How to Start and Run a Landscape and Garden Maintenance Business
Own your business, own your job, own your life.
Statistics show that nine out of every ten new businesses fail. Most of these businesses
fail within the first year. The rest don't make it past their third anniversary. Given
such dismal odds why would you want to start a landscaping or interiorscaping business?
First of all because the odds are better than you think. Landscaping and interiorscaping
are service businesses. A service business is the most easy business to start and be
successful. The "statistics" usually do not include small service businesses. So, one
would hope, your odds are better than you think.
There are other reasons that make starting a service business easier than others. You
can start out with low capital investment. You can run your business with low overhead.
If you manage your business properly, slow periods will not cause financial hardship.
The reason for most business failures is that they cannot survive slow periods or cash
crunches. Other types of businesses have large overheads that require a constant influx
of money. Such expenses as employees, rent, loan payments, etc. You can design your
business to survive these problems.
These guidelines for starting your own service business are for those who have little
or no money to start with. If you have plenty of money (start-up capital) than you can
follow these guidelines much easier than the rest of us. So before we get started,
remember we are assuming that you have no start-up capital, but are willing to work hard
and take a few risks.
First you need to know what you are doing in your new field. A little business knowledge
would not hurt either. But you probably do not have time to go back to school. Also, I would
imagine you are interested in getting started right away. So, visit your local book store.
If you know nothing about gardening and landscaping pick up a couple of books that cover
the basics. A good book for everyone is Sunset's Western Garden Book. Not only
does it cover all the basics and more, it also has a complete encyclopedia of plants,
trees, shrubs, and flowers. Each description tells you what the plant is, how to plant
it, care for it, requirements, etc.
If you lack a business background buy some good books on business basics. There are many
books on running a small business. Remember, most gardeners, landscapers, or
interiorscapers that fail do so, not because they did not know their trade, but because
they did not understand how to manage their business. In fact, it is almost more
important to understand good business techniques than it is to know about plants.
After you have purchased your small library set aside at least one hour a day (morning,
evening, lunch-hour, anytime) to study them. Give yourself as much time as you can to
read and study. Be sure to divide your time equally between your business and trade books.
Now, I presume you are currently working at another job to support yourself and possibly
a family. Rule Number One: DO NOT QUIT YOUR JOB! Start your business part-time. You need
your income to survive on while you build your new business. Your new business will take
time to develop to the point where it will support you.
If you have debts (credit cards, auto loans, etc.) try to get them paid off or paid down
as much as possible before you start your new business. There will be rough times ahead
and you want the decks cleared for heavy weather. In other words, when cash gets tight
you do not want to lose your car or be hauled into court.