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14 Min. Read

How To Start a Landscaping Business in 7 Steps (2024 Guide)

how to start landscaping business

Landscaping is in high demand across the USA, creating a great opportunity for aspiring entrepreneurs to start their own businesses. You can enter the industry with relatively low start-up costs and not too much experience, and there’s plenty of potential to grow your company in the future. 

You can add more services and equipment as you expand, but having a clear business plan from the start helps your company start turning a profit right away. A business plan also sets up everything you need to grow quickly. We’ll explore the basics of how to start a landscaping company and the equipment, business requirements, and marketing strategies you’ll need to build a company that can grow with you.

Key Takeaways 

  • Landscaping has relatively low start-up costs and plenty of growth opportunities.
  • You can offer a wide array of services or choose to specialize in one type of landscaping.
  • Factor in equipment, business, and labor expenses when estimating your start-up costs.
  • Consider offering off-season services to keep your company working year-round.

Table of Contents

There are a few decisions to make when starting your small landscaping business. These 7 steps outline the basic process for creating your landscaping company so you can start making a profit fast.

1. Choose Your Niche and Service Offering

Landscaping and lawn care services offer great potential for gaining recurring customers, but you may also face competition in profitable areas. Choosing the right niche and services helps you lock in the right customer base for your new business so you can make the most of your marketing efforts. 

Start by exploring other landscaping companies in your area to see what services they offer. You might decide to offer a wide array of services so you can reach the broadest possible customer base or you may prefer to specialize so you can differentiate yourself from your competitors.

Many landscaping businesses choose to focus on either landscaping or lawn care business, while others offer services from both groups. Some of these services include:


  • Design the outdoor layout (“landscape”) for a home or business
  • Update existing landscaping for a client
  • Improve “curb appeal” for houses that are going on the market
  • Landscape design services for businesses that don’t have their own landscaper on staff
  • Optional: “Hardscape” designs for rock sculptures, waterfalls, etc. 

Lawn Maintenance:

  • Sod installation
  • Mowing lawn services/weed-eating
  • Weeding
  • Trimming shrubs and hedges
  • Applying fertilizer
  • Seeding/hydroseeding
  • Planting/plant care
  • Bug and pest treatments
  • Irrigation system maintenance and repair
  • Lawn aeration

One of the benefits of starting a landscaping business is that it’s easy to add additional services as you grow, so you’re not locked into just the services you offer at the start. Some services like lawn mowing and weeding also need more regular maintenance (for example, many customers like to have their lawn maintenance done every week), so these services can be a great place to start. 

Set Your Books Up For Success

2. Decide Whether To Buy or Rent Equipment

The services you offer will dictate what equipment you need, but there are a few basics that almost every landscaping company requires. These include a vehicle and a small trailer so you can transport your equipment. If you only have a few pieces of equipment you may want to choose a van, but if you have more equipment (or if you’re planning to expand in the future), a small truck and trailer set-up may be a better fit. 

Some other common landscaping equipment include:

  • Commercial lawnmower
  • Leaf blower
  • Weed wacker 
  • Pruning shears
  • Tree trimming equipment
  • Shovels 
  • Rakes 
  • Wheelbarrows
  • Safety equipment (goggles, gloves, safety earmuffs)
  • Lawn bags

When deciding whether to buy or rent equipment, consider the demand for each service and your service schedule. For example, equipment that you’ll use regularly for a long time, such as a lawn mower, can quickly become expensive if you choose to rent. However, renting can be a helpful way to try out a few different equipment brands when you’re starting out so you can choose what you want to buy.

For more specialized equipment, like pesticide sprayers or tree trimming equipment, you may want to consider renting since demand is unlikely to be as high. If you’re able to schedule this work in a condensed period (for example, scheduling multiple tree-trimming jobs in 1 week) you can rent equipment that you don’t use as often. 

Purchasing second-hand equipment can also be a helpful way to save money. This is especially true for your work vehicle since there are usually multiple options. 

