For those who love hard work, spending time outside, and being your own boss, starting a landscaping business may be a great fit.
But where do you start?
This guide will show you how to write a landscaping business plan, and address other important factors to consider when starting a landscaping business.
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Plan for success
Having a business plan is important for several reasons. It serves as your guide for everything you need to run a profitable landscaping business.
Business plans help you avoid costly mistakes by forcing you to go over all the tough aspects of starting a business, not just the fun ones.
Three big reasons why landscaping businesses fail
A landscaping business isn’t guaranteed success. In fact, 20% of small businesses fail within their first year.
Here are some of the reasons why landscaping businesses don’t make it.
1. Too much overhead or underestimating jobs
Operational inefficiencies can bog down business. This could be too much overhead, such as buying a lot of equipment, but not having enough jobs to keep it in use.
Bad estimates also are frequent issues for landscapers. Underpricing a job could win you work, but you also want to make enough money to stay in business. On the other hand, overpricing a job could result in lost work. It’s a fine line to straddle.
Pro tip: Looking at past job hours and expenses using a landscaping time tracker can help you prepare better estimates.
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2. Not enough customers
The failure to get repeat customers leads many businesses to sputter out. Consistent jobs pay the bills and are a reliable source of income.
Without it, owners spend too much of their time working to find new customers. This is a lot more expensive than keeping the current ones happy.
3. Cash flow
Cash flow problems plague businesses that are growing fast. If you need more equipment to get more jobs done, you’ll need more cash to make that happen and still be able to pay your team.
Those are the most common problems that landscaping business owners run into.
Now let’s see how to write a great plan so you can avoid these pitfalls.
Writing your landscaping business plan: Step-by-step
A business plan is made up of a common set of sections that can vary in length. The more you add, the better suited you’ll be for the ups and downs that come with running a company.
The following sections are the most important, and could be considered the minimum to include in your landscaping business plan.
1. Executive Summary
This is the first thing someone will read in your business plan. It describes what you want to do and why you will be successful in doing it.
Keep this simple but powerful. If you are looking for money from a bank or other investors, this summary will set the stage for them to trust in your plan.
2. Company Description
This includes your mission statement, history, and an overview of team members.
This mission statement is an easy-to-read message that lets people know why your business exists.
For example “To grow and maintain naturally healthy lawns and gardens,” may be a mission statement for a landscaping company. Overall, keep it simple.
In your company history, describe how long you’ve been around, what services you offer, and what reputation you already have as a landscaper.
The last part of this section is an overview of team members. You’ll want to explain who will be part of the company, why they are skilled, and how they will contribute to the success of the business.
TruGreen works to give you a lawn you’ll love. From turf to trees and shrubs, we have assembled a collection of scientists and local specialists who develop and tailor exactly the solution your lawn needs.
3. Market and Competitor Analysis
This is your chance to establish the status of the landscaping market in your area, and determine where you can stand out.
If there are already 30 tree removal companies in your area, you may not want to focus on that specific service.
On the other hand, you may find that many of those companies have bad reviews, and there is a need for higher quality work to be done.
This is all part of your analysis of the market, so you can find out where there is the greatest need and set up your services to meet that need.
Also consider how services are being priced so you don’t stand out for charging too much. See if your area has a need for more high-end work like gardening, or if there are more potential customers out there that just need lawn services.
Your objective here is to find out where you best can position your company to be successful.
If you’re looking for an easy way to research and document the competition, you can build a simple competitor analysis project board using Hubstaff Tasks simple project management tool.
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4. Services and Product
This section details the services you’re going to offer and details about them. Here’s what you’ll want to:
- Explain your services in detail
- Explain your pricing model
- Talk about which type of customer will use these services
- Describe how much time it takes to complete services
- Describe what makes your offering unique
5. Marketing Strategy
When you “open the doors” to your new landscaping business, customers won’t be able to find you if they’ve never heard of you. A marketing plan will put you in a position to get noticed.
Talk about the brand you are creating. Think about why it will be special. Describe what it will look like, display any logos or designs, and show the slogans or phrases you’ll use as a brand.
Your marketing plan should include, at minimum, how you plan to use social media, customer referrals, online ratings, in-person events like lawn and garden shows, and direct mail.
6. Financial Plan
The way you spend and manage money is one of the most important aspects of survival and growth as a business.
Your financial plan needs to consider the following:
- Startup costs, or the amount of money you need to operate. You’ll need equipment like shovels and lawnmowers, but you also need cash for gasoline, car payments, or fertilizers.
- Employee wages should be broken down by position and skill level. This will keep you on budget when you start hiring.
- Funding sources are the places where you’re going to get the money needed to start. This could be personal savings, friends and family, bank loans, credit cards, or investors.
- Sales projections should be drafted to predict how much money you will spend and earn for at least the first three years of operation. This is an educated guess based upon all the other research you’ve done to build this plan. This should be an honest look at the earning potential of your company.
Drafting your business plan
Creating a landscaping business plan is a vital part of starting a landscaping business. Those who prepare and plan will stand a better chance of profiting and growing their operation for many years to come.
It can feel tedious going through each of the steps of this plan. Keep in mind the reasons why you wanted to start this business as you build your plan.