No one starts a business to be mediocre. Most people strive for profitability and a solid reputation, but it isn’t something that comes overnight or without hard work and dedication. Building and expanding a landscaping business isn’t an easy task, but knowing the best practices to follow when growing a landscaping business reduces the growing pains.
Establish impressive branding
A company’s brand is an intangible yet powerful thing. Your brand is how customers perceive the company. It’s the gut feeling generated when a customer sees your business logo or hears the company name mentioned and can be good or bad. So creating positive brand awareness is highly important when growing a landscaping business.
Many businesses think branding is just a memorable name and a great-looking logo. While these are essential aspects of branding, there is much more involved.
After creating an eye-catching logo, it has to be kept in top-notch display. Ensure anything associated with your business or displaying your logo — equipment, fleet trucks, and employees — appears pristine and clean. Customers will not hire a landscaping company with a fleet in disrepair or unkempt workers.
Be aware of operating costs
Numbers aren’t easy to sort through, and very few people like taking a hard look at business expenses. To grow your business, it’s crucial to fully understand all of its operating costs, ensuring rates equate to profit. This is especially true in the service industry where profitability is connected to the company’s workforce and labor hours.
Delegate tasks or projects
When starting, landscaping business owners often try to wear too many hats, doing all the work themselves. Instead, focus on the areas you excel in and delegate tasks you aren’t suited for. Spreading yourself too thin or trying to manage projects outside of your wheelhouse only ends up hurting the business in the long run.
This may mean hiring someone to work on branding and marketing if you are weak in that area. Outsource payroll to a third party, or bring on an employee to do it within the company. Dividing work up between employees or departments allows you to focus on meeting client needs.
Take on projects appropriately sized for your landscaping business
Many landscaping business owners feel the need to take on the biggest projects they possibly can to demonstrate the company’s capabilities, often overlooking the full project scope. In this case, bigger isn’t always better and can come back to bite you. Taking on a project too big for your company (and employees) to successfully complete often backfires.
To build a good reputation, focus on completing smaller jobs as well as possible. Quality work leads to positive customer reviews and recommendations. Backing out on projects or poorly completing them only harms the image of your business.
Enhance your digital marketing presence
With the popularity of the internet, and cell phone users accessing digital content constantly throughout the day, having a prominent digital marketing campaign is key. Digital marketing exposes your landscaping business to a much wider audience at a significantly smaller out of pocket cost. This can be done through paid online ads or active social media accounts.
Improve risk management
Running a landscaping business doesn’t come without risk; there is always the inherent possibility that unexpected events can cause the business to close or cost it money. With employees working with equipment, the chance of risk is heightened. Risk management — the process of identifying potential business risks and preparing for them — helps prepare the business for uncertainty.
A well-thought-out risk management plan considers various potential risks to your business, both good and bad, and establishes procedures to minimize the impact if risks occur. Understanding and controlling risks also helps you be confident in future business decisions.
Set up beneficial collaborating partnerships
The truth is, landscaping businesses cannot go at it alone. To succeed, you need partnerships with financial institutions, suppliers, and equipment dealers, to name a few. It isn’t uncommon for new businesses to choose collaborators that initially appear to be a good fit, but are found to not work well as the business grows.
While no one likes to dissolve partnerships, if you find yourself working with an entity that isn’t knowledgeable or responsible or can’t meet your requirements, you need to look for a new partner.
Treat employees fairly
Equally as important as bringing in and retaining customers is keeping your employees. They represent the company on every job they work and can make or break your growing landscaping business. When treated fairly, employees feel valued and work harder, helping the business succeed; disgruntled employees and shoddy work may tarnish the business’ reputation or cost you clients.
Protect yourself and your landscaping business
Setting up a Limited Liability Company (LLC) is a safeguard, protecting the business owner’s personal assets against liability for company debt. The process takes more effort than establishing a Sole Proprietorship, but much less than a corporation. In most cases, registration as an LLC protects your personal assets in the event of a lawsuit against the business.
It’s essential to also protect all aspects of your business as you take on more clients and hire more employees. Having the following small business insurance covers not only your business but the employees as well. In the event wrongdoing is alleged, or an accident happens, proper protection may save your landscaping business significant expenses.
- General liability provides coverage if you, your employees, or services cause bodily or property damage to a third party.
- Professional liability offers protection against customers’ claims services were improperly rendered.
- Commercial auto protects fleet vehicles in the event of damage or collision.
- Worker’s compensation provides wage replacement and medical benefits to employees injured while working.
- Employment practices liability protects the business if employees claim their rights have been violated during employment (discrimination, sexual harassment, wrongful termination, etc.).
Providing services for customers always leaves you vulnerable to claims that damage was incurred to the party’s property, or services weren’t properly completed. Clearly written, detailed contracts are a beneficial way to establish the terms and conditions of the services your landscaping business provides and demonstrates agreement by both parties involved.
A well-written contract includes a detailed description of the service(s) provided, when such services are carried out (i.e., how often the grass is mowed), payment structure, and performance guarantees.
Managing your landscaping equipment is essential to keeping your lawn care business operational. Read more in LandPro’s The Ultimate Guide to Landscaping Equipment Management.