How to Start a Landscaping Business

Written by Dave Lavinsky

How to Start a Landscaping Business


How to Start a Landscaping Business

If you’re looking to start a Landscaping Business, you’ve come to the right place since we’re going to show you exactly how to do it.

We’ll start with key landscaping industry fundamentals like how big the market is, what the key segments are, and how revenues and profits are generated.

Then we’ll discuss keys to not only starting a Landscaping Business, but succeeding in it!

Before we continue, here’s where you can access your landscaping business plan template since having a plan will be key to your success.

15 Steps To Start a Landscaping Business:

Starting a landscaping business can be very profitable. With proper planning, execution and hard work, you can enjoy great success. Below you will learn the keys to launching a successful landscaping business.

1. Choose the Name for Your Landscaping Business

The first step to starting a landscaping business is to choose your business’ name.

This is a very important choice since your company name is your brand and will last for the lifetime of your business. Ideally you choose a name that is meaningful and memorable. Here are some tips for choosing a name for your landscaping business:

  1. Make sure the name is available: Check your desired name against trademark databases and your state’s list of registered business names to see if it’s available. Also, check to see if a suitable domain name is available.
  2. Keep it simple: The best names are usually ones that are easy to remember, pronounce, and spell.
  3. Think about marketing: Come up with a name that reflects the desired brand and/or focus of your landscaping business.


2. Determine the Type of Landscaping Business You Will Launch

When deciding to launch a landscaping business, it’s important to determine the specific type of landscaping services you will offer. Landscaping encompasses a wide range of services, and your choice will influence your business’s focus, target market, equipment needs, and marketing strategy.

Here are some common types of landscaping businesses you can consider:

  1. Lawn Care and Maintenance: Specialize in mowing, edging, weeding, fertilizing, and general lawn upkeep for residential and commercial clients.
  2. Landscape Design and Installation: Offer landscape design services, including the planning and installation of gardens, plantings, hardscaping (e.g., patios, walkways), and outdoor living spaces.
  3. Hardscaping and Stonework: Focus on creating stone features, such as retaining walls, pathways, fire pits, and outdoor kitchens.
  4. Irrigation and Sprinkler Systems: Specialize in the design, installation, and maintenance of irrigation and sprinkler systems to ensure proper watering of lawns and gardens.
  5. Tree and Shrub Care: Provide services such as tree pruning, removal, planting, and shrub maintenance.
  6. Landscape Lighting: Install outdoor lighting systems to enhance the aesthetics and security of outdoor spaces.
  7. Commercial Landscaping: Cater to businesses, property management companies, and homeowners’ associations by offering commercial landscaping maintenance and beautification services.
  8. Residential Landscaping: Concentrate on providing landscaping services exclusively to residential clients, including homeowners and property management for rental properties.


3. Develop Your Landscaping Business Plan

One of the most important steps in starting a landscaping business is to develop your business plan. The process of creating your plan ensures that you fully understand your market and your business strategy. The plan also provides you with a roadmap to follow and if needed, to present to funding sources to raise capital for your business.

To enhance your planning process, incorporating insights from a sample landscaping business plan can be beneficial. This can provide you with a clearer perspective on industry standards and effective strategies, helping to solidify your own business approach.

Your business plan should include the following sections:

