Decide What Services You Want To Offer And Whether You Want To Rent Or Buy Equipment
The first step to starting a landscaping business is to acquire your arsenal of landscaping equipment. Once you decide which actual services you want your landscaping business to offer, you’ll know what equipment you need. Then it’ll be time to decide whether you want to buy it outright or opt for the cheaper option of renting.
Starting out, you have the option to rent your equipment or to buy lower-grade equipment. But as your landscaping business grows, so will equipment needs and costs and you could easily spend the same amount on maintaining cheap equipment as the price of purchasing higher-grade machines.
Most landscape contractors will need to spend five to 10 hours a week maintaining their equipment at first by sharpening blades or changing oil, spark plugs, air filters, fuel filters, and so on, says Clayton.
So what are the basics of good landscaping equipment you’ll need to know when starting a landscaping business?
There are a handful of manual tools any good landscaper should have at their disposal: shovels , wheelbarrows, tillers , and more powerful items like chainsaws and drills. But this isnt where the real expenses lie. The cost of larger equipment might surprise you.
Most people don’t know this, but the riding lawnmowers that you see commercial landscape operators running cost over $12,000 themselves, says Clayton.
Landscape contractors need to make even bigger investments, according to Clayton:
The Basics Of Landscaping
Landscapers come in all shapes, sizes and backgrounds, but they all share one thing in common: a genuine love of the outdoors and growing things. It’s what drives them to spend most of every day on the job covered in dirt. It induces them to learn the Latin names of plants, shrubs and trees-on purpose. And it makes them gleefully haul around 45-gallon containers like it’s child’s play rather than actual work. Sound like fun? Then you’ve come to the right place.
There are numerous ways you can forge a business in either residential or commercial landscaping-or both. Some of the fields require more than just a love of gardening to succeed-they also require experience and formal education. The major career paths for landscapers include:
Gardener/groundskeeper: This type of green industry professional is usually in charge of keeping up appearances-he or she may care for plants and other greenery, and may perform that work in a garden, greenhouse or work shed. What sets gardeners and groundskeepers apart from other landscape professionals is that they normally don’t do any design work rather, they tend existing landscapes, although they may render other services like applying pesticides and herbicides, mowing lawns, doing spring and fall cleanups, composting, etc. They need a good working knowledge of horticulture and plant varieties.
Start A Lawn Care Business By Following These 10 Steps:
You have found the perfect business idea, and now you are ready to take the next step. There is more to starting a business than just registering it with the state. We have put together this simple guide to starting your lawn care business. These steps will ensure that your new business is well planned out, registered properly and legally compliant.
Check out our How to Start a Business page.
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Step : Obtain Necessary Permits And Licenses
Failure to acquire necessary permits and licenses can result in hefty fines, or even cause your business to be shut down.
State & Local Business Licensing Requirements
In most states, it is necessary to obtain a Lawn Service license. Learn more about licensing requirements in your state by visiting SBAs reference to state licenses and permits.
Most businesses are required to collect sales tax on the goods or services they provide. To learn more about how sales tax will affect your business, read our article, Sales Tax for Small Businesses.
In addition, certain local licensing or regulatory requirements may apply. For more information about local licenses and permits:
- Check with your town, city or county clerks office
- Get assistance from one of the local associations listed in US Small Business Associations directory of local business resources.
Lawn care businesses should require clients to sign a services agreement before starting a new project. This agreement should clarify client expectations and minimize risk of legal disputes by setting out payment terms and conditions. Here is an example service agreement.
Recommended: Rocket Lawyer makes it easy to create a professional service agreement for your lawn care business when you sign up for their premium membership. For $39.95 per month, members receive access to hundreds of legal agreements and on call attorneys to get complimentary legal advice.
How To Budget Your Lawn Care Marketing: An Example
Ed Ramsden of Enviromasters explains how he sets a marketing budget for his lawn maintenance businessby working backward in terms of how much revenue he wants.
- Say I have $100,000 of revenue and I want to get $130,000 next year. I just break it down in terms of what my revenue came from this year.
- For example, if $100,000 came from 200 clients, and I want 30% more next year, then I need 60 more clients.
- If I need 60 more clients and I spent $10,000 this year on advertising, I should spend 30% more on advertising next year.
Once you have a budget, figure out which marketing and advertising projects make the most sense for you to take on.
