Tips for Starting a Landscape Business
There are plenty of people who are good gardeners or landscapers, and always have lots of work, but still never seem to make much money. There are others who run seemingly smaller businesses, doing less work, but who make much more profit.
"The important thing is not the size of your contract, but the amount that you keep at the end of the job!"
There are two main types of landscaping services which you might consider. One is to design, the other to build or construct. Some landscapers do both, others might even specialise in just one aspect or style of design or of construction.
Some of the options for specialisation are:
- Small or Courtyard Gardens
- Formal Gardens
- Natural Gardens
- Water Gardens
- Vertical or Roof Gardens
- Hydroponic Gardens
- Permaculture Designs
- Budget Price Gardens
Some Designers or contractors distinguish their service by concentrating on a particular type of feature, or a particular type of plant. Options might be:
- Rose Gardens
- Indigenous Plants
- Water Gardens
- Timber structures like gazebos or pergolas
- Paved areas.
If you can develop a particularly unique skill or feature to offer clients, you may be able to create a very strong niche market. Statuary and Trompe L'Oeil (ie. Trick of the eye murals), are just two such features. I have known landscapers to be in high demand, because when they do a job, the client can get a "work of art" such as this, as part of the package.
A Garden Design Service can be offered in the following ways....
a/ A Consultation Only
Visit, give verbal advice, & no more
b/ A concept plan
A plan drawn to scale, but lacking detail -only providing a broad concept
c/ Garden Design
A plan drawn to detail, showing planting details, specifying other features & components but not specifying the construction detail of hard landscaping (eg. The plan may indicate the location of a wall and say it is to be built with stone, but it won't specify foundations, drainage etc to be incorporated into the wall)
d/ Full Landscape Plans and Specifications
These contain full and fine detail, including construction details of structures (eg. A plan of how to build a wall showing the drainage, foundations etc)
THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN HARD & SOFT LANDSCAPING
Hard Landscaping refers to things such as walls, paths, pergolas, rock work, concrete pond construction, etc. Soft Landscaping involves the lawns and plants.
STARTING A GARDEN DESIGN SERVICE
Designing a garden takes artistic flair combined with good knowledge of available materials and a practical, systematic approach. These skills are something that need to be learnt properly if you are to succeed in applying them in a business.
Often people develop a wonderful home garden for themselves, and are subsequently encouraged by friends to "go into landscaping". If this describes you, then you probably have potential to become a successful landscaper; but you will still need at least some basic training. Running a garden design business, making money out of it, and keeping customers satisfied, is different to developing a couple of home gardens that satisfy yourself and your friends.
HINTS WHEN YOU START
- Only take on small jobs at first (e.g. courtyards or parts of larger gardens).
- Take photos of jobs you do, to show clients in the future.
- Collect books and magazines with photos of gardens which you can discuss with clients. (Only show them things that you are confident about designing and/or building)
- As you do designs, make copies for yourself, and put together a folio of plans that you can show potential clients.
Learn More and Prepare for Running a Landscape Business
HOW TO LEARN MORE
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