  1. Executive Summary: This section should summarize your entire business plan so readers can quickly understand the key details of your landscaping business.
  2. Company Overview: This section tells the reader about the history of your landscaping business and what type of landscaping business you operate. For example, are you a lawn care & maintenance, residential landscaping, or commercial landscaping business.
  3. Industry Analysis: Here you will document key information about the landscaping industry. Conduct market research and document how big the industry is and what trends are affecting it.
  4. Customer Analysis: In this section, you will document who your ideal or target customers are and their demographics. For example, how old are they? Where do they live? What do they find important when purchasing services like the ones you will offer?
  5. Competitive Analysis: Here you will document the key direct and indirect competitors you will face and how you will build competitive advantage.
  6. Marketing Plan – your marketing plan should address the 4Ps: Product, Price, Promotions and Place.
    • Product: Determine and document what products/services you will offer
    • Prices: Document the prices of your products/services
    • Place: Where will your business be located, and how will that location help you increase sales?
    • Promotions: What promotional methods will you use to attract customers to your landscaping business? For example, you might decide to use pay-per-click advertising, public relations, search engine optimization, and/or social media marketing.
  7. Operations Plan – In this section, you will determine the key processes you will need to run your day-to-day operations. You will also determine your staffing needs. Finally, in this section of your plan, you will create a projected growth timeline showing the milestones you hope to achieve in the coming years.
  8. Management Team – This section details the background of your company’s management team.
  9. Financial Plan – finally, the financial plan answers questions including the following:
    • What startup costs will you incur?
    • How will your landscaping business make money?
    • What are your projected sales and expenses for the next five years?
    • Do you need to raise funding to launch your business?


Finish Your Business Plan Today!

If you’d like to quickly and easily complete your business plan, download Growthink’s Ultimate Business Plan Template and complete your plan and financial model in hours.

4. Choose the Legal Structure for Your Landscaping Business

Next you need to choose a legal structure for your landscaping business and register it and your business name with the Secretary of State in each state where you operate your business.

Below are the five most common legal structures:

1) Sole Proprietorship

A sole proprietorship is a business entity in which the owner of the landscaping business and the business are the same legal person. The owner of a sole proprietorship is responsible for all debts and obligations of the business. There are no formalities required to establish a sole proprietorship, and it is easy to set up and operate. The main advantage of a sole proprietorship is that it is simple and inexpensive to establish. The main disadvantage is that the owner is liable for all debts and obligations of the business.

2) Partnerships

A partnership is a legal structure that is popular among small businesses. It is an agreement between two or more people who want to start a landscaping business together. The partners share in the profits and losses of the business.

The advantages of a partnership are that it is easy to set up, and the partners share in the profits and losses of the business. The disadvantages of a partnership are that the partners are jointly liable for the debts of the business, and disagreements between partners can be difficult to resolve.

3) Limited Liability Company (LLC)

A limited liability company, or LLC, is a type of business entity that provides limited liability to its owners. This means that the owners of an LLC are not personally responsible for the debts and liabilities of the business. The advantages of an LLC for a landscaping business include flexibility in management, pass-through taxation (avoids double taxation as explained below), and limited personal liability. The disadvantages of an LLC include lack of availability in some states and self-employment taxes.

4) C Corporation

A C Corporation is a business entity that is separate from its owners. It has its own tax ID and can have shareholders. The main advantage of a C Corporation for a landscaping business is that it offers limited liability to its owners. This means that the owners are not personally responsible for the debts and liabilities of the business. The disadvantage is that C Corporations are subject to double taxation. This means that the corporation pays taxes on its profits, and the shareholders also pay taxes on their dividends.

5) S Corporation

An S Corporation is a type of corporation that provides its owners with limited liability protection and allows them to pass their business income through to their personal income tax returns, thus avoiding double taxation. There are several limitations on S Corporations, including the number of shareholders they can have, among others.

Once you register your landscaping business, your state will send you your official “Articles of Incorporation.” You will need this, among other documentation when establishing your banking account (see below). We recommend that you consult an attorney in determining which legal structure is best suited for your company.

Incorporate Your Business at the Guaranteed Lowest Price

We are proud to have partnered with Business Rocket to help you incorporate your business at the lowest price, guaranteed.

Not only does BusinessRocket have a 4.9 out of 5 rating on TrustPilot (with over 1,000 reviews) because of their amazing quality…but they also guarantee the most affordable incorporation packages and the fastest processing time in the industry.

Incorporate with BusinessRocket at the guaranteed lowest price now.

5. Secure Startup Funding for Your Landscaping Business (If Needed)

In developing your landscaping business plan, you might have determined that you need to raise funding to launch your business.

