking sites such as LinkedIn or Google+ to reach other people. Yelp is also a good place to start advertising since people search for services there.
2. Check Out Business Organizations
Joining a business organization is yet another great idea for growing your business. Look out for local groups, such as the Chamber of Commerce or some other big trade organization. The business groups can keep you connected to other local businesses that can ask for your expertise. You can also take advantage of this and get some extra services from them. Talking to lots of people in the field is also helpful for being up to date with legal changes or educational opportunities in business.
3. Add New Niches
As you scale up your business, it’s a natural step forward to add a new niche. Inform yourself about other types of designs or installations you can add in order to have a larger customer base. Take up some education courses that help you maintain a professional level. For example, you can take up what is called the “interior-scaping”. Office buildings or malls often require the management of the greenery found in their indoor spaces. In this case, you should know what plants match the environment or are aesthetically appealing.
4. Get a Degree
It’s never too late to get a degree in landscaping! Landscape architecture is quite a big branch, but if you consider getting most out of your business, why not take it up? You can find bachelor’s programs in Landscape Architecture, as well as master’s degrees available for you. Look up what your options are in the area you live.
5. Maintain Quality
When thinking about how to start a landscaping business, many people forget about preserving quality. This is one of the worst mistakes you can do for your business. Once you get a customer base, make sure you keep it loyal by offering the same quality services they are used to. And this doesn’t apply only to you, but to your employees as well. Make sure they know what the standard of the company is and check their information periodically.
Finally, selecting the best employees is a never-ending job. As you probably know, lawn care and landscaping represent some high turnover businesses. Spend time trying to keep the best employees and listen to them. Think about the fact that their skills might attract more customers than you could imagine.
We know there are lots of things you must keep in mind, but at the same time, try not to overlook anything. Keep this guide on how to start a landscaping business handy and remember to think of the needs of your own business before respecting the abstract rules!
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