If you already worked for a company, you probably have established relationships with some of your happy clients. What you can do is to contact those that have not actively availed of the service of the landscaping company that you worked with.
If you think that there is a client that would rather have you to work on their landscaping requirements than any other person, just let the person know that you are now available for direct service. The good thing is that you can give a competitive pricing which will be favorable to them. If you do not have contacts yet, you can go around the community and see who is in need of your service. You can inform people you know about your new business. You can prepare flyers as your information dissemination campaign and write your contact details so they can immediately get in touch if they have a need for the service.
Step 2 — Research on the landscaping rates in the area and use these as a basis of the fees for your service. You can lower down the fee as your introductory or launch offer and you can increase the rate when you already have an established name and clientele. Step 3 — Start presenting marketing offers to promote your business. You can give discounts for those who can refer clients. You can also offer free estimates and consultations as a come on and use your selling skills to close the deal.
Even if the need is not immediate, you can note down a date when the prospective client is ready to have the work done and call him back or visit him when the time comes. Step 4 — Conduct intensive marketing campaign. Promote the service not just to your community but in other places for a wider coverage. You can also have your business listed in the local newspapers and service directories.
With the above steps, it will be easy for you to establish your own landscaping business. You just have to make sure that you have the necessary permit to run the business as this is an important legal requirement. With this and all the steps mentioned above, you can end up being successful in the business. Are you looking for Snohomish, WA Landscaping? You also can enjoy the fresh air, get a good cardiovascular workout, and bulk up your muscles. The price of all this freedom and body contouring is relatively low-so low, in fact, that many new lawn service owners and landscapers use their personal credit cards or small personal loans to fund their new businesses.
Once you invest in the tools and toys you need to manicure lawns or install landscaping professionally, you're generally set for years. You don't need much in the way of office equipment, either, and you can set your office up in a corner of the den or a spare bedroom rather than laying out extra cash for a commercial space.
Reality Check This all sounds pretty appealing, doesn't it? But of course, every Garden of Eden has a serpent, and lawn care and landscaping businesses have quite a few of their own coiled up and waiting to strike. To begin, you have to be a lot more adept at mowing, trimming and pruning than the average person. That means you'll have to invest some time in learning gardening basics and techniques.
You'll have to be a disciplined self-starter who can ignore the call of a glorious spring day and diligently service your clients rather than heading for the lake or golf course. You have to be physically fit and able to handle the rigors of the job, which can include lifting heavy equipment off and onto trailers, and wielding bulky handheld implements for hours at a time. You'll be handling potentially dangerous machinery and hazardous chemicals.
And you'll have to be a very savvy business manager who can administer cash flow, invent advertising and marketing campaigns, and implement a survival plan that will take you through the lean winter months. These run the gamut from independent operations to franchises and divisions of large corporate chains. It's believed that the number of businesses could actually be significantly higher because there are so many people doing lawn and landscape maintenance informally and on a cash basis. What is known for sure, according to the Occupational Outlook Handbook, U. Department of Labor , is that almost 1 out of every 4 landscaping, groundskeeping, nursery, greenhouse and lawn service workers is self-employed and provides maintenance services directly to customers on a contract basis.
Of these, about 1 out of every 6 works part time. The market they serve is huge. A survey by Irrigation and Green Industry magazine concluded that the U. Who Are the Customers? Who's driving this industry? The 77 million aging baby boomers, many of whom are affluent homeowners. They recognize the value of a well-kept lawn and beautifully designed and landscaped yard, but they often don't have the time or the inclination to do the maintenance themselves.
How Much Do Landscapers Make?
Of course, baby boomers aren't the only ones whose fingers do the walking online or through the phone book to find a reputable lawn or landscape professional. Other potential customers include:. Types of Green Industry Service Businesses There are numerous ways to get into the lawn and landscaping industry. The basic types of lawn and landscaping businesses include:.
