Starting a Landscaping Business
So you are thinking of starting a landscaping business? Perhaps you’ve worked for one in the past and learned the ins and outs, or landscaping might be your favorite pastime and you want to make the leap into doing it ALL the time. Starting a landscaping business is going to require you to become an expert in two areas; (you can probably guess which two) business and landscaping.
To become an expert in business you are going to have to pursue it with the same passion as you have landscaping. Overhead, taxes, incorporation versus owner/operator, licensing, wages, liability insurance are all going to become as familiar terms to you as perennials, hardscape, softscape and water features.
One of the first questions you may have, once you have the pesky elements of starting a landscaping business out of the way, such as a brick and mortar location and supplies, is how much to charge for your services? In many ways you are going to need to feel this out, although some diligent research will pay dividends. Speak with your competitors, through a third party if you must, to find out what they charge. Realize that you may have per hour clients and clients that want a flat rate. You are going to need to annualize costs such as overhead, wages, the electric bill, vacation and sick time, and break it down to a per hour cost. Once you have your total expenses figured out, compare theme to the going rate in the area. Are you much under? Then you can come up to that rate, or close to it, and there’s your profit. Are you much over? You may need to take a second and third look at your numbers to see how you can keep costs down.
Even with all the figuring you are going to get it wrong at first when starting a landscaping business. You will be asked for a flat rate to landscape an area and underestimate the time it will take, resulting in a loss. Chock this up to the cost of doing business and expected; as long as you learn from it and adjust your charges the next go around you will come out alright.
Another important element of starting a landscaping business is getting your name out to where your customers will see it. Consider marketing programs that will really make them stand up and take notice of your new company, such as running a landscaping clinic, or a sharp website where they can take quizzes and find coupons for your services.
However you go about getting the word out, once you’ve committed to starting a landscaping business you will have to face the fact that your favorite hobby is now your job. There will be times you would rather be doing anything else than landscaping once this happens, but that is true with anything that is a job. If you love landscaping and think your passion can survive starting a landscaping business, then you will be doing something most wish they could; working at a job they love.