Landscaping can be extremely lucrative when done correctly. But for many people, knowing where to start is the first obstacle. In this guide, we plan to lay out just about everything you'd want to know in order to get started in landscaping. For your convenience, we're leaving a table of contents so you can skip around to parts that you need more information on. That said, let's dive in!
Table of Contents
Have a Plan
You don't actually have to have a plan in place in order to start a landscaping business. But if you put a plan for how you want your landscaping business to be from the start, it could make a huge impact on your success in business.
We're going to cover some of the things you should map out for yourself and go into detail on each one:
One of the first things you can do to assist you in planning out your business is to find out exactly what people are looking for, and who you'll be competing against. For example, if you know that 1,000 people are on Google every month looking for lawn mowing services, and there are only 3 other companies who are marketing their lawn mowing services, then you'll probably find this to be a very lucrative niche to get into.
On the other hand, you may think to yourself, "Well, I just want to make retaining walls." After a little market research, you might find that nobody in your city is looking for retaining walls. That means you aren't likely to get a lot of clients, which might mean that down the line you'll struggle.
This doesn't mean you won't ever be able to build retaining walls. It just means that if that's your main focus from the start, you may have trouble getting clients.
Knowing that there are very few people looking for retaining walls in your market, you can decide to go into landscaping with a primary focus on lawn care and plan to upsell your customers (getting them to buy retaining walls).
But you may be asking yourself, "How do I do market research?" Let's get into that.
How to Do Market Research
- Go to Google and do a search for a service in the city you're in. Your Google search should look something like, "Atlanta lawn care" or "Las Vegas irrigation installation". These searches are going to show you what kind of competition exists in your market.
- Look over these companies and see how many reviews they have. This should give you an idea if people are hiring these companies for services. If you find that nobody has reviews, then it's probably not a very hot market.
- Use a platform like Google Ads to see what people are searching for. If you've never done this and you're not sure how, go to YouTube and search "Google Keyword Planner tutorial". Everything you'll need to know will easily be explained there.
- You can also check out YouTube videos on how to do keyword research to find out what people are searching for in your city.
- Evaluate what services you want to focus on based on the competition in the market, and the amount of search volume there is for that service.
Example: You want to offer sprinkler system installation. First you'll go to Google and type in "sprinkler system installation (your city)". You can now see who your competition will be.
Next, go to Google Ads and visit the Keyword Planner Tool (there are also paid software you can use to research this information, just Google "keyword research tool").
Now you can type in "sprinkler system installation" to see if anybody is searching for that on Google, in your city. If you find that there are plenty of people looking for that every month, this might be a great place to start your business!
If it looks like nobody is searching for that in your city, try looking up some other services that you wouldn't mind doing (e.g. lawn care, patio installation, landscape design, etc.).
Pick Your Services for Now & In The Future
Now that you've researched the market, you should have a good idea of what people are looking for, and who you'll be competing against. This is extremely important because it'll give you an idea of how easy or difficult it will be to succeed in your landscaping business.
Now, you might say to yourself, "I think I'll do landscape design, lawn care, hardscapes, patio installation, irrigation... etc. etc.".
It's not wrong for you to offer all of these services. But there are advantages to becoming the "dominant player" in one specific thing.
For example, if you choose to mostly focus on lawn care because thousands of people are in need of it every month, you could promote yourself as the #1 lawn care service in your area. You can have a website dedicated to lawn care and nothing else. That doesn't mean that you can't do all those other things. It just means that you'll probably have an easier time building up a large client base by focusing on one thing that a lot of people are searching for.
Try looking at it this way:
Say you're in need of a new roof for your house. Who will you call?
Chances are you didn't say "I'm going to call a handyman". Even though a handyman could probably help you with your roofing needs, most people are thinking of calling a roofer.
Now let's look at this from another angle:
Let's say you need shingles replaced on your roof (minor damage). Would you prefer to call "ABC Shingle Repair Experts" or would you call "ZYX Roofing"?
You might call either and not really care about the difference, because you know that a roofing company is going to be able to make the same repairs as the shingle repair experts. However, if you really think about it, you might also worry about whether or not the roofing company is going to try to sell you a new roof, even though you know that you only need some shingles repaired.
The same thing goes for your landscaping business. If you sell yourself as the experts in one area of landscaping, more people will want to work with you in that specific area.
From there, you can accumulate a large client base and work on upselling (if you also offer other services).
That said, this is all part of the planning of your business. You should know what services you're going to promote now, and what services you'll be able to sell in the future. Many successful landscapers start out by offering one service because the only equipment they have is a lawn mower. As they start taking on more clients, they begin to hire more people and then offer other services as well.
One last thing to keep in mind is the equipment involved in the services you're going to offer. You'll need to plan out what it'll cost to buy all the equipment you need or decide if you'll be renting that equipment. It's always a good idea to plan for the costs.
Fortunately, with the market research you've done, you should have an idea of whether or not you'll be able to get customers in your market to help pay for the equipment you're buying/renting!
Business Filings, Insurance & Bank Accounts
Now that you have a plan for success, it's time to officially open your business!