Earnings Exactly how much can you earn? The sky's truly the limit. As you know, lawn maintenance is a seasonal business, with downtime during the winter in about two-thirds of the country. Depending on your area and climate, the prime growing months run from about April to early October. You'll need to market your services aggressively in the spring so you'll have enough clients to carry you through the summer.
Then, in the fall, you should be winterizing lawns, raking leaves and collecting past-due accounts. Still have energy left to spare? Then during the winter, you can offer services like snow plowing. If you decide to take a well-deserved break instead, you'll have to make sure in advance that you've budgeted wisely throughout the year and have sufficient funds to carry you through those income-free months.
The typical startup lawn care business services 20 to 30 residential clients a week and offers up to three types of services: mowing, fertilizing and chemical application. For the purpose of the lawn care part of this book, we'll focus on mowing and fertilizing, since chemical applications herbicides, pesticides and fungicides are a whole industry unto themselves. It's also a closely regulated industry that requires practitioners to earn certifications that permit them to handle these hazardous compounds. Most lawn care service owners prefer to start out with basic mowing and add other services as they become more experienced and acquire more equipment.
Grass Attack Basic lawn maintenance consists of mowing, edging and trimming.
Often, bush and hedge trimming is offered as an extra service, but it's more time-consuming and requires more manual dexterity than mowing. Lawn businesses sometimes send out two people to a job site so one person can do the mowing while the other edges and trims the areas the mower can't reach. But if you're a one-man or one-woman band, you'll just have to allot extra time on each site to complete both jobs. Fortunately, not all lawns have to be edged every time you mow.
Sometimes only minor touch-ups are necessary, which you can do using a hand edger. It's crucial to the survival of your business to keep all your equipment in peak working condition.
Starting a Business in Design and Landscaping Essay
That means cleaning the mower blades at the end of each day and using a grinding wheel regularly to keep them sharp. You should also use a balancing weight to prolong engine life and to help prevent white finger, a form of Raynaud's disease caused by exposure to constant vibration from equipment like lawn mowers. Clean oil and air filters regularly to keep engine wear to a minimum and improve performance. The oil should also be changed often-as often as once a week, since the high heat of the mower causes lubricants to break down fast.
It goes without saying that you should take every precaution possible to protect yourself while working. Always wear safety goggles and ear protection, and always remember to let your mower cool down completely before you gas it up. Because the cutting blade can rotate at up to miles per hour, never put your hand into the discharge chute or turn the mower over while the blade is spinning. In addition to the obvious injuries it can inflict, that razor-sharp blade can catapult projectiles like rocks, metal or even compacted grass that can do a body some serious damage.
Guesstimating Your Worth Another important part of the job is providing estimates to prospective clients. Unfortunately, this is an inexact science, at best. Most of the owners we spoke with "guesstimate" how much time it will take them to mow a homeowner's property, then multiply that by a price per hour.
The problem with this method is that land features like slopes and ornamental landscaping can affect the time. For example, let's say it will take you 70 minutes to mow a 10,square-foot property using a inch mower.
But toss in a backyard that's landscaped with driftwood and rocks and has a raised vegetable garden, and your estimate is no longer quite as accurate. Experts recommend pricing based on lawn size. It's less arbitrary to set up a pricing structure this way, plus you'll seem more professional to your prospects if you have an established, formal price structure. You can compensate for unusual land features by building an extra amount-say, 10 percent-into your price. Establishing Prices Before you can make an estimate, you have to know how much to charge per square foot.
Since the lawn care industry is so competitive, it's important not to overprice your services. The professional organizations and publications that serve the lawn care industry may be able to help, because many of them conduct annual member studies. But you can also figure out how much the market will bear by calculating the size of your own lot and calling a few of the lawn care companies in the Yellow Pages for an estimate.
Typically, owners of lawn care services calculate their prices based on the total square footage of the lot. They can usually estimate roughly how much of a lot is landscaping. Then recruit a few family members and friends to call for quotes on their lawns, too, so you can get a feel for prices on lots of different sizes.
