A landscaping business can be very rewarding financially and in regards to finding a meaningful place in society. In addition, landscaping professionals develop trusted and significant relationships with the clients they serve by providing an essential service to others year after year.
Done right, a landscaping business is more than just mowing a few people’s lawns. While many landscape businesses start out with a one-man crew, many grow into full-sized businesses with work crews, full schedules, and client lists.
It is possible to scale a landscaping business from one person with a mower and a truck to several thousands of dollars worth of equipment. But to do that, some landscaping business necessities must be acquired. To make the most out of your landscaping business, here are four things you must do:
Establish Your Business
After you decide on a name for your business, you will be ready to get your business registered and licensed. Depending on what state you live in, the requirements will vary.
You’ll also want to get an Employee Identification Number for tax purposes and open a business bank account. Getting a business credit card is a good idea because you might need cash flow available as you build your business, and developing good credit as soon as possible makes that easier.
Registering your business is another important step. You can register as a sole proprietor, a limited liability company, or an S-corporation. Because landscaping and lawn care businesses have a significant amount of inherent risk, many people will use an LLC. If you have questions, you can contact your local Chamber of Commerce for assistance and resources.
You can also consider getting your business certified. The National Association of Landscape Professionals has several different types of certification and offers a variety of trainings. Certification can help you get contracts and makes your business appear more professional.
Protect Your Business
After your business is established—but before you mow your first lawn—it is important to get a comprehensive landscaping insurance policy that protects your business. You can get affordable bundled policies and help you save money while giving you the protection you need.
The right landscaping insurance policy will provide your business with everything from worker’s compensation to general liability coverage. In addition, it will make sure that you can stay in business even if someone other than an employee gets hurt on your work site.
Liability insurance for landscaping businesses should include contractor’s E&O. This is insurance that protects you in professional negligence cases. You may need it if you make a mistake. In addition, it will cover the expenses related to redoing a job and legal fees spent defending yourself.
Insurance can protect your equipment and vehicles, too. Not only can your tools and equipment get damaged on the job, but they can also be stolen. The right insurance policy will protect your equipment, and that’s important because you can’t run your business without the proper equipment.
Equipment You Will Need
While some startups in the landscaping industry begin with just a mower and a truck, there is a lot more landscaping equipment that you will need if you are planning on a full-scale landscaping business. Whether you purchase or rent these tools, the costs are considerable and can range up to $50,000.
Vehicle: the ideal vehicle for this job is a flatbed that can haul landscaping materials, dump them, hold your tools and pull a trailer. The average cost for this vehicle would be about $30,000.
Trailer: you should plan to spend about $1,000 on a trailer, more or less depending on whether or not it has steel mesh sides, which can help keep your tools safer.
Mowers: a riding lawn mower can cost up to about $2,500. You need to consider what you will do if it breaks down, too, so you might also consider a backup. Some people use a push behind mower, too, but you should make these decisions based on your niche in the landscaping industry.
Other Tools: the landscaping business will require the use of many different tools, from sprayers to marking tools. You might even need a small skid steer, which can be used with several different types of attachments to make a variety of jobs easier. Also, don’t forget safety equipment and supplies.
Software Can Make Your Job Easier
Think again if you think your business is too small to benefit from landscaping business software.
A quick look into what landscaping business software can do for your business shows that any size business can benefit from the hours it will save you and how it can help streamline your planning and operations. It will also help you improve your level of customer service, which is extremely important in the landscaping industry.
Landscaping software can help you plan the best routes and track your inventory. In addition, built-in CRM (client relationship management) software lets you keep track of your clients. Some systems even have built-in garden design capabilities. Invoicing, accounting software integration, and dispatch and job scheduling are some of the other features built into these systems.
A good way to tell if your business is ready for software is if you are spending many hours performing administrative tasks that could be automated. For example, making calls or texts to clients and employees that software would do automatically and time of expenditures on tracking hours for jobs are examples of things that landscaping business software can take care of for you.