The first signs of spring include warmer days and the buzz of lawn mowers on Saturday morning. As people spend more time outdoors, they’re realizing they need consistent help keeping their lawns green and clean.
With no shortage of lawns all over the world, landscaping is a $105 Billion industry with promising annual growth. Residential landscaping alone has seen an increase in demand over the years, creating a tremendous opportunity for lawn care enthusiasts and entrepreneurs all around.
If you have a passion for the outdoors and the grit to start a business, landscaping is an incredible full-time business or side hustle opportunity.
Wondering how to start a landscaping business? We’ve got you covered with our 10 step guide:
- 1: Gain experience and build a portfolio
- 2: Choose a landscaping business name
- 3: List the landscaping services you want to offer
- 4: Buy or rent the landscaping equipment you need
- 5: Choose your landscaping rates
- 6: Brand your landscaping business
- 7: Register your landscaping business
- 8: Start marketing your landscaping business
- 9: Put customer experience first
- 10: Hire contractors or part-time employees
Why start a landscaping business?
Consumer behavior has shifted towards a more self-sufficient lifestyle, giving rise to home gardening and the search for larger properties. As home sales grow and a newfound appreciation for gardening sets in, the landscaping market is set to grow by 4.9% from 2020 to 2025, making it a tremendous opportunity for entrepreneurs with a green thumb.
Starting a landscaping business aligns with emerging business opportunities and consumer demand. Homeowners will always need help taking care of their properties, why not be the one they call when spring starts rolling in?
If you’re still on the fence about starting a landscaping business, take a look at these pros and cons to help you decide.
The pros of starting a landscaping business
- You create your schedule
- Be your own boss
- Work outdoors
- Help your community
- Build a happy customer base
- Grow your business
- Create a brand
- Learn something new every day
The cons of starting a landscaping business
- Low seasons
- Startup costs
- Physical labor
- Competitive field
- Varying weather conditions
- The stress of running a business
- Financing and taxes
- Learning how to run a business
How much does it cost to start a landscaping business?
Costs are always an important consideration when starting any service-based business. We’ve researched costs for you and sorted out some ballpark estimates of startup costs for a lawn care business.
- If you’re starting with nothing, you’ll need to invest close to $10,000 – $15,000 for transportation, equipment, marketing, and other expenses we cover in step 3.
- If you’re a homeowner, chances are you already have the necessary equipment to get started but may need some extra tools along the way. This can cost you from $2,000 to $5,000 to start your business.
Don’t be discouraged if it feels out of reach. We’re going to cover how you can find equipment to save costs and cut corners without cutting quality.
How much can a landscaping business make in one year?
As a solo business owner, you may be more limited (at least initially) in how much you can earn in a year. Start by ironing out a solid hourly wage for yourself and working from there. The average hourly wage for a landscaper is $17 so you can set that as your base and add in the costs of service, tax, and labor.
Based on Payscale data, landscaping business owners can earn from $25,302 to $147,577 in annual salary. You can land on the higher end of this range by focusing on work quality, customer service, and excellent marketing. But don’t forget, building a business takes years, so be patient with your progress!
Is owning a landscaping company profitable?
The best part about owning a business is that you’re not limited in how much revenue you can generate. However, prepare to invest in your business before seeing a profit. Becoming profitable lies in your hands – which is both exciting and scary.
If you start from scratch, you may need to work hard for the first few years to build a solid customer base and become profitable. As a rule of thumb, try to factor in a 10% profit with every project and be aware of what your competitors are charging before setting your prices.
Lastly, remember that the backbone of the economy is the small business owner, so keep track of various small business grants you can apply to. The world needs more small businesses!
How to start a landscaping business
Now that you’re ready to start a landscaping business, we’re going to take you from picking a business name to executing a marketing plan in 10 easy steps.
Step 1: Gain experience and build a portfolio
If you’re coming in with little to no experience, don’t worry! You can gain landscaping experience by:
- Learning how to use landscaping tools on Youtube. Check out the Yard Coach channel to start!
- Practice on your lawn (if you have one)
- Ask your neighbors or community if you can practice on their property for free
- Work at an existing landscaping company for a season
- Always learn by watching, doing, and mastering different landscaping skills
- Take pictures of your hard work and progress!
You can start your portfolio as a page on your website, Instagram account, or booklet that you can show to potential clients. Either way, be proud of your work and show it off!
