How to start a landscaping business

Editorial Team

5 min read
Landscaper holding weed trimmer

If you enjoy working outside, starting a landscaping business might be a perfect fit. The pay can vary depending on a number of factors, with landscapers earning between $33,000 and $73,000 a year. The startup costs can be relatively low if you already have a lawn mower and basic gardening tools.

Before you mow that first lawn, you’ll need a business plan to get your service up and running. If you’re not sure where to start, the information provided below can help you learn how to have a successful lawn care business.

1. Start the process with some general business tips

Regardless of your industry or niche, there are a few steps that all new small businesses should complete:

  • Planning: Determine whether there’s a ready market for the landscaping services you’ll offer. In this stage, think about potential price points and revenue projections before putting these numbers into a written business plan.
  • Funding: Secure the necessary financing from friends, family members, investors, and banks. If you are applying for bank loans, you’ll absolutely need a written business plan.
  • Business registration: Choose a corporate structure for your business. Sole proprietorships are the easiest to form, but offer the least liability protection. General partnerships are ideal when two or more owners are involved. Corporations are the legal entity of choice for many larger and more established businesses. Limited liability companies (LLCs) are relatively simple to set up and offer a fair degree of legal protection.

2. Determine the range of services and calculate pricing

Based on your business plan, you should already have a good idea of what services you’ll offer and how much you hope to charge. In this stage, you will start to iron out the finer details.

For example:

  • Will your clients be commercial, residential, industrial, municipal, or some combination of these?
  • Are you a full-service outfit or do you specialize in specific areas of landscaping (e.g., lawn care vs. maintenance vs. gardening vs. interior landscaping)?
  • Will your customers care more about aesthetics, sustainability, or some other unique, marketable characteristics?

3. Secure the necessary licenses

Depending on where you live and the scope of services you plan to provide, you may need to secure certain certifications or credentials. Moreover, these licensing requirements can become stricter the higher you rise in the profession. All states, for example, require that landscapers be licensed and insured.

4. Acquire equipment and supplies

As a small business owner, it’s usually best to buy or rent the items you need when you need them. Below are some essentials you’ll likely want on day one of your new venture:

  • Lawnmowers, leaf blowers, and weed whackers
  • Clippers, trimmers, rakes, and shovels
  • Gloves, goggles, earplugs, and other safety gear
  • Gas canisters, oil cans, bags, and rags

5. Hire landscaping staff

If you have more demand than you can handle, you may need to start hiring employees. Doing so, however, introduces a host of obligations you’ll now need to cover, including payroll, benefits, paid time off, and unemployment insurance.

Just as with major equipment purchases, it’s often better to hire new staff only when the occasion truly calls for it. This is why so many entrepreneurs begin solo when starting a lawn care business.

6. Launch a marketing plan

Whether you are a team of one or have several employees, you’ll need to start driving business leads your way. Paid advertising and social media campaigns are favored by companies of all sizes in various industries. If operating locally, consider going door to door to introduce your business. This is especially helpful when every lawn you service becomes part of your growing portfolio (pun intended).

If the goal is to generate even more word-of-mouth marketing and repeat business, consider launching a loyalty program to reward your most faithful customers. Alternatively, you could use recurring billing options that turn your landscaping business into a subscription service. By selling gift cards, your customers become your most vocal supporters as they spread the word to friends and family.

7. Accept payments and manage your landscaping business

Launching a new landscaping business isn’t easy. With the right tools, you can automate many of the most time-consuming aspects of starting and managing your venture. At Clover, for example, all of our payment solutions come with the following:

Best of all, our point-of-sale solutions integrate with many business management software programs in the Clover App Market, which allows you to add third-party plug-ins for additional functionality.

To learn how a Clover landscaping POS system can help your lawn care business launch and grow, schedule a free demo today.

This information is provided for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal, financial, or tax advice. Readers should contact their attorneys, financial advisors, or tax professionals to obtain advice with respect to any particular matter.

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