The Business End of the Landscaping Business
The landscaping business is very attractive to a lot of people who entertain the idea of starting their own business. Working with plants, trees, flowers, and outdoor decorating is a beautiful way to earn money in the minds of many people. And there are plenty of homeowners who would love to have their outdoor property maintained and beautified but who are concerned that they don’t have the time or the know-how to do it right on their own — and so they are quite willing to pay you, as the local owner of a landscaping business, to come take care of their landscaping needs and desires for them. But as much of a green thumb and a passion for working with flowers and decorative gardening that you may have, you want to know what you’re getting into before you decide to try out the world of professional landscaping for other people.
Services That Landscapers Provide
The scope of professional landscaping services that you could provide — and which you will want to consider being able to provide if you want to remain competitive — is wide. It include
Bedding Plants and Color Installation
Tree and Shrub Care
Tree and Shrub Pesticide Application
Tree and Stump Removal
Turf and Decorative Installation
Turf Disease Control
Turf Insect Control
Turf Weed Control
Water Features Installation
So you will want to be thoroughly versed in all of the above if you want to be able to be a one-stop landscaper. On the other hand, you may want to master just a few of them, establish yourself as the go-to expert specialist in the area for those services, and work with other landscape businesses to give each other referrals.
You may be into landscaping for the artistry of it — and to be successful, you should be. However, this is a business and if you want to be well fed while indulging in your passion then you’re going to have to think like a business owner. (Yeah, yeah, it’s not pretty but it’s reality.) Let’s look at some of the pitfalls that those who start landscaping businesses all too frequently run into — often resulting in their going out of business. These are key landscaping business considerations that get under-appreciated or ignored.
Are you sufficiently prepared to do good (or even better) work for your client? A significant part of this preparation as a landscaper entails knowing the flora production cycle — from that of the wholesalers to the retailers to the specialty growers — of your area.
Is it possible to do the job you just completed more efficiently the next time? And if so, how? Are the prices you’re charging and the prices that you’re paying for your supplies enabling you to maintain a profitable business?
How much is it costing you, on an hourly basis, to operate your equipment?
On average, hired labor costs you 20% of your sales income and your supplies cost you 30% of it. Are you able to afford these expenses while remaining profitable and expanding your business given what you’re charging and how frequently you’re getting jobs?
Are your employees properly trained and working diligently at the job site?
Is your equipment of high quality, and are you properly maintaining it?
Are you staying on top of your invoicing and collections activities? It doesn’t do you any good to earn money that nobody is paying to you.
Finally, consider that landscaping is a seasonal business. What’s the demand in the area of the nation where you live? How much business should you expect to be able to get, and how much labor will you need to hire to help you? During what months of the year would you be getting and doing jobs?
Having a sound business mind coupled with your creative zeal and fueled by sufficient preparation will make you a successful and happy landscaper.
Dennis Welker is a professional blogger that provides information and updates on fleet management software. He writes for Choice Applications, which provides the best fleet management and fleet maintenance software.