January 23, 2019 Last updated July 7th, 2019 2,406 Reads share

10 Tips for Starting a Successful Landscaping Business

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Landscaping is an essential service in developed countries, especially those with high land mass such as the United States and Canada. Amounts spent on landscaping services have continued to grow as homeowners become wealthier or busier with modern life or both. Moreover, well-run landscaping businesses are fairly sheltered from economic downturns as providers of essential services such as lawn care and snow removal. Therefore, starting a new landscaping business is a rather safe bet, as far as starting a business is concerned, of which the risk factor can run the gamut of possibilities.

Although it’s always possible to scrape together a living in this business if you’re willing to work at it, it’s a whole other matter to make it a roaring success, or even to make a comfortable living. Here are 10 tips to help you start a successful landscaping business.

  1. Define your Goals.

To start a successful landscaping company, naturally, you’d have to work on it full time and plan on building a team. Do you plan to provide just lawn care, or lawn care and snow removal, or comprehensive landscaping services? Work on your rate sheet, or a guide of how much you’d charge for what. Define a goal of how many customers or how much gross revenues you plan to achieve in the first year. Beyond that, how do you define the company’s success in 5 years?

  1. Plan the Startup Cost and Secure the Funds.

This isn’t about starting a Mickey D franchise or something else costly, you can easily start out on a shoestring budget with just enough equipment and staff, to be expanded as needed. Whatever it is, it’s almost impossible to get a bank loan for a landscaping business these days, so start saving or borrow the money from other sources, or even apply to a few low-interest credit cards. Do what’s necessary to secure the funds short of going to a loan shark.

  1. Start a Corporation and Keep all Records.

Hiring a corporate attorney to start a corporation in landscaping will legitimize the whole endeavor literally and spiritually. It’ll give you a boost and the last bit of motivation knowing that this is for real. The corporation is an entity to which you can shift all personal liabilities. If you wish to go that route, you can lease commercial landscaping equipment on the corporation.

You want to keep all the records in one place because you know you’ll be running a successful small business. One advantage of getting an accountant to do your taxes is that he’ll also create your balance sheet and cash flow statement for the year, the better to gauge your success with.

  1. Work on a Mission Statement.

Mission statements may sound like corporate bureaucracy, but you don’t have to make it sound like that at all. Just be honest with yourself: what is the mission statement that will make you feel proud of the services you provide, keep the customers happy, and give the company the foundation to build on? See here for an example of 24 inspirational company mission statements.

  1. Identify your Market.

This part builds on your mission statement, or you can use it to refine your mission statement in an iterative process. What is your target neighborhood? Do you have a niche or specialty you’d like to promote? Do you want to be a value leader or be known for the best possible service? Should you limit your service areas or build a chain company?

  1. Kick off your Marketing Efforts.

Get the words out about your new landscaping company. In any event, build a Facebook page and get your website up and running. See Soares ALD MN’s website for an example of a fast-loading and to-the-point website for a landscaping company. Now, zero in on your identified market and determine the best ways to reach them. Would it be mailers to every house in the neighborhood, newspaper ads, local radio ads, and buys on search engines and Facebook, or a combination?

  1. Have your Equipment Ready to Go.

If you were even thinking about starting a landscaping business, you had to know a thing or two about the equipment. You should be able to formulate a list of equipment required based on your mission statement. You want nothing but equipment that can stand up to extended everyday use, so commercial equipment only. The lower starting cost of lesser equipment will end up costing you more in no time. Explore the used market for commercial lawn maintenance equipment, trucks, and snowplow, and evaluate commercial leases that your corporation may qualify for.

  1. Build a Team.

You will need at least one office worker to be on the phone and email at office hours. The person would handle basic customer service, scheduling, and billing, and perhaps patch the call through to you for new customers. As the business grows, you may add more office workers to handle marketing and social media. The number of field workers would depend on your target, list of customers, and the equipment you have available.

  1. Generate Words of Mouth.

Don’t hesitate to ask your customers for a reference or testimonial, either in writing, email, social media, or just a quote that you could use in your marketing materials. Better yet, encourage your best customers to post a review on websites and apps such as Google Maps, Yelp, Foursquare, etc.

  1. Tap into Field Service Management Software.

Field service management software is the 21st century way to run a landscaping business. At the very basic, the software helps you keep track of expenses and cash flow. What it really does is automating job scheduling, transmission of data to and from the field, billing, and payroll. Above all, the software gives you the metrics you need to measure the performance of your company, identify improvement, and manage customer information with the goal of retaining customers.

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