3. Decide on Your Business Structure

When you register your landscaping business, you’ll also have to decide on a business structure. There are 3 common structures for small businesses:

Sole Proprietorship

If you’re planning to run the landscaping company on your own, you’ll likely want to register as a sole proprietor. This is the simplest type of business structure where you’re responsible for all business decisions, profits, and losses.


If you’ll be running your business with one or more other people, you may want to register as a partnership. Under this business structure, you’ll share business decisions and financial responsibility.

Limited Liability Company (LLC)

In some cases, you might want your business to be registered as a separate entity from yourself. This means that in the event of a major loss, you won’t be personally liable. You can register as an LLC if you run the company alone or with partners.

4. How Much Does It Cost To Start a Landscaping Business

Start-up costs for a new landscaping business can be divided into 2 categories: equipment costs and business costs.

Equipment Costs

Your equipment costs include your vehicle, trailer, lawnmower, and any other equipment you’ll need for the services you offer. The total cost of equipment can vary greatly depending on whether you rent, buy new, or buy used.

Business Costs

You’ll have to pay a fee to register your business, which will vary depending on your state. You’ll also need a landscaping business license and you may need special licensing for some services, like for example pesticide application. Visit your local Chamber of Commerce for licensing fee information.

Before you start operating, you should also get business insurance that covers your equipment, labor, and liability. Although landscaping is fairly safe, having general liability insurance to protect yourself and your equipment can save you money in the long run.

You should also factor in the cost of software that you’ll need to run your business. Landscaping accounting software is key to time tracking, managing your expenses, billing your clients, and filing your taxes, so it’s worth including this in your initial start-up costs.

Optional and Additional Costs

Equipment and business costs are the minimum requirements for starting your landscaping business, but there are other expenses that you may want to invest in. Marketing is an optional cost but it can help customers find your business so you can expand and grow profits. Marketing costs can range from a basic website to promoting ads on social media.

If you’re doing the labor yourself, you’ll need to account for paying yourself. If you’re hiring employees, you’ll also need to factor in their wages when estimating your startup costs.

5. Select Your Business Name and Apply for Licenses/Permits

When selecting a business name, look for something that makes it clear what you offer and where you are. For example, including ‘landscaping’ in the name immediately lets potential customers know what you do. You can also include your name for a personal touch, or the name of your town or region so customers can easily find your business.

Next, you’ll need to register your business name and apply for a business license and permits. Licensing varies by state, so drop by your local Small Business Association or Chamber of Commerce for details on fees and how to apply for licensing and permits.

You’ll also need to apply for an Employer Identification Number (EIN) so you can file your business taxes and open a business bank account.

6. Set Your Prices

Landscaping prices vary depending on region and services. A good place to start is by checking out your competitors so you can get a sense of standard rates in your area. Remember to account for your profit margin—it’s important to price low enough to stay competitive, but high enough that you’ll still be paid fairly.

There are 3 common pricing methods for landscaping: hourly, fixed, and square foot. 

Hourly Pricing

When you’re not sure how long a job will take, pricing by the hour ensures you’ll be fairly compensated for your labor.

Fixed Pricing

If you have a general sense of how long a job will take, consider offering a fixed price. This tends to be popular with customers because it’s a transparent pricing method that makes it easy to compare different companies.

Square Foot

For services like lawn mowing, weeding, and aeration, you can also charge by the square foot. This is helpful for larger areas like parks and commercial lawns. In general, landscaping costs between $4 to $12 per square foot, but this can vary greatly depending on your region and the services you’re performing.

No matter which pricing method you choose, it’s important to provide clients with professional estimates for any job. FreshBooks landscaping estimate templates make it easy to create quick, professional estimates for any landscaping work. Once the job is done, you can use a landscaping invoice template to create your final bill.

Also Read: How to Estimate Landscaping Jobs

7. Market Your Small Business

Once you’ve got your business set up, it’s time to reach your customers! Marketing is key to building your client base and expanding your new landscaping company. There are several marketing strategies you can use to attract customers, including:

Word of Mouth

Let your friends and family know that you’re offering landscaping services. Talking about your business also allows them to recommend you if anyone asks for a great landscaping company in the area. Going to local networking events also helps other people and businesses to get to know you and your services.

