Running a landscaping business has a lot of potential in Canada, where private homes and businesses have a lot of land in need of reliable grooming.
Create a strategic business plan
First step: developing a well-constructed business plan.
This should start with an executive summary, or a comprehensive introduction to your business over two pages. This should highlight the key aspects of the business strategy.
Next, the company description, which will bea brief section about any history, mission statement, and employees. Then, the competition analysis to discuss other companies’ sales, products, service pricing and marketing plans.
Products and services will include an explanation of what you’ll do and how you’ll do it, and what makes you stand out.
Next, the marketing strategy. You’ll need to discuss advertising plans, vision and slogans and logos.
Finally, the financial strategy. This should discuss operational costs and growth trajectory plans. You will need to break down equipment costs, wages, budget, and sales projection for at least the first three years.
Study your market
Companies with the greatest success are those that conduct adequate market research, as it offers a greater understanding of the competition, market, and customers.
Entrepreneurs can gather primary data through surveys, focus groups, and feedback from customers. Secondary research comes from statistics, companies, data, and studies. Both will help establish one's “value proposition”, or your business’s unique appeal and edge.
For example, the city you operate in will play a role. Para Space, a Vancouver based landscaping company, works with private and public land offering “soft scaping,” such as maintenance, pruning, fertilizing and “hardscaping,” like stonework, deck building, and concrete.
Meanwhile, Greenside Up, a company in Ontario, focuses on the environment and offers snow/ice maintenance and hardscaping.
Market research can establish what you can do differently. Unique landscaping business ideas include:
- Offer environmentally sustainable services
- Offer attractive incentives to retain great employees
- Offer Holiday season designs and cleanup
There are 5 main methods of acquiring finances for your landscaping business:
1. Personal funds
2. Friends/Family funds
3. Angel investors
4. Bank loan
5. Canadian Government through small business funds, loans, grants, and assistance.
How much money does a landscaping business make?
The money required to begin will be dependent on the size of your business. For example, for a very small-scale business $500 is required, ranging to $100,000 to scale up.
The landscaping business profit potential is there, with new businesses earning between $5,000 - $50,000 in the first, and most challenging year. From there, earning is between $160,000 to $250,000 annually.
Acquiring licenses and restrictions
In Canada, licensing requirements will be dependent on the services that your landscaping business offers. Unique licenses are, for example, necessary to use certain chemicals, or to import exotic plants. Further, each province will have different demands across all levels of the government. Some municipalities require a license for snow plowing or accessing certain sidewalks.
Due to Covid19, businesses should be mindful of changing restrictions. In most provinces, masks are required indoors and mandatory vaccinations are becoming more regular.
Registering your business
Before you can register your landscape business online, you will need to determine the business structure. The options are Sole proprietorship, one owner, Partnership, between two or more owners, or Corporation, which require gross revenues exceeding $1 million.
You will also need to provide the name of the business, main office location and what province or territory you wish to work in. Every business will receive a unique business number to access benefits, contacting the government, pension and more.
Rake in clients with amazing marketing techniques. The more niche, the better.
- Use social media and post regularly
- A website is essential. 92% of business owners say having a website is key for digital marketing. A blog can generate more traffic to your website
- Ensure your business is registered on Google, Yelp, Houzz and other sites.
- Network at farmer’s markets
- Hang flyers at community hubs
- Create a client referral system with discounts
- Network at garden and lawn care events
- Run ads on Google and Facebook
- Email newsletters and campaigns
- Ad plaques in customers gardens/yards
Top talent will want a job that allows for growth, longevity and a salary and benefits. Entrepreneurs should get creative when advertising landscaping roles by joining industry associations, networking at universities and high schools, and promoting online across social media and job boards.
To keep staff energized and happy, proactiveness matters! This means ensuring onboarding is sufficient, continued education and training days, upscaling of skills, focus on promotion and compensate fairly with attractive benefits.
Adequate equipment will make everyone’s job easier, reduce overhead costs and keep project times consistent for clients.
- Vehicles: Reliable trucks with heavy-duty flatbeds and at least one lockable toolbox per truck. Many companies will have a dumping mechanism for ease of loading. Estimated cost: $27,00 - $36,500.
- Utility trailers: Necessary for taking your equipment to and from. Standard trailers start at $800 each.
- Storage units: You could use secure personal garages, carports or outdoors sheds. However, this is not always an option. For equipment storage units, they will be priced by size. You can expect to pay $200/month.
- “Small” landscaping tools: Lawnmowers, snow removal tools, sprayers, trimmers, blowers, shovels, spades, hoes, hoses, pruners, shears and more.
- Safety materials and employee uniforms
- "Large" landscaping tools: Items you could consider renting are “large” tools like earthmoving machinery, skidders, tractors, stump cutters, etc.
Maintaining your office
As a landscaping company, your team will mostly be out of the office, so you may start with a home office, with team meetings online or on sight. However, there may come a time for an office hub and with that, considerations to maintain it, like:
- Health and Safety
- Building insurance
- Building maintenance
- Employee comfort
Whether it’s to retire, transition, or pursue another business venture, it is never too soon to prepare your landscaping business for sale. Consider these factors, or read through our guide on selling a business:
- Keep records accurate and up to date: buyers won’t pay for unprovable earnings.
- Who do you envision buying the business? Family, an employee, or someone external?
- The value of the business is based on assets, and revenue of three years inclusive of risk analysis. It will consider factors like infrastructure, diverse customers, stability, and reputation.
- Input from your accountant, banker, lawyer is helpful, especially when it comes to a non-negotiable for your business sale.