How Much Does A Landscape Business Owner Make Per Year
The amount a landscape business owner makes typically depends on the type of service they offer, their experience and expertise in the industry and how often they work each week. During their first year, a landscape business owner can make anywhere from $5,000 to $50,000. After being in business for a while, they can earn anywhere from $160,00 to $250,000 each year.
Obtain Required Licenses And Permits
Many businesses will need a business license to operate. Licensing informationas well as any zoning requirements or other permitscan usually be found on the city or county website.
Lawn care businesses sometimes need to obtain specific licenses landscaping businesses often do. The specifics vary by state and municipality, but in most cases, if you are strictly offering lawn care services , you wont need a license. However, if you will be altering the terrain chances go up that youll need a license. Sometimes, you must take an exam ahead of licensure, too. Make sure to check at both the state and local level, as some states might not have licensing requirements, but municipalities within that state may.
Most states, even if they dont require lawn care or landscaping licensing, do require a license before you can offer chemical or pesticide application. In many cases, you must pass an exam prior to receiving this license, so make sure you study up and plan ahead.
What Equipment You Need
The equipment youll need depends on the services youll provide and who your customers will be. If youre designing landscape ideas and plans, youll need less equipment than someone physically working with lawns and landscaping.
Some of the equipment you may need includes:
- Pick-up truck and trailer
- Commercial mowers riding and/or push
- Edgers, trimmers, leaf blowers, chainsaw
- Specialized tools
- Irrigation line supplies
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Check With Your State Licensing Department
The first step is to confirm what licensing you need in your state. Hereâs a handy list to check your state requirements.
Before starting your research, consider what landscaping services you want to offer. The National Association of Landscape Professionals has a guide to careers in the landscaping industry that can be helpful.
Itâs an essential first step because licensure laws can vary. Youâll likely run into different requirements to provide basic lawn mowing and landscape maintenance vs. landscape design, irrigation systems, walkways, and driveways.
Depending on where you live, you may have a few hoops to jump through. Your area may have years of experience requirements or license exam requirements. Plus, some states require multiple licenses, while others require just one.
For example, getting your landscaping business license in Oregon involves 2 licenses: Landscape Construction Professional License and Landscape Contracting Business License.
Hereâs a useful state-by-state guide to getting a small business license.
Requirements For Maintaining Your License
- Continuing Education: All licensed landscape contractors must personally complete seven hours of Board Approved Continuing Education per year. The seven hours of required continuing education must be earned between August 1 and July 31 each year. Three of seven CE credits must be landscape credits and two of seven must be business credits. The remaining two may be either landscape or business.
- Newly licensed contractors are exempt from the CE requirement during the first licensing period in which the license was obtained. The CE requirement begins on August 1 after the license is first issued.
- The Landscape Compliance Surety Bond must remain continuously in force.
- Licensee must notify the Board within 60 days of any change to mailing address, phone number, email or business name under which the licensee is practicing.
- Licensee must submit a renewal application each year on or before August 1. Renewal instructions may be found HERE.
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Property Policy: Cover Your Tools
Running a business includes a lot of miscellaneous costs, from the gas you need to purchase to get to a customer’s house across town, to the cost of business cards. As a lawn care professional, one thing that you won’t want to skimp out on is your tools.
Aside from a lawn mower, which isn’t a cheap expense, there are many other tools you need to acquire and keep up to run a lawn care business. For example: different types of rakes , hoes, pruners, clippers, hedge shears, and more.
An unfortunate thing to account for these days, is tool theft or vandalism. And even if nothing happens to the tools, if one were to break and you need to replace it, then you’d need a way to reimburse yourself for the tool, as well as the time you couldn’t work while you were waiting for the replacement.
It’s situations like the above that make a property policy worthwhile to look into. Investing in contents coverage to cover your tools will ensure that your property is protected, in case anything happens.
Set Up The Business Entity
You may need a business entity before filing for a landscaping contractor license. A business entity is a fancy way to describe the type or structure of a company. If youâre working on your own, you likely wonât need a business entityâyou can simply do business under your legal name.
