Lawn & Garden Landscaping

How to Grow a Landscaping Business: 13 Steps to Cultivate a Successful Landscaping Company

Landscaping business owners can follow several straightforward steps to take their business from start-up to competing with the top companies in the area.
How to Grow a Landscaping Business

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A career in the landscaping industry can be stable and lucrative for those who enjoy physical work and being outdoors. With a demand for services, managing a landscaping business can provide entrepreneurs with flexibility as well as a steady workload. And with the right combination of hard work, planning, persistence, and networking, a small landscaping business can grow to compete with some of the best landscaping companies in the region. Before taking steps to start a landscaping business, entrepreneurs will want to learn how to run a landscaping business, as well as how to expand the business over time to continue increasing reach and revenue. By following the steps outlined in this article, business owners can take their landscaping company to the next level and achieve their long-term goals.

Before You Begin…

When starting your own landscaping business, it’s never too early to begin planning how to grow the company. Landscaping company owners will want to understand all the ways to build the business from the ground up to ensure its success over the years. However, before working on expanding their business, it’s critical for landscapers to cover all the basics such as developing a business plan, getting insurance and any required licenses, purchasing necessary equipment and materials, and hiring enough staff to take on a job. Once these steps are completed, the company can pursue avenues for growth that may include offering new services, expanding into a new service area, implementing marketing and advertising campaigns, and hiring additional employees.

Tips for Growing a Landscaping Business

  • Identify what makes the landscaping company unique to stand out among competitors.
  • Implement a landscaping marketing plan that consists of both traditional and online tactics.
  • Utilize time-saving software to automate tasks such as invoicing and ordering.
  • Build relationships by networking, developing a referral system, and encouraging satisfied customers to leave reviews.
  • Expand the types of services offered throughout the year and the service area.
  • Keep prices competitive and offer special deals to both new and returning customers.
  • Prioritize both employee satisfaction and customer service.
How to Grow a Landscaping Business
Photo: istock.com

STEP 1: Determine your business’s unique selling point.

One of the most effective ways for a business to stand out is to differentiate itself from its competition. It is beneficial for landscaping business owners to spend time determining exactly what services they will offer, who their customers are, and what makes them stand out. By choosing a specialization or niche, such as landscape design or sustainable landscaping, the business can better target its marketing efforts to the right audience. Business owners will want to consider the types of landscaping services that will set them apart from the competition, whether they will serve residential or commercial customers, or what specific service area they will target.

Additionally, companies that develop a landscaping business plan and home in on their unique selling point are able to gain more trust and ultimately charge more for their services. This unique selling point will need to  be clearly expressed in marketing materials so potential customers can understand what the company offers. This way, the customer will be able to make a more informed decision about whether to hire the company and know exactly what they are getting for their investment.

STEP 2: Create a comprehensive marketing plan that includes both traditional and digital marketing strategies.

Entrepreneurs can grow their landscaping business and attract new clients by using both digital and traditional marketing strategies to build brand awareness. All these approaches entail having a recognizable logo and catchy tagline that describes the business. Traditional marketing avenues include print, television, and radio advertisements. Although these can be expensive, they have a wide reach and can help build clout in the community.

For online marketing for landscapers, entrepreneurs will want to stay engaged on social media, use targeted email marketing, and design a user-friendly and helpful website. Business owners will also want to consider purchasing Google and Facebook ads along with investing in retargeting, which is targeted advertising based on previous clicks (the kind that follows customers around once they’ve visited a website).

Networking is another aspect of an effective marketing strategy that can help business owners get the word out about their company. Entrepreneurs will want to attend and speak at meetings and conferences, join industry associations, build partnerships with other local businesses, connect with influencers, sponsor festivals and charity events, and host events such as an open house to attract potential customers and partners. They’ll also want to have professionally designed landscaping business cards and brochures to distribute, and they’ll want to have a polished elevator pitch about the business ready to go.

