Research & Refine your Business Idea
The landscaping industry is currently worth $82 billion, this makes it very attractive to aspiring entrepreneurs. Additionally, it gives people the opportunity to work in the open, give their homes and businesses an improved look, and the best part is it beautifies the environment.
As a budding entrepreneur with interest in starting your own landscaping businesses, we’ve listed some vital steps to help you start up.
Majority of homeowners either don’t have the energy, time or skill to landscape their yard or garden, making this business quite lucrative.
Apart from offering simple gardening services like weeding, mowing the lawn, and fertilizing which all landscaping designers do, you can offer services like advanced planting and installations. If heavy labor doesn’t bother you, coupled with your love gardening, you can turn that into a profitable landscaping business.
Now that we’ve confirmed your passion for landscaping, the next step is turning that passion into a business. To do this you need to write a good and detailed business plan to guide you, plan your finances and set up your business legally in your state.
Just like every other business, your primary concern at the start will be sourcing for finance to kick-start the business, remember you also have to pay taxes. All these could be a little cumbersome for some entrepreneurs, if you find yourself in this situation, do not hesitate to hire a professional whose job is to guide you through the process.
You will definitely need to get finance to start up your business. All the sources of funds will be covered further on, but make sure you write in detail how you intend to source for funds in your business plan. This funds will come in handy when you need to buy early equipment and for you to keep running the business until everything stabilizes. Write out the estimates for every item you’ll be needing and if your plan is convincing enough, a bank could give you a loan or an angel investor.
Creating your Business Website
Times have changed, gone are the days where people search yellow books looking for business. Virtually every consumer start searching online regardless of the service or product they need.
Now, it is imperative for your business to be online, while also using social media sites like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn etc. to meet with potential clients. That being said, a website is not a luxury, but a must for your landscaping business. You don’t have to splurge if you don’t have the funds, sometimes a one page website can serve the purpose. If your business not online, you’re going to lose a lot of potential customers to your competition who have websites.
When a client needs to hire a landscaper with good reviews, apart from referrals, the first thing they do is go online to search for one. The chances of your website and social media site being seen first increases if you have everything set up correctly.
Now you don’t have to learn the intricacies of coding before you can set up a website, everything has been made easy thanks to CMS like WordPress, Joomla etc.
Setting up a website isn’t as hard as it may sound, in fact, many hosting providers have tailored their service around small businesses who may not be tech-savvy. We suggest going with BlueHost to host your website, they’re service is simple and easy to use/setup and they’re currently offering 60% off hosting, including free domain registration.
Additionally, creating a blog on your website is also a great way to attract organic traffic and expand your business. Check out our full guide on the best and easiest way to setup a WordPress blog here.
Marketing Your Business
At the start of your business, marketing is very important and could determine how successful your business would be. You can start with fliers, or use traditional methods like knocking on various doors. Just like we stated earlier you can also advertise through social media platforms that you’ve opened pages with. It’s quite cost effective and cheap when compared to other forms of advertising.
Make use of social media to discover new customers. Your social media sites should also serve as a platform where you showcase your works, as this can also give you exposure too. There are other social media platforms that are good for business networking like Google + and LinkedIn.
There are some sites where people search for services and read reviews like Yelp or Angies List. For every good service you render, you should request your clients post their reviews there. Good reviews will give you the required boost to get new customers.
Joining business organizations is also a great marketing strategy. You can join local groups like the Chamber of Commerce. Joining one group does not stop you from joining other groups, you could also join larger trade organizations to get more exposure.
If you join business groups around you, you get the opportunity of connecting with local business in need of your expertise. Not just that, you can also provide extra services to them should they request for it.
The benefit of joining regional and national trade organizations is that they keep you abreast of the latest happenings in your industry and you get to learn new things from them also.
Start promotional activities. You need to develop your brand by offering various freebies to people who patronize you. This should not be limited online alone but should also be done offline too. Give a bonus or discount to any client that refers, this would also ensure customer loyalty to your brand.
Setting Goals and KPI’s
It all begins with creating SMART goals. This is an acronym which means your goals should be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-bound.