But just about anything can happen in the landscaping business. Creating an entity separates you personally from the company. It can give you personal liability protection, legal benefits, and tax benefits, too. States recognize several business entities, but these are the most common:
- Sole proprietorship: The most straightforward way to start a landscaping business, a sole proprietorship rarely requires you to register with your state. Itâs the default entity if you start a business and youâre the only owner.
- Partnership: Partnerships allow you to go into business with one or more other people. Youâd manage the business together and share the profits.
- Corporation: A more complicated approach to setting up your landscaping business, a corporation is entirely separate from its owners. You might think of it as a âlegal personâ because a corporation can enter contracts, borrow money, and pay taxes.
- Limited liability company : An LLC is easier to set up than a corporation and can offer additional benefits over being a sole proprietor.
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Workers Comp: Cover Your Team
If you hire someone to help with your business, regardless of whether they work part or full time, there’s a good chance that your state has some type of policy requiring you to get workers compensation insurance.
If you’ve gone through the trouble to interview, hire, and train a new employee, then investing in worker’s comp is a wise choice. If this person were to get hurt on the job, then workers comp can help cover their medical expenses and the wages they lose while they’re unable to work.
Because your employee will receive the right type of care for their injury, they’ll be back to work quickly. Even if your state doesn’t require workers comp to be purchased when hiring an employee, it’s always a safe decision to make on behalf of your business and employee.
How Youll Handle The Off
Lawn work is inherently seasonal. Even if a customer wants you to maintain their landscaping during the winter months, your work will slow down. Its important to think about how youll handle that. How will you pay yourself, your employees, and for your equipment when business slows down? Will you downsize during slow times? Should your insurance coverage change at all during these times?
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Damage Or Loss To Your Lawn Mowing Business Equipment
What about your equipment? The tools of your trade are expensive. And itll be pretty tricky to work without them. If your lawn care equipment gets lost, or stolen, could you afford to replace it quickly?
To protect your tools on-site, you can add business personal property cover to your general liability policy.
Requirements For Business Owners
If you use your license to work for a landscaping firm, you dont need to worry about business requirements. However, if you want to be the boss, choose the projects, hire the talent, and perform the work, youll need to get your insurance, permits, and documentation lined up.
Starting a landscaping business typically involves 6 steps:
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How Can I Get Licensed
The process of getting licensed varies depending on the exact kind of work you do. Generally speaking, you will need to prove your ability to do your job well by undergoing official training, education, or obtaining experience in your field. Here are some resources on how to get licensed from the small business administration.
How Does A Lawn Care Business Make Money
A lawn care business makes money by providing maintenance services to people or businesses with lawns. Usually, clients book services for an ongoing length of time. A homeowner might have you mow their lawn once a week from May to September, with monthly rounds of chemical application, for example.
When and how often clients pay you will depend on the scale of the projects and work youre doing for them. If you mow for them four times a month, you might bill them monthly, after the work is complete. But if youre doing more of a landscaping projectmaybe paving their front walkway and laying down sodyou will probably want to collect some of the money upfront, along with the cost of the materials. Remember, youre a growing business, and you dont need to absorb all of the initial costs yourself. However you decide to collect payment, get the agreement in writing.
- Contracts: A contract is a good idea not only to keep payments on track, but also to decrease your liability and set reasonable expectations. Though youll definitely want to have the contract reviewed by an attorney , be sure to include information about the parties involved scope of the work timeline of deliverables fees and expenses early termination and mediation.
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How To Get A Landscaping License In 5 Steps
To obtain a landscaping license, youll need to pass an exam, fulfill work and education requirements, and get a surety bond. Licensing requirements vary by state and can even differ between local areas. For example, some locations dont have statewide requirements, but some counties require licensing if you provide specific services.
You may not need a landscaping license to do simple tasks like cutting grass, but a license can open up doors to work on specialized projects. Bigger jobs like installations and landscape construction are examples of some projects that typically require a license. A license also makes you more credible to customers and can allow you to charge more for projects.
Well go over common steps youll need to take to get your landscaping license, but we recommend confirming your requirements with your local licensing department.