Quality and customer service always top price, so make sure you collect feedback and take pictures of all of your work. Happy customers do the marketing for you, and having an incredible portfolio is an excellent way to woo new customers and keep existing ones.
Check out this landscaper Instagram for inspiration: @perennial_landscaping
Step 2: Choose a landscaping business name
Your business name is a cornerstone of your brand, so make sure that it’s unique, creative, and communicates your business values.
You can get as creative as you’d like, but make sure you consult our fun guide on coming up with a catchy and creative business name before you start. The landscaping industry is a competitive one, so aim to stick out from the rest by creating a name that distinguishes your values, services, and brand from everyone else.
Make sure that your business name meets the following criteria outlined in our business name guide:
- Available (in some form)
Step 3: List the landscaping services you want to offer
Landscaping offers a large variety of services from mowing lawns to landscape design and planting. Create your services list based on what you’re comfortable doing, and keep an eye on what is most in-demand in your region. The fun part is that you’ll be able to learn new skills and expand your services list as you gain experience and gauge what your community wants.
Generally, your list of landscaping services should look like this:
Recurring Lawn Maintenance
- Landscape maintenance
- Tree trimming
- Lawn maintenance (mow and trim)
- Spring cleanup and Mulching
- Fall cleaning
- Snow removal
- Salting driveways and entrances
- Floral displays
- Landscape design
- Irrigation system upgrade/maintenance
- Turf Installation
- Tree removal
- Gravel installation
- Deck or Patio construction/installation
Step 4: Buy or rent the landscaping equipment you need
If you’re debating whether to buy or rent the equipment you need to get started, here’s a list of landscaping equipment to prepare you for any landscaping job.
List of landscaping equipment
- Push Mower
- Leaf blower
- Garden hose
- Lawn bags
- Garden hoe
- Soil knife
- Spading fork
- Personal safety equipment (Goggles, earmuffs, gloves, etc.)
How to save on lawn care equipment
Starting a new business doesn’t mean you need brand-new equipment to go with it. There’s no shame in using the equipment you already have or going to your local pawnshop to find the tools to get the job done.
Monitor platforms like Kijiji, Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, and eBay to find everything you need to complete your landscaping arsenal. Saving money on lawn care equipment means you can start turning a profit faster and spend money on marketing and customer service activities.
After all, a rake is a rake whether it’s new or not!
Step 5: Choose your landscaping rates
Before creating your price sheet, keep in mind that different regions have different standards. Make a list of your top five competitors and call them all for quotes before building your competitive pricing model.
Costs also change based on the square footage and how many hours you need to complete the project. On average, you can expect to charge:
- $4 to $6 per square foot for basic services
- $6 to $10 for intermediate landscaping services
Keep time, size, and labor as the three pillars of your pricing strategy, and set your base hourly rate from $15 to $17 based on your experience level.
Average costs of landscaping
Based on the home advisor average cost guide in the USA, landscaping services can range from the following price points based on lot size and level of work being done.
- Lawn Mowing Costs $50 – $220
- Mulching Cost $100 – $300
- Lawn Seeding Cost $400 – $1,500
- Tree Trimming Costs $75 – $1,000
- Landscape Curbing Cost $700 – $1,700
- Gravel Installation Price $300 – $400
- Sod Installation Cost $1,000 – $2,700
- Lawn Grading Cost $1,000 – $3,000
- Tree Removal Costs $400 – $2,000
Step 6: Brand your landscaping business
Now that you’ve ironed out the tools you need, the rates you’re going to charge, and the name of your wonderful new business, it’s time to answer an important question:
How will you differentiate yourself from your competition?
Instead of adding value through price only, keep in mind that people are looking for a memorable customer experience, high-quality work, and value above all. Building a brand can help communicate these values consistently.
Create a landscaping logo
The most consisitent aspect of your brand will be your logo. It is the representation of your business and it’ll be on your invoices, marketing materials, uniform— and maybe even your car.
A logo represents your brand, and creating an original logo by working with a designer can cost thousands of dollars and take up a lot of your time. If you choose to go down this route, prepare to add these expenses to your list of costs.
If you’d like to save time and money, you can use Looka’s logo maker to create your landscaping logo and be ready to launch your business (and brand) in no time.
Check out some of these landscaping logos for inspiration before designing your own:
Build your brand identity
Building your brand is the fun part of ironing out how to distinguish yourself and communicate your services and values consistently.
