Upmetrics AI Assistant: Simplifying Business Planning through AI-Powered Insights. Learn How

How to Start a Landscaping Business: A Step-by-Step Guide

Plan Template thumb

Free Lawn Care Business Plan Template

March 07, 2024

10 Min Read

start a landscaping business
Table of Contents
Writing a business plan?

Spring is here! Flowers are blooming, the sun is shining, and everyone’s mowing their lawns. Maybe you’re spending more time outside and wishing your yard looked a little better.

Turns out, a beautiful lawn is a popular dream, which is why landscaping is a $150 billion industry. People love nice yards, and there’s an excellent opportunity for those who enjoy working outside and making a difference.

So, if you want a full-time job or some extra cash, then starting a Landscaping business could be perfect!

But how to get started? Well, with this guide!

Why start a landscaping business?

People now want greener lives — from homegrown veggies to beautiful, spacious yards. This shift is also fueling a landscaping boom — the industry’s set to grow by nearly 6.2%!

The best part? Starting a successful landscaping business is surprisingly simple. All you need are essential tools, reliable transportation, and a love of the outdoors. Build your business organically — hire help when you require it.

Landscaping isn’t just about profit; it’s about helping people create their dream outdoor spaces. Imagine being the one homeowners call to transform their yards into lush havens — just in time for backyard barbecues and summer sunsets!

Now that you know why starting a landscaping business is a great choice, let’s look at 9 easy steps to get you started!+

1. Determine the landscaping services you’ll offer

Many people use “landscaping” to mean anything that happens in the yard. But there’s actually a difference! Lawn care is all about keeping your grass happy — mowing, feeding it, and tackling weeds.

Landscaping is the bigger picture. Imagine new flower beds, a winding stone path, and maybe even a relaxing pond! A landscaping business handles all those design and installation projects that transform your whole outdoor space.

Some businesses offer just one or the other, but you can definitely do both! My advice — especially when you’re starting — is to focus on what you’re best at. Are you a plant whiz? A master of patio design? Customers will come running for those specialized skills.

See what other businesses in your area are offering. Maybe everyone installs flower beds, but nobody knows how to create a peaceful zen garden. That’s your niche!

2. Prepare a business plan

Think of a business plan as your landscaping company’s compass. It gives you direction when you’re starting, helping you figure out the next steps or even get funding to grow faster.

Don’t worry if you’re feeling lost — there are many excellent landscaping business plan templates out there to get you started!

A good business plan outlines everything — how you’ll find clients, manage your crew, and make your business a success.

And here’s a little secret: a well-written plan isn’t just about guiding yourself. It’s also how you get other people excited to partner with you or even invest money to help you grow.

Not very good at writing? Need help with your plan?

Write your business plan 10X faster with Upmetrics AI

Plans starting from $7/month

3. Register your business

Starting a landscaping business? Hold on before you take your first client! Let’s get your business set up properly first. It might sound boring, but it’s crucial to avoid future problems.

Choose your business structure

Will you work alone, with a partner, or create a company (LLC)? This impacts how you pay taxes, your personal responsibility, and paperwork—research to find the best fit for you.

Get your Employer Identification Number (EIN)

This is like a social security number for your business. You’ll need it for a business bank account, taxes, and official stuff. Getting one is easy; just visit the IRS website.

Pick Your Tax Schedule

Will your new landscaping business follow the regular January-December calendar year for taxes, or choose a different 12-month period? This choice is called your fiscal year, and it influences when you file your taxes. Consider your accounting preferences and what makes the most sense financially.

If dealing with numbers and forms isn’t your forte, no worries! Hire a good accountant or tax professional. They can handle everything for you and save you time and stress

4. Get your finances in order

When starting a service business, you may need around $15,000 for essentials like transport, equipment, and marketing. If you’re a homeowner, you might already have some equipment, but starting your business could still cost $5000.

To fund this, consider:

  • Use your savings, but be cautious, as things can go wrong.
  • Borrowing from friends or family, though, can lead to awkward situations if your business struggles.
  • Seeking external funding options like SBA Loans, Grants, or Crowdfunding.
The SBA 7(a) loan is a good choice for small landscaping businesses due to its flexible repayment terms.

5. Figure out a pricing strategy

Pricing your landscaping work can take time and effort. You may need to adjust things a bit as you go to find the perfect balance. An easy way to start is by checking what similar companies in your area charge. It’ll give you a good idea of what clients expect.

But don’t forget — your experience matters! Figure out what you need to make per hour, then add in the costs of things like tools, supplies, and taxes. That’s the absolute minimum you should be charging.

Next, how do you want to get paid? Hourly rates are simple, but sometimes, a flat fee per project makes more sense. Or maybe you’d rather charge by square foot. There’s no single “right” answer!

Finally, let’s talk about getting that money! It’s perfectly normal to ask for a deposit upfront, especially if a project needs expensive materials. Then you can collect the rest when the job is done.

6. Purchase landscaping equipment

Okay, before you start creating dream gardens, let’s talk about tools! A good set of landscaping basics will include things like:

  • Lawnmower
  • Rakes and shovels
  • Weed Whacker
  • Leaf blower
  • Clippers and pruning shears
  • Fertilizer spreader
  • Lawn aerator
  • Safety gear — protect those eyes and ears!
  • Buckets
  • Hedge trimmer
  • Gardening gloves

Buying all this stuff new can be a considerable expense. So, renting is a great option, especially for those tools you won’t use all the time.

