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Starting a Landscaping Business

Updated on April 2, 2017

You are familiar with mowing grass, you've mowed your own lawn many times before, and you've even had a couple of lawns you mowed for neighbors throughout summers prior. You've considered taking your landscaping side gig full time a few times before, but you need to know more ways to make money than just mowing lawns. You respect a hard days labor and you're not just thinking about going out on your own anymore, you are ready to put your thoughts into actions. You're willing to find out what else you need to know to get started. Well don't worry because I'm here to give you an overview on how to start your business as well as inform you of the yearly trials and tribulations of landscaping.

  • First you'll want to check with your county and state for business license requirements. After you have gotten a license to practice business in your area, it would probably be a good idea to have your business insured as well. Once you take these steps you'll be able to continue with the most obvious landscaping task of all, mowing grass. If you've been push mowing lawns you can continue to do so, but I would suggest investing in a zero turn riding mower so you don't wear yourself out. These mowers are awesome because they can go almost anywhere and they get the job done quick. Having one to mow with will free up enough time for you to mow many more lawns each week, resulting in more profit. Some can be as little as $2,000 brand new, and should you decide to purchase one on a line of credit, you could probably pay it off in one summer. You'll also want a weed eater and a blower that will both last. Try looking at some used equipment if you can't afford something brand new.
  • Once grass season begins to slow down to one or two mows per property every two weeks or so, your going to want to start thinking about how your going to keep your lawns looking nice throughout the winter. Go buy yourself a new (or used) walk behind aerator or two. Aerate and seed your lawns with seed bought at wholesale price from one of your local landscape suppliers. The new grass will start popping up after about three weeks and after you give it its first cut it will look awesome. The neighbors will see how great your customer's lawns look and you may be able to gain more business from your newly visible quality work. Word of mouth is key to success in the landscaping profession.

  • Fertilize, fertilize, fertilize. Get some fertilizer, put it in your new (or used) spreader, and fertilize all of your lawns a couple of times throughout the fall and winter. You'll use different types of fertilizer each time you return to a customer's property. Your local landscape supplier can inform you of which types of fertilizer to use and at which times to use them throughout the year. Fertilizer is very inexpensive and it's a great way to let your customers know that you haven't forgotten about them during the colder months. It will also help keep your lawns healthy and looking good year round.
  • After grass season really starts winding down and your only mowing your properties about once a month, your going to be using your blower for more than just blowing grass clippings off of driveways and roadsides. Start informing your customers of your leaf removal service. To make life easier you should consider purchasing a leaf bag attachment for your zero turn. If you decide not to go with a bag attachment and your lawns are near wooded areas, chop up the leaves with your mower, then blow them into the woods with your leaf blower. If you need to you can purchase a tarp to rake the leaves onto and haul away.
  • Pick up any and all landscaping jobs that you have time to do. You'll find that you will probably be referred by your customers for many different jobs. One person may call you and ask you to trim some bushes or haul brush away. Someone may ask you to lay mulch and plant a few flowers. Find time to get it done. Whatever it may be, if your capable of doing it, do it. Your going to need that extra money to get your business off of the ground and help you through the colder months. If you can't do it right away give the customer a time frame and see if it can be done at a later date.
  • Make sure you price your work correctly. Since your just starting out you will be able to beat out your competitors in price which will give you an advantage. However, you still want to do quality work to ensure your existing customers don't take their business elsewhere. Find out what some of your competitors are charging and set your prices competitively, but also profitably. Once you've made some money you can decide whether or not you'd like to expand and hire new employees, buy more equipment to make jobs easier, or stay small and take a day off here and there whenever you'd like. The choice is yours, it's your business!


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