For example, if having a lawn care website with an online booking feature is important to you and your ideal clients, factor that into your marketing costs.
If you want to include paid advertising in your marketing plan, consider things like digital ads, vehicle wraps, lead exchanges, or branded products. While you will need to put in more money upfront, they can bring in more clients.
Collect customer reviews
More customers these days are searching for a business on Google before contacting them.
Your online reviews play a big role in whether someone chooses to hire you or not. Gathering and maintaining your reviews can go a long way in bringing in new clients.
Encourage customer reviews on your businesss Facebook Page.
Use software to quote, invoice, and manage lawn care clients
Create your free Job Toolkit account:
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Choose A Name And Logo For Your Lawn Care Business
Your business name should be unique, but it also needs to be practical and professional. Choose one that reflects your personality or what sets your business apart.
A logo can help you with brand awareness. Placing it on your company materials wherever your business name shows up will help potential customers find and recognize your business.
Your branding will show up on everything your customers see, including your:
- Truck or trailer
- Invoice templates
Brian and Kristy Boase of MIL-SPEC Landscaping
Brian Boase says the first thing you should spend your money on is graphics for your truck or trailer. Its like driving around a billboard all day long in the areas you want to work in.
Try using a free design website like Canva to create a logo.
Once you can afford it, get that logo on your company uniform. But for now, you dont need to wear anything fancy as a lawn care service provider. A solid-colored t-shirt that matches your brand and a pair of shorts or khakis will do.
Wear something thats comfortable to work in, looks professional, and is easy to wear all throughout your workweek.
Know Your Target Audience
To have a successful interior design business, you need to know your focused clients. In other words, How to start an interior design business? Who should be your potential clients? Once you know who you want to work with, its easier to determine what kind of designer they are looking for and what services they may need. Its also helpful if you know their basic demographics to start figuring out how the design could help them solve a problem or keep them up at night. You can know your audience by knowing the types of interior design businesses in high demand by your targeted audience and what they would be looking for from your services. Once you have this information, its time to analyze potential customers. You must also have a clear vision for what your ideal customers want from their interior design choices- something specific and measurable, so you can constantly track progress towards this goal.
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How To Register An Ein
Youll need to set up an EIN or Employer Identification Number as well. You do this through a simple application with the IRS. This acts as a social security number for your business and allows you to open a business bank account, apply for business licenses and file your tax returns. This number is attached to the responsible party who is an individual that has control over the company. Filing for an EIN costs nothing to your business and the number never expires. However if your business moves locations or the possession of the business changes hands you will need to update the IRS with Form 8822-B. Keeping up-to-date with the IRS is essential for filing taxes and keeping accurate banking records.
Make A Lawn Mowing Business Plan
Most of what you read about planning is not appropriate, complicated and confusing. The lawn mowing business plan you write down on one piece of paper will be suited to focusing your attention on the right type of development path. There will be some simple ideas you can edit and adjust over time.
Answer some simple questions: What sort of money do you want from you business? What hours and lifestyle do you want to attain, and by when? Will you work in the weekends? What type of jobs will you do? What geographic areas do you want to work in?
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Why Start A Lawn Care Business
When it comes to lawn care and yard work, people either love it or hate it. Whats great is that the people who hate it create an awesome business opportunity for those who love it!
There are different reasons that drive people to start lawn care businesses.
Some see the demand for trustworthy lawn care providers and they hop on the opportunity. Others have spent years working in the lawn care industry or landscaping business, and are ready to start an operation of their own. Some are inspired to open up shop by their appreciation for a job that requires a little bit of elbow grease.
No matter what your driving force is, the important thing is that you are passionate about serving others in your community. Also, lawn care businesses can be extremely profitable, even in the first year, once you build a loyal clientele.
How To Start Your Own Gardening And Landscaping Business
These days, landscaping jobs involve a lot more than simply mowing the lawn or pulling a few weeds. In fact, while landscaping businesses dont require any official training, the industry offers a lot of opportunity for growth. With that in mind, weve assembled this in-depth guide on starting your own landscaping business so that you will be set up for success on your journey to entrepreneurship.
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Average Costs Of Landscaping
Based on the home advisor average cost guide in the USA, landscaping services can range from the following price points based on lot size and level of work being done.
- Lawn Mowing Costs $50 $220
- Mulching Cost $100 $300
- Lawn Seeding Cost $400 $1,500
- Tree Trimming Costs $75 $1,000
- Landscape Curbing Cost $700 $1,700
- Gravel Installation Price $300 $400
- Sod Installation Cost $1,000 $2,700
- Lawn Grading Cost $1,000 $3,000
- Tree Removal Costs $400 $2,000
Building An Online Store
Online stores for boutique businesses are the best way to promote and sell their products. The online store is a website that lists all of your product, its details, and price with affiliate links to make it easy for customers who want more information or need help with purchasing decisions.
An excellent online store design can be made by following specific standards: keeping text readable, making good use of color, creating a compelling customer experience whether theyre browsing on desktop/laptop computers or mobile devices like tablets and smartphones maintaining consistency through site navigation .
It is essential to decide on the platform, design of the site, and its features. Various media are available for building your stores, such as Shopify or Bigcommerce. Its also advisable to divide stores into categories like New Arrivals or Bestsellers.
The look and feel will depend on what you want it to convey something simple with basic features may be best if all that matters is functionality, while a more elaborate look may work better to make an impression.
If youre starting out and not all that tech-savvy, we recommend Shopify. For a more robust solution for selling online or over the phone, build your site using an e-commerce platform like Magento. Its easy to use but requires some technical know-how to set it up properlyespecially when you want features such as digital downloads and subscriptions .
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Do You Feel That This Is A Good Business To Get Into
I know of no better way for a hard working individual to make a great living. If you stay small, work hard, and love your customers you can take home 30-100k per year. However, scaling a landscaping company is quite difficult, and not for the faint of heart. Current labor laws are not favorable to labor intensive businesses, and make growth and hiring new people very difficult. In my company we have over 125 employees, we were always dealing with a federal, state, or local labor audit of some kind. Small business work forces are an easy prey for tax authorities to fix their budget shortfalls with fines, taxes, and penalties.
This is a great business for hardworking people who love the outdoors, dont mind 12 hour days, and want to be in control of their income.
Seasonality is another challenge to this business. Especially when the business is small, revenue will only be flowing 7-9 months out of the year, so you must prepare for that.
The Basic Rules Of Lawn Care Pricing
When you first start your business, it can feel like youre guessing, pulling prices out of thin air. You dont have to guess, you can KNOW how to price your services, but only if you consider the following:
Set an hourly rate for your labor, even if youre the only employee. Build your pricing around how much you’re paying lawn care employees its going to be your single greatest expense in the future.
Start considering your labor burden on day one.
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Do You Need To Obtain Lawn Care Business Insurance
You need lawn care insurance. This policy provides liability coverage if you caused losses due to negligence, third-party property damages, or bodily injuries. Liability coverage sees to it that you won’t have to pay out of your pocket to compensate a client.
Liability coverage isnt the only insurance policy you need to get from lawn care business insurance. If you plan to own commercial space for your lawn care business, then consider getting commercial property insurance. On the other hand, if you only plan to rent, consider adding rented premises coverage to your lawn care liability insurance.
What if you plan to get employees so that you can cater to different lawn care projects? In this case, you need to get workers comp insurance. Workers comp insurance will help you pay an injured employees emergency treatment, hospitalization, lost income compensation, and death benefits.
Aside from workers compensation, you also need employers liability insurance and employee dishonesty insurance. Employers liability insurance will protect you if an employee decides to sue after experiencing a work-related injury. On the other hand, employee dishonesty insurance will cover losses if an employee steals money, uses company finances for personal purposes, or destroys work tools and equipment.
How Do You Find the Best Insurance for Your Lawn Care Business?
How To Name Your New Lawn Care Business
Whats in a name? Its the first thing every customer sees about you. Every dollar you spend on lawn care marketing will include your business name. Its something youre going to think about every day for the life of your business.
While knowing how to name your lawn care business is incredibly important, dont overthink it.
Your business name should be simple. And so, if a client has to think about your clever pun to determine that you perform lawn maintenance service, your name is too complicated.
Names DO NOT need to be:
- Overly Detailed
- ‘s Lawn Service
You want to pick 2-3 words that you will own in your market. These should be words related to your service. When you have some words in mind, check to see if a domain name with those words and your city is available .
In turn, SEO makes it much easier to get on the front page of Google search results. When your business name is connected to your industry and your local area, you’ll likely rank higher in Google.
While, you dont need a website to get started, it helps to plan for the right kind of growth upfront.
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