Many landscapers love to be outside and enjoy working with their hands. Coming up with a marketing and business plan is a fast-approaching speed bump. Anyone would like to advance through this part of the process or have someone help with the intricate details to send the business flying in the right direction. These useful tips for starting a landscape business will give you clear guidance and support around the curves and keep the company moving forward.
Record the Goals
In starting, you may not know what you want to major in, but that will come with time and experience. But if you have an aspiration or dream, write those goals down on something that can be easily retrieved (i.e., in your phone, computer, or notebook). Consider these questions to spur some goals:
- What type of landscaping services or maintenance do you want to offer?
- What type of client/customer do you want to work with, and what neighborhoods do they live?
- How much money do you want to clear each month after expenses and taxes?
1. What type of landscaping services or maintenance do you want to offer?
Let’s say that Adam wants to start a landscaping business, and he wants to put in new landscapes for new homes, then offer maintenance on these same projects to follow up. He also wants to incorporate into his landscaping and maintenance business tree services.
2. What type of client/customer do you want to work with, and what neighborhoods do they live?
Adam wants to work with higher income clientele that has extra disposable income for better plant material and hardscaping. He asks a realtor friend to locate all the new developing neighborhoods closest to his home base or business. The communities within a 10-mile radius will be where he focuses his attention.
3. How much money do you want to clear each month after expenses and taxes?
Adam knows his expenses and budget for his rent and the vehicle payment. He also is planning to marry his fiance soon, so he’d like to budget for a home in the future. He goes to an accountant that helps with his tax returns to estimate his budgetary needs.
A lot of people have started their business before going over the first part or pondered their future goals. That’s okay. Getting your feet wet and learning what works doesn’t work will help to filter down what you like doing the most, which can help a business owner drill down to the finer details outlined above.
At this point, Adam knows what type of services he wants to offer. Now he will concentrate on educating himself as much as possible. Adam visits his local extension agent for gardening, lawn, and landscape information.
Get to know your agent on a first-name basis. Ask to be put into their email system for upcoming classes and seminars that you can take part in to become an expert in your field. Check with your extension service agent to see what certifications you can sign up for and start studying.
Adam wants to get his Landscape contractor’s license, which will include the Plant Professional Certification and his Pesticide license so he can work with turfgrass and treat. Many local community colleges also have horticulture certifications and classes, so he checks there too and schedules courses twice a week. An ISA Certification is also on the list of to-do’s, and Adam will put this on his calendar to follow up after his others are complete.
Create Order by Setting Up Processes and Systems
On days when there’s not much work or it’s rainy is an excellent time to work on processes and procedures, you want to use continuously to do a particular job. There are several categories to record from sales to job proposals to installations and getting prepared for each morning. Before long, you’ll find the best system that works for your business that you’ll want to record step by step. In the future, you’ll use these processes and procedures to train landscape technicians and, eventually, a landscape supervisor to take over specific projects. These processes will save a lot of time, and keep things running efficiently, help to communicate well with your clients, which results in more profit and less overhead!
Snagit, a simple online screensaver and easy video recording app, is a tool I use for this process. Step by step instructions can be written with pictures to capture directions on the desktop. For instance, to onboard new employees, training can be assembled online and accessed through your intranet files.
Market A Landscaping Business
Business Cards & Signage
First things first. Adam says his goal is to reach high-end clients in new developing neighborhoods. Marketing yourself is the key. Adam got some business cards made at a local print shop with his business email address and phone number and the name of his business. He also ordered some truck signage (magnetic signs for now until he can get painted signage). With his business cards, he also ordered yard signs that are easy to large and easy to read. His realtor friend hooked him up with a few builders in the area she knew, and Adam made his first introductions. Giving out his business cards and shaking hands was his first step in sales. Meeting contractors gave him an open door to their clients that were building these homes. He contracted with the client, and voila, he had his first client!
Setting Up Voice Mail for your Landscaping Business
Next, Adam set up his professional voice message on his mobile phone. See tips on voice mail here. A professional tone will set the stage for people when calling you for services. The message can include services you offer and any specials you are running or currently taking orders for now. It is nice to give the caller an expected call back time (i.e., if it’s between 5-7 pm or between 8-10 am)
Collecting Email Addresses
As Adam began getting clients, he asked for their email address to eventually send out a marketing email newsletter. This step will be crucial later on for his business development and growth potential. He keeps these in his contact list and on his accounting software package.
Setting Up a Google Business Listing
Setting up your Google business listing will help others find you online. This online business sign is where you’ll want to put in all your business information, website (if you have one), business phone number, and times you are open. If you’ve taken some landscaping pictures, add those to the portfolio along with your logo. Adding new photos each week is an excellent way to get more views of your business. Once you’ve completed your first installation and your client is pleased, ask them to review you on your Google Business listing.
Contact a Landscape Virtual Assistant for Help
If you’re already at the point where you can’t keep up with the projects you have, or would rather have someone in the office to do these sorts of administrative jobs, contact a virtual administrator that’s familiar with the landscape industry that can guide and advise you with these details. I can take over these jobs so you can focus on parts of your business that bring you the most fulfillment and profitability. Various tasks I perform like the ones mentioned above are:
- Accumulating a calendar of classes in your area and certifications available
- Procure plants for a job from multiple nurseries in your area
- Read a takeoff and make a plant list on a spreadsheet for pricing
- Preparing Job Proposals
- Design and prepare business cards, truck, and yard signage and order
- Keep an email list accumulated, develop and launch an email campaign periodically
- Set up your Google My Business Listing
- Answer emails and qualify customers
- Set up processes and procedures throughout the business
- Help with marketing campaigns
- Assist with goal making and follow-through
I’d love to team up with you to get your landscaping business started off and running successfully. I work in custom packages I can set up that works within your monthly budget. Just contact me by phone or email, and we can discuss your specific needs. Let’s get started today, so you’re not overwhelmed by mid-season!