Has the thought of being your own boss ever crossed your mind? We all have been there, wanting to start our own business. But which industry should you take the plunge for?
The landscaping industry continues to boom. As long as there are residential, commercial, and public spaces with the landscape, you will always have customers to target. The reason being, no one likes to keep an untidy lawn, as it can make a bad impression.
In the specific industry, you have two major services you can offer, landscaping and lawn maintenance.
- Landscaping: Home and commercial property owners who would like to beautify their landscape and don’t have much vision or equipment of their own. This service enhances the curb appeal of the home or building.
- Lawn maintenance: Home and residential building owners who cannot maintain a lawn themselves. This includes mowing the lawn, sod installation, and weed trimming.
Both lawn care services are easy to manage as long as you are creative and have an eye for aesthetics. You don’t particularly need to have any technical training or a lot of experience. Just be aware of how to use the equipment needed to get the job done.
So, now that you are halfway convinced to start, let’s jump into how to start a landscaping business guide. Which should have you fully convinced and well on your way to becoming your own boss.
1. Study the market
Before jumping into the market, you need to know if it is worth your time and investment. Yes, the landscaping business is profitable but you need to evaluate it in your local context.
Do some homework on your competitors. See what landscaping services they offer and its pricing. This should give you an idea of the services you should offer and the price point. Try to identify any service gaps in their offerings, giving you a chance to cover them for increased business.
Next, you need to analyze the market. Identify your potential clients and what services they seek. If your business is located in a residential area, the majority of your customers will be homeowners. You may need to consider focusing more on lawn maintenance than landscape if that is the case.
The analysis will essentially tell you what you need to focus on and how to go about the process of attracting business. It sets your marketing plan and serves as a guiding light to lawn care services you need to offer.
2. Consider getting certification
While you don’t need a certification to operate a landscaping and maintenance business, it does help. Residential and commercial space owners are more likely to opt for a business that is certified.
Being certified in lawn care shows potential customers that you have some technicalities about plants, trees, shrubs, and lawn maintenance. It allows them to trust your business a little more than only by your word.
3. Think of a business name
Picking a name for your business is one of the most exciting parts of how to start a landscaping business process. The name sticks with the business for however long it lasts, so you want to pick something easy for clients to remember. You also want to make sure you get it right the first time around because changing your business name is not an easy process.
When selecting a business name, keep the following in mind:
- Make sure that the domain for the name you choose is available because an online presence is essential for a successful business.
- Pick a name that sets you apart from your competition, don’t go for anything too generic.
- Try to keep it short and simple. Don’t overcomplicate the name, it makes it hard for customers to remember.
- Include one of the following two words in it “lawn” or “landscape.” This way people know the services you offer just by hearing or seeing the name.
- Don’t get too specific with the name, for example, “Springer Weed Trimmers.” Such a name makes it sound like the only service the business offers is weed trimming.
4. Develop a business plan
A business plan helps you lay out your approach to the business. It keeps you organized and on track to success. A landscaping business plan should include:
- Executive summary: This includes the mission of your business, goals, history (if any), and highlight any advantage you may have over your competition.
- Business overview: The type of ownership of the business (sole proprietorship, partnership, etc.) and assets (the equipment and finances of the business).
- Services: All the services you’ve decided to offer.
- Market analysis: This includes the details from the research you’ve conducted in the first step. Include your customer profile and details about your competition.
- Business strategy: This includes all your pricing.
- Marketing and sales plan: Have your marketing and sales plan ready, we discuss more about this later.
- Personnel plan: This includes all the personnel you need to hire for your business to function.
- Financial plan: This includes all the costs you see in the foreseeable future such as personal, equipment, office, and transportation. Make sure to list all the expenses you project for the business.
A business plan is a must for any business. It serves as a foundation of the business and provides a basis for entrepreneurs to work off of.
5. Get a business license
In order to operate your landscaping business, you will need a business license. The process is simple and the cost varies between $15 to $200 per year. Check your state’s license fees and terms and obtain one accordingly.
You will also need to get an Employer Identification Number (EIN). This is where you will receive tax breaks for all your business expenses.
6. Create a marketing plan
To develop a marketing plan, you need to understand which marketing approaches work for a landscaping business. We recommend the following:
- Online marketing: The internet is king when it comes to people searching for services. This means creating a website and social media presence is a must. If you aren’t tech-savvy then make sure you hire someone that can handle your website and social media pages. They will likely generate a huge chunk of your business.
- Physical advertising: You will need printed marketing materials such as brochures and flyers to hand out. To help get the word out about your business.
- Referrals: Referrals will likely be second to online marketing in generating business. If you can ensure quality service and customer satisfaction, customers are more than happy to refer your business to their network. To make it a little more enticing for them, you can have a referral program in place. The program can offer discounts to customers that successfully refer a new customer.
7. Get business insurance
You want to make sure that you, your employees, and the equipment used are all insured. You never know when an accident can happen and you don’t want to be liable for covering costs.
We recommend you get liability, equipment, and personnel insurance to keep your business safe from having to cover any costs due to an accident.
8. Organize your finances
Finances are one of the more tricky parts of the business. If you aren’t familiar with them, it is better to consult a professional.
You want to keep all your finances in order from day one of your landscaping business. You want to keep track of every penny that comes in and goes out. Business finances are a lot more technical than personal and you will need to dedicate a lot of time to it.
9. Hire your team and buy equipment
Based on your services, expertise, and knowledge, you will likely need to hire a team to assist you in operating your lawn care business. Look for individuals that have experience in the field and hire accordingly.
You don’t need to hire a team per se. You can start with hiring just one or two individuals to start. See what your budget permits you to do and act accordingly.
The equipment you purchase should be based on the lawn care services you provide. There are basics every landscaping business needs:
- Pruning shears
- Leaf blowers
- Hedge trimmers
Besides these, you will need to buy equipment for specific services you offer.
You must remember that your business won’t be a success overnight. You will have to work hard and put in a lot of effort to become successful.
Another thing you need to consider is that landscaping is seasonal. You usually get the bulk of business come spring and summer. It won’t be as busy in the fall and lawn care services are usually non-existent in winter. So, plan accordingly.
The landscaping industry is one you can easily invest in and start a business. Our guide helps you do just that.