How to Start Your Landscaping Business
Landscaping is a great business to start if you love to be outside, love to work hard with a challenge, and love to see the results of your hard work in front of your eyes. It’s a year-round job that can be rewarding and satisfying, and gardening is an industry that is growing (last year, the UK landscape gardening industry turned over more than 3 billion pounds). If you want in on this fulfilling career but want to combine it with the perks of owning your own business, read on for some tips about how to get started.
What you need to know before you start
Here’s what you should be aware of before you even consider landscaping as a career path.
You need training – landscaping is a job with a lot of diversity,and if you’re hired for a job, you should know about everything from irrigation to joinery to the A to Z of groundmanship and even to where the best place is to source screws for installing a deck.
You also need to know that the work is not just confined to summer when the garden is enjoyable to use for the clients. Clients plan ahead and employ landscapers in the winter, so their garden is enjoyable in the summer.
Be prepared to work in the cold. You should also be prepared to wrestle with the weather, and understand that there will be some days where you just can’t landscape. An example of this is if you designate a day for sorting out topsoil, but its raining so hard that you can’t even mix and dry it, you will have little choice but to wait for the weather to subside. Due to this aspect, you should be good at planning and saving money in case the weather impedes your work too much or in case you go through periods with fewer clients.
What you need to do before you start
You should diversify your portfolio so you can offer a wide breadth of landscaping possibilities, like tree felling or vegetable garden management. This will allow you to upsell, but also to increase your value as a landscaper. However, to know all the necessary skills you definitely need to go to a horticultural college and learn the basics.
You should also set yourself aside from ‘cowboy’ landscapers and make yourself look professional. This can be as simple as having business cards, headed paper and a personalised email.
You also need professional indemnity insurance (to protect you in client disputes) and of course, public liability insurance, which will cover you in the event of accidents (it only costs about £250 a year).
The start-up cost for the business is between 5 and 10 thousand pounds, depending on what level you want to operate at, but you should have a van, a professional mower and trimmer, a blower, wheelbarrow and tools like shears, spades, hoes and trowels. This is a good investment, as you can earn about £2000 a month if you charge £100 a day and work 20 days. You can also scale your business fairly easily if you have the clients that demand your service and can employ a professional landscaper to manage them. The opportunity for turning your landscape startup into a profitable operation is high, so go out there and seize the day.