Plus, no dealing with lawn maintenance headaches! You can use that time (and money) to grow your business and slowly buy your gear.

Speaking of gear, do you want to go new or used? Used stuff is definitely cheaper, but it might need more tender loving care (TLC).

You could also start by offering a limited number of landscaping services — that way; you don’t need to buy every tool under the sun right away.

Finally, remember how you’ll carry all this stuff around! A decent truck and trailer are essential. Just be careful if you’re buying them used — you want that truck to be reliable.

7. Build a team

Building a beautiful landscape takes more than just design skills. You need a skilled, reliable team to make it happen. However, hiring in the landscaping industry can be tricky.

Let’s streamline that process! Here’s how to find and hire the best team for your landscaping company:

Don’t wait until you’re desperate to hire!

It’s easy to fall into the trap of only hiring when you’re absolutely desperate. But trust us, finding good people is tough! If you wait until the busy season hits, you’ll either be short-staffed or stuck with inexperienced workers that cost you time and money.

The secret? Hire year-round! You might find amazing talent that helps your own business grow in ways you didn’t even expect.

Think outside the box!

Limiting yourself to people with landscaping experience closes you off to fresh ideas. Look for enthusiastic people at high schools, community colleges, and job fairs. They’ll bring new energy to your team!

Embrace Technology

But it’s not just about hiring more people. Give your existing team the tools they need to handle a growing workload!

Outdated scheduling and paperwork mountains lead to burnout and unhappy customers. The right software can streamline all that, freeing up your team to focus on what matters.

Your team is your best hiring resource

Speaking of your team, they’re your secret weapon for finding great new hires. Set up an employee referral program — your crew knows good, hardworking people!

Invest in your team’s growth too. Offer training and certifications — they’ll pay off big time! Happy, skilled employees make your business more competitive and open up exciting new possibilities.

8. Get the necessary licenses and permits

Start by calling your county clerk’s office — they’ll let you know if you need a basic landscaping business license to get rolling.

The rest depends on your state and what you’ll be doing. Keeping it simple with mowing and yard work? You might be okay. But if you’re planning on tree removal, fancy design work, or using pesticides, you’ll need special permits.

For example, in Alabama, you’ll need a Horticulture Professional Services license to do most things landscaping-related. That includes stuff like tree surgery, fancy landscape designs, pest control, and planting.

In California, they want you to have a C-27 Landscaping Contractor license. And just about every state requires a special license if you’re going to be working with pesticides.

Get business insurance, even if your state doesn’t force you to! General liability insurance is a lifesaver if you accidentally damage something on a client’s property (hey, it happens!).

And some states require you to have worker’s compensation insurance, even if you work alone. It’ll cover you if someone gets hurt helping you out.

Triple-check that you have all the licenses for your city and state. If this stuff makes your head spin, talk to a lawyer or other landscaping businesses in your area. They’ll help you get everything sorted.

9. Land your first client

It’s time to find those first awesome clients! The trick is getting the word out about your new business. Luckily, there are many ways to do that — both online and in your community.

Check out these ideas to get started:

Show off on social media

Facebook, Instagram, whatever you’re into! Post those gorgeous before-and-after photos, share some helpful gardening tips, maybe a funny story from a job site… anything that shows people what you’re all about.

Make Google your friend

SEO is the fancy word for helping people find you when they search for “landscapers near me.” It doesn’t sound straightforward, but it basically means using the right keywords on your website and stuff.

Old-school still works

Flyers are a great way to get noticed! Post them at coffee shops, community centers, or anywhere with lots of people. Make sure they look fantastic so they grab attention.

Get out there and mingle

Join local Facebook groups and go to community events. You never know who needs your landscaping services or knows someone who does.

Paid ads (if you’ve got the budget)

Platforms like Google and Facebook let you target ads specifically to the right people. But it can be a learning curve, so consider hiring a pro if you’re feeling lost.

Happy clients = the best marketing

Nothing beats doing a fantastic job and building good relationships. Your clients will naturally tell their friends and family about you! It’s how you grow your business long-term.

Bottom line

Okay, you’ve got the basics to start your own landscaping business! The beginning can feel a little tricky, but trust us, it’s so worth it when you’re building something you’re passionate about.

Here are a few final tips before you get going:

  • Never stop learning: The best landscapers are constantly improving their skills.
  • Make your business unique: What makes you special? Let everyone know!
  • Happy customers are everything: Do great work, treat people well, and they’ll keep coming back.

Ready to take your landscaping dreams seriously? A good business plan is your secret weapon for success.

The Quickest Way to turn a Business Idea into a Business Plan

Fill-in-the-blanks, AI-assistance, and automatic financials make it easy.

Frequently Asked Questions

About the Author


Upmetrics Team

Upmetrics is the #1 business planning software that helps entrepreneurs and business owners create investment-ready business plans using AI. We regularly share business planning insights on our blog. Check out the Upmetrics blog for such interesting reads. Read more


Reach Your Goals with Accurate Planning

No Risk – Cancel at Any Time – 15 Day Money Back Guarantee