If so, the main sources of funding for a landscaping business to consider are personal savings, family and friends, credit card financing, bank loans, crowdfunding and angel investors. Angel investors are individuals who provide capital to early-stage businesses. Angel investors typically will invest in a landscaping business that they believe has high potential for growth.

6. Secure a Location for Your Business

When searching for the right location for your landscaping business, consider the following factors:

  • Accessibility: Choose a location that is easily accessible for your clients and employees. Ensure that it’s convenient for both residential and commercial clients to reach your business.
  • Local Market: Analyze the local market demand for landscaping services. Consider factors like population density, income levels, and the number of potential clients in the area.
  • Competition: Evaluate the level of competition in the area. A manageable level of competition may indicate a healthy market, but excessive competition can make it challenging to stand out.
  • Proximity to Suppliers: Consider the proximity of your location to suppliers of landscaping materials, plants, and equipment. Being close to suppliers can reduce transportation costs.
  • Storage and Parking: If you store equipment and materials on-site, ensure you have adequate storage space and parking for your vehicles and machinery.
  • Visibility and Signage: Choose a location with good visibility from the road to attract potential clients. Invest in clear signage to make your business easily identifiable.


7. Register Your Landscaping Business with the IRS

Next, you need to register your business with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) which will result in the IRS issuing you an Employer Identification Number (EIN).

Most banks will require you to have an EIN in order to open up an account. In addition, in order to hire employees, you will need an EIN since that is how the IRS tracks your payroll tax payments.

Note that if you are a sole proprietor without employees, you generally do not need to get an EIN. Rather, you would use your social security number (instead of your EIN) as your taxpayer identification number.

8. Open a Business Bank Account

It is important to establish a bank account in your landscaping business’ name. This process is fairly simple and involves the following steps:

  1. Identify and contact the bank you want to use.
  2. Gather and present the required documents (generally include your company’s Articles of Incorporation, driver’s license or passport, and proof of address).
  3. Complete the bank’s application form and provide all relevant information.
  4. Meet with a banker to discuss your business needs and establish a relationship with them.


If you’d like to quickly and easily complete your business plan, download Growthink’s Ultimate Business Plan Template and complete your business plan and financial model in hours.

9. Get a Business Credit Card

You should get a business credit card for your landscaping business to help you separate personal and business expenses.

You can either apply for a business credit card through your bank or apply for one through a credit card company.

When you’re applying for a business credit card, you’ll need to provide some information about your business. This includes the name of your business, the address of your business, and the type of business you’re running. You’ll also need to provide some information about yourself, including your name, Social Security number, and date of birth.

Once you’ve been approved for a business credit card, you’ll be able to use it to make purchases for your business. You can also use it to build your credit history which could be very important in securing loans and getting credit lines for your business in the future.

10. Get the Required Business Licenses and Permits

Starting a landscaping business typically requires obtaining various licenses and permits to ensure legal compliance and operate your business in a regulated manner. The specific requirements can vary depending on your location and the scope of services you intend to offer.

Here are common licenses and permits you may need:

  • Business License: Obtain a general business license or operating permit from your local city or county government. This is often the first step for any business.
  • Landscaping Contractor License: Some states or localities require a specific landscaping contractor license, especially if you offer design or installation services. Check with your state’s licensing board or local authorities for details.
  • Home Improvement Contractor License: If you plan to work on residential properties, you may need a home improvement contractor license, which is often required for renovation and landscaping work.
  • Trade and Occupational Licenses: Depending on the services you provide, you may need additional trade or occupational licenses, such as pesticide applicator licenses, irrigation contractor licenses, or tree service licenses.
  • Business Name Registration: Register your business name with the appropriate government agency to ensure that it’s unique and not already in use by another business in your jurisdiction.
  • Sales Tax Permit: If your state imposes a sales tax on landscaping services, you may need a sales tax permit to collect and remit sales tax on your services.

Depending on the type of landscaping business you launch, you will have to obtain the necessary state, county and/or city licenses.

