One of the most satisfying side businesses that most people never consider is among the few that can easily turn into a very lucrative venture in a relatively short time. For those who are willing to put