Mowing a neighbor’s lawn to earn a few bucks for a weekend plan may be a common teenage story of many. Lawn care is just not a source of income, but it always comes with the nostalgia of your good old days.
One may not consider the landscaping business to be a lucrative career choice. However, the Bureau of Labor Statistics states that the employment of ground maintenance workers is estimated to increase by 10% from 2019 to 2029 and it has immense potential to get you a decent income.
Initiating your landscaping business is incredibly satisfying and fulfilling as it gives you the freedom to choose your hours and rates. Starting a business without proper guidance could make your entrepreneurial journey filled with obstacles.
Hence, follow the below-mentioned guide to learn how to start a landscaping or lawn care business.
But before we proceed, let’s run a check through the basics!
What is a landscaping business?
Constructing, installing, and maintaining a lawn, patio, garden, trees, shrubs and other outdoor areas are the various kinds of work involved in a landscaping business. This business also prioritizes environmental sustainability by planting more trees, shrubs, and other greens. Pursuing a career with a landscaping enterprise not only provides financial stability but also helps maintain the ecosystem and offers immense customer satisfaction.
Before you learn how to run a landscaping business, let’s figure out its pros and cons.
As per the research, the growth rate of the landscaping industry is 2.5% per year. And, according to the data represented by IBIS World, the landscaping service market is worth $105 billion in 2021. It is also the third-largest industry in the business support, administration, and waste management services sector as per IBIS.
Advantages and Disadvantages of starting a landscaping business
Before you decide to start or learn how to start a landscaping or lawn care business, it’s important to explore the pros and cons of starting a landscaping business.
- Working hour flexibility by choosing your own time.
- Outdoor work environment
- Great earning potential
- You can control your business finances.
- Increased probability of getting new opportunities.
- More number of satisfied customers.
- Enjoy various benefits and tax deductions.
- More exposure to the local community.
- Requires physical labor
- Involves hard labor input
- Income may fluctuate due to weather and low seasons.
- Need marketing knowledge.
- Involves start-up costs and the hassle of running a business.
Before sorting your business niche consider all the options you have. Take a look!
Type of landscaping business
Anyone with a backyard or a lawn would probably know that maintaining such space could be an ordeal. Needless to say, many landscaping businesses help maintain the yard much easier. Here are some of the types of landscaping businesses:
There is more than one type of landscaping business that offers multitudes of services. Some require specialized skills and experience to work. But if you are planning to start a new business from scratch, consider a general landscaping business offering traditional services like rearranging plants, installing rocks, etc. The main purpose of simple landscaping is to arrange the area in an aesthetically pleasing manner. As per the report, 88% of companies offer lawn care and chemical application under landscaping services.
As the name suggests, it involves arranging, maintaining, and general care of interior spaces of places like shopping malls, large office buildings, large public spaces, etc. You may not need to have the professional experience to start interior landscaping, but you should have an eye for designs, shapes, and texture. Creating functional interior spaces and making them pleasing to one’s eyes is a great way to get more projects.
The main difference between gardening and landscaping is that gardeners or groundskeepers do not perform designing tasks. They maintain the existing landscape and plant trees, flowers and take care of them. They need to have basic knowledge of horticulture to maintain and grow various plant varieties. Apart from growing plants, gardeners are responsible for mowing lawns, applying fertilizers, pesticides, cleaning debris, composting organic materials, and many more.
This is the most technical side of the green industry profession that needs to have an idea of designs and requires a specialized degree in landscape architecture. Whether college campus, public parks, common spaces, shopping centers, apartment buildings, or interior of a large house, planning, and designing is the key aspect. This part of the landscaping business has the highest income potential and needs special education and knowledge.
To start a landscaping business from scratch may seem tedious. Follow the below steps to give a good start to your business!
How to start a landscaping business?
Here are some of the important steps that one must keep in mind while they launch their landscaping business.
1. Choose your niche:
Decide the types of services you want to provide. According to that, you need to prepare your equipment list required for that specific service. A lawn care business or landscaping business has the following services :
- Layout designing for home or commercial space.
- Offering services to these businesses who do not have their landscaper.
- Updating the existing landscape of the client.
- Hardscaping that involves installing rocks, statues, etc.
- Sod installation
- Pest treatment
- Trimmer shrubs
- Applying fertilizers
- Maintaining hedges
- Mowing, seeding, and plant care
- Maintaining irrigation system
- Implementing structures
- Building driveways
- Adding ornamental features
2. Legal requirements
Register your business:
It is important to register your business to get your company off the ground. This requires structuring your business first. Some of the main business structures are:
- Sole traders manage the business all alone and are responsible for all the profit and loss incurred.
- The partnership involves sharing financial responsibilities with a partner.
- A company is a separate legal entity, where all the decisions are taken once agreed upon by the shareholder.
Workers Compensation and liability insurance are the two main types of insurances required in this trade.
