Getting started in the landscaping business, in essence, comes down to proper preparation. The key is to not get ahead of yourself. An example might be buying a great deal of equipment before having the customers or training to use them. Our goal is to provide some helpful tips to ensure you are moving in the right direction.
The vast world of landscaping is a sometimes miss-understood, un-tapped market that boasts low competition, and almost recession proof income. Yet, most entrepreneurs tend to picture mowing lawns, clipping bushes, and pulling weeds as they key factors. Although you will never get away from those basics, the world of landscaping has so much more to offer for those willing to use a little creativity.
According to SmartCompany.com, “Landscaping activities undertaken by this industry include laying feature paving, brick, slate, cobblestones or rocks; and installing watering systems, sprinklers, ponds, pools and drainage and irrigation systems. Additional activities include laying turf and instant lawns, seeding lawns, positioning sleepers, and laying scoria, gravel, pine bark and other mulch.” With so many different services, its no wonder that industry revenue is forecast to climb by an average 3.1% annually over the next four years and reach a remarkable $3.37 billion!
1. Preparation is imperative – This applies predominantly to the finances of the operation. Create a budget; accumulate all of the expenses. From here, you can determine how much you need to make, and therefore determine pricing. This is only one factor regarding pricing, though. You must consider how much people are willing to pay, what competitors are charging, the size and quality of the lawn of the customer, and how much the customer asks you to accomplish. Combine these factors to determine the fair price.
2. Licensing – Acquire a license through the state. This does two things. First, it legitimizes your business from a legal standpoint. Second, this assures the customer that you are professional and are more likely to be effective.
3. Buy and maintain quality equipment – The tools you use enable you to do your job. It’s that simple. So, which ones you buy, which ones you do not buy, and how you treat them are crucial points to consider. Start off small. This is where people tend to get ahead of themselves. Before having the customer base to utilize the tools effectively, people will buy everything they think they might need and, as a result, overspend. At first, just buy the basics. Some include a pickup truck, blower, mower, hedge trimmer, line trimmer, chainsaw, hand tools (shovels and rakes), and safety equipment (gloves and goggles).
4. Setting up shop – This is a very important component of the process. You must have an office, to an extent, even if you are running a home-based company. Having a legitimate set of office equipment (i.e. computer, printer, fax machine) and mobile equipment (i.e. smart phone), will permit better organization and efficient scheduling. Another aspect of the shop is proper storage. It is simply too risky leaving all of your landscaping tools in the truck, or means of transportation. You must have some form of personal storage to leave all equipment at each day’s end. This protects your tools from theft, water damage (rain), or any uncontrollable elements. There are numerous self storage facilities all over Central Florida. Find one with a decent location and exceptional service.
5. Optimize work practices – This begins with training and managing your employees. The size of the job determines how many workers you may need. They key is choosing the correct number to avoid having to overwork or, contrastingly, dealing with idle workers. It is important to have already trained your employees too. Make sure they know their assignments beforehand to ensure no one stands around wasting time. In addition, they should have a background on the types of plants with which they will be working. Different plants must be handled in different ways. Once you know the team can manage itself, you must schedule appropriately and efficiently. In others words, if you have three locations in one area of town with roughly the same workload, attempt to schedule these for the same day. This will enable you to put your crew load to the most efficient use.