And yet, sometimes really good landscapers struggle with the business side of things because they don’t make the connection that their organization also requires planning, even if it’s a bit different than planning a landscape design.
Articulating Your Vision for Your Landscaping Business is Powerful
It’s probably best to sit down and create a written business plan. In the spirit of helping you get started, here are a few questions to ask yourself about your landscaping business.
1. Where Do You Want to End Up?
It’s a good idea to set out with the destination in mind. Along the way, many things will change, and sometimes even your final destination changes, but if you don’t have a solid goal for where your landscaping business is headed, you’ll either not get very far or you’ll end up somewhere you don’t really want to be. Here are two closely related examples of possible destinations or end goals, for your business:
- Niche Markets: You can’t be all things to all customers, at least not past a certain stage in your business. For example, you could focus on seniors as your intended customer base. As Entrepreneur Magazine points out, you’ll find a lot of potential targeting, “. . . the 77 million aging baby boomers, many of whom are affluent homeowners. They recognize the value of a well-kept lawn and beautifully designed and landscaped yard, but they often don’t have the time or the inclination to do the maintenance themselves.” Some also have physical ailments that keep them from caring for their yard.
- Niche Services: Defining a specialty service can inform what type of landscaping equipment to invest in and who your first hires are. In other words, specializing helps you focus on those tasks you love doing, do efficiently, and for the highest profit. For example, you might want to specialize in lawn maintenance, sod installation, landscape design, pest management, weeding, fertilization, and so on.
2. How Do You Want to Get There?
There are usually multiple ways to accomplish the same goal or milestone. The question then becomes, which way has the most advantages or provides the best experience?
Understanding your personal preferences, or those of your core team, is a really important thing for keeping morale and motivation on track!
It can mean using different tools, methods, or approaches. For example, if your team values life balance, you’ll probably want to invest in time-saving tools and build your business around time-saving technologies. That probably means using a CRM and project management tool on mobile devices, when they’re out in the field.
3. It’s Not All About the Landscapes . . .
If you’re in this business, you probably love being outdoors and it’s one of the reasons you’ve been as successful as you have to this point. But when it comes to owning a business, you’re taking on in-office responsibilities. Starting and running a landscaping business means you’ll probably do less landscaping on a day-to-day basis.
Maybe you like how that sounds and maybe you don’t, but it’s an important thing to be clear about. Even if you have a team taking care of office tasks for you, you’ll still need to make sure you have the right systems and tools in place, and that everyone knows what the best practices are.
This is an essential mindset: that getting your workflows and systems right, and leveraging the right tools so everyone follows through on them, is core to your landscaping business success.
Long-term Growth Doesn’t Just Happen
In addition to the tips mentioned above, keep this in mind: sometimes when landscaping business owners first start out, it can be easy to look at more established businesses and wish for the day when they can kick back and let things “just happen” from their hard work.
While a few people may experience unusual levels of success due to different factors, the reality is, this won’t be the case for most of us. Most business owners in the landscaping industry survive and thrive based on a clear strategy, the right processes and tools, and many years of consistent follow-through.
You owe it to yourself to try out a tool that combines both project management and CRM (customer relationship management) features that can make all that happen for your landscaping business.