11. Get Business Insurance for Your Landscaping Business

Other business insurance policies that you should consider for your landscaping business include:

  • General Liability Insurance: This covers accidents and injuries that occur on your property. It also covers damages caused by your employees or products.
  • Auto Insurance: If a vehicle is used in your business, this type of insurance will cover if a vehicle is damaged or stolen.
  • Workers’ Compensation Insurance: If you have employees, this type of policy works with your general liability policy to protect against workplace injuries and accidents. It also covers medical expenses and lost wages.
  • Commercial Property Insurance: This covers damage to your property caused by fire, theft, or vandalism.
  • Business Interruption Insurance: This covers lost income and expenses if your business is forced to close due to a covered event.
  • Professional Liability Insurance: This protects your business against claims of professional negligence.

Find an insurance agent, tell them about your business and its needs, and they will recommend policies that fit those needs.

12. Buy or Lease the Right Landscaping Business Equipment

Running a landscaping business requires a variety of equipment to perform a wide range of tasks efficiently and professionally. The specific equipment you’ll need can vary depending on the services you offer, the scale of your operations, and your budget.

Here’s a list of common equipment used in landscaping businesses:

  • Lawnmowers: Different types of lawnmowers, such as push mowers, ride-on mowers, and zero-turn mowers, are essential for lawn maintenance.
  • String Trimmers: String trimmers, also known as weed eaters or edgers, help maintain the edges of lawns, trim weeds, and create clean borders.
  • Leaf Blowers: Leaf blowers are used for clearing leaves, debris, and grass clippings from lawns, driveways, and walkways.
  • Hedge Trimmers: Hedge trimmers are essential for shaping and maintaining hedges, shrubs, and bushes.
  • Pruners and Shears: Hand pruners, loppers, and pruning shears are used for precision pruning of trees and shrubs.
  • Chainsaws: Chainsaws are necessary for tree trimming, pruning, and removal tasks.
  • Aerators: Lawn aerators are used to perforate the soil, allowing air, water, and nutrients to penetrate the root zone of the grass.
  • Seeders and Spreaders: Seeders and spreaders are used for overseeding lawns and applying fertilizers, herbicides, and other soil treatments.
  • Tillers and Cultivators: These machines are used for soil preparation, garden bed creation, and soil amendment mixing.
  • Excavators and Backhoes: Larger landscaping projects may require heavy machinery like excavators and backhoes for digging and earthmoving tasks.


13. Develop Your Landscaping Business Marketing Materials

Marketing materials will be required to attract and retain customers to your landscaping business.

The key marketing materials you will need are as follows:

  1. Logo: Spend some time developing a good logo for your landscaping business. Your logo will be printed on company stationery, business cards, marketing materials, and so forth. The right logo can increase customer trust and awareness of your brand.
  2. Website: Likewise, a professional landscaping business website provides potential customers with information about the services you offer, your company’s history, and contact information. Importantly, remember that the look and feel of your website will affect how customers perceive you.
  3. Social Media Accounts: Establish social media accounts in your company’s name. Accounts on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and/or other social media networks will help customers and others find and interact with your landscaping business.


14. Purchase and Setup the Software Needed to Run Your Landscaping Business

Running a landscaping business efficiently and professionally often involves using various software tools to streamline operations, manage client relationships, and enhance productivity.

Here are some types of software that can be valuable for running a landscaping business:

