How to Start a Landscaping Business: The Complete Guide

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Axel DeAngelis

Updated on: January 1st, 2023
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Starting your own landscaping business can be an enriching experience. Not only do you help people maintain their lawns and gardens, but you’ll also get to work outside in a natural state. It’s how humans were meant to live!

There are a lot of things you need to do to be successful, such as creating a business plan, getting the necessary licenses and insurance, and building a customer base.

Here are some simple steps that will help you get started.

This is a photo of a landscaped yard.

Step #1: Find a Name

In addition to Jumpcoast, I run a domain and brand naming startup called NameBounce. After running NameBounce for 5+ years, I know first-hand how important it is to choose a unique name.

With the right name, your business will stand out in advertising, be memorable to your customers, and keep your landscaping business flexible for future expansion.

So, how exactly do you choose the perfect name for your landscaping business?

To get started, head over to our sister site, NameBounce. We created a specific Landscape Business Name Generator page that can help you get started with finding a name.

After you find a name, make sure to register the domain name. Domain registration is cheap (around $10/year) and will help protect your name from other landscaping companies who might want to take it.

This is a picture with several domain name blocks on top of a keyboard.

Step #2: Create a Landscaping Business Plan

Dwight Eisenhower once said that “plans are useless, but planning is essential.” While you may deviate from your original plan, it’s essential to have a roadmap to guide you along the way.

Creating a business plan will force you to think about all aspects of your business, from your marketing strategy to your financial projections. It’s also necessary if you want funding from investors or lenders.

So, what exactly is a business plan?

A business plan is a document that outlines the key features of a business, including its structure, operations, and finances.

Typically, it’s used to secure funding from investors or lenders. However, it can also be a useful planning tool for business owners.

Here are some helpful components to include in your business plan:

  1. An overview of your competition (i.e. other landscaping businesses in your area)

  2. Your start-up costs and projected business expenses

  3. Your initial pricing and services. For example, you might want to start with lawn care services before offering other landscaping services.

  4. Your customer acquisition strategy

  5. Your plans for future growth and expansion

It doesn’t need to be perfect, but you’ll want a decent idea of what you’re doing before you take the plunge to get started.

This photo shows the components of a business plan.

Step #3: Choose a Business Structure

Considering your business structure before you start is essential with any new business.

The most common business structures are sole proprietorship, LLC, partnership, and corporation. Generally, given the capital investment needed to start a landscaping business, I recommend choosing a structure that provides liability protection. That means a sole proprietorship generally isn’t the best idea here.

The type of business structure you choose will depend on several factors, including the size and scope of your business, whether you have any co-founders, and the level of control you want over the business.

I highly recommend speaking with an accountant to get details on the business structure that works best for you. Taxfyle is a great option to get help at a low cost.

Step #4: Design a Logo

A good logo is essential for any business, and landscaping businesses are no exception.

A well-designed logo will help your business stand out from the competition, be memorable to customers, and look professional.

So how do you go about designing a good logo for your landscaping business?

To start, I recommend using Upwork to find a logo designer. With Upwork, you can get an amazing logo for as little as $50.

Here are a few tips to help you design a great logo:

Keep it Simple

A complex logo will be difficult to remember and may not look professional. Just about every big company has a simple logo. Consider Apple, Nike, Google, and so on. They all have logos that are clean and easy to understand.

Don’t automatically think that a more complex logo is automatically better. Most of the time, less is more. Keep your logo simple, and you will reap the benefits over time.

Use Memorable and Fitting Icons

Icons are a great way to add visual interest to your logo while keeping it concise.

Typically, you’ll use icons in one of three ways: If you’re using an icon in your logo, look for ones that will help convey the key elements of your brand.

One great way is to base your icon on the words in your name. For example, if you use the word “leaf” in your name, you could incorporate an icon of a leaf. Likewise, if you use the word “green,” you could make your logo font green.

If you need help finding icons, try entering one of the words in your name into Squadhelp’s domain search engine.

Consider Your Fonts and Typography

When creating a logo, choosing fonts that reflect your brand’s overall tone and feel is essential. The right fonts can add sophistication or playfulness or convey a sense of seriousness. In short, the choice of font can make all the difference in how your logo is perceived.

There are endless possibilities for fonts, so it’s essential to research and identify which ones will work best for your brand. Once you’ve found the perfect font, use it consistently across all your marketing materials for a cohesive look. For more information, check out this blog post from Looka on choosing logo fonts.

A man looking at a board with various font styles

Step #5: Create a Website

Creating a website for your landscaping business is essential to establishing your brand. It will allow potential customers to learn more about your company and services.

Your website should be easy to navigate, with clear sections on who you are, what services you offer, how to contact you, and how to get started. Be sure to showcase your work through high-quality images and videos, and make it easy for people to contact you directly from the website.

