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Anyone who has a yard knows that maintaining it is a big job. So it’s no surprise that there are many landscaping companies out there that can help eliminate the need for mowing, weeding, tilling and more lawn care.
How To Start A Lawn Care Business Legally
However, if you love gardening and love the smell of a freshly mowed lawn or manicured garden, you might consider starting a landscaping business.
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The landscaping business is booming. If you live in a warm climate, you can work almost all year round. The landscape services industry generates $93 billion in annual revenue and employs more than 1 million people, according to the National Association of Landscape Professionals.
If this sounds like the right move for you, read on to learn how to start your own landscaping business.
Given the diversity and depth of landscaping, from residential to commercial, from maintenance to removal and design to tree care, the affordability of starting a landscaping business is pretty straightforward. It can be as simple as renting a lawn mower and knocking on the door.
“My previous company was a self-grown lawn care business, a push mower for 125+ employees,” says Brian Clayton, founder of GreenPal, an Uber-like lawn ordering service for landscaping.
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“Most customers have to deal with bad, unprofessional competitors,” says Clayton. “Building a landscaping business is so easy when you answer the phone when your clients call, reply to voicemails quickly, and do the things you agreed with your clients.”
Seems simple, right? But what else can a landscaping business owner do to go beyond the basics? Here are some tips when starting a landscaping business.
The first step in starting a landscaping business is purchasing landscaping equipment. Once you’ve decided on the specific services your landscaping business will provide, you’ll know what equipment you’ll need. Then it’s time to decide whether to buy outright or go for a cheaper rental option.
At first, you can either rent equipment or buy poor quality equipment. However, as your landscaping business grows, so do your equipment requirements and costs, and it’s easy to spend on equipment maintenance that’s as cheap as buying high-quality machinery.
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“Many landscape contractors sharpen blades or clean oil, spark plugs, air filters, fuel filters, and more. “You have to spend 5 to 10 hours a week keeping your equipment in top condition and replacing it,” says Clayton.
So what are the basics of good landscaping equipment you need to know when starting a landscaping business?
There are many hand tools that every good landscaper should have on hand: shovels (square mouth, shovels, trenchers, etc.), wheelbarrows, cultivators (such as back-tine cultivators or cultivators), and more powerful items such as chainsaws. and drill. However, the actual cost is not here. The cost of larger equipment may surprise you.
“A lot of people don’t know this, but commercial landscape operators see lawn mowers that cost over $12,000,” says Clayton.
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“Landscaping contractors must also purchase or finance a truck worth at least $10,000 and a trailer for $5,000,” says Clayton. “In addition, landscaping often requires a front-end loader, which itself costs between $10,000 and $50,000.”
Typically, Clayton estimates that construction and landscaping services companies will need to bring between $40,000 and $50,000 worth of equipment to their clients’ properties. So while installation costs a reasonable $3,000, according to Clayton, don’t rely on rentals forever.
There are several forms of business insurance required to run a business. Most importantly, general liability insurance that covers everything from repair costs to legal costs if you or your employees cause accidental damage. Accidents happen, like lawn mowers running over sprinkler heads, and when they happen, you want compensation.
“Most states require two types of insurance to run a legitimate business, with or without employees,” Clayton says, but depending on the state you work in, you may also need workers’ compensation insurance. If an employee is injured on the job, workers’ compensation covers everything from medical bills to legal expenses.
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Other types of insurance that may be optional but useful include inland marine insurance (to cover goods damaged in transit), commercial motor vehicle insurance (you cannot use your own vehicle to haul most cargo; private insurance does not) there is coverage for commercial vehicles) and commercial umbrella insurance (extends coverage when reaching large settlements).
In addition, most states have pesticide licenses that you must purchase if you want to use pesticides as part of your service. Clayton calls this a “very complicated process” and doesn’t recommend it until you’re well established in the field.
Before starting a business, make sure you have a business license required by the state in which you operate, are registered for taxes, and have received an employer identification number, also known as a business tax identification number.
Rules about which business licenses are required and where to obtain them vary from state to state, so check the specifics of the state in which you will be operating before starting a landscaping business.
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Another type of insurance you need when starting a landscaping business is workers’ liability insurance, which covers your business in case of overtime, wage and hour miscalculations.
Given the uncertainty surrounding the future of supplemental benefits and the fact that many small business owners tend to go it alone without the help of a lawyer or accountant first, this insurance can be a lifesaver. – or rather, a business savior. .
“In 2009, our company was audited by the Department of Labor and they found that our team leaders were not being paid. They should be paid for paid employee time,” he says. “This resulted in 80 employees being paid extra overtime pay and $450,000 in fines the company had to pay.”
This lack of insurance almost killed Clayton’s company. Let their experience be a lesson for you. It is very important for your landscaping business to get insurance, especially before expanding.
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When it comes to marketing your landscaping business, you know where to start. Facebook and other social media and SEO tactics will increase your search visibility on Google and other search engines.
Of course, word-of-mouth marketing is always best, especially in hyper-local markets, but you need to do a little extra. So while you’re in town waiting for glowing reviews, consider setting up social media accounts before starting your landscaping business.
According to Clayton, the best way to start is to set an initial budget of $500 to $2,000 to master all the usual marketing channels and get your first 10 to 100 customers. After expanding your landscaping business, you may need a digital marketing expert to take your game to the next level.
When you start a landscaping business, you also need to determine the price of services to include in your marketing efforts. Every potential customer wants to know how much your business will charge for the various landscaping services you offer.
How To Start A Lawn Care Business Legally
When determining your rates, check your competitors, see what similar companies are offering, and start from there. Remember, though, that you can adjust your rates as you go along.
When starting a landscaping business, it’s important to keep your finances in order. We’re probably past the days of pen and paper to keep track of all our business expenses, schedules and bills. Spreadsheet applications are also capable of handling large amounts of information, but are rather outdated.
Fortunately, there are many business apps that can help run your landscaping business more smoothly. There are apps and software to help you with everything from inventory management and payroll to employee timesheets so you can focus on the important stuff, like the actual landscaping work.
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