This will help you determine the acceptable price range in your community, and then it's easy to figure out where to price your services.
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This method works especially well if you're doing business in a community with uniformly platted subdivisions or other similarly sized lots. Incidentally, while you don't want to be the most expensive service in town, you don't have to undercut the competition to get jobs, either. Pricing your services somewhere in the middle or toward the top of the range is a good rule of thumb. Then it's up to you to demonstrate that your professionalism, quality service and reliability set you apart from the competition and justify a higher price than the cheapest kid on the block.
All of them base their estimates on a visual inspection of the property, and some measured the mowing area as described above. Weathering the Storm s Then there are weather issues to contend with. Even in the sunniest of climes, you are likely to have days when you can't mow or plant or prune-like when the winds reach hurricane speed or you notice your neighbor is building an ark. There's not much you can do when grass and landscaping are wet-except maybe catch up on paperwork, lust over equipment catalogs and read e-mail. That's why many green industry service providers choose to work a five-day workweek, leaving Saturdays and Sundays, if necessary unscheduled just in case the weather wreaks havoc with their work plans.
Alternatively, you can work longer hours on a regular maintenance day to catch up-chances are people won't even blink if you're out merrily mowing or trimming as the sun is setting because it means they don't have to. There's one more weather phenomenon you may actually welcome, at least in the northern tier of the country.
Snow plowing can be a very lucrative mainstay for or sideline to add to your lawn or landscaping business. It doesn't cost much to launch a snow removal service-basically you need only a snow blade for your mower or truck and some extra advertising efforts. Best of all, offering such a service means you'll have a regular income stream even during the slowest part of the year.
You also could get creative like Albert Towns Jr. Then, in the spring, he does in-ground sprinkler system work to get his revenue stream off to a good start. Landscapers come in all shapes, sizes and backgrounds, but they all share one thing in common: a genuine love of the outdoors and growing things. It's what drives them to spend most of every day on the job covered in dirt. It induces them to learn the Latin names of plants, shrubs and trees-on purpose. And it makes them gleefully haul around gallon containers and the redwoods sprouting from them like it's child's play rather than actual work.
Sound like fun? Then you've come to the right place. There are numerous ways you can forge a business in either residential or commercial landscaping-or both. Some of the fields require more than just a love of gardening to succeed-they also require experience and formal education. The major career paths for landscapers include:.
What sets gardeners and groundskeepers apart from other landscape professionals is that they normally don't do any design work; rather, they tend existing landscapes, although they may render other services like applying pesticides and herbicides, mowing lawns, doing spring and fall cleanups, composting, etc. They need a good working knowledge of horticulture and plant varieties. Interiorscaper aka interior landscaper : You can build an entire business caring for plants in office buildings, shopping malls and other public places.
Should You Purchase an Existing Landscaping Business?
Interior landscapers are usually contractors who provide general maintenance and care, as well as give advice about the types of plants and planters that will complement a building's interior design the best. While you don't need a design background to be successful, it helps if you have an eye for color, shape, texture and form and can translate that into green focal points that will complement beautifully arranged interiors. Landscaper: In the most general sense, this is the type of person who installs and maintains plants, flowers, trees, sod, and other natural materials like rocks and mulch.
Lawn care often is part of the landscape maintenance professional's menu of services, plus he or she may also offer basic design services a good eye and an equally good design software package make it possible. Finally, landscapers may offer add-on services, such as sprinkler installation or hardscape construction, to stay busy. We'll discuss the numerous ways you can pump up your business a little later.
Most states require landscapers to be licensed. Check with your state's department of licensing, labor or contracting board to find out the requirements. Landscape architects often work side by side with building architects, surveyors and engineers to design and plan projects like new subdivisions, public parks, college campuses, shopping centers, golf courses and industrial parks, and then produce detailed drawings to pull the projects together.
They may specialize in a certain type of project, such as waterfront development, site construction, or environmental remediation e.