How To Start A Landscaping Business
If planting trees and flowers is an ideal way to spend your day, consider a landscaping business. Lawn mowing, garden designing, and pathway laying are arduous tasks and are not for everyone. Yet, if outdoors is where you want to be, why not make it a professional job?
Depending on the scale of the jobs, you can do them alone or start a money-making landscaping business.
Landscaping Business Overview
A landscaping business can provide services for residential, commercial, government, or non-profit operations. Some landscapers may choose to have a mixture of clients to help expand their roster faster. The more jobs the business gets, the more help it will need. Hiring employees to do the weeding, installations, and other lawn work may be in your future.
Although the purpose of landscaping is to change the layout of lawns, that is not all it involves. Doing administrative work for outdoor lovers is something they will have to get used to. Yet, physical labor and daily lawn creativity often outweigh any clerical duties.
Both landscaping and administrative aspects are necessary to operate a successful landscaping business.
Landscaping Industry Trends
People like their lawns and gardens not to be overrun by weeds and overgrown bushes. Individuals and businesses are willing to pay for the upkeep of their outdoor space.
Some prefer organic landscaping, while others want technological integrations.
Either request shows how aware homeowners and businesses are of their lawn's appearance. Most will hire landscaping companies to care for them.
What to Consider Before Starting a Landscaping Business
Below are some things to consider before opening a landscaping business.
Do you know:
Will you work alone or have several business owners/partners?
The target audience for your business?
What will the landscaping business specialize in doing? (i.e., homeowner lawn care, commercial services, or both).
The scale of operations the business can handle?
Will you offer short-term or long-term contracts?
Which landscaping services will you offer? (i.e., trimming, pest control, weeding, etc.).
How much will new equipment and replacements cost? (i.e., shovels, trimmers, shears, etc.).
Will you use eco-friendly products and methods, or use pesticides and traditional ways?
Does the business have all the correct certifications? (i.e., pesticide certification, horticulture certification, etc.).
Will you need to hire employees, and how many?
What level of skills, experience, and education do employees need to work for you?
Will you offer machinery and safety equipment training?
What are the startup costs of a landscaping business?
Equipment costs. (i.e., leaf blowers, edgers, rakes, mowers, etc.).
Inventory costs. (i.e., fertilizers, sod, seeds, pesticides, eco-friendly products, etc.).
Truck and trailer costs. (i.e., rental or purchase, plus fuel costs).
Supplies costs. (i.e., goggles, gloves, safety gear, etc.).
10 Steps to Form a Landscaping Business
Once you learn the answers to the questions above, you can start a lawn care business.
Step 1: Develop a business plan
Whether you are a sole proprietor or partner, developing a business plan is necessary. Some shareholders, banks, and other lenders will not loan money to a business without a plan. To have a successful company requires making a business plan a top priority.
Step 2: Choose a business name and entity
When choosing a business name, use clever and relevant words. Check to see if the name you want is available, and if it is, register the name, its trademarks, logos, etc.
Besides pinning down a business name, you also need to choose a business entity.
The four business entities are:
Limited Liability Company (LLC
Depending on the business structure you choose defines how your business is legally organized to operate. The rules and requirements differ with each business entity, so choose wisely.
Step 3: Learn about your target market and select a location
A landscaping business does not need a storefront to operate. Owners can choose to run the company straight out of their home garage. It depends on the space available for storing company equipment.
Yet, before you decide on the business location, get to know your target market better. Learning about your local market will provide insight into where the best places are to locate the business. If the landscaping market is far from your house, it cancels any plans to run a home garage business.
Once you know where to reach your target audience, you can decide whether to lease or buy a building. Of course, this will mean more costs and revising the budget to make it work.
Step 4: Get business licenses, permits, and an EIN
Depending on the location you choose, owners will need permits and licenses their town or state requires. The requirements vary, so it is best to contact a local business administration or town hall to learn what you need.
In addition to getting licenses and permits, the business also needs an Employer Identification Number (EIN). Having an EIN is necessary for things like opening a business bank account.
Step 5: Find Financing
You have several methods to get the funding your landscaping business needs. It depends on different factors, like whether you have good credit and a business plan.
Step 6: Open a Business Bank Account
Owners should never mix personal finances with business. Opening a separate bank account for the company helps track cash flow and taxes.
Step 7: Create a marketing plan
No matter the business type, every owner relies on marketing to attract new customers. Use social media platforms like Facebook and search engine sites like Google to reach your target audience.
Step 8: Get business insurance
To protect the company and employees, find the right business insurance policies.
General liability insurance
Commercial property insurance
Worker's compensation insurance
Familiarize yourself with each of the different insurance policies. Contact an insurance agent to learn the details about all relevant coverage.
Step 9: Hire Employees
Although you may start the business alone, as it expands, so will the need for hiring employees. To fulfill all landscaping jobs, find out what the average landscaper earns. Adding new employees will cause changes to the budget. Yet, it can also create new opportunities for more jobs.
Step 10: Set up an Accounting System
Ensuring the business is set up for long-term success means forming an accounting system. This system will help you stay on top of company taxes, track cash flow, and monitor trends. It is also great for maximizing profits.
To start a successful landscaping business will take time. Some of that time will require pulling you away from working outdoors to collect and sign vital business documents. Yet, do not worry. With some patience and quality work, a full-time operating business will be ready to bloom sooner than you think.