How to Start with a Landscape Designing Business
Description of Job
• Change a landscape’s appearance using trees, shrubbery, and/or flowering plants.
• Maintain a client’s garden and plantings.
Need and Demand for A Landscape Designer
Beautifully planted and maintained properties with flourishing shrubs, artfully placed flowers in vibrant bloom, and handsome rolling lawns do not happen by chance.
A great deal of work goes into designing, planting, and maintaining a stand- alone garden or plantings around a house. Unless you were born with a green thumb or have developed one through years of practice, it may make sense to hire a professional landscape designer.
Challenges for this Business
You’ll need an artist’s eye and a gardener’s knowledge of plants, trees, and con- ditions. What kind of plants grow best in your area? How long is the growing sea- son, and what are the extremes of heat and cold, drought and rain? Is the soil in your area too sandy, or does it have a significant amount of clay or loam? How much mulch do you need to use?
How much sunlight does a particular area receive, and what is the exposure of the plot of land you will be working on?
Take the time to meet with your clients and make sure they understand your proposal and its costs. Make certain you are aware of the boundaries of your client’s property; if you put a tree on a neighbor’s property you may be opening yourself to liability or a financial loss.
What You Need To Know
You need unimproved or underimproved land and clients who are willing to pay to have their property professionally landscaped. The best area for this sort of work is likely to be suburbs.
Look for areas with new subdivisions and other recent construction.
Make use of books, magazines, and the Internet to research landscaping schemes and learn as much as you can about plants that thrive in your area.
You will be selling your services to plan and implement changes to the land- scape; you can also sell your time to maintain the health and attractiveness of plants you have put in place.
How to get Started with A Landscape Designing Business
You can gain hands-on experience by working as a helper for a gardener or land- scaping company. Some large home supply stores and garden centers offer classes on planting and landscaping.
Post flyers and ads at community centers, in retail stores, and on bulletin boards. Place ads in newspapers and shopping guides.
Make contact with area greenhouses and nurseries, contractors, and real estate agents; ask them to refer business to you and offer them a bonus or com- mission for doing so. Ask friends, acquaintances, and satisfied customers to rec- ommend your services, offering them a bonus or discount on future work.
This job can be operated in conjunction with a lawn mowing service (covered earlier in this chapter) or separately. If you will not be offering lawn care, make contact with a company that provides this service and seek a reciprocal agree- ment whereby they will refer landscaping jobs to you and you will recommend them for their services.
Upfront Expenses for This Business
You will need your own tools for planting and maintenance, including shovels, trowels, shears, pruners, and weeders. You will be able to rent major pieces of equipment such as earth movers and power shovels, or hire a subcontractor for such work.
You will need a vehicle large enough to carry your equipment. Most nurseries and plant suppliers will deliver trees and shrubs to your work site.
Some landscapers use computer programs to draw plans that show how plants and shrubs will be placed on the property.
How Much to Charge For This Service
Most of this sort of work is billed on an hourly basis, plus the cost of any plants and other expenses. You can offer some fixed prices for simple jobs such as creating a flower bed or planting a bush.