The question isn’t whether there is money to be made with a landscaping business. That has been answered by hundreds of thousands of landscaping companies that have paved the way before you. Would-be entrepreneurs often make the mistake of looking at a market that has a high degree of competition and thinking “geesh, there are way too many guys doing this already…I should pick something else”.
The existence of pre-existing competition in a marketplace is a very, very good thing. It’s a sign that there are paying customers to be had and your services have a certain degree of demand.
According to the Professional Landcare Network (PLANET), the landscaping industry nets roughly $61 Billion annually. While many of these business are small, making less than $500,000 a year in revenue, there is most definitely an opportunity for you to carve out a niche and build a profitable business.
However, it’s still essential that before leaping into a market with any kind of business, you develop a roadmap. A checklist of sorts that will act as your GPS as you progress through the beginning stages of your business. You’ve likely heard it said in business “if you fail to plan, plan to fail”. Well a landscaping business is no different.
But what if I told you there was a way to build your business with a smart approach that will allow you to risk as little money up front as possible, test to see if your local market can support you while at the same time getting out there and doing what you love?
It can be done, and it has been done.
Mapping out the Beginning Stages
Unless you are currently working for a landscaping company and are about to be handed a large book of business because of someone else’s retirement, you’ll be starting your business from scratch with not much of a helping hand. In fact, even if you are so lucky as to fall into some great accounts from the get-go, you’ll still need to plan for what you would like your landscaping or lawn care business to look like today, next month, next year, and 5 years down the road.
As you can see from the above graphic, there are a number of considerations and essential components to building a healthy landscaping business. It can be a little overwhelming, I know.
But this is where I want you to keep something in mind about starting a green-industry business and how you can avoid some common pitfalls; it’s at the beginning stages of a business where things seem most overwhelming that the real players are separated from the pretenders.
One type of wanna-be landscaper will look at this list and say “forget it…I know what I’m doing, I’ll just wing it. That’s what my buddy did and he’s doing just fine”. And you know what? Maybe his buddy is doing just fine. Maybe his buddy is experiencing what we call “dumb luck”. So far, everything has just happened to go right for him so his business looks like a wild success.
But knowing that 9 out of 10 businesses ultimately fail should should make you pause and think “hmm, maybe a plan is what’s best”.
Because it’s the plan that reminds you what kinds of jobs you can and should say “no” to in the early days. It’s the plan that says “no, I don’t need the $50,000 pickup truck….yet” when you only have 10 lawns to mow. And it’s the plan that maps out exactly how you are going to stand out from your competitors, what it is you are going to be so much better at, and where each and every dollar is going to be allocated.
Yup, you need a plan.
Becoming the Jack of All Trades
The brutal truth of being a business owner, is it’s all on you. Employee number one. The buck stops here.
Juggling A Landscaping Business Requires Planning
In the first days you are the accountant, the salesman, the marketer, the business development guy, and of course, the primary laborer. Even if you do have an employee on day one, you are setting the tone for how your business is going to be run from a quality and customer service standpoint. It’s you that is ensuring the company is executing your business plan and carrying forward your vision on a daily basis.
If this sounds overwhelming to you, perhaps you are better suited as an employee than an employer. Starting a business that has staying power requires discipline, vision, and the willingness to sacrifice. When a mowing day gets washed out because of rain, you aren’t hitting the movies, but instead the phones to build your book of business.
Landscaping companies that don’t take this track can see some success for awhile. They can spend wildly, build a big book of business and even grow. But the problem is these are often temporary steps forward. One job gone south, a lawsuit from the IRS or an employee hurt on the job can sink a business not built on a solid foundation.
How can this scenario be avoided? You guessed it. A plan.
The Beginning Steps
Above we referenced the concept of you becoming a “jack of all trades”. You need to become a sponge. Learn like a dying man in the desert searching for water. Knowledge is your key to growth and improved chances.
Where can you start?
Jump on your computer and create a spreadsheet or a google document (we use Google Drive and Google documents/spreadsheets to organize everything…and it’s free!). Start an “idea dump” in which you just start listing all the things you aren’t sure about or have questions on; insurance, payroll taxes, free advertising, equipment needs…it all goes on there. Then, start looking for the answers. Nothing fancy, just good plain work.
There are no guarantees in any business. This you should know. But what you are able to do for yourself is improve the odds. If you take the necessary steps, move ahead with your plan, execute as required and yet still fail? Well, that’s an effort you can be proud of. But it’s not the end, because all entrepreneurs know each failed venture is one step closer to success.
So, that list of questions we told you to build? Tell us below in the comments:
What’s your biggest question or area of concern just starting out, and how are you solving it?