Starting any small business takes an investment in time, energy, and money, and a landscape business is certainly no different. Depending on your resources and goals, you can begin your green career in any number of ways — as an independent owner, as part of a brand, all by yourself, or with a team. But no matter how you decide to establish your landscaping business, you’ll have to spend money to get started and, more importantly, to grow. Here, we’ll look at some of the expenses you can expect as a landscape and lawn care professional.
Equipment — trucks, mowers, tools, and more, are at the heart of any commercial lawn care franchise, no matter how small or large it might be. It may be easier to start out simply, with one truck, one mower, and a handful of tools. But if you have your sights set on real growth, it’s going to mean making a meaningful investment in equipment, much of it not inexpensive. In fact, according to Lawn and Landscape, a typical landscape company will budget 8-14% of its sales toward equipment costs each year.
Heavy-duty trucks can cost anywhere from $10,000 to $50,000; trailers to haul mowers, blowers, spreaders, etc., can cost upwards of $1500. A new commercial-grade walk-behind mower will cost between $1,000 and $5,000, and a ride-on mower will cost $6,000-$10,000 or more. Below is a list of some other common lawn care equipment you’ll likely need and their average costs:
Remember, too, that unless you have access to a large garage or another such structure on your property, you’re going to need to lease a storage facility to keep your equipment stored safely between jobs. That could cost anywhere from $50 to $200 a month.
If you decide to limit your services to lawn care only, you’ll need to stay stocked up on items like grass seed, fertilizers, pest and weed controllers, and more. If you include landscaping as part of your scope, that will mean more comprehensive access to products, inventory, and supplies. You’ll need to establish vendor relationships and supply chains and, depending on client goals, will need softscape items like sod, shrubs, trees, perennials, annuals, and more. If hardscapes are being considered, you’ll need inventory like bricks, pavers, stone, and gravel. Additionally, if customers are interested in irrigation systems, you’ll need the hardware and technology for that. All this requires capital, and its expense will need to be factored in on an ongoing basis.
If you plan on overseeing a team of employees, you’re naturally going to have to pay them. Payroll will be a considerable expense, depending on how large your staff is, and uniforms, insurance, recruitment, and more should be factored into the expense of being an employer.
Today, technology makes important contributions to the landscape and lawn care industries, and you’ll need to consider how heavily you want to rely on it, particularly as your business grows. Computers, smartphones, tablets, and more are all common devices that today’s landscape professional turns to over and over again, and industry software meant to facilitate time tracking and the generation of estimates, proposals, invoices, and more can make your job easier and position you for growth. As with just about everything associated with starting a business, this technology is an investment and can cost upwards of thousands of dollars. The good news is it can pay for itself very quickly if you leverage it correctly.
What good is starting a landscaping business if no one knows you’re in business? Getting the word out about your services will be key to your success, which means you’ll need to factor in the expense of building and maintaining a company website and creating local advertising campaigns on a regular basis. If you’re unable to generate these initiatives on your own, you’ll need to hire experts who can.
These are just a few of the likely costs you can expect to see as you begin and grow your commercial landscaping business. Partnering with an established and respected franchise brand like U.S. Lawns will not only help you understand the value of these expenses but allow you to take advantage of our industry knowledge and relationships to save money on them. We know what it takes to build a successful commercial landscaping business, and we’ll be with you every step of the way!
To find out how to open a commercial lawn care franchise with U.S. Lawns, get in touch today!
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