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How to Start a Landscaping Business in 10 Easy Steps

January 24, 2024 9 min. read
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Starting a landscaping business gives you the flexibility to work on the jobs you want, when you want to. You’ll create beautiful outdoor spaces for your clients and bring in big money doing it.

In this article, we’ll cover how to start a landscaping business that turns a profit. And how to grow the business over time.

1. Write a landscaping business plan

A business plan is like the map to your success. It keeps you moving in the right direction and helps attract investors to secure funding.

Your landscaping business plan should include:

  • A cover page that includes your landscaping business name, logo, and contact information.
  • An executive summary that gives a quick overview of your business. It should include what makes you different from other businesses in the landscaping industry.
  • A business overview that summarizes your business structure and work history or experience.
  • A landscaping services list and how you plan to price your services.
  • A market analysis that describes who your ideal customers are.
  • A competitive analysis that lists other landscaping businesses in your area.
  • A marketing strategy that explains how you plan on attracting new customers.
  • A financial plan that includes your sales forecast, budget, and any employee costs.

Create your own landscaping business plan. Download our free business plan template.

2. Register your landscaping business

Pick a landscaping company name, register your business, and get a business license. 

Here’s what that process looks like:

Choose a business structure

Before you do anything else, choose a business structure. You’ll need that information for the rest of the business registration process.

Here are your options:

  • Having sole proprietorship (U.S., CA) or becoming a sole trader (UK, AU) allows you to run your business alone and have complete control over it. This is the most common option for individuals starting a landscaping business.
  • Register as a partnership (U.S., CA, UK), or form a joint venture or co-operative (AU) if you’re starting your business with two or more self-employed people.
  • If your business has medium or high liability risk, register as a limited liability company or LLC (U.S.), corporation (CA), limited company or limited partnership (UK), or company (AU). This will help protect your personal assets in case of legal problems.

READ MORE: Should I incorporate my small business?

Register your business name

Next, register your business with your regional government. You can do this at any local registry. 

All you need is the registration fee and a name that’s unique, simple to spell, and easy to remember.

Here’s how the registration process will look for you, depending on your country:

Get a landscaping license

You may be required to have a landscaping license (or a gardening license) in your city or state. If you do need one, don’t start landscaping homes or businesses without it.

Your business license will have an up-front cost, and you’ll need to renew it every year. The cost will depend on the type of license you need and what services it allows for.

Head over to your city or state website and look for information about business licenses. You can also find other local regulations by googling “YOUR CITY NAME + business laws.”

Get your employer identification number

If your business is a partnership or has employees, you may need to apply for an employer identification number (U.S.) or business number (CA). You’ll use this unique ID when tax time comes around.

3. Get the right insurance

Business insurance protects you from potential damages, injury, or other accidents.

The most common types of small business insurances you’ll need are:

  • General liability insurance to cover personal injury or damage to a client’s property.
  • Commercial property insurance for damage to your landscaping equipment or business property.
  • Commercial auto insurance for work trucks involved in an accident or other damage.
  • Workers compensation insurance to cover injury to an employee on the job.

Work with your insurance provider to create a custom business owner’s policy with the coverage you’ll need to run your business.

4. Open a business bank account

Set up a business bank account and get a business credit card. Separate bank accounts will keep your business expenses separate from your personal ones. 

This will also make your life easier when it comes time to file your taxes.

5. Choose which landscaping services to offer

Before you pick which landscaping services you’ll offer, decide whether you’ll serve residential clients, commercial clients, or both.

Homeowners and businesses have different landscaping needs, so choose the one that best fits your skills.

From there, you can choose to provide services like:

  • Landscape design (or landscape architecture) involves planning and designing outdoor living spaces. This can be a standalone service or part of a bigger landscaping project.
  • Hardscaping includes any “hard” elements of a landscape design, like patios, decks, fences, paths, and water or fire features.
  • Softscaping deals with plant life in a space, from grass and flowers to bushes and trees. This could include planting, turf, grading, and even plant removal.

You can also provide lawn maintenance services like mowing, edging, weeding, and fertilizing.

Pro Tip: Check with your state or municipality to see if you need a landscaping license to perform certain services. For example, landscapers in California need a state license for any job that exceeds $500.

