For those who enjoy working outdoors, starting a landscaping company can provide an excellent job opportunity. Landscapers have the chance to work with a variety of plants as they take care of the outdoor spaces of homes and buildings. They help create relaxing areas that capture the beauty of the natural world.
Those interested in starting a landscaping business will find that taking the right steps can help them get their new company off the ground. Here's what you should know about starting a landscaping business.
What to Know as a Landscaper
Generally speaking, people don't need a particular degree or another type of formal education to begin a landscaping business. However, some states and areas require you to obtain a license if you want to be able to legally apply pesticides or fertilizers as part of your business. Certain states might also require home improvement licenses that pertain to outside care and maintenance.
Although you don't need a formal education to begin in the landscaping industry, other business owners can provide valuable insight and advice. Learning about techniques for landscape design, best practices for different flowers and plants, and information about capturing the vision and ideas of clients can help you perform your best as you begin your landscaping company.
Finding a mentor, independently studying design and plants, absorbing all you can about the industry, and learning about your local climate and soil and how that impacts your plants will help you prepare to run a successful business.
Outlining Your Landscaping Business
This process will help you create a powerful business plan that can guide your company.
Determine Your Services
Your lawn care business can offer a variety of services to clients. Therefore, you'll want to consider which ones you want to offer and if you have any areas in which you want to specialize. For example, one lawn care company might want to focus on commercial properties and landscape architecture, while another provides landscaping services largely to homeowners. Many other companies will operate more as generalists and serve a variety of properties.
The landscaping services that you can offer might include:
- Mowing lawns
- Using pesticides
- Laying down mulch
- Using a sprinkler in the appropriate months
- Using a leaf blower around the property in the fall
- Providing overall lawn maintenance
Consider Your Costs
As you consider the services you want your small business to provide, remember the startup costs involved. To have your own landscaping business, you need to secure business insurance and the right equipment. As you identify your list of services, tally up expenses like a lawn mower, trimmer, and edger.
You also want to account for labor safety on the job - particularly if you hire employees - and the laws and insurance regulations overseeing your lawn care business.
Your lawn care company also needs to consider an hourly rate and a rate per project. New customers want to know how much it will cost them to hire you; as a landscape professional, you should be able to tell them quickly and easily. To make sure your prices are competitive, look at what others in your area charge for different services and how this compares to the revenue you need to generate to cover your costs.
Remember that landscaping is seasonal in many regions, as work will taper off in the colder months. Your prices need to account for this slowdown. The national average hourly rate for landscaping services is $50; however, you may want to charge anywhere from $28 to $92 an hour depending on the project. Creating a pricing list for the services you offer should reflect the local market and the profit you need to build your business.
Understanding your insurance needs, equipment needs, and pricing points can help you begin to formulate a business plan that will bring you to the next step in the process.
Putting Your Business Into Action
Now that you have formulated a plan for your landscaping business, the time has come to find clients. The next sections will help you see the different parts involved in creating a successful company.
How to Make Your Business a Legal Entity
Choose a Name
To legally form your business, you'll need to start by thinking of your business name. It will have to be unique so use the directory in your area to research which names have already been taken. Once you have your name, you'll want to take that and your business plan and get your business officially recognized.
Choose a Business Structure
To become a legal entity, such as a limited liability company (LLC), you'll need to submit documentation regarding how your business will be run. Each state will have slightly different rules regarding how they want landscaping businesses to legally form and what they want to see from businesses in their applications. Generally speaking, make sure you know the rules that will govern your business operation.
Open a Bank Account
Once you have become an official business, gather your business licenses, business plan, and formation paperwork to open a business bank account. Having a separate account helps you keep track of your business's finances and allows you to remain compliant with business regulations - although these can vary by jurisdiction, as well. You can also use your business account to apply for a credit card so that you can begin to make purchases for your new company.
As you move forward with your business, make sure you fully understand and abide by any tax obligations. If you operate a physical office, this might also impact your insurance and taxes. Speaking with those familiar with tax and small business regulations can help you make the best decisions based on your specific area.
Getting Your Business in Front of Consumers
Make Your Landscaping Business Recognizable
The first step in finding potential customers requires making your business recognizable. You want new clients to easily identify your business even when they only see your logo on a business card or printed on the side of a truck parked in their neighborhood. This requires creating a logo that will capture your business.
Start by considering the colors you want to represent your new landscaping business. You can use a color-wheel tool to help you find colors that will complement each other well. Pair the colors with a visual that helps capture your brand. Freelancers on Fiverr or Upwork can help if you don't feel confident with this part of the marketing plan.
Build Your Digital Presence
Next, you want to create a website that can describe the services you offer and the areas you serve. Publishing content about your business and what you have to offer customers can help you rank on the search engine results pages (SERPs) and give you a digital home for customers to find you. Numerous website-building sites can help with this part, including WordPress.com. You can also get started with a domain purchase and hosting option through popular registrars like GoDaddy.com and Bluehost.
In addition to your own website, you also want to make sure you seize your profile on Google My Business and set yourself up on Yelp. Keep the profiles filled out fully, including updated images, to help your business look appealing to those seeking landscapers.
Nurture a Social Media Presence
You also want to promote your lawn care services through various social platforms, including LinkedIn and Facebook. Given the highly visual nature of the lawn care industry, incorporating social media channels focused on images, such as Instagram, can help give your company visibility and reach your customer base. You can set up free accounts on the platforms and even use free features through Hootsuite to post to your accounts easily from a single location.
Finally, in the landscaping industry, a considerable amount of business comes through word-of-mouth recommendations. Let customers know you appreciate referrals. Also, brand your equipment, such as your business cards and trucks, so that locals who interact with you in their neighborhoods or other environments will know who you are and recognize you if they decide to hire a landscaper, as well.
The Administrative Side of a Landscaping Business
Now that you have your own company, you'll need to consider the important tasks that happen day-to-day outside of performing the actual landscaping work. The administrative part of running your business plays an essential role in building a successful landscaping company.
As your landscape company begins to attract attention, you may receive inquiries from prospective clients about the upfront costs of hiring you for their landscaping job. This means that you may need to keep track of landscaping estimates, bids, and invoices. Fortunately, Skynova makes all this easy with customizable business templates. Estimates can also be automatically converted into invoices with our system.
No small business owner wants to run afoul of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) either. This means you need to closely track all the documents related to money coming in and going out of the company accounts. Note your:
- Receipts, insurance payments, or equipment purchases
- Business-related payments
- Purchase orders
- Material bills
- Operating costs
If you find yourself in a position to hire employees, you'll also need to carefully track the taxes that must come out of their paychecks.
Get Started With Your Landscaping Business
Building a successful landscaping company can be incredibly rewarding, and knowing the planning that should go into properly creating a new business can help you get started.
As you begin to plan your business, though, keep in mind your accounting needs. Without the resources to hire a full-time accountant, you need a way to manage your accounting books without taking time away from your business. Fortunately, Skynova offers free business templates and accounting software specifically for small business owners. See how our software products can help your landscaping business thrive.