The landscaping business is a high-income field and a growing trade in the construction industry. Even if starting a landscaping business from scratch is not the easiest and cheapest, it’s not the hardest and most expensive.
Managing a landscaping business is an attractive option to those who aim to be their boss, set their own pace and schedule, and work on their terms. Investing in this new dream can be overwhelming initially, but if you do it right, it will pay off tenfold and more.
Owning a landscaping company is a good way for someone already managing construction projects to become their boss and earn their keep. The business allows you to regularly engage and interact with people from different walks of life. One advantage of choosing a landscaping path is that you own a business and help build and create a sustainable environment. The more clients you get, the more your profits and environmental contribution will increase. How gratifying is that?
Now, we’ll walk you through a step-by-step process on how you can build a landscaping business from the ground up. Let’s plant the seeds one at a time to have a blooming business.
1. Create a Landscaping Business Plan
Establishing a solid business plan is critical in any business, including landscaping. Before you start anything, you must know your objectives and strategies to achieve your company’s goals. As your business grows and expands, the operations will be complex, and you will need a cornerstone that will serve as your pillar in the business decisions you make every day. With a well-made business plan, making decisions are easier, strategies are in place and easier to follow, and choosing the right decisions becomes obvious.
Furthermore, a business plan is made for the company and even for those outside of it. Once finalized, this plan will formally introduce your company to the public and potential clients. In creating your landscaping business plan, make sure to include these five components to make a stronger impression right off the bat:
This part is your elevator pitch, as cliché as it may sound. This must answer why clients care about your business, what services you can provide, and what advantages you can offer.
Market Research and Competitor Scan
Discuss your market analysis and strategy guidelines in detail. This section can include competitor scans, sales forecasts around the area, project milestones, advertising methods, and how you provide better than other businesses.
Business Description and Structure
Discuss how your business works and the landscaping services you offer. You can also detail your company’s legal structure to strengthen your new business’s credibility further.
Management and Personnel
Show biographies of your business executives and managers to solidify your specialization in the trade. Describe how their expertise can help you with the services you need. You can also boast the crew schedule management tools you use to keep track of your workforce.
Finally, this section is where you provide economics to back up what you described in your workforce and marketing sections. You can include landscaping projects, profit and loss computation, and cash flow statements.
2. Choose your Niche Services and Stick to It
After identifying the basics of your business, you can now list the services you will provide. For new landscaping businesses that enter the industry today, focusing on only one to two specialties, like landscaping design or lawn care, is better. It is wiser to start small instead of committing to a full-service landscaping company with little to show for it.
A new landscaping business will also reduce start-up costs and operations expenses if it specializes instead of going all in. You will only need to purchase the specific equipment and tools for your jobs. You’ll also need fewer skilled workers, meaning a smaller crew, to complete the job. Common niches that can be found in the landscaping industry are the following:
Landscape Architecture and Design
Small businesses in this niche both design and install features for their clients. This niche can include labor-intensive projects such as retaining walls, contouring the landscape or building terraced gardens. Landscape designers work with clients, using their input to create attractive, livable spaces, so overall creativity and vision are key tools of this niche. You’ll also need enough horticultural knowledge to create lasting and thriving landscapes.
Rather than designing, building, or installing landscapes, you’ll be the one mowing the lawn, pruning hedges, and watering the flowers to keep them looking vibrant. This niche requires the lowest initial investment since it requires less equipment and tools. On the other hand, you won’t be able to charge our clients as much per hour as you could for more labor-intensive services such as architecture and design.
Sod and Lawn Installation
Landscaping businesses in this niche spread grass seed, lay sod, and install lawns for clients. This entails more one-time contracts than the continual services offered by landscape maintenance companies.
Fertilization, Pest Control, Weeding, etc.: There is a specialized form of maintenance services that focuses on keeping lawns and plants healthy. Specialized niches require expert knowledge of plant and plant care. If used incorrectly, you’ll be working with dangerous chemicals, so you may also need to secure extra permits or additional training.
Patio and Deck Construction
People with skills in managing construction can put them to great use in a landscaping business specializing in this niche. Along with installing the patio and deck, you’ll beautify the area around it. Since this activity often involves new construction, you’ll need an in-depth knowledge of your local building codes and other regulations to ensure compliance.
3. Establish a Solid Landscaping Team
The construction and landscaping industries have one thing in common – the skilled workers they need are extremely hard to find. The quality of a team’s work directly correlates to the quality of the crew in the first place. Even though it is difficult, having a solid, reliable, and productive team is not impossible. Below are some strategies to turn your dream team into reality.
When you have a line of jobs with insufficient labor to complete, you know that you have landscapers on call who can help you reach deadlines.
Keep researching what other landscaping companies pay for the same scope of work. This way, you’re sure you’re spending enough for your team, especially your most skilled people.
Offer On-The-Job Training
Highly skilled labor in the landscaping industry takes a lot of work, so take the initiative to cultivate skilled workers for your company. Make it clear that you’ll compensate more when they can do the job more accurately and efficiently, and give feedback often.
Treat People Fairly
Integrate a tool like Pro Crew Schedule to track the productivity time of your workers and pay accordingly. Pro Crew Schedule is a construction scheduling software that creates transparency so you and your team are on the same page, even if you’re not in the same work location.
Know Your Team
Learn about the things that your team considers important. How is their family? What are their hobbies? What do they care most about? Treat your staff like family who matter because that’s what they are.
Your team cares more about the company’s success if you always keep them up to date. Consult them about important goals, shared challenges, and how their work matters for the overall project.
4. Consider Education and Certification
Depending on the services that your landscaping business is offering, a degree or certification can help attract clients. For clients, customers usually expect landscape architects to at least have a degree in landscaping.
Most other landscaping or lawn care businesses don’t benefit from academic credentials alone. You will also need to show a good working knowledge of your area’s flowers, plants, shrubs, grasses, and trees. This also helps an even more solid construction crew management since your team will be equipped with experts and specialized in trades.
To set your company apart from the competition, you can help your team obtain a certification. The National Association of Landscape Professionals is now offering landscape certification options for the following:
- Lawn care managers
- Lawn care technicians
- Interior/exterior technicians
- Other landscape professionals
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) provides various certification programs for landscape irrigation professionals, covering irrigation system design and installation.