What Equipment Do You Need to Start a Landscaping Business?

A worker is riding a John Deere Z915E ZTrak Mower to mow the lawn

posted on Friday, February 3, 2023 in News

You may have done this as a kid or a teenager over the summer: you took a gasoline-fueled lawn mower and a pair of garden shears and went knocking on doors. You hired yourself out as the neighborhood grass cutter and shrub trimmer. Word of your dependable and impressive service got around. Before you knew it, you had a handful of clients and steady work throughout the season. Then you expanded your business to include leaf raking and disposal. And once the snow began falling, you invested in a good shovel and switched to shoveling snow off stairs and walkways. You may have got a few more snow removal clients who ended up being your summer lawn care clients. One of the tips for running your own landscape business: start small. Start with small jobs and work with what you have. Less money out means more money in your pocket. 

What do I need to start a landscaping business?

Starting a landscaping business is like starting the one you began as a youngster; you only need a few good tools and steady clients. That is the groundwork for creating a successful landscaping business. Of course, there is more to it than that; first, grab a notebook and a pencil and create a plan. Ask yourself these questions: What kind of landscaping services will I offer? This will determine which types of tools and equipment for landscaping business you will need. Lawn care, shrubbery trimming, fertilizing – all these services require various tools and equipment. We will get to that. 

Will I need to hire people? Who is my target audience? What tools do I need to start a landscaping business? Establishing a goal, knowing your budget to begin this endeavor, accruing clientele, and acquiring the right equipment are all equally important factors in starting a landscaping business. We’ll address those concerns shortly. 

How To Start a Landscaping Business

Here is a breakdown of how most successful landscaping businesses get their start, from creating the company and getting the word out, to choosing the right tools and equipment for the services you provide:

•    Write a business plan. 
Strategize. What’s your business goal? What neighborhoods do you want to service? Will you start with residential and incorporate commercial landscaping down the road? Writing a business outline will keep you focused on your goals.
•    Manage your bottom line. 
You want to make money landscaping. Write estimates for your jobs, like mowing front and back lawns, hedge trimming, edging, etc. Do you have a partner? Figure out payroll and write down how much you want to make and what you can pay your employees. It’s okay to start small and grow from there.
•    Market to attract customers. 
Social media platforms that target communities and neighborhoods are the way to go for landscaping. 
Apps like Nextdoor offer small businesses the opportunity to reach an audience. People are always looking for landscapers, plumbers, etc. Put aside advertising money for monthly ads.  
Social media is also a great way to cultivate referrals. When creating a website, ask your clients for written testimonials you can share online. 
•    Build a solid team. 
Hire a couple of hardworking people who are as excited as you are about working outdoors and beautifying people’s property. Offer on-the-job training –tools come with instructions, so safety and ability are essential.
•    Invest in good tools. 
This should be in all caps; it is that important. Once you have your mission statement written out and you’ve outlined a financial and hiring plan, your tools of the trade will be your most important investment. Be sure to purchase reliable equipment for your landscaping business. Pick those with longevity, so you aren’t spending money on tool repair. Of course, equipment will wear out over the years, but you want to start your business by putting your best foot forward with reliable tools. 

Before we get into a landscaping equipment list, think about whether you are better off purchasing a piece of equipment or  borrowing the piece from someone reliable. Whether you have $1,000.00 or $5,000.00 to spend on this new endeavor, explore the list we’ve created to help you understand what is essential and what you can wait on. Here is a list of top equipment needed for starting a landscaping business:

•    Vehicles
If it fits in your budget, getting a reliable, sturdy vehicle to get you to your clientele with your equipment is essential. A flatbed truck with a dumping mechanism for depositing soil or mulch is handy. Your truck or van will act as a workhorse, getting scratched and dinged up easily. 
•    Equipment Trailer
If a new van or truck is not in your budget, hitch a sturdy trailer to the back of your car to carry your equipment.
•    Lawn Mower
Walk-behind or ride-on, a lawn mower is essential to your landscaping business, so invest wisely. Start smart with a reliable mower. Prices vary, so you can get a good one without breaking the bank.
•    Safety Equipment
Protect yourself with safety goggles, ear plugs or ear coverings, heavy-duty gloves, steel-toed boots, and long sleeves to protect against flying debris and thorn bushes. 
•    Hand Tools
Shovels, rakes, and pruners are all reliable essential hand tools that can easily be obtained when looking for sales. Remember to choose sturdy, reliable equipment for your landscaping business.

•    Trimmers/Weed Whackers
These tools are part of your lawn mowing arsenal, as they reach where mowers cannot, like around light posts or along fences.
•    Edger
A suitable edger can make the difference between a good lawn mowing job and a great one because an edger creates a distinct, pristine border and cuts through thick grass and roots.
•    Hedge Trimmer
When you add shrub and hedge trimming to your landscaping services, think about comfort and portability because you will carry the trimmers while you work.
•    Blower
A blower is handy for cleaning up leaves, grass, and entranceways of homes and businesses. More convenient and timesaving than sweeping.
•    Spreader
Fertilizer, weed control application, seeder – a spreader is a great attachment for your mower. Other mower attachments to eventually add to your landscaping business equipment list: an aerator and a mulcher
•    Sprayer
A sprayer delivers a more precise application of things like fertilizer, weed control, and pesticides for residential or commercial spaces.
•    Buckets and Lawn Bags
Heavy-duty plastic buckets come in handy for carrying clippings or refuse. Metal buckets will rust, so avoid those. Sturdy plastic lawn bags for clippings or paper lawn bags for areas that recycle lawn clippings are ideal. Look into community recycling rules.

Other things to consider would be license, insurance, and storage space for equipment, like a garage or shed. Remember, your equipment is one of many tools you possess; your business plan, determination and growing experience in landscaping are all critical tools to keep sharp and reliable. 

Lifescape coach Monique Allen said, “You can start a landscape business on a shoestring budget, but you can’t grow one that way!” With sacrifice, hard work and keeping a reliable and realistic plan in mind – and on paper – you can grow your business. The physical, mental, and financial investment may be high, but so must your determination. 

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