If you're thinking about starting a landscaping business; this is your year! While 2020 has thrown a wrench in many plans - landscaping, landscape architecture, maintenance and making use of outdoor space is important for those cooped up at home for work, school, or both. It's more important through all seasons that outdoor space can be utilized, and it's a relatively safe job to do outside and employ people safely to work together.
Whether you've been waiting for the right time to follow your passion into landscaping, or it's the luck of the hand that you're creating a business today - landscaping is a good business to go into. Typically a landscaping service brings a lot of freedom to your typical work week, where you can set your schedule and work regular daylight hours. The demand will always be there, pandemic or not, and it is not a role that needs formal education or certifications. However, it does require upfront costs for equipment, general strength for the labor and heavy lifting, and it is necessary to be knowledgeable about plants, landscapes, design, trends, and abide by safety regulations for hazardous machinery and chemical products.
But, the power of a beautiful landscape is marketing in it of itself. If you do a great job, word will spread! Especially during Covid-19, a well maintained lawn or beautifully designed outdoor space are safe havens for families, and you can be part of that. Let's get started!
Research your local competition:
To begin building your business, first do some research on what competition is in your region. What vehicles and equipment do you need? How many customers can you serve per day, and how far will you travel for business? Is there a gap in the services being offered that you can specialize in? For instance, landscaping and providing visions for property and lawns, lawn maintenance, so ongoing services for buildings, yards, public places, or other, or things like pest control, sod installation, snow removal, storm debris removal, or speciality in trees, gardens, outdoor patios and pathways. Are companies touting organic products or sustainable removal, or composted mulch? What do you need to incorporate into your company to stand out and compete smartly with other ventures?
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Financing in the beginning:
Your upfront costs for a landscaping business are the cost of equipment, vehicles to move equipment, a trusted source for product (sod, trees, plants, mulch) supplies, insurance, business licenses and permits, any OSHA training programs, cost for any team you intend to hire, and the funds you want to put towards advertising and marketing. Consider that your ongoing major expenses will the cost of labor, transportation and equipment upkeep. Knowing this baseline cost will help you to budget accurately, price projects correctly, and set aside enough money.
The cost of equipment you'll need to get started can range from $34,000-$50,000 according to Guidant Financial. But, you can consider leasing equipment or taking out a small business loan. The key is to know what your costs will be upfront, and over time, in order to make decisions about the rest of your needs.
To legalize your landscaping business, you'll need to register your business and pay taxes. If you are creating it by yourself, set up a limited liability corporation (LLC) to separate your business and personal finances. Additionally, when you hire help, you'll want to utilize 1099 contracts for anyone who will make more than $600 annually.
Learn about Preparing Your Business For Tax Season
Getting started with your business:
Once you have determined your offering and overhead costs, be it a speciality in silviculturist (tree care), turf specialist, or general lawn maintenance - it's now the exciting time to turn your plans into reality.
We recommend creating an online presence to validate your offering and allow yourself to be discoverable (or as we like to say: Googleable). Stand up a quick web-page with booking and business information, acquire a free business phone number through Google Voice, and utilize an email newsletter tool to manage communication with customers more easily. It's important for inquiring customers to be able to find you online, and have your profiles match what they want and what you discuss with them. You can set up well designed and professional online profiles for free or low costs, and create free branding assets like logos, iconography, free fonts, and more. Claim your company address into Google Maps so you can be found by those searching for a business like yours. It's important to have an offline presence too. Take out an ad in the local news, leave fliers at the grocery store, or add yourself to a municipal directory.
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Given the pandemic, a lot of people are more sensitive to people coming to their homes. What guidelines do you intend to set for yourself and your team to relieve that stress?
Think about how you want your service to be perceived and talked about. Do you want to be efficient and detail oriented? Do you want to be described as punctual or flexible? Think about the mission you want to align with, the reason you want customer's to work with you again, and build that into the way you speak, market, and advertise your business. Then of course, make sure that these are true and practiced values.
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Get your first customers and offer referral incentives:
When you get your first customers, the golden ticket is securing repeat clients. To work with someone once, and then again iterates that you provided a great service for a fair price. So how do you get new customers? A lot of that can be done through word of mouth, tell your repeat customers that you're open for business - and consider offering them a referral incentive like "If you refer a friend, you'll get 20% of the next lawn mow." If you were going to spend money on advertising and marketing, you may as well put that money into an incentive that ensures you getting new customers.
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Invest in yourself:
As the months fly by, you're running a business! Take a moment to reflect on your business plan. The costs that you initially set up for equipment, salaries, and insurance - are they higher or lower than you budgeted for? What additionally business do you need to make a bigger profit? Are there aspects of the schedule that aren't working for you? Where can you invest money back into your business to increase customers and start new conversations? It's good to make a habit out of reviewing your budget, how often you are working with customers (both new and returning), to get a pulse on how you're working and how to progress.
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Landscaping is a great business that you can start any time, but it certainly requires strength and a keen eye for landscaping and knowledge of local flora.
Ready to get started? Here at ClickEasy, we help one person businesses get set up online quickly. From scheduling, website pages to payment and customer management - we have you covered. Jump in for free - check us out!
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