What Not to Do When Starting a Landscaping Business

Author: Alyssa Gregory | May 31, 2016

Thinking of starting a landscaping business? The landscape services industry has annual revenues of $76 billion and annual growth of 3.4%, making landscaping a solid business idea for many entrepreneurs. A whopping 65% of landscape businesses focus on residential services, including maintenance, landscape design, and snow removal, creating many different service options for getting started. The key to being successful in landscaping is making sure you don’t make these common mistakes.

1. Don’t Skip the Business Plan

If you’re serious about being successful, you need a business plan. You may not need a full, traditional business plan, but you at least need a streamlined written document that outlines a plan for getting from where you are now to where you want to be. Put it all down in writing and use that as a guide throughout the startup process.

2. Don’t Undercut the Competition

Yes, you want get your foot in the door, but you will never build a sustainable landscaping business by undercutting the competition every step of the way. If you do, customers will only choose your business because it’s cheap, which means they’ll leave the second someone cheaper comes along. Establish your business as a quality provider by developing a competitive pricing strategy from the beginning.

3. Don’t Hire the Wrong People

As your business grows, you will probably need staff or subcontractors in order to provide prompt service to multiple customers, and the quality of people you hire will determine your success—or your failure. Your team is an extension your brand, so take the time you need to hire the right people.

4. Don’t Treat Your Landscaping Business Like a Summertime Hobby

Being located in a seasonal climate doesn’t mean you need to close up shop during the winter months. Create a year-round business opportunities by transitioning to snow removal or other cold-weather outdoor services. You can also use the slow season to perform equipment maintenance, update your business and marketing plans, and conduct team building exercises with your staff.

5. Don’t Skimp on Equipment

There are some areas where you can cut corners in the startup process, but equipment is not one of them, especially for a landscaping company. You don’t need to purchase brand new tools and equipment, but make sure you invest in what you need to get the job done without performance problems that can eat away at your profits.

6. Don’t Always Say No to Your Customers

It’s important to have a list of standard services you provide in your business, but being too rigid (i.e., not being willing to tailor timing of services to suit a client or adjust offerings to specific needs) may cost you business. You should also frequently survey your customers to see if there are gaps in your services that you could address to increase their levels of satisfaction.

7. Don’t Underestimate Word of Mouth Marketing

Most landscaping businesses operate in a clearly defined geographic area, which sets up the business to leverage the power of word of mouth marketing. The way it works is simple: Provide exceptional service that delights your customers, then encourage them to refer your business to others. Over time, this can have a snowball effect that launches your business to a new level.

As you get started with the launch of your landscaping business, watch out for and avoid these common mistakes in order to increase your chances of long-term success.

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