You can start building your brand identity by establishing these brand assets:
- Your logo
- A color palette
- Shapes and images
- Brand Guidelines (How you will use these assets)
Once you have a solid brand identity, you’ll be able to seamlessly incorporate your brand into your flyers, posters, social media posts, and marketing materials. Having consistent visuals helps build trust with customers and establishes you as a legitimate small business and brand.
Check out these brand guidelines for inspiration:
Step 7: Register your landscaping business
A critical first step to starting any business is to apply for a business license and register your business. This process varies based on which country, state, or province you’re in.
Registering your business means protecting your assets and separating yourself from the business. This makes it an entity of its own – with you as the owner. On the other hand, getting a business license is simply a matter of applying for a license to legally run a business in your country, state, or province.
We’ve compiled a list of resources for you to look through so that you’re covered wherever you’re from:
- US Small Business
- Canada Small Business
- EU Small Business (by country)
- UK Small Business
- Business License by state
Step 8: Start marketing your landscaping business
So now, the fun begins! Before jumping into marketing, you first need to hone down on who your customers are.
Discover your target audience
Your target audience is homeowners within a 25 mile/ 40KM distance (or more) of where you live. This is flexible if you’d like to service more rural areas or target entire states.
Homeowners are easy to spot, so choose a specific area that you’d like to focus on. Once you have a good idea of who your customer is, you can start marketing your business to them.
Set up your Google Business account
Register as a business on Google (free) and make sure your website copy indicates your region so people can find you. For example: “Rory’s Rakes – Best Landscaping in Utah”
This way, you’ll have a distinct presence on the web for that location. You won’t have to find your customers, they can find you!
For landscaping, you’re usually looking at a target audience of a particular age that lives in a home or owns a property. This means social channels like TikTok or Snapchat might not be the best options for you.
Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest have more promising audiences of adults who are looking for home decor, renovations, and lastly – landscaping to make their home their own.
Create a profile on these social media channels and start uploading photos of your work, lawn care services, as well as testimonials to start building your presence online.
Check out this Instagram page for landscaping inspiration: @portphilliplandscaping
These pages can act as your portfolio, so make sure you ask happy customers to leave a Google or Facebook review of their experience as social proof. This helps build trust with new customers looking for landscaping in your area.
Wouldn’t you trust a business more if they have tons of positive google reviews? Use this to your advantage!
Flyers and offers
Get the word out by placing flyers on bulletins and areas with heavy foot traffic. Put up flyers at the local coffee shops and community centers. Make sure your flyer design is impeccable and draws pedestrians’ attention.
You can also approach owners of large residential areas and let them know that you’re happy to give them a first-time offer if they choose to hire you this coming spring, summer, or fall.
Reach out to your community
Shout it from the rooftops and let your family, friends, coworkers, friends of friends, and grandparents know that you’re starting a landscaping business. People who know you’re reliable will undoubtedly think of you when they have landscaping needs, and tell their friends about it.
You can announce it through a page invite on Facebook and direct outreach to everyone you know.
Step 9: Put customer experience first
The power of an excellent customer service experience trumps all. Think about the best customer experience you’ve ever had and the impression it left on you. These will be the guidelines for how you run your business since customer happiness is always the priority.
The power of word of mouth marketing
If you’ve ever recommended a restaurant, a service, or a product then you’re well aware of word of mouth marketing and how powerful it can be. 92% of people trust recommendations from friends or family over any advertising, so getting people to talk about your business or add a review to your pages is a great way to build trust and gain momentum in your community as a new landscaping business.
The quality of your work and customer service is paramount to your success, so make sure that you’re always improving your business and not leaving until the customer is 100% satisfied.
Step 10: Hire contractors or part-time employees
The warm seasons are full of students, temporary workers, and people searching for a side hustle to supplement their income.
Why not support your community by hiring people to help you out? This not only doubles your efficiency, but it can help you land larger jobs with bigger lots.
Increasing your capacity means you can do more and increase your revenue while you’re at it. It also helps others by generating jobs, steady income, and fun in the great outdoors. Who wouldn’t love that?
Start your landscaping business today
So there you have it! A complete guide on how to start a landscaping business from scratch. Getting started is always the hardest part, but the journey is the most rewarding.
Some notes for you to remember before you go: build your landscaping business by working on your skillset consistently, create a fantastic brand, and providing unmatched customer service and value to your community.
Start building your landscaping business brand today!