Build a Website

A website is the foundation of your marketing, so it’s important to have a clear design that lets clients know what you offer. Include your service list, prices, and contact information. It’s also helpful to have a section that tells your potential customers about yourself so you can start building a personal relationship with them. 

Once you have build a business website, make sure it’s search engine optimized so that Google and other search engines will display your company when people look for landscaping and landscape professionals in your area.

Social Media

Having a social media presence is a great way to reach a wide variety of people. You can showcase your work by sharing pictures on social media and you can also choose to use paid ads to boost your visibility.

Ask for Reviews

Sharing positive testimonials from customers can help promote trust and reliability. You can ask clients to review you on Google, Yelp, and other platforms, or you can ask for testimonials that you can share on your business website and social media.


Since your landscaping company will service a specific area, direct local marketing can help reach your target market of clients. Consider mailbox flyers or posters on community boards near your landscaping company.

Reasons for Starting a Landscaping Business

Starting a landscaping business offers a great opportunity to build your own company with recurring clients and has plenty of growth potential. Since most landscaping requires regular maintenance, you can build personal client relationships that will provide you with a dependable income during the landscaping season. If you offer off-season work, like leaf clearing and snow blowing, there’s also the opportunity to work year-round.

It’s also easy to expand your landscaping company once you get started. You can start with a few services and then purchase more equipment and offer additional services later on, or you can expand the areas where you want to provide services. You can also hire more employees as you grow. 

Finally, running your own landscaping company gives you the flexibility to set your own schedule. Although it’s a good idea to maintain regular hours so you can work for recurring clients, you can pick the days and times that work best for you. It’s also a great opportunity to get outdoors, meet people in your community, and create rewarding client relationships.

Get Moving: Launch Your Landscaping Business

With a few straightforward steps, you can start your own landscaping company and grow your business. Landscaping start-up costs are relatively low—you’ll need a vehicle and some basic equipment, as well as the proper licensing, registration, and insurance. Whether you opt for a comprehensive range of services to cater to diverse needs or specialize in specific areas to establish a niche, clarity in your offerings is key. Explore this insightful article on How to Start a Lawn Care Business for further guidance tailored to the lawn care industry.

FreshBooks expense tracking software makes it easy to organize your business expenses and profits so you can cut extra spending and focus on your most profitable areas. Try FreshBooks free to get started with your business accounting and grow your landscaping company today.

Get A Headstart On Your Accounting

FAQs About Starting a Landscaping Business

Learn more about profit in the landscaping industry, challenges to running a landscaping business, and more with these answers to frequently asked questions about starting a landscaping company. 

How profitable is owning a landscaping business? 

Owning your own landscaping business can be quite profitable—many landscapers have a profit margin between 10 and 50 percent. This will grow as your business expands, and will also depend on your region and experience level.

What are the cons of owning a landscaping business? 

There are some downsides to owning a landscaping business. For example, depending on where you live, landscaping may be a seasonal business. This means downtime in bad weather and can also mean employee turnover. However, if you choose to offer off-season landscaping services, like snow removal, you can turn your landscaping company into an all-season business.

What part of landscaping makes the most money? 

Irrigation and lawn care tend to be 2 of the most profitable parts of a successful landscaping business. However, profitable services will depend on demand in the landscaping market in your area—you may need to try offering a few different services and seeing which are the most popular before you settle on a final model.

How much should you invest in your landscaping company? 

In general, you should expect to invest about $50,000 in costs for your first year running a landscaping company. This includes everything from labor and equipment to insurance and marketing but will vary a bit depending on your area.

How do I start a landscaping company from scratch?

When you start a landscaping company, begin by deciding what services you’ll offer and who your target market is. Then you can purchase the appropriate equipment and start setting up your business from there.

Sandra Habinger headshot
Sandra Habiger, CPA

About the author

Sandra Habiger is a Chartered Professional Accountant with a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration from the University of Washington. Sandra’s areas of focus include advising real estate agents, brokers, and investors. She supports small businesses in growing to their first six figures and beyond. Alongside her accounting practice, Sandra is a Money and Life Coach for women in business.