6. Purchase landscaping equipment

These are the essential landscaping tools you’ll need to tackle your first jobs:

  • Lawn mower
  • Weed whacker
  • Leaf blower
  • Hedge trimmer
  • Lawn aerator
  • Broadcast spreader
  • Tiller
  • Pressurized sprayer
  • Wheelbarrow
  • Shovel, spade, hoe, and rake
  • Pruning shears
  • Tool kit (hammer, screwdriver, etc.)
  • Small gardening tools (weeder, trowel, etc.)
  • Garden hose and nozzle
  • Landscaping gloves
  • Safety goggles and earmuffs
  • Steel-toed boots
  • Bucket (to carry smaller tools)
  • Cargo net (for vehicle)

Curious about what kind of equipment a successful landscaping and lawn care company uses to get their jobs done? We asked Brian Boase from MIL-SPEC Landscaping to open his shop doors to give you an inside look at his tools and setup. 

Invest in landscaping business software

Landscaping business software can help you save time managing your business.

Here’s how Jobber’s landscaping business software can help your business run smoothly:

  • Create and send professional quotes that include photos taken at the site assessment. You can also suggest premium landscaping materials, like mulch or crushed stone.
Jobber quote with optional line items below a monthly maintenance package
  • Schedule landscaping jobs and generate the fastest, most fuel-efficient routes.
  • Keep clients informed before, during, and after the job. Send appointment reminders, on-my-way text messages, and automated follow-ups.
  • Instantly create accurate invoices and get paid faster with convenient credit card processing.
Option to invoice now or later when you mark a visit complete in Jobber

7. Price your landscaping services

Pricing landscaping jobs might feel challenging when you’re just getting started. Use these tips to help you set fair and profitable prices:

  • Think about how many hours the job will take, then multiply by your hourly rate.
  • Calculate the total material costs for the service (e.g., plants, rocks). This should also cover any equipment rentals you might need.
  • Add up your overhead costs (e.g., rent, marketing, utilities). Then divide this amount by the number of weekly labor hours worked. This gives you the amount of overhead you need to charge for every hour of labor.
  • Factor in your profit margin. This allows you to profit from a service. Charge a 15–20% markup for residential clients and 10–15% for commercial ones.

FREE TOOL:Try our free profit margin calculator

8. Get your first customers

Marketing helps you reach potential clients and show them what you have to offer.

Start by setting a budget that you can afford. Then create a marketing plan that describes the landscaping marketing strategies you’ll invest in, like these:

  • Create a look for your company (a brand) that’s recognizable by potential clients. Use a tool like Looka to design a logo, pick your fonts and company colors, then order matching business cards, uniforms, and vehicle decals.
  • Set up Facebook and Instagram business accounts. Then share before-and-after images of completed landscaping projects to connect with new customers.
  • Start a customer referral program and ask satisfied clients to write reviews.
  • Build a landscaping website and attract potential customers to it through Google’s Local Services Ads.
  • Claim your free Google Business Profile. Add your contact information, landscaping services, service area, and working hours.
  • Send out landscaping and lawn mowing flyers in the neighborhoods where you’d like to work.

Some of these ideas might work better for you than others. Give each of them a try, then focus on the ones that bring in the most new residential or commercial landscaping clients.

READ MORE:Commercial lawn care contracts: how to price, bid, and win them

9. Hire landscapers and grow your business

When you’re turning away work because you’re too busy, it might be a good idea to hire your first employee.

This will free up more time for you to focus on running and growing your business.

Here’s how to hire lawn care employees and landscapers:

  • Write a landscaper job description and post it on social media and job search websites
  • Prepare questions to ask a new employee and interview qualified applicants
  • Check applicants’ references and ask them to get a police background check
  • Choose the applicant you’d like to hire and offer them the position
  • Schedule the landscaper’s first day of work and train them to do the job properly

FREE TOOL:Find out how much to pay your landscapers

10. Plan for off-season

If you live in an area with cold fall and winter months, think about how you can generate revenue and keep employees busy during those off-seasons.

You may consider adding fall and winter landscaping services, like:

  • Leaf removal
  • Gutter cleaning
  • Snow removal
  • Christmas light installation

These services can help you stay profitable from late fall to early spring.

You can also use the time to:

  • Update your business plan
  • Market your services to new customers
  • Clean or maintain your landscaping equipment
  • Put new processes in place (like landscaping business software

READ MORE: 21 best apps for lawn care business owners (free and paid)

Ready to get your hands dirty? Use the steps above as your checklist to start your own landscaping business today.

Originally published in May 2022. Last updated on January 24th, 2024.

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