Landscaping business requires specific licenses for particular tasks at certain places. The licensing regulations vary from state to state. You can check out the official website of each state to know more about the licensing requirements.
Note: Northern Territory of Australia does not require a license to work as a landscaper. Though local rules may vary for home improvement jobs.
3. Purchase equipment:
The equipment list depends upon the type of niche you decide to work on. Basic requirements would be like a shovel, lawn aerator, rakes, grass and hedge trimmer, weed remover, leaf blower, shears, lawnmowers, etc. If your task is more on the construction site, then there will be some more equipment. Those are sleepers, concrete, sandstone, angle grinder, cement mixer, line blocks, brick trowel, etc.
4. Target market:
Business survives on the services you provide and the clients you get. Therefore, you must also research your target market while you choose your niche. Research more about your competitors to fill in the gap.
Contact homeowners or commercial property builders for structural landscape, lawn mowing, maintenance, designing, etc. Reach out to facility managers of historical buildings, parks, municipalities, botanical gardens, universities, cemeteries, and other green spaces as well.
Reports and data obtained from research denote that 29% of the landscaping companies are situated in the western half of the US. Moreover, the market size has increased at a rate of 2.5% per year from 2016-2021 and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 4.5% through 2025.
5. Establish your prices:
Pricing your landscaping job can boost cash flow. A small mistake can even lead you to loss. Research well to know what are the market rates to survive the competitive market. Most landscapers price on an hourly basis, which comes up to $16 per hour in the US.
Marketing your business provides exposure to your company. This way more people get to know about the services you offer. Let’s discuss the marketing strategy that you can implement in your landscaping business.
Brand name and Logo:
Giving catchy brand names along with attractive logos will definitely draw the attention of the customers.
Build a professional website:
Building a strong and effective website will help your potential clients to know about your business and the services you offer. Moreover, if they are interested they can reach out to you directly through the information available on the website.
Social media platforms:
Social media platforms are great places to join communities for getting more clients or reaching out to more people.
Define your USP:
Defining your USP is a great way to make a stand in the market.
Frame an effective mission statement:
An effective mission statement helps to enhance your business credibility in the eyes of potential clients. This increases the chances of getting bigger projects more frequently.
Search Engine Optimization helps to drive more traffic to your website. You can track the keyword searched by your clients by SEO practice to boost website traffic.
You can run paid ads on various online platforms to attract more clients.
Building a network and asking for referrals is another way to get new customers. Maintain your service quality to hold existing clients and draw the attention of new customers.
7. Plan your business finances:
Managing finances is another vital aspect of running any business. Landscaping business also involves various expenses, and other financial tasks like preparing estimates, sending invoices, tracking unpaid invoices, bookkeeping, maintaining the record of monthly cash flow, and many others.
Various software is available online that can ease up your task. Billbooks is one such simple solution for managing your business finances. Moreover, it creates invoices immediately and sends them to the client through the mail so that they can pay off the amount instantly.
8. Hire staff:
Hiring staff is also essential as it may not be possible for you to deal with numerous tasks. Business finances, marketing, and other different work require experienced professionals for better performance. Moreover, you need to hire labor to get your project completed on time.
FAQs related to landscaping business:
Landscaping jobs require certain specific skills, contrary to the gardening business. Besides having a creative eye, one needs to have designing skills, drawing abilities, communication skills, and knowledge of flora. You need to be skilled to manage business finances and legalities as well.
Formal qualifications or training would enhance your business credibility. Landscape architects do require special knowledge of designs and creativity and hence, these qualifications are beneficial. Simple landscaping does not need additional degrees, a hands-on experience would be enough to run such a business. 36% of landscapers have reported a high school diploma as their highest qualification.
Marketing is the key tool that helps you to get your customers. In the initial phase invest more time, money, and effort to provide quality service. A strong attractive website will also get you, new clients. Moreover, various online platforms are available to connect professionals with local people for these kinds of services.
Pricing landscaping jobs may seem tricky. Figure out the scope of work first, to put the rates correctly. You need to balance your prices to survive in the competitive market. Most of the landscapers charge on an hourly basis and the rates range between $25 and $80.
On average landscapers earn around $30,000-$35,000. At the initial stage, the income is around $90,000 which can even rise up to $40,000 after years of experience.
The landscaping business requires various tools and equipment. Some of them need to be insured. Some companies offer Public liability insurance, tools and equipment insurance, and trailer insurance, besides sickness and accident insurance.
Landscaping businesses promote sustainability by sourcing environmentally friendly goods, organic matter, renewable materials, and many more. One can also promote sustainability by reducing the use of pesticides by planting native and non-invasive plants.
One of the most common reasons behind landscaping business failure is improper pricing. Pricing your services less than what you deserve may lead to loss of money and eventually ceasing the functionality of your business.
With these few steps, you can head towards your dream to start your landscaping business. Make your clients happy with amazing landscaping work and let your business prosper.