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If you've already discovered your love for landscaping, then opening your own business could put you on the road to success. If you're not sure where to start, this guide will help you get your venture up and running.
A landscaping business constructs, installs and maintains lawns, trees, yards, shrubs, gardens, patios and other outdoor areas. A landscaping business generally offers garden project planning, construction and landscape management, as well as garden maintenance for aesthetics and human enjoyment. Above all, a responsible landscaping business prioritises the plant ecosystem's sustainability.
Before you do anything, you need to sit down and write out a business plan. The plan doesn't have to be a comprehensive document. Begin by considering how much money you'll need to invest in your landscaping business, what services you'll provide and how much you'll charge your customers. This will help you to make your business profitable in the long run. Here are some things you will need to consider.
Contrary to a gardening business, a landscaping business requires a wide range of skills that extend well beyond laborious work. Landscapers are generally involved from the very beginning of an outdoor project. They are the creative eye that provides ideas and advice on transforming a garden into an enjoyable outdoor space.
A landscaper must be able to take a customer's idea, draw it up on paper, work out the logistics and then turn it into a wonderful reality. To do this, a landscaper needs to have great design skills, drawing abilities, communication skills, and, most importantly, have extensive knowledge of all things flora. Being a landscaper can be quite physically demanding, so make sure you are up for the challenge.
Away from the practical side of things, you'll also need to be able to keep on top of the administrative aspects of your landscaping business. This involves taking care of the business's incomings and outgoings, marketing your services and dealing with the legalities.
You don't need formal qualifications or training to become a landscaper. However, having something substantial under your belt will make your landscaping business more credible in the eyes of your customers.
Many landscapers start by joining an apprenticeship with an employer – these last around four years. Gaining practical experience on the job allows you to develop landscaping skills without having to fork out for educational courses.
Alternatively, you can choose to enrol in a vocational course through a registered training organisation. These will take between 6 and 18 months to complete. Here are a few courses you might want to consider, some of which you can complete as an online course:
If you want to go the whole hog, you can even get yourself a degree in landscape architecture. Although this type of degree demands three years of full-time study, it will allow you to work on much more complex projects and charge more for your work when you open your business.
Licensing rules vary across different states, so you'll need to check out your state's regulations to determine what applies to you. Here's a quick overview of what to expect along with where to find more information.
The equipment you need will depend on the type of landscaping services that you're providing. For basic maintenance and landscaping, it's always worth having the following at hand:
If you want to delve into the construction side of things, you'll need some more specialised equipment, including:
Once you know exactly how you'd like to set up your small business, it's time to get it registered. Your business structure determines who will be the key decision-makers for the business, how you'll pay taxes and who is financially liable for the business.
Here are three business structures you may want to consider for your landscaping business:
If you're feeling a little overwhelmed with the legal stuff, there's no need to worry. There are many online legal services out there that will help you make sure everything is in place before opening your business. Here are some legal documents they might recommend for your landscaping business:
We update our data regularly, but information can change between updates. Confirm details with the provider you're interested in before making a decision.
When you open up your landscaping business, you'll quickly find that successful marketing is a key tool to its success. In the initial stages, you'll need to invest more time and money into this side of the business. But once things get going, and if you provide a quality service, your reputation should speak for itself.
Along with setting up a website and harnessing the power of social media, it's worth joining an online marketplace too. These are websites that connect locals who need a job doing with tradespeople in their local area. Some of the leading platforms include:
With landscaping, no project is the same, which is why pricing up jobs can be a tricky task. To begin with, you'll need to decide which services your landscape business is going to provide. Will you be involved in planning and designing outdoor spaces, building structures, maintaining gardens or all three?
Once you've settled on your business plan, it's time to decide on a fair rate. To do this, you'll need to find a balance between pricing correctly for your quality of work and experience, while also staying competitive with other landscaping businesses in your local area. Landscapers charge by the hour, with the average rates hovering between $25 and $80.
How does a landscaping business promote sustainability?
A landscaping business can prioritise sustainability by sourcing environmentally friendly goods and services. These goods can be organic matter, ecologically friendly lawn control products or choosing renewable materials for landscaping projects. Encourage the use of native, non-invasive plants and trees as they require less effort, expense and pesticide to help them thrive. Consider getting certified for your business's sustainability practices.
Why do landscaping businesses fail?
One of the most common reasons why landscaping businesses fail is due to improper pricing. Without taking care to price your jobs correctly, you might be doing yourself a disservice and losing money in the long run.
What insurances do I need for my landscaping business?
Starting a landscaping business will require you to make a sizable investment in tools. To ensure that your tools are protected, some companies provide a variety of insurances for landscaping businesses. These include equipment and tool insurance, Public Liability Insurance and trailer insurance or motor vehicle insurance specifically for landscapers. You should also consider sickness and accident insurance, which protects your income if you cannot work due to an accident or sickness.Back to top
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