Landscaper

Startup Costs: Under $2,000
Part Time: Can be operated part-time.
Franchises Available? Yes
Online Operation? No

Turn your green thumb into actual green! The surge in working from home has led to a new focus on beautifying the interiors and exteriors of our homes, and with that, the landscaping industry has seen steady growth over the past few years. From lawn mowing to leaf collection to planting, there is no shortage of earning possibilities for landscapers of all skill and certification levels.

How much money can you make with a landscaping business?

According to a study from the National Association of Landscape Professionals, participants had a median of 325 customers and generated $16,413 per customer. The typical company reported a growth increase of 15.7 percent, and the most profitable companies grew by 16.0 percent.

What are the startup costs?

"Gardening tools are pretty basic. A work vehicle. Basic carpentry, masonry and horticulture tools. Honestly, you could start up for $5,000" — Spike Appel, whose "urban gardening" company Passionate Produce designs, builds and maintains urban gardens in North Brooklyn, N.Y. 

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What kind of experience do you need to have?

"A real knowledge of plant and horticulture and know-how of how construction is done. I've done this 15 years. I started in the high-end, rooftop garden sphere. I'm always reading and trying to expand my knowledge about the science, about pest managment; but there's nothing like first-hand experience" — Spike Appel

What's the most important thing to know about this business?

"It's going to take a lot of work and dedication" — Spike Appel

Related: Get the No.1 Guide to Starting Your Own Business

 

The Market

Your customers will be homeowners and businesses that want their properties beautified and kept looking good. Target commercial types like apartment and condominium complexes, hotels and motels, hospitals, large and small businesses and office parks, and government institutions. Architects, real estate developers and contractors building new homes or small tracts also make good customers. Nab residential customers by going door-to-door with fliers or door hangers. (Don't place them in mailboxes--the U.S. Postal Service gets very upset about this.) Place ads in your local newspaper and in your neighborhood Yellow Pages. For small-business commercial customers and architects, developers and contractors, go on-site to hand-deliver fliers or brochures and explain your services. You may not get any takers the first time you visit, but don't get discouraged. A repeat visit or two can often seal a deal. A direct-mail campaign of a brochure will work better for large corporations; follow up with a phone call. You can also target real estate agents with noncurb-appealing sale or rental properties on their books. Take a Polaroid of the place, then give it to the realtor with suggestions of how you can spruce it up.

Needed Equipment

You'll need a power mower, edger, leaf blower, seed and fertilizer spreader and sprayer, an assortment of shovels and rakes, and a gasoline can for on-the-job refills (take care to use an approved container and follow safe storage and usage practices). You'll also want a pickup truck and perhaps a small trailer to carry it all in.

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