If you enjoy working outdoors and want to incorporate your creativity into your work, landscaping may be the perfect business for you.
As a landscaper, you get to work with design elements as well as planting and care of landscaped grounds. This creative work lets you work with a variety of clients: residential, schools, businesses, public parks, golf courses, resorts and more. For some, this can be a dream come true.
In addition to being understanding plants and design, today’s landscapers need to be able to create water and energy-efficient landscapes, outdoor rooms and highly-functional spaces.
Landscape Design Training
With advanced landscape design training, you make yourself more valuable in the marketplace and are able to take on higher-paying and more interesting jobs. Besides obtaining advanced certifications, you also build confidence in your own skills and knowledge, making it easier to market yourself and take on new clients.
Online landscaping courses are not only faster and more convenient to complete – they cost significantly less than those taught in a classroom. Ashworth College offers one and National Garden Clubs also has a list of schools.
Licensing & Government Regulations
Before you start your landscaping business, check with your city or county government office to see which licenses you need. Most times, landscapers need to have a business license and some states require you to also carry a contractor’s license. If you apply pesticides, you may also need a pest control license.
Your state may or may not require your business to carry liability insurance. You can check here. In most cases it is a good idea to have it.
Landscapers typically need a truck and hand tools to complete most jobs. Larger equipment that is not used as often can usually be rented. If you plan to do more gardening work, a lawn mower, edger and blower are needed.
Set up a budget for equipment, supply and predicted labor expenses. Establish an hourly or job rate to charge your clients to help cover those costs and generate profit as well.
Choose a Niche Market
Decide the type of landscaping work you want to offer – focusing on a niche market rather than “everybody” will help you actually get more clients and succeed with your business.
For example, your niche market or specialty could be water gardens, commercial landscapes, concrete work, drought-tolerant landscaping, Japanese zen gardens, etc. You don’t need to limit your work – just market yourself as a specialist in a particular area.
LANDSCAPING BUSINESS QUICK-START GUIDE
Landscaping expert Janet Hartin has worked in the landscaping industry for many years. In fact, she has taught over 100 classes to other professional landscapers.
- Find out how to plant and maintain all sorts of trees and plants, plus how to create water and energy efficient landscapes.
- Start-up basics, including business planning, legal issues, insurance, licensing and how to obtain funding and budget for success. Plus: cost to start your business and how much to charge your clients.
- Equipment and tools that you need, where to get them, how to save money, benefits of leasing and free trials of landscape design software to increase your profits.
- How to find clients and land jobs and 9 different ways to make money year-round, even in slow seasons.
Finding Your First Customers
If you don’t have any clients from past landscaping jobs who can give you referrals, you may want to start with small residential jobs to help you build your customer base. This way, you can build a pool of satisfied customers who can give you referrals or testimonials you can use in your ads or on a website. Satisfied clients are a great resource for obtaining new customers.
List your company website in local online directories. These directories place your company in high-traffic online locations where people look for local businesses – for example: Google Local, Yelp and Super Pages. You can add your company listing for free, and you can also obtain valuable customer reviews through the sites. You can also advertise your services and bid on projects with contractor networks like BidClerk or Service Magic.
Signs are a big part of advertising when it comes to landscaping and awn care businesses. Advertise on site while you are doing the work with small signs that you can stick in the ground and use magnetic signs on your vehicle to market your business as you drive around town.
Even if these inexpensive marketing tools can help you get just a couple of new clients, it’s worth the money invested in signage because those customers can turn you on to even more customers, for free. Get more information on signs | Get more marketing ideas.
Start an Outdoor Lighting Business
Landscape lighting can be a great service add-on to your landscaping company – or it can stand alone as it’s own business. Many people who invest in landscaping improvements are also interested in lighting options as well, so it’s a good trade to know – or at least network with professionals in that field.
- Instructions on selling and installing a variety of different light products including path lights, backlights, safety lighting, security lights, solar lights and more.
- How to design award-winning lighting systems, install them quickly and compete successfully with other local businesses.
- Which licenses and permits you will need, and how to establish pricing, customer accounts… and more.
Landscaping Business Resources
- Free Report on Starting a Lawn Care Business
- Free Sample Business Plan for Lawn Care Business
- Planet Professional Landscape Network
Planet’s mission is to cultivate and safeguard opportunities for their members, professionals in the landscape and lawn care field. They also offer professional certification.