How to Grow a Landscaping Business
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STEP 3: Have an active online presence.

Most people now turn to the internet to find businesses they are looking to hire, so it’s crucial for landscaping companies to keep an active presence online to help build awareness. Entrepreneurs will want to ensure the company website is modern-looking and up to date by adding recent pictures of projects and current services offered. To maximize the website, business owners will want to include company contact information, staff bios, a list and description of all services offered, an order form for landscaping services, photos of previous projects, and testimonials or reviews of prior clients. While setting up a website can be done in-house, it may make sense for a business owner to outsource this work by hiring a website designer. Business owners may also want to consider adding a blog to their website and adding fresh content to it on a regular basis to establish the company’s expertise while engaging with current and potential customers. This content can cover basic landscaping tips, different types of landscape design, and even how-to videos to help customers keep their home’s exterior looking good between visits.

Building a platform on social media is also beneficial for any landscaping business. Whether a business is active on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, X (formerly Twitter), or other social media platforms, being on social media is a wonderful way for them to display engaging images and videos of landscaping projects. This also lets them share new information and tips about the company and landscaping industry overall to a wide audience. Business owners can build community and showcase customer service by responding to comments and messages, and invite clients, friends, and relatives to like and follow all social media accounts.

STEP 4: List your business on lead-generation sites such as Angi, HomeAdvisor, Thumbtack, and Handy, and respond to inquiries promptly.

Online directories—also called lead-generation websites—are effective marketing tools for many companies since potential customers often go online to hire for a specific service, such as landscaping. Directories such as Angi, HomeAdvisor, Thumbtack, and Handy help build a landscaping company’s credibility and rank in an online search. They also showcase client reviews that people can read when considering who to hire. Some of the directories are free, but others charge a nominal fee to be listed with them, so business owners will want to double check when registering. They’ll also want to keep the listing updated with current contact information, reviews, project photos, and current discounts. Finally, they’ll want to be sure to respond promptly to inquiries or quote requests; since customers often receive quotes from several companies to compare, a delayed response can result in a missed lead.

How to Grow a Landscaping Business
Photo: istock.com

STEP 5: Invest in business software to help with scheduling and invoicing.

Investing in business software to streamline processes such as scheduling project work and sending out invoices can help landscaping businesses expand. These software programs help manage workload efficiently so companies can improve communications with customers and staff while saving time and money. They can also streamline ordering, improve recordkeeping, and simplify tedious administrative tasks. Many programs allow businesses to track data and run reports to assess current processes so improvements can be made moving forward. There is also software available to automate marketing tasks, such as sending out emails to a large targeted audience, selling additional services to existing clients, and broadcasting announcements, such as a special deal or sale.

Investing in the best lawn care scheduling software (such as Jobber) and similar types of technology can free up time for a business owner to focus less on administrative tasks and more on revenue-generating activities like strategy development, networking, and customer engagement. These tools are especially critical when scaling and growing the business.

STEP 6: Maintain insurance coverage to protect your business and clients.

When starting a landscaping business, business owners will need to obtain the necessary insurance policies from one of the best lawn care business insurance companies (such as NEXT or Thimble) before operating and serving customers, and then continue that coverage while the business is operating. Landscaping insurance costs need to be factored into a business’s start-up costs and annual budget. Since there are inherent risks in landscaping, such as the possibility of injuries to workers and damage to clients’ property, it’s imperative that a landscaping business has insurance to protect itself and its customers. At the minimum, landscaping businesses will want to have general liability insurance, which protects the business against liability claims involving injury or property damage to third parties. Additional types of insurance a business owner will want to consider to ensure their landscaping equipment and vehicles are protected include the following:

  • Commercial auto insurance is required for any vehicles that are used by the business and provides coverage if the vehicle is involved in an accident and causes damage or injury to a third party.
  • Commercial property insurance can help pay to repair or replace a business’s physical office location if it sustains damage from a covered event, such as hail, vandalism, or theft.
  • Contractor’s tools and equipment insurance covers movable tools and equipment that are lost, damaged, or stolen.
  • Cyber liability insurance helps cover costs associated with a data breach or cyber attack on the business.
  • Business owner’s policy (BOP) combines general liability insurance with commercial property insurance, commercial auto insurance, and other coverages a landscaping business may require.

