News, Culture & Society

4 Things You Need to Start a Landscaping Business

People tend to take great pride in their lawns. It’s nice to come home to a well-maintained yard, rather than an overgrown mess. Plus, landscaping creates the first impression visitors and passersby have of our property. However, many people lack the time, ability, or equipment to upkeep their yards on their own, so they must outsource this task to a professional landscaping company.

There are more than 500,000 landscaping businesses in the U.S. earning nearly $100 billion in annual revenue. It’s an industry experiencing consistent growth, too. This is promising news if you’re interested in opening your own landscaping operation.

Here are four things you’ll need to start a lawncare business.

Trade Experience

A keen eye for detail and a passion for greenery go a long way. However, your work will need to meet a professional standard, which means you’ll need experience in the services you plan to offer.

You may hold a degree related to landscaping, or you may have amassed all your experience on the job. Whatever your background, make sure you’re launching with the know-how and skillset necessary for both residential and commercial jobs. Seek professional development opportunities to fill the gaps in your repertoire and continue learning new skills so you can offer a wider range of services over time.

License

Licensing requirements depend on where you live. According to the National Federation of Independent Business, here are just a few examples of how licensure laws vary by city, county, municipality, and state:

  • Oregon and a few other states require compliance with landscape contractor licensing laws.
  • Colorado requires anyone selling plants to customers to have a state nursery license.
  • New York and New Jersey require landscapers to hold home improvement contractor’s licenses.
  • Businesses spraying pesticides often must hold a license for this activity.
  • Irrigation in the Southwest U.S. often requires licensure as well.

Look into the license requirements for your area to ensure your landscaping business starts off on the right foot legally.

Liability Insurance

Insurance requirements vary by location too. Still, it’s a smart idea to take out a landscaping insurance policy to protect your fledgling business, regardless of whether or not your city or state requires you to hold a minimum amount of liability insurance.

A lot can go wrong in such a physical line of work, even when you and your employees are careful. A riding mower could damage a client’s garage door, fence, front walkway, or swimming pool. During a routine tree trimming, a branch could fall on top of the client’s car — an expense your company would have to pay out of pocket without liability insurance in place. If you run a hose across a front walkway and a homeowner trips over it, breaking a bone, you could be on the hook for medical expenses.

And, if a competitor accuses your new business of copying their logo or website, you may be facing an advertising lawsuit — the costs of which a General Liability insurance policy would cover.

Another benefit is you’ll be able to show prospective clients a certificate of insurance to demonstrate your company’s dedication to professionalism.

Equipment

Pro-grade equipment is the biggest investment you’ll make as a landscaper.

Here are some price estimates from Entrepreneur:

  • Flatbed truck: $27,000 – $36,500
  • Utility trailer: $1,500+
  • Storage facility: $50 – $200/month
  • Safety equipment (glasses, headphones, boots, etc.): $100+
  • Lawn mowers: $1,000 – $2,600
  • Trimmer: $200 – $400
  • Blower: $200 – $550
  • Tools for digging, cutting, leveling, etc.: $5,000 – $6,000

Your total start-up costs will vary, but you can expect to invest at least a few thousand in equipment needed to provide basic services.

Even with all of those considerations, landscaping can be a profitable and fulfilling industry. Give your business the strongest possible start by getting these logistics squared away right off the bat.