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How To Start A Landscaping Business: The Easy Way

You don't have to be an expert to start a landscaping business. All you need is a good plan and a bit of knowledge about plants, landscaping materials, and project management. Read on to learn more!

Last updated on
August 3, 2022

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How To Start A Landscaping Business: The Easy Way

Landscaping businesses are booming in many parts of the country. But before you jump into this lucrative industry, there are several things you should consider first. We want you to succeed and avoid some common mistakes.

Create a Plan That Works For You

Before you even think about starting a landscaping business, you must make a plan.  Formal business plans are usually a waste of time. However, you will need to make a few decisions about what you want from your business.  

You’ll need to ask yourself, why are you starting this landscaping business? Will it be a summer job, a weekend side-hustle, or a full-time job?  Do you want to work solo, have a small crew, or run a multi-truck operation? Keeping the end in mind will help you decide how much work you need to book, what kind of clients you go after, and what equipment you purchase.

Choose Your Services

When starting a landscaping business, your first decision is to choose which services you will provide.  Landscaping covers many different sub-industries, each with its own skill requirements and specialty equipment.   Here are some of the more popular landscaping sub-fields.

  • Greenscaping or Softscaping: Installing plants and mulch
  • Hardscaping: Installing pavers and patios
  • Sodding: Planting Grass
  • Landscape maintenance: pruning shrubs, weeding flower beds, and fertilizing
  • Landscape Design: Planning and designing outdoor spaces

It is tempting to say “yes” to any type of job when you first start out. However, it’s entirely way too easy to lose money on a job if you don’t have the right equipment or experience.  If you don’t have much experience, you can start simple and branch out as you grow. For example, many landscapers start as lawn care providers and then add landscaping services.  This is a great way to start because you will already have an existing client base, and you can slowly grow your business by adding services.

Before you start, however, it's essential to understand the laws of your state as they pertain to landscaping.  Many states have licensing requirements for landscaping.  For example, some states require you to have a license to install plants, grass, or even mulch.  Other states have a cap on the value of the contract.  Projects exceeding this cap require you to have some sort of contractor's license with the state.  Nearly all states restrict the application of chemicals of any kind without a license.  You need to research and learn what state regulations you need to follow; otherwise, you could incur hefty fines.

Price Your Services

One of the more difficult tasks for new business owners is figuring out how to price their services.  If your rate is too low, you’ll go out of business because you can’t pay your bills.  If your price is too high, you’ll struggle to find enough clients. To price your services correctly, you need to know two things.  First, you need to estimate how long it will take to complete the service. Estimating how long things take to complete comes with experience.  Check allows you to record how long each job takes to complete. You can compare that time with how long you thought it would take to improve your estimating skills. Second, you need to know how much to charge per hour.  Check has a great tool to help you set a target hourly rate that ensures your business is profitable.  Third, you need to know how much the materials will cost you and how much you want to mark them up.

Find Customers

If you want to start a landscaping business, you'll first need to find potential clients. That means finding people who live near you who would benefit from having their property cleaned by your company. An easy way to get your first clients is to let your family and friends know you are starting a landscaping business.  You can also offer your services on neighborhood social media groups or the Nextdoor app.  If you spend a bit of money on door hangers, you can selectively target neighborhoods where you want to start providing landscaping services.  A great time to find customers is in late winter or early spring by offering spring and fall landscaping cleanups.  However, you don’t need to wait.  You’ll be able to find new customers year-round; it just may be more difficult.

Get Organized

Sometimes landscaping business owners have a reputation for being disorganized, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Software to manage your business has never been easier to use or more affordable. Check offers powerful tools to manage your clients, jobs, scheduling, and finances. Download the app today and start a free trial of Check Pro (no credit card needed).  Check Pro helps you organize everything from the beginning.  As a Check Pro subscriber, you will get your own professionally built website with an online bid request form.  From there, you can send out line itemized estimates with your logo on them.  Once the client accepts the bid, you can put them on your jobs calendar.  When you mark the job complete, the client will automatically receive an invoice, and if you’ve connected your bank account, the client can pay you immediately with a credit card payment form.  We do all of the heavy administrative lifting for you, so you get home at the end of the day, your admin work is already done!

Choose Your Equipment

It’s nearly impossible to tell you exactly what equipment you need to purchase because each business has its own unique needs and requirements.  You can get started as a landscaper without expensive equipment. In fact, your most used tools will be a truck, wheelbarrow, and shovels.  However, eventually, you will need specialized equipment depending on what kind of landscaping you end up doing.  Before you run out and buy expensive equipment, though, try renting it first. It's a waste of your precious profits to purchase equipment and find out you don’t need it very often.  Some general advice is for small power equipment; if you have to rent it more than three times a year and have a place to store it, you might as well buy it.  For large equipment (like a mini-excavator), if you're renting it more than once a month, it's probably worth buying it.

Offer Great Customer Service

Customers expect excellent customer service. Fortunately, it's not hard to do with the right mindset and great software. Quick and regular communication will help you earn and keep more customers.  In fact, poor communication is one of the main reasons why many landscaping companies struggle to land good customers. Check will automate most of your client communication.  Check Pro subscribers get a website and bid request form which allows customers to reach out to you.  You can set up professional estimates, which you turn into jobs, and finally, send out invoices.  We send out texts and emails along the way on your behalf to let your clients know the status of their work requests and payment status. You can explore the app for free and see how it would benefit your business.

Get Online

Setting up an online web presence used to be complicated and expensive.  However, there are ways to have a great online presence without paying someone to build and maintain a website for you.  For people to find your business while they search, it's crucial to have a Google business profile.  These only take a few minutes to complete and will help your business appear in client online searches.  Once you have a business profile, you’ll need a way to showcase your work and a method for clients to reach out to you.  Simply sign up for Check Pro, and we’ll get you your own website with a bid request form.  We’ll also add some photos of your best work.  

Going Deeper

This article is just a short introduction to starting a business.  Staying organized and in control of your business has never been easier with Check Pro. Take a second to see our pricing and sign up for a free trial. To learn more, you can join our Discord Server to ask questions and participate in conversations about running a successful landscaping business. Finally, to stay connected with us and be notified of our newest business advice content, subscribe to our CheckU YouTube channel.

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