  • Scheduling and Calendar Software: Use scheduling software to manage appointments, assign tasks to employees, and keep track of project timelines.
  • Client Relationship Management (CRM) Software: CRM software helps you maintain client profiles, track communications, and manage customer relationships. It can also assist with marketing efforts and lead tracking.
  • Accounting and Invoicing Software: Accounting software simplifies financial tasks like invoicing, expense tracking, payroll, and tax preparation. QuickBooks and FreshBooks are popular options.
  • Estimating and Quoting Software: Estimating software helps you create accurate project quotes and bids, taking into account materials, labor, and other costs.
  • Project Management Software: Project management tools enable you to plan, schedule, and track landscaping projects, assign tasks to team members, and monitor progress.
  • Inventory and Materials Management Software: Use inventory software to keep track of landscaping materials, plants, and supplies. It helps maintain optimal stock levels and reorder when necessary.
  • Landscape Design Software: Landscape design software allows you to create detailed plans, renderings, and 3D models for clients. Popular options include SketchUp, AutoCAD, and DynaScape.
  • GPS and Mapping Software: GPS and mapping tools help with route planning, location tracking, and mapping job sites. They can also assist with measuring and estimating project areas.


15. Open for Business

You are now ready to open your landscaping business. If you followed the steps above, you should be in a great position to build a successful business. Below are answers to frequently asked questions that might further help you.

Finish Your Business Plan Today!

If you’d like to quickly and easily complete your business plan, download Growthink’s Ultimate Business Plan Template and complete your plan and financial model in hours.

How Big is the Landscaping Industry?

There are 474,237 landscaping businesses in the U.S. that generated $76.6 billion in revenue last year. This represents an annual growth rate of 3.5% from over the last 5 years.

What are the Key Segments of the Landscaping Industry?

Landscaping industry is segmented by its investment strategies. The two main segments of the industry are commercial and residential.

What External Factors affect the Landscaping Industry?

A number of factors affect the performance of the landscaping industry. These drivers include:

  • Value of private nonresidential construction: This year, the value of nonresidential construction will rise. An increase in this factor provides high opportunities for the landscape industry.
  • Value of residential construction: The value of residential construction affects the landscaping industry the same way as the value of private nonresidential construction. The more residential structures built, the higher the demand for landscaping services.
  • Households earning more than $100,000: Households earning more than $100,000 tend to spend more on recreating their residential landscapes. However, this number is forecasted to slowly increase which will not provide much opportunity to the industry.
  • Per capita disposable income: The per capita disposable income of households this year is expected to increase providing an opportunity for households to spend more on additional expenditures like landscaping.
  • Government consumption and investment: The growth of government consumption and investment increases the demand for landscaping services. It is expected to grow this year.

What are the Key Customer Segments in the Landscaping Industry?

The largest customer segment in the landscaping industry are Single-family residents, followed by commercial properties.

What are the Key Costs in the Landscaping Industry?

Wages – A majority of the industry revenue is allocated to wages since the landscaping business is operated mostly with workers.

Purchases – This makes up the second largest industry expense.

Marketing – Only 0.9% of the industry revenue is allocated to marketing.

Depreciation – 3.0% of the revenue this year is allocated to depreciation.

Other costs – This accounts for only 3% of the revenue which consists of rent, utilities, and administrative expenses.

Finish Your Business Plan Today!

If you’d like to quickly and easily complete your business plan, download Growthink’s Ultimate Landscaping Business Plan Template and complete your plan and financial model in hours.

What are the Typical Startup Costs for a new Landscaping Business?

The cost of starting up a landscaping business vary widely, but can be as little as $2,000.

If you’d like to quickly and easily complete your business plan, download Growthink’s Ultimate Landscaping Business Plan Template and complete your business plan and financial model in hours.

Additional resources in the Landscaping Industry

For additional information on the landscaping market, consider these industry resources:


Landscaping Business Plan Example PDF

Download our landscaping business plan pdf here. This is a free landscaping business plan example to help you get started on your own landscaping plan.

How to Finish Your Landscaping Business Plan in 1 Day!

Don’t you wish there was a faster, easier way to finish your business plan?

With Growthink’s Ultimate Landscaping Business Plan Template you can finish your plan in just 8 hours or less!

Click here to finish your landscaping business plan today.


OR, Let Us Develop Your Plan For You

Since 1999, Growthink has developed business plans for thousands of companies who have gone on to achieve tremendous success.

Click here to see how a Growthink professional business planner can create your business plan for you.