If the landscaping business has employees, workers’ compensation insurance is required. This type of insurance can help cover medical expenses or lost wages if a worker is injured or becomes ill because of a work-related incident. Some states and local jurisdictions require landscaping businesses to carry certain types of insurance; business owners can check with the appropriate agencies for details.

How to Grow a Landscaping Business
Photo: istock.com

STEP 7: Create a referral program for existing clients.

Word-of-mouth marketing can be the best way to expand a business. When clients are happy and share that sentiment with friends, family members, and neighbors, it can have a huge impact on the growth of a company. Jennifer Lemcke, CEO of Weed Man, a nationwide lawn care franchise, confirms this. “Is there anything more rewarding than a word-of-mouth referral?” she says. “It means you’ve done your job so well that the customer trusts you well enough to put their friends and loved ones in your hands. It’s a big responsibility and a huge catalyst for organic growth.”

Landscaping business ideas that include setting up a referral program help make this process seamless. Business owners can ask clients if they’s be willing to provide email addresses for friends or family members who might be interested in landscaping services. They can also see if customers are willing to share business cards and brochures about the company. Finally, business owners will want to consider providing incentives such as holding a contest for the most referrals in a month and giving out coupons or gifts to the winners.

STEP 8: Encourage customers to leave a review.

Asking for reviews is another effective word-of-mouth marketing tactic. Business owners can ask current clients to post a review on the company website, on social media, or on a review site like Google Business or Yelp. Reviews can make a difference when a potential customer is comparing different companies. Those with more positive online reviews have an advantage in the marketplace, so it’s best for business owners to try to keep a consistent flow of new reviews from clients. They can encourage current clients to leave reviews by emailing, calling, texting, and even asking them in person if they would be willing to leave a review online, including the link so they can easily find where to post the review.  Another way to encourage reviews is to send out a quarterly or annual survey to all customers and include a way to add feedback and a review.

Not all reviews will be positive. When a landscaping business gets a negative review from a disgruntled customer, the best thing to do is respond to the review to try and make things right. Not only can this help smooth over the relationship between the business and the unhappy customer, but it can also show potential customers how the business handles conflict. Responding to all reviews—both positive and negative—can help showcase the business in a more positive light.

How to Grow a Landscaping Business
Photo: istock.com

STEP 9: Expand your business’s service area.

In addition to expanding the list of landscaping services a business offers, entrepreneurs may want to consider broadening where the business’s services are offered. Covering more ground and expanding services to additional towns in the region can take the business to the next level. Of course, this type of expansion will require market research, new marketing and networking activities, and adding equipment and staff as needed to meet new demand in a wider area. Business owners can tap into social media to engage potential customers in the new towns and boost the referral program so current customers with contacts beyond the initial area can help spread the word.

STEP 10: Brainstorm off-season services and plan ahead for the busy season.

For some landscaping companies, the off-season can be daunting if business is slow due to inclement weather conditions and changes in clients’ needs. However, a bit of creativity can transform the situation and even end up boosting sales. Business owners will want to consider what additional services can be offered when the seasons change, such as fall cleanup, snow and ice removal, sprinkler winterization, and even hanging outdoor holiday decorations. These seasonal services can compensate for any revenue lost from traditional landscaping services offered most of the year.

Another smart way for a landscaping business owner to make use of the downtime during off-season is to prepare for the busy season. They can develop and roll out advertising campaigns with special offers to entice new customers, get orders in early for materials and equipment to avoid the mad rush once work picks up, and start the hiring process early for seasonal members of the team to stay fully staffed in the spring and summer.

How to Grow a Landscaping Business
Photo: istock.com

STEP 11: Keep pricing competitive and consider offering discounts and promotions for new and returning customers.

Staying competitive with pricing can be a beneficial way for business owners to grow a landscaping business. On the other hand, if a business charges too much, it can turn off both current and future clients. To find the right balance, business owners can conduct market research to understand what similar companies are charging for their services. Staying competitive can help attract new customers and retain current ones.

When setting prices, there are some key factors for business owners to keep in mind. They’ll want to consider overhead costs, such as materials, labor, and office expenses. It is critical for a business to charge enough to cover overhead and still earn a profit. Next, the business owner will want to assess the target market to make sure its pricing structure is within a potential customer’s budget; otherwise, customers may leave and look for a less expensive option. Finally, business owners can take into account the value added by the services offered to ensure prices are fair and account for the services customers are receiving. By offering better-quality services, companies can demand higher prices.

Offering discounts and promotions to both current and potential customers is another way to grow the business. Business owners can promote special deals in a variety of ways, such as by including details on the company website, posting about it on social media, and launching an email marketing campaign.

STEP 12: Canvass neighborhoods when on a job and ask customers if you can place yard signs on their lawn.

Landscapers can take advantage when doing a job in a certain neighborhood by spreading the word to nearby homeowners. They may opt to walk around the community to connect with residents to find out if they are looking for landscaping services. It’s possible they may find someone who isn’t happy with their current landscaping provider and are hoping to find a replacement. Being in the right place at the right time can pay off and help grow the business.

Business owners can also ask their current client for ways to reach other members of the community, such as by dropping off flyers or leaving door hangers. Another effective way for a landscaping business to get attention is to post yard signs in current customers’ yards (with their permission) so their neighbors walking or driving by will take note of who does their landscaping. Once people see the high-quality work for themselves, they will be more apt to pick up the phone and hire the company.

How to Grow a Landscaping Business
Photo: istock.com

STEP 13: Build a strong team and prioritize employee satisfaction and customer service.

What happens internally can also impact the success of a business. Indeed, if employees are passionate about their work, they can help create a positive and productive work environment, which can lead to growth for the business. It can make a big difference when an employer takes steps to ensure there is a positive company culture and that employees are happy. Landscaping business owners will want to set clear and realistic goals for their team, provide feedback and support, put systems in place to track progress and address any concerns of employees, incentivize staff with rewards, and encourage and support training, such as the best online landscape design courses, to develop new skills. Business owners can set up a system for staff to advance internally to end up in managerial roles.

Building a strong, satisfied team will ultimately ensure that clients receive high-quality services. Business owners will want to continue to provide exemplary customer service by always being professional, responsive, and on time. Better yet, they’ll want to take the time to train all staff to exceed clients’ expectations by going above and beyond. This can be done by identifying problems early on, offering new services that customers request, and being friendly by knowing all customers on a first-name basis.

“At Weed Man, we have always been obsessed with understanding and improving the customer journey,” says Lemcke. “The best tool we have is listening … to our customers and what they are saying. That’s how we identify gaps and act fast to repair them. We listen to inbound calls, read and analyze customer surveys, and pay attention to feedback from our own employees. When you treat people the way they want to be treated—whether they’re customers or employees—you end up with an organization full of happy, loyal people. That kind of company culture pays off in a million different ways.”

Starting a landscaping company has its own unique set of challenges, but keeping the business growing over the years requires a whole other level of planning and leadership from management. Business owners can focus on several proven tactics to keep the company expanding, such as setting clear marketing strategies for landscaping businesses; investing in time-saving software to automate tasks such as invoicing and ordering; and building relationships by networking, developing a referral system, and encouraging satisfied customers to leave reviews. By implementing some or all of the approaches mentioned above, landscaping businesses have a better chance at reaching their growth goals.