What Does It Mean To Be Bonded
What does bonded mean for a business? Put simply, it means that a bonding company has done a thorough background check on you and deemed you trustworthy. The bonding company then guarantees your employer that if you steal any of their property , they will pay your employer the value of whatever was taken, hypothetically speaking.
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Benefits Of Starting Your Landscaping Business
A lawn care and landscaping business consists of maintaining a residential or commercial lawn by performing basic tasks like mowing the grass, trimming shrubbery and weeding or fertilizing the lawn. You even have the option to advance your skillset to offer additional services as you gain more experience later on. Common benefits of owning your own landscaping business include:
- Stable and ongoing work: There are many lawns that need regular maintenance and upkeep on residential and commercial properties. Home and business owners all need their lawns regularly cared for and some lack the time, energy or physical stamina to do it, which guarantees you ongoing and stable work.
- Potential for additional work if more income is needed: If you realize you have more time and resources available to enhance your knowledge and skillset, learn how to complete additional lawn care tasks and offer extra services to customers. The more valuable lawn care and landscaping abilities you develop, the more youre able to charge for your additional services and talents.
- Plenty of fresh air and sun: Rather than working in an office all day, a landscaping business gives you the opportunity to spend a majority of your time outdoors. It also allows you to be active throughout the day and improve your physical stamina, instead of sitting in a chair at a computer for several hours at a time.
California Landscaping License Requirements
You dont need any qualifications to start mowing lawns or repairing fences, but youll need to do a few things before applying for your landscaping license:
Journeyman-level experienceapplies to a person who has completed an apprenticeship program or is an experienced worker, not a trainee, and is fully qualified and able to perform a specific trade without supervision.
Not sure if your experience qualifies? The CSLB explains various scenarios here to help you understand more.
For example, you may be able to verify your own experience in the field if you can prove your work with landscaping invoices, 1099s, and copies of contracts.
While the above prerequisites satisfy Californias legal requirements, youll also want to acquire a few other skills before youre ready to get your contractors license:
- Communication and teamwork
P.O. Box 26000Sacramento, CA 95826-0026
If you want to keep your license, but arent actively contracting as a landscaper, you can renew your license as inactive. Licensing fees are lower and youll only need to renew every four years.
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Types Of Landscaping Regulations
When it comes to landscaping licensure, laws vary based on your location, as well as the services you provide. Before you start your business, become familiar with the following kinds of regulation:
- State Check whether your state requires that landscapers have a license. Some states may require a license only for more in-depth projects like installing buildings sidewalks and driveways, updating irrigation systems, and planting shrubs and trees.
- Local Even if your state does not require a license, check on your county and city laws, too.
- Pesticide application The EPA regulates pesticide application due to the inherently risky nature of the work . If you apply pesticides, you need a license.
Next, well take a closer look at how you can obtain a license should you need one in your location.
Legally Form Your Lawn Care Business
If you opt for a sole proprietorship or general partnership, theres no formal paperwork to file to legally create your entityyou just start selling your product or service. However, you will not have any liability protections or tax flexibility.
LLCs and corporations are formed by filing paperwork with a state agency, typically the Secretary of State. To start an LLC, you file articles of organization. To start a corporation, you file articles of incorporation. In most states, you can file these forms online or download a paper form from the states website.
Whether youre forming an LLC or corporation, your articles will require certain basic information about your business, such as your companys:
- members/managers or directors/officers names and addresses
- number and type of authorized shares
Youll also need the signature of someone authorized to sign on behalf of the business, along with the states filing fee. Fees vary by state but are typically between $100 and $200. If you hire Northwest to form your LLC or corporation, we complete and submit your formation paperwork on your behalf for just $100 plus state fees.
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How To Finance And Structure Your Business
When you start a business, you have a lot to do and plenty of decisions to make.
- Buy or lease equipment
- Choose your business structure: sole proprietorship, partnership, or LLC
- Open a business bank account
- Self-finance all purchases or take out a business loan
- Hire an accountant or do your own business taxes
When and how youll do these things is crucial to setting up your lawn care business.