So you are considering starting a landscape business. You’ll need more than a lawnmower and a neighborhood kid in need of pocket change. Read how much starting a landscape business really costs.

So you are considering starting a landscape business. You’ll need more than a lawnmower and a neighborhood kid in need of pocket change. Read how much starting a landscape business really costs.

 

Whether you came from working as a landscaper and want to branch out with your own company or you are starting from scratch with no professional landscaping experience, this venture may end up costing you a lot more than you think. But you’ll do fine as long as you do your research, set realistic expectations, and do your due diligence with planning and business strategy.

What makes a landscape business different than any other kind?

A lot about starting a landscape business is the same as any other new business idea. You need a solid business plan, starting capital, and a lot of elbow grease. Running the business and managing employees is the same. Meticulously calculating the correct amount to charge clients and keeping exact records for your taxes is the same. But many aspects will also be different.

You won’t need real estate or a complicated e-commerce store.

Odds are you will just need a truck or van – at least to start. The bad news: Just because you don’t have any costs associated with a brick-and-mortar business, vehicles may cost more if you aren’t careful. They require individual insurance, maintenance and repairs, branding stickers and storage systems, and more. If you don’t have a backup vehicle, a breakdown could completely halt your business. The good news: The cost of commercial vehicles as well as the gas and mileage you drive them between clients are tax deductible.

Your marketing plan depends on word-of-mouth and a stunning portfolio.

Without the street traffic of restaurants and physical stores, it is vital that you get reviews and testimonials. The bad news: Negative reviews – especially when your business is new – will cost you in lost business. Investing in professional photography and a nice website to build an online portfolio can cost anywhere from hundreds to thousands of dollars. The good news: Word-of-mouth costs absolutely nothing.

Business licenses and permits will be different,

especially if you plan to work in multiple cities. The bad news: Permits take time and money to file. Work with your legal advisor (remember their fees when you budget) to make sure you have every one you need filed correctly. The good news: Making sure your business is legitimate is worth the cost. Not only will proper paperwork establish trust with potential clients, but getting caught without them will cost you much more.

Health insurance and workers compensation are more important.

With dangerous equipment and exposure to the elements, just keep the costs in mind. The bad news: Landscaping is more physically demanding and potentially dangerous than an office or retail position. Whether you’re a solo operation or your employ a team, insurance will be more expensive. Expect higher insurance premiums, more stringent OSHA requirements, and higher workers compensation if there is an accident. The good news: There are multiple kinds of insurance your business might need, but any insurance you purchase for your business is tax deductible. Always talk with your licensed tax preparer.

Landscaping is a seasonal business.

Mild climates mean you will have business year-round, but if your area has real seasons your business will dry up in the autumn. The bad news: Droughts, recessions, and fierce competition can all cost your business a lot of money if you don’t keep a healthy reserve of working capital and regularly watch your cash flow. The good news: If you diversify your services – such as adding snow removal during the winter – you won’t lose as much in the off-season. Storms are destructive for homeowners but great for you.

Products and equipment.

Don’t fall down the slippery slope of charging a credit card and personal bank accounts to pre-purchase the things you need to complete a job. The bad news: Landscaping equipment can get expensive, and oftentimes a deposit from one client isn’t going to cover the whole cost of a new piece of equipment you need to get a job done.  The good news: In this industry, you need to ask for a deposit before any job you take on. This keeps your cash flow steady and protects your business from job cancellations.

This is when you need to look into an affordable loan from Opportunity Fund for your equipment, commercial vehicle, or working capital.

 

For information about Opportunity Fund’s small business loans, please contact us at 866-299-8173 or loans@opportunityfund.org.  For questions about your existing loan or other customer service questions, please contact us at 866-299-8173 or sbhelp@opportunityfund.org.

Loans are subject to credit review. Additional documentation may be required for credit approval. We are an Equal Opportunity Lender. Loans will be made or arranged pursuant to California Department of Corporations Finance Lenders License #6050609.


Opportunity Fund is tackling economic inequality so that hard work and perseverance means a shot at getting ahead, not just struggling to get by. Our programs are supported by a community of donors and investors whose contributions help to fund small businesses, support college students, and build stronger families and vibrant neighborhoods. Since 1994, the team has deployed $700 million and helped thousands of families earn, save and invest in their own futures. Opportunity Fund has earned a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator, America’s largest independent charity evaluator, for our commitment to accountability and transparency.

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