In truth, most landscape businesses do set goals, most simply make the mistake of not writing it down, neither do they measure them to see if they’re on track to achieving them.
The first thing about setting goals is to think through it thoroughly, don’t just set the goals in your head, you have to write it down while describing them clearly, this is because it will guide you during the course of your business.
While setting goals, it has to be specific. If you want your landscaping business to reach a certain level at a certain time, you need to lay out a clear path on how you want to achieve it. You might say for example that you want to add a certain number of new clients to your business within a certain time.
By being specific, your goals which might look unattainable in the beginning would become attainable. Then you have to set key performance indicators to monitor how well you’re doing at achieving the goals.
After mapping out your goal – you have to figure out all the things you need that would help you achieve them like a new skill set, time, staff, equipment, funds or any other resources to help you achieve them.
Plan your Finances
Funding your business is quite important. Firstly, you have to determine or estimate what your business would cost you. There are costs that you will incur at the start of the business like getting a location, advertising and marketing, market research, and training. You also need to include fees for consultancy and legal fees. All these should be written in your business plan.
You can start your landscaping business by making use of debt financing. This is apply for a loan from lending institution or a bank. An advantage of this type of funding is that the bank does not have any say in how your business is run.
Note that, you have to repay the loan within the agreed time, if you default, it could affect your credit rating making it hard for you to secure capital investment.
You can also talk to your family and friends to help you out in your business. Odds quite high that they’ll likely support your dream to be an entrepreneur. If your business plan is detailed enough with plans laid out on how you want to achieve your goals, friends and family would not mind to lend you money to start up.
There are other lenders out there willing to help small businesses, so look around for various lenders that do not have stifling requirements to get their loans. Make sure you go through their terms and conditions thoroughly before signing anything.
Adopt an Entrepreneurial Mindset
Congratulations on taking the step to be an entrepreneur. Although a lot of people start their own businesses, the rate at which it fails is quite alarming. One of the reasons for this is because they lack the entrepreneurial mindset.
What is this mindset? It is a kind of success mindset, a never give up mindset, which you have to learn, adopt and nurture.
Entrepreneurs naturally do not stop learning. They seize every opportunity to learn something new. There is a saying that goes “At the root of success is education”. Entrepreneurs don’t think the same way others do, they are not scared to try out new things.
Sometimes it may not be perfect, it still gets done. The end result may not be a success every time, rather than regret and an entrepreneur would learn a lesson from it.
The entrepreneurial mindset also requires you to embrace self-improvement. With the rate at which technology keeps changing, entrepreneurs have to be at the forefront of it to take maximum advantage of its benefits.
An entrepreneur is never caught unprepared, why because they have anticipated all scenarios and have plans for each, both short term, medium term, and long-term plans. Whatever happens, they simply adjust and are fully prepared.
All these knowledge is inborn, rather you have to develop it by learning from mentors, reading books on the topic, listening to podcasts and watching related videos.
Other things to consider when starting your Landscaping business
You need to determine the structure for your business. It could be a partnership, sole proprietorship, an LLC etc. Each has its own pros and cons which you should carefully consider. Take for example, An LLC (Limited Liability Company) reduces your personal liability should you encounter a lawsuit, this comes in handy for small outfits.
Is the business name already taken?
The next step is for you to register your business name. Choose a name that would resonate with your target market, something unique that they can easily remember. You should also ensure your business name is available on the web and all social media platforms.
Permits, licenses and trademarking
Due to the fact that you will be dealing with various chemicals, fertilizers, pesticides etc., you need to get the proper licenses. For every state it is different, There are various licenses you need to obtain like a licenses for waste removal, fertilizers and pesticides, irrigation, and contractor license.
Accounting & Bookkeeping:
For a landscaping startup, you might need to outsource some of your work on freelance platforms like FIverr, Upwork or Freelancer. Make sure you select the best talents, as you have access to a pool of professional freelancers worldwide.
You can also use accounting software to handle the generation of your invoice, payroll etc like Xero or Peachtree.
For starters, you can run the business all by yourself and with time as orders increase you can either hire more staff either on a temporary or on a permanent basis.