Plenty of affordable options are available if you don’t have the skills to create a website yourself. You can try hiring a freelancer on Upwork to create a WordPress site. We use WordPress for Jumpcoast – it’s the most flexible website building option. But if you want something simpler, Squarespace and Wix are great options.

Include a Portfolio

A vital part of any landscaping business is showcasing your work. Your portfolio should include photos or videos of past projects and detailed information about each one.

Even if you’re starting with something simple like a lawn care business, it doesn’t hurt to show photos of perfectly manicured lawns!

A great portfolio page will help potential clients understand your style and capabilities and differentiate you from other landscaping business owners.

This photo shows a beautiful landscaped garden.

Step #6: Obtain a Landscaping Business License

Before you open your landscaping business, you will need to obtain the proper licenses and permits.

The first step is to determine which licenses and permits you will need. Landscaping isn’t a federally regulated business, so you won’t need a federal license. I recommend starting with your city, state, or county and letting them direct you to the appropriate place.

Once you know which licenses and permits you need, you can begin the application process. After you fill out an application, you’ll typically pay a fee. Sometimes, you may also need to pass a test or inspection.

Once you have obtained all the necessary licenses and permits, you will be legally open for business!

Step #7: Get Business Insurance

There are several risks associated with owning and operating a landscaping business. You could face liability claims if someone is injured on your property, your equipment or tools could get damaged or stolen, or you could damage someone else’s property while working.

Business insurance can help protect you from these and other risks. It can cover property damage, liability, workers’ compensation, medical expenses, and more.

There are a variety of business insurance providers, so it’s a good idea to compare quotes to get the best option. Try using InsuranceBee, which covers landscaping companies and will allow you to compare quotes.

A dollar covering several businessman figurines

Step #8: Open a Business Bank Account

Opening a business bank account is vital in starting your landscaping business. It will help you organize your finances and make tracking expenses and income easier.

A variety of banks offer business accounts, so it’s important to compare rates and features. You’ll want to find an account that offers free checks, a debit card, online banking, and bill pay.

Make sure you have your business license and incorporation information ready when you open your account. Having this information will help the process go smoothly.

Several banks offer cash bonuses to new businesses who sign up for accounts. To learn more, check out these lists of business bank account bonuses.

Step #9: Purchase Landscaping Equipment

So you now have a name, business plan, website, business insurance, and permits to get started. But you won’t be able to provide landscaping services without the equipment needed to do the job.

Here are some items that you might need:

  1. Lawn mowers

  2. Edgers

  3. Trimmers

  4. A truck or trailer

  5. Lawn sprinkler systems

You might be able to pay for this out of pocket. But many new businesses need financing to purchase the necessary equipment. This is where your business plan comes in: it will help demonstrate to lenders that you have a plan and give them a basis to lend to you.

To compare financing options, some good services include OnDeck, Fundera, or the SBA’s Lender Match service.

This is a lawn mower on grass.

Step #10: Find Potential Customers

With your equipment purchased, shiny new website designed, and business plan in hand, you’re ready to open for business! The next step is to find potential customers.

Here are a few strategies to help you find them:

  • Local SEO. If you want to show up when someone Googles “landscaping company near me,” a great SEO strategy is essential.

  • Content Writing. You can create helpful how-to articles like “how to cut grass efficiently” or “how to keep your lawn green in dry climates.”

  • Direct Mail. You can get lists of home addresses nearby, and send out flyers with your services.

  • Putting up Flyers. If you have a local community center nearby, you can put up flyers and pin them to a bulletin board where people can see it. Be sure to include your website and phone number.

  • Contact Referral Sources. For example, real estate agents might need someone to help them spruce up lawns for property photos.

There are tons of ideas out there, so you can get creative with what works with your time, availability, and budget.

Step #11: Estimate Jobs and Complete the Work

When starting a landscaping business, estimating jobs is essential to securing clients. To create a successful landscaping business, you’ll want to provide services at a fair cost to clients and yourself.

Here is a simple process that you can use to estimate jobs:

Step #1: Look at the Property

When you first receive an estimate request, the first step is to look at the property and meet with the customer. Looking at the property can give you an idea of how long it will take to complete a job.

Step #2: Calculate the Square Footage

Once you have assessed the property, you need to calculate the square footage of the area that needs work.

If someone wants landscaping for a 60-acre ranch, the price will be a lot different than if they have a small 0.25-acre backyard.

Step #3: Research Prices

Next, try looking up prices for comparable jobs. If your client has had quotes from other landscape professionals, it can help to compare your prices to theirs to create an accurate quote.

After you get business, you’ll have a database of comparable jobs. You can also try quoting prices based on what your other clients have accepted.

