If landscaping is your passion, you can turn it into a profitable business and a professional career. Many people start their own business every day, and you can also start a landscaping business. Landscape designers can make up to $70,000 per year (according to ZipRecruiter), and landscape architects can make up to $89,000 per year (according to GlassDoor). You can possibly make even more if you start your own business, by following these six steps.
Most professional landscapers must have a Bachelor’s degree in Landscape Design, or a related field. It’s not required to become a landscape designer, but you must have the proper training and be familiar with the computer software CAD (computer-aided design/drafting). Landscape architects must have at least a Bachelor’s degree, though most go on to earn a Master’s degree in Landscape Architecture. You’ll also want to get some years of experience under your belt and register with the Association of Professional Landscape Designers before you start your own business.
All future business owners must write a business plan before starting their business. A business plan details and guides you through each stage of starting and managing your business. It can also help you get financing for your business when you present your plan to a bank or other financial institutions or investors. A traditional business plan consists of the following sections:
- Executive summary
- Company description
- Market analysis
- Organization and management
- Products and/or services
- Marketing and sales
- Funding request
- Financial projections
Once you’ve received proper financing, you must register your business as a legal entity. Before you can do this, you must choose a business structure. The type of structure you choose influences many business decisions you’ll have to make. The four main types of business structures include:
- Sole Proprietorship
- Limited Liability Company (LLC)
- Corporation (S corp, C corp, etc.)
After you’ve chosen a business structure, registering your business is as simple as registering your business name with your local and state governments. So once you’ve decided on a name, you can register your business, get state and federal tax IDs, and apply for any licenses and permits you may need.
Next, you’ll need to make sure that you can protect your business financially from any type of incident or accident. The most common types of insurance that most businesses will need include:
- General liability insurance (GLI)
- Product or Professional Liability Insurance (depending on whether you sell products or provide services)
- Commercial Property Insurance or Home-based Business Insurance
Other types of useful insurance you’ll need as a landscaper is commercial auto insurance, business income insurance, and workers’ compensation insurance. It’s also a good idea to look into data breach insurance to protect the identity and personal information of your clients.
No matter what type of business you start, it’s important to invest in the best quality tools and equipment that you’re going to need to perform your job. As a landscapers, some of the basic tools you’re going to need include:
- Grass trimmers
- Hedge trimmers
- Lawn mower
- Leaf blower
- Pruning shears
Another useful piece of equipment that landscapers should have is a skid steer. This is mostly seen in construction because it’s most often used for digging and moving earth, but it also has a variety of attachment options, such as a landscape rake, which will come in handy for landscaping.
After you have everything secured, you’re finally ready to open your doors. This means that you’re now going to have to market your business, and you can even start doing this before you open your doors. Create a professional business website and business pages on at least one social media platform. Even though you’re probably only going to be servicing your local community, advertising digitally can reach many more people than traditional forms of advertising.
However, traditional forms of advertising (signs/fliers, newspaper ads, etc.) are still very effective forms of marketing— especially for local businesses. In order to ensure your reach as many people as possible, consider both types of advertising.
The more you invest in your skills and your business, the more likely your business will be successful. Also keep in mind that it takes time and a lot of patience to see your business grow to the size you want. Keep being consistent and professional, and you’ll reach your goals.