Do you dream of starting your own landscaping business, but you aren’t sure where to begin? Well, you can stop dreaming and start acting, because we’re here to encourage you to make your landscaping business a reality.
There aren’t really any secrets to how to start a landscaping business — all you need are a few essential tools, a can-do spirit, and the determination to succeed.
In this guide, you’ll discover how easy it is to start your very own landscaping business. Armed with some basic equipment, the right mindset, and a few helpful tips, you’ll be well on your way to nurturing beautiful gardens, manicuring stunning lawns, and building your book of loyal clients.
Assessing the costs: how much does it cost to start a landscaping business?
The good news is that it doesn’t have to cost much to start a basic landscaping business. You’ll need some essential equipment like a lawn mower, weed eater, leaf blower, and hedge trimmers, which could run to anything from $500 to $5,000 total for quality tools. It’s a good idea to get a truck or trailer to haul your gear, but you can often find used ones for under $10,000.
You don’t need fancy offices or an enormous fleet when you get started. Begin by offering basic services like mowing, edging and trimming, which don’t require a lot of expensive equipment. Then you can expand into more activities like planting, hardscaping, and irrigation as your business, cash flow, and confidence grows.
You can invest in additional equipment and hire more help when you take on more clients and projects. The key is to not take on more than you can handle and manage growth at a sustainable pace.
How to keep costs low when you start a landscaping business
There are many ways to save money when your business is just getting off the ground:
- Buy used equipment or lease items that you need instead of purchasing new
- Operate out of your home instead of leasing office space
- Do your own billing and accounting to avoid additional fees
- Market your services for free on neighborhood Facebook groups and sites like NextDoor, instead of paying for expensive advertising.
How to create a business plan for your new landscaping business
Starting your own landscaping business is an exciting adventure, but like every new business, it requires careful planning. One of the most important steps is to write a comprehensive business plan that outlines your goals and strategies to achieve them. Your plan doesn’t need to be long, but it should include:
- An executive summary of your vision and mission
- A detailed description of your company and the services you will offer, like lawn mowing, gardening, hardscaping, etc.
- An overview of your experience and qualifications
- A market analysis of your target customers and competitors
- Your operational plan for managing equipment, employees, workflows, and schedules
- Financial projections for the next 3-5 years, including your starting costs and potential revenue and profits. This helps determine how much funding you may need.
How to get proper licensing and insurance for a landscaping business
Before you can start your own landscaping business, you’ll need to make sure you have the proper licensing and insurance. This may seem tedious, but it’s crucial to operating legally and protecting yourself, your employees, and your customers.
Many states require landscapers to hold a license or certification to operate. Check with your local licensing board to determine the requirements in your area. Don’t worry if you have no prior experience—some states offer trainee or apprentice licenses for people who are just getting started. Once you have the necessary experience, you can apply for a full landscaper’s license.
Liability insurance and worker’s compensation insurance are must-haves for any landscaping business.
Liability insurance protects you in case of any damage to a client’s property. It covers both damage to property, and any injury claims, like if someone trips over an unfinished bumpy lawn and breaks their ankle.
Workers comp insurance provides coverage in case any employees experience a work-related injury. It pays out to cover costs like medical care and wage replacement for employees who get on the job.
It’s best to shop around at different insurance providers to find a policy that fits your needs and budget, but don’t get overwhelmed by all the requirements. Once you have a handle on what’s needed, you can begin checking items off your list. With the proper safeguards in place, you’ll have peace of mind knowing your business and clients are protected.
Building your client base: marketing your new landscaping business
Once you’ve set up your landscaping business, it’s time to start spreading the word. You need effective marketing strategies to build your client base and establish your company as a trusted local resource. Here are some of the best ways to kick off your landscaping business marketing.
Ask your current customers to recommend you to their friends and neighbors. You could even offer an incentive, like 10% off their next service, for any successful referrals. Word-of-mouth marketing from happy clients is one of the best ways to gain new customers.
Make it easy for clients to review your business on sites like Yelp, Google, and Facebook by sending them a link to write their review directly on the site. It’s best to send this soon after you finish a job, through email or SMS. Don’t forget to respond to each review personally, to build rapport and respond to any customer concerns.
A professional website, social media profiles, and advertising campaigns will help establish your online presence. Share photos of your work, client testimonials, special offers, and seasonal tips on all the relevant online channels. You could even run targeted ads on platforms like Facebook, to reach homeowners in your area.
Networked partnerships can lead to new client referrals and collaborations. Join your chamber of commerce and look for opportunities to sponsor or participate in events; introduce yourself to real estate agents, home builders, and hardware store owners; and drop off your business card in busy areas with some promotional items like seed packets or gardening gloves with your logo.
With dedication and persistence, you’ll gain new customers, establish yourself as the locally trusted expert, and keep the jobs rolling in.
Top skills needed to start a landscaping business
Though it’s relatively easy to start a landscaping business, there are some important skills you need to possess in order to succeed:
Willingness to learn
The landscaping industry is vast, so dive in and soak up as much knowledge as you can. Read books, take online courses, shadow an experienced landscaper, or complete a certification program.
Strong work ethic
Starting your own business is challenging, and often requires long hours. Develop the dedication and discipline to push through obstacles. When things get tough, remember your vision and why you started. With determination and grit, you will achieve your goals.
The ability to adapt to change is essential. Client needs, weather conditions, and schedules are always changing, so you need to be able to think on your feet and be flexible when faced with the unexpected. Staying adaptable will allow you to provide the best service, no matter what comes your way.
As a business owner, you’ll constantly interact with clients and employees, so being able to build a relationship with other people is just as important as knowing how to mow a lawn. You need to be a good communicator and listener, able to express yourself clearly, resolve conflicts, and motivate your team.
Landscaping is an art form, where you design beautiful, functional outdoor spaces that meet your clients’ needs. Pay attention to the latest trends and styles to keep your designs fresh and inspiring, and don’t be shy to inject your own personal ideas to deliver unique gardens and landscapes.
Get on your way to landscaping business success
You now have the knowledge and confidence to get started with your own landscaping business. With some hustle and the right mindset, you’ll be well on your way to success in the landscaping field. Stay focused on keeping costs low, providing great service, and building up your reputation and before you know it, you’ll have a thriving, profitable small business.