How-To

How to Start a Landscaping Business

how to start a landscaping-business

We wouldn’t call it intoxicating, because it is nothing like being drunk. The scent of the fresh cut grass or a lawn is nothing less than a relaxation of the mind, which is why Yogis suggest meditating in the open air, on a lawn for instant rejuvenation.

But this should not be the only reason why you should start a lawn business or consider yard care. Landscaping and lawn care produces massive business opportunities for aspiring entrepreneurs with the ability to customize your passion within the service sector. Moreover, it not only improves the look of homes and offices but also makes the environment we live in greener and healthier. In this article, we will provide information about how to start a landscaping business in order to make profits.

Lawn Care – Industry Snapshot

At present Landscaping is an $82 billion industry and mowing lawns or landscaping can be done for any property, be it residential or commercial. It works as an art therapy while letting you earn some good cash. Landscaping services alone generates over 800000 jobs annually.

However there is always a reality check, although it sounds pretty appealing, every garden has a serpent hidden and so does landscaping and yard care business (we will get to the part later). However, they could be tackled easily if we thoroughly plan our business and execute as it is said in the guide.

Starting a Landscaping Business with Little Experience

Gain Knowledge as it is Very Important in This Sector

Landscapes come in all shapes and sizes and there are numerous ways to enter the business. But it is very important that you learn the basics of gardening. You need formal education and experience before you venture out. Some of the career paths you can choose prior to your business include:

  • Gardener/ Groundskeeper: They are in charge of keeping the appearances of plants, indoor and outdoor garden, greenhouse and work shed. However, they don’t do any designing work, like other professional landscapers.
  • Interior Landscaper: They are general contractors who are hired to provide maintenance and advice on all types of plants and planters, selection, decoration, and other interior designing services. They can build a plant empire if they want.
  • Landscaper: He is a person who generally plants and maintains plants, flowers, gardens, sods, and other materials like rocks and mulch. He should have a good eye for beautification.
  • Landscape Designer/Architect: They often work along with building architect, engineers or builders to design and plan projects, such as golf courses, industrial parks, public parks, college campuses, malls etc. You have to develop a lot of first- hand experience and expensive knowledge to become an Architect for you will play an important role in preservation and restoration as well.

And therefore, find a mentor if you haven’t received formal education in this field, and learn and understand everything that goes into running a business in the industry.

Gather Business Knowledge

You should do market research and analysis before you start your own landscaping business. Read online resources, take business courses, have a look at your competitors and talk to other business owners. If you want to learn, speak to someone smarter than you without letting your ego in.

You have to develop a list of things you do not understand about business and work on them. From there start developing your business plan.

Also, you should get to know your customers. There are millions of people out there who have a crazy dream of having a yard or lawn, but they often lack the time or inclination to carry the maintenance themselves. Your majority of customers will be the Baby Boomers. Apart from them, other potential customers include:

Lawn Maintenance:

  • Homeowners who are always away from home or don’t find time to mow or garden
  • Baby boomers and retirees who don’t have the energy to maintain their lawns anymore
  • Golf courses business owners
  • Rental properties, hotels, MNCs, corporates who lack personnel
  • Maintaining lawns for botanical gardens, municipalities, universities, cemeteries, public places, and historical buildings

Landscaping:

  • Homeowners who do not have the vision for landscaping
  • Homeowners looking to update or add landscape
  • People who want to change the look of their home with fresh appeal
  • Commercial and residential property builders

Types of Landscaping and Lawn Care Businesses:

  • Landscape Architectural Services
  • Lawn Maintenance
  • Pest Control and Weeding or Fertilizer Services
  • Landscape Designing
  • Landscape Maintenance Services
  • Sod Installation and Hydroseeding Services
  • Home Garden Care Services

Getting Licensed and Insured

The license and permits requirement varies in each state. You have to consult your local center to know the exact requirements. Some licenses are also compulsory at the federal level based on the business services offered. You have to get Business and Liability Insurance as well to stay on the safer side. An Insurance coverage has always proven beneficial in business ventures. You may also be requiring ongoing certifications for your business made compulsory by respective state law.

Tools, Gears, and Financing

You can start your business with a truck, basic gardening tools and a couple of land-mowers, fertilizers, and accessories. However, if you are dreaming bigger and higher, and planning to make a larger investment, it is better you fund your business by taking a business loan from a bank or any financial institution.

Your Charges and Rates

You have to first understand the current market price and then determine and calculate what you are going to actually charge for your services. The factors that you really need to consider while planning this include your job type, the complexity of your job, the time is taken to complete the job, competitor’s charges, equipment needed, salary for your employees and if charging hourly, then what would it be.

You have to calculate your rates in such a way that you not only break-even but you also run and continue to grow while making profits simultaneously.

Be an Expert in One before Diverging

Aim to be a master in one instead of becoming a jack in all trades. You could choose to specialize in a particular landscaping area, like lawn maintenance, gardening or landscape designing as a start-up entrepreneur. It is always better to focus on one particular thing, hone it completely and ace it before you go into another.

However, experience, preferences and necessary equipment will also determine what kind of specialty you should focus on. You can start with one type of offering and later on add more services by bringing in skilled employees and resources.

 Joining trade associations will help you get your business off the ground sooner. Trade Associations such as the National Association of Landscaping Professionals give a lot of guidance and expert advice, such as training, safety plans, marketing and networking ideas, legal advice and unbelievable human resource help.

Develop a Phenomenal Marketing Plan

Today, success of every business totally depends on the business’ marketing plan and strategy. If you want to grow your base of your customers and do exceptionally well for the next several years, you should rely on more than one marketing tactic.

However, your marketing tactic will be based on your target customers, resources, budget,and location. The digital and internet world has brought us several types of marketing mixes, such as SEO, PPC, SMO and so on.

You can also use flyers, banners and other traditional marketing mediums.

You could also hire an expert marketing agency to do the work for you professionally. However, make sure your work quality is consistent and service quality unparalleled to make potential customers recognize your business.

Once you actually start building your clientele, make sure you build relationships with customers by offering time-to-time value-added services, such as discounts, promotional and seasonal offers, etc.

Pros and Cons of Starting a Landscaping Business

Consider these pros and cons to make sure you don’t leave any stone unturned

Advantages:

  • It is a very stable and repetitive business as currently more people are growing green, and more the greens, the more maintenance requirements.
  • It has an attractive business model as its consumables are revenue generating. ‘Consumables’ here include special fertilizers, treatments, weeds, pest control etc. every month.
  • Highly scalable business, you could offer one service, such as Gardening and build out 5 more offerings such as lawn mowing, installations, trimming, landscaping and weeding.
  • No formal education needed for the entry-level This means no expensive recruiting and training cost.
  • There are many proven and recognized lawn care business franchises available for purchase. Helps you with an existing customer base.
  • Since it is seasonal, it is extremely beneficial for freelancers, students, teachers etc.

Disadvantages

  • Since the business is Seasonal, and unless you live in a tropical climatic area, your business will be zero from mid-October to January
  • You will need a sizable amount for your start-up business if your product offering involves expensive equipment, gears and
  • The competition is extremely fierce. So, if the market is saturated, you will have to compete in price and value-added services, which may lead you to cut your gross margins down
  • Most existing customers will cut down non-essential expenses, such as outsourcing gardening and lawn care, when economic times get stiff

Every business comes with risks; that doesn’t mean you will stop running one at all. A little care and a lot of planning will take you through tough decisions and calamities. If you find this article useful, do share and spread the word.