Step #4: Create a Quote

Once you have all of this information, it’s time to create a quote for the client. This should include all of the services you will be providing and the total cost.

Step #5: Get Approval and Sign a Contract

Once the client has received your quote, it’s time to get approval! You’ll want to finalize the details and ensure both parties are happy with the agreement.

Make sure you sign a contract with the client for your work. It doesn’t hurt to have a lawyer look at it to ensure it adequately protects your interests.

Step #6: Start Work

After your client signs the contract, it’s time to start work!

Make sure to keep in communication with your client throughout the process so that they know what is happening. If you have any deadlines, make sure to keep your client in the loop so you can meet their expectations.

Step #12: Get Paid for Your Work

After you complete the job, the fun part of getting paid begins! There are a few different ways to accept payments for your landscaping work.

One option is to accept checks. You can have the customer mail the check to you, or you can bring your checkbook when you do the job. When you’re paid, deposit the check into your bank account as soon as possible.

Another option is to use Venmo or another mobile payment app like Zelle. This is an excellent option if you’re doing work for friends or family, as they can easily send you money without worrying about mailing a check.

Finally, you can use invoicing software like Freshbooks or QuickBooks. Investing in invoicing software is a great option if you have a lot of clients, as it keeps track of all the payments and helps ensure you’re getting paid on time. It will also help you accurately file during tax time and look professional to your clients.

A woman paying with a credit card on a phone

Step #13: File Taxes

As a business owner, staying on top of your taxes is important. You’ll want to file your taxes every year and ensure that you’re taking the correct deductions.

When you file your taxes, you’ll want to have accurate books. You can hire an accountant or do it yourself using accounting software. Freshbooks or QuickBooks also connect to your bank account to track income and expenses.

Another great option for filing your taxes is Taxfyle. You’ll work directly with an accountant or IRS Enrolled Agent to complete your taxes accurately and quickly. It’s an excellent option for small businesses and affordable too!

Step #14: Offer More Services

After you have a healthy dose of business, you can expand your services!

Let’s say you start as a niche lawn care company. Consider what your clients might need in addition to mowing their lawns. Here are a few ideas:

  • Tree trimming

  • Tree removal

  • Lawn maintenance

  • Residential landscaping

  • Commercial landscaping

  • Landscape architecture

  • Gardening

  • Irrigation system design

Upselling to your existing clients is one of the best ways to increase your revenue without increasing your marketing efforts. Here are a few tips on upselling your services:

  • Ask your client if they’re interested in any other services.

  • Suggest services complementary to the ones you’re already doing for them.

  • Offer a discount if they purchase multiple services.

There are many options, so it’s never a bad idea to sit down with your client and ask what they need.

Step #15: Get a Business Office

One of the best parts of starting your own business is the day when you have enough money to get an office.

Starting an office will give you space to perform necessary office tasks and may even include a place to store your equipment and supplies.

Renting office space can be expensive, but it does have some advantages. You’ll have your own private space, which can be great for confidentiality purposes. It’s also great to show clients that you’re a professional business owner.

Coworking spaces are a great option if you’re on a budget. They’re usually much cheaper than renting an office and offer similar amenities (like wifi, printers, and meeting rooms). You’ll likely need to find separate storage for all of your equipment.

Both options have pros and cons, so you’ll need to decide what’s best for you. But either way, having a business office is a great help in growing a successful landscaping business.

An office with trees outside the window.

Step #16: Hire Employees and Scale

If you want your landscaping business to grow, you’ll eventually need to hire employees.

Hiring employees can be a great way to increase your revenue and reach more clients. It can also be a great way to reduce your workload and improve your work-life balance.

Here are a few tips for hiring employees:

  • Do your research and find the right person for the job. It can help if they’ve already worked in the landscaping industry.

  • Make sure you have a clear job description and expectations in place.

  • Train your employees properly, and ensure they understand your company’s values and how they should represent your business.

  • Give them regular feedback and make sure they’re meeting your expectations.

  • Pay them a fair wage. It can also help to offer benefits like health insurance, vacation time, and 401k matching.

When done correctly, hiring employees can help you grow your landscaping business to new heights.

How to Start a Landscaping Business: Conclusion

So, there you have it! The basics of how to start a landscaping business.

Just remember to take things one step at a time and don’t try to do everything all at once. Starting a business takes time, and slow and steady wins the race.

Your idea will start to become real the minute you find a name. If you need help, check out our Landscape Business Name Generator page over on NameBounce.

With hard work and the right process, you’ll be well on your way to starting a successful landscaping business!

About the Author

Axel is the founder of Jumpcoast, a blog and agency that helps people jumpstart the growth of their online businesses. He also founded NameBounce, a popular domain name and business name generator. Previously, he worked as a commercial real estate investments manager.

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