Wondering how to start a landscaping business? Read our guide for everything you need to know to become a successful landscaping business owner.
How to Start a Landscaping Business
So, you have a passion for landscaping and want to turn it into a career. You’ve probably seen others enter this field and become quickly successful. That’s because landscaping is a popular service many people need and want. Now you’re wondering how to start a landscaping business for yourself.
CraftJack can help.
This comprehensive guide walks you through everything you need to know about starting a landscaping business. While demand for these services is high, there's also a lot of competition. You need a strategic plan to stand out from other landscaping businesses, impress your customers, and grow your business quickly.
And when you’re ready to find landscaping customers, you can sign up with CraftJack to get high-quality, phone-verified leads in your area.
Let’s get started.
What Services Does a Landscaping Business Offer?
Many people think a landscaping business is just about mowing lawns and trimming shrubs, but it can be a lot more. Ultimately, the services your landscaping business offers will depend on you. Some of the most common services offered by landscaping businesses are:
- Lawn mowing
- Walkway and driveway edging
- Leaf blowing
- Pruning shrubs and bushes
- Transplanting plants and shrubs
- Weed spraying
- Branch cutting
- Flower bed management — planting, watering, spraying, pruning, etc.
- Grass management — fertilizing, installing new grass, planting seeds, aerating, etc.
- Installing outdoor lighting
- Designing yardscapes, including installing irrigation systems, waterfalls, fish ponds, fire pits, animal habitats, etc.
- Outdoor rooms, hardscaping, and similar options
- Commercial landscaping services
You may choose any combination of the above services based on your experience, the type of equipment you want to purchase, and the demands of your local market.
Additionally, you may want to decide what kind of approach you'll have with your service model. You can offer fewer services and become highly specialized in those areas, or you could be a one-stop shop for your customers, offering them everything they want with their landscaping. There's no right approach; you should do what you think will work best for your business and your customers' needs.
If you’re not sure what services to offer, one approach is to start small and get bigger as your customer base grows. You can start with essential landscaping services. Once your business makes a profit and you notice customers asking for a service you don’t provide, you can consider expanding to include those offerings too. This way, you've established yourself and seen demand before you try something new.
The Pros and Cons of Starting a Landscaping Business
When starting a new business, it’s essential to go in with realistic expectations. Starting a landscaping business can be an exciting opportunity that may change your life. Still, as with most things in life, there are pros and cons to starting a landscaping business. Knowing the advantages and disadvantages can help you prepare for what’s to come so you’re not left unprepared.
The Pros of Starting a Landscaping Business
- Low start-up costs: A landscaping business often comes with low start-up costs. If you’re not offering fancy services, you can launch your business with basic equipment. This means you can get your business up and running relatively quickly.
- High demand: In most regions, demand for landscaping services is high. Homeowners, landlords, and commercial business owners all need someone to take care of their landscaping needs.
- Freedom: You don't report to anyone when you’re a business owner. You can create your own schedule and work when you want to work.
- Unlimited earning potential: When you start your own business, the earning potential is incredibly high. If you want to earn more, you can take on more clients, expand your services, hire more workers, and so on.
- Charge your worth: As you build a reputation for yourself, you can increase your rates to reflect your quality of work. You no longer have to accept working at a wage below your worth. As a business owner, you get to pay yourself what you know you deserve.
The Cons of Starting a Landscaping Business
- Competition: It can be relatively easy for anyone, including college kids, to provide basic landscaping services. This means the market can be highly competitive, especially with people offering low rates. New businesses must find a way to stand out from the competition to acquire a market share. Luckily, CraftJack can help secure leads for your business that will turn into real clients.
- Employee turnover: As your business grows, you’ll have to hire more employees to keep up with a busier schedule. While having an extensive employee base isn’t bad, it takes time to train people, and turnover in the landscaping business can be high. You can curb turnover by compensating the employees fairly to ensure they stay with you.
- Seasonal work: In many areas, landscaping tends to be incredibly busy in the spring and summer and slows down in the fall and winter. You can combat this seasonal dip in a few ways:
- Offer winter-prep services in the fall to help people prepare their lawns and gardens for the winter.
- Offer snow plowing services in the winter.
- Take winters off to recharge.
As you can see, there are more positives to starting a landscaping business than negatives. If you have a strategic plan, you can navigate the challenges of starting a landscaping business, so you’re prepared for whatever comes.
What to Consider Before Starting a Landscaping Business
Starting a new business can feel overwhelming. You know you want to start as soon as possible but may not know the first steps. Here are some questions you should consider thoroughly so you can develop your business plan:
Services & Equipment
- What services are you going to offer?
- What equipment do you need for these services?
- How much will the equipment cost?
- Where will you buy the equipment?
- How long will it take for the equipment to be delivered?
- What areas do you plan to service? What is the furthest you’re willing to drive for a customer?
- What's the competition like in your area?
- What's the demand for your services in the area?
Employees & Scheduling
- Will you hire employees?
- What will you pay your employees?
- How will you pay your employees?
- What hours will your business operate and your employees work?
- How much will you charge for your services?
- What do your competitors charge?
- How much profit will you make based on your expenses?
- How will you promote your business?
- How will you acquire leads for your business?
- How will you retain customers?
- What's the branding of your business?
- What steps do you need to take to legally launch your business?
- What steps do you need to take to legally hire employees?
What Licensing Do You Need to Start a Landscaping Business?
Now that you’ve started to outline a plan for your landscaping business, you might be wondering if you have any legal requirements to fulfill. The short answer is yes; a few licenses and certificates are likely needed to launch your business.
Some states require business owners to have a landscaping license. Currently, 16 states require some sort of license. State licensing may differ depending on the type of work you do. For example, some states require anyone working with fertilizer or pesticides to be licensed. To acquire a license, you may need to have a specific number of years of work experience or pass an exam.
Even if you don’t need a landscaping license, you’ll likely need a business license from your state or local government.
Employee Identification Number
Lastly, when you run a business, you usually need to get an Employer Identification Number (EIN), also known as a federal tax number.
Depending on the state you live in, you may need some form of insurance that protects you and your customers as a service provider. However, even if your state doesn’t require it, you’ll want to seriously consider insurance. For example, employment law liability insurance protects your business if you make any errors in calculating employee overtime and wage hours.
Additionally, you should get insurance that protects your business if your employees get hurt on the job. After all, your employees will be doing heavy labor, and you don’t want to have to pay medical bills if a serious injury happens.
How Long Before a Landscaping Business Shows a Profit?
Ultimately, every business owner starts their venture because they want to see some financial success. Most people know you don't immediately see a profit when starting a small business. You have to pay off a lot of start-up costs, and sometimes, it can take a while to get a regular flow of paying customers.
The good news is that the start-up costs of a landscaping business are usually low and demand for services is relatively high. In 2023, the U.S. estimated market value of landscaping services was $176 billion. Additionally, average household spending on landscaping services has increased yearly since 2015.
So, when can you expect your business to make a profit? The answer varies significantly for each business owner. Factors such as the competition and demand in your area, your pricing, start-up costs, and the hours you've worked all play into how quickly you make a profit.
While many small businesses can take 2-3 years to make a profit, this is usually due to high start-up costs. If you keep an eye on your start-up costs and launch your business relatively cheaply, it's very possible you could make a profit within your first year.
Once your business is officially profitable, the next step is to focus on net profits. Net profits are the money your business has left over after accounting for all expenses and a salary for yourself.
According to one source, landscaping businesses typically see a net profit of 5%-20% annually. So, if your business books $200,000 in revenue annually, you can expect to see a net profit between $10,000 and $40,000 yearly. And remember, that's money left over in your business account after you've paid yourself an annual salary.
Standing Out From the Crowd
As we’ve already mentioned, landscaping can be a competitive industry. There are two sure ways you can stand out from the competition and retain your customers:
- Treat your employees well: If you pay your employees a fair wage and treat them well, they'll do great work on your behalf. They'll also be less likely to quit, which reduces your training costs. It can feel like paying employees more is taking from your profits, but it's an investment in your business that will pay off.
- Do quality work: If you offer proper training and have happy employees, you can focus on consistently delivering quality work to your customers. A satisfied customer will stick with you and even recommend you to their friends and family. You can't control what your competition's doing in the market, but you can control how well you deliver your services.
There’s Nothing Stopping You
Unlike many other small businesses, a landscaping business can be launched relatively quickly. Once you have the equipment and some of the legalities figured out, you can start promoting yourself and taking on clients.
Now that you know how to start a landscaping business, there's nothing stopping you. Get everything lined up and start this new venture. Once you launch, you'll need to collect landscaping leads to add a few new clients to your schedule. CraftJack offers high-quality, phone-verified leads of homeowners ready to hire. Get your landscaping business off the ground by finding your customers through CraftJack.