Top 10 Mistakes to Avoid When Starting a Landscaping Business

September 15, 2022
Time to Read: 
11 minutes

Starting a landscaping business is an excellent and potentially profitable career choice. Many owners start a landscaping company because they love gardening, plants, working outdoors and being at one with nature. So, when you create a landscaping business, you hope to combine business with pleasure. 

But the landscaping industry is highly competitive, and there are several pitfalls to avoid along the way if you want to be successful. Common mistakes new landscaping businesses make range from underpricing services, buying cheap equipment, and ignoring residential landscape laws. 

Growing a new successful business requires learning from your mistakes. However, it’s even better to learn from other professional gardeners’ blunders and avoid making them yourself.

So, before you jump into the deep end and power up your lawn mower, here are the top 11 mistakes new landscapers often make. Hopefully, they won’t happen to you.

10 Costly Mistakes to Avoid When Starting a Landscaping Business

When starting a landscaping business, there are some things that you should avoid doing. In many cases, the mistakes are minor and can help you develop as a professional landscaper. However, other serious mistakes can cost you money, time, and even your business. 

Here are ten potential pitfalls to avoid when starting a landscaping business.

1. Overspending on equipment

Many lawn care business startups make a common pitfall — purchasing too much equipment. This could range from a fancy, top-of-the-range utility van to the latest lawn mower technology. The problem is that too much expensive equipment at the beginning makes your startup costs soar. And it will take longer to break even.

The best solution is to invest in essential equipment your customers need. Even consider buying good-quality second-hand equipment. Rent other big-ticket items on a need-to-use basis. Then, once you’ve built up a stable client base and secured regular income, you can start investing in new equipment.

2. Pricing your services incorrectly

Charging too little for your services is a common mistake landscaping startups make. You may not yet realize the true value of your services. And you may want to attract new business with low prices. So, the fear of missing the job causes you to make the mistake of underpricing your work.

Why is underpricing landscaping services a rookie’s mistake? First, your customers will have an expectation that this is your regular rate. And you may struggle to increase your rates down the road. Also, not all customers are attracted to cheap rates. Homeowners are more interested in getting a good, professional, and dependable service, which they are willing to pay a premium for.

How can you avoid this classic beginner’s mistake? Make a one-time introductory offer to attract potential customers, and after that charge your standard going rate. Always ensure you do a professional and quality job to provide an incredible customer experience.

3. Having unrealistic expectations 

Starting a landscape business requires having a positive attitude and solid goals. However, don’t make the mistake of letting your expectations run wild. It’s good to remember there are only 24 hours in the day. So, having a plan of mowing 100 lawns a week isn’t going to work.

It’s a good idea to work out a realistic plan for what you expect from your first year. For example, this plan could include the number of customers you anticipate getting and the type of work it’s realistic to expect. 

4. Buying cheap equipment

A common gardening mistake professional startups make is buying inexpensive equipment. For example, a cheap lawn mower may look like a bargain. However, low-cost equipment breaks down quickly. This will cost you money to repair it, not including the lost revenue when you can’t work. 

Of course, you don’t want to make the number one mistake of overspending on equipment. It’s typically best to buy trusted, well-known brands with a reputation for quality. Additionally, make sure the equipment is for professional, heavy-duty use. 

A word of warning about second-hand equipment. Old, second-hand equipment can be just as problematic as cheap, poor-quality items. Therefore, ensure the lawn mower or other gardening equipment isn’t at the end of its life. Remember, you can always rent pricier equipment until you have the cash flow to justify an outright purchase. 

5. Overpromising and under delivering

Some landscape contractors make the mistake of overpromising on their services. Of course, you must market your services well and stand out from the competition. At the same time however, you must always ensure you can deliver on what you’ve promised. 

Unfortunately, promising too much puts you at risk of losing clients because they feel your marketing pitch misled them. In the end, your reputation and credibility suffer.  

It’s a better plan to underpromise and overdeliver. So, focus on the services you are good at, and don’t disappoint customers by taking on jobs outside your skill set. 

6. Not using resources or technology to organize your business

As a new landscaping business owner, you know it’s a hands-on industry. But it would be a blunder to assume that technology doesn’t have a role to play in streamlining your business. If you use the right digital tools, you will quickly become a successful landscaping service provider in your area. 

Here are a few electronic tools of the trade that professional landscape companies use: 

  • Landscape management software
  • All-in-one software that schedules landscaping tasks, sends estimates, prepares invoices, and tracks customer history
  • Automated marketing tools
  • Collaboration with employees
  • Website management
  • Efficient routing systems and route planning

For example, VIIZR is an app designed to assist landscaping contractors in streamlining all their business processes. The app makes it easy to schedule jobs, prepare work orders, send professional-looking estimates, and invoice customers. Software automation frees up valuable time so you can concentrate on your core business. 

7. Not realizing the importance of solid marketing

When starting a landscaping business, avoid the mistake of forgetting about marketing. The good news is that marketing doesn’t have to be expensive. And many free tools are available. At the very least, you should have a professional-looking website. 

However, it’s worth collecting customer email addresses to start a mailing list. This can be a vital medium to communicate with your clients. With an email marketing campaign, you can send personal emails with pictures of actual landscaping projects and helpful seasonal advice. 

In addition, you can build up a following on social media to communicate with customers. But don’t ignore the importance of collecting and publishing reviews and testimonials. In this respect, Facebook, Yelp, and a Google Business profile are invaluable free tools to use. 

8. Forgetting to cultivate referrals

It would be a mistake to underestimate the power of word-of-mouth marketing when starting a landscaping business. While the quality of your work is an excellent indicator of your expertise and skill set, you’ll get more customers through referrals than a portfolio. Studies show that people naturally mistrust advertising but trust recommendations and referrals from friends and family.

When starting a landscaping business, the best way to get referrals is by asking satisfied customers to post reviews on Facebook or Google. You can also include a link to your review profile on a business card or invoice

9. Forgetting About Maintenance

Never underestimate the need to maintain your landscaping equipment. It can be tempting to avoid paying for extended warranties or equipment maintenance due to initial cash flow issues. However, every successful landscaping business takes equipment upkeep seriously. Maintenance minimizes the risk of equipment breaking down, saving you time and money

Ideally, plan for time during the off-season to service power tools, lawnmowers, and your utility truck. 

But what if a vital piece of equipment breaks during the busy season? In this case, you should consider the pros and cons of fixing it yourself or taking it to a service shop. 

So, ask yourself: Will I lose money fixing this myself instead of working? Do I have the skills and tools to repair a broken lawnmower as fast as a mechanic?  

10. Ignoring safety and local landscaping regulations

If you’re starting a new landscaping business, you’ll need to stay informed of the local laws and regulations regarding yard work. 

For example, some states require landscapers to have the appropriate business license. Also, you may need specific training to operate certain types of gas-powered tools or machinery. And services like pest control may require you to be licensed in the state to handle certain poisons.

There are also noise ordinances to consider. For example, some municipalities in California have banned the use of leaf blowers, trimmers, or other noisy gas-powered equipment after 6 p.m. on workdays and 5 p.m. on Saturdays. 

In addition, you may also have to obtain personal liability insurance if you accidentally injure a person or damage property when working. 

Use VIIZR to Avoid Common Mistakes When Starting a Landscape Business

Investing in great tools to start a landscaping business requires more than a lawnmower, weed whacker, and other gardening tools. You also need a robust set of tools to manage your work. 

VIIZR is software to help service businesses like yours streamline operations. It simplifies everything connected with a landscaping business to keep all your tasks in one place. With VIIZR, you can ensure you stay efficient and organized. And with a handy job dashboard, you can see everything at a glance. 

Why not try VIIZR for free to see how this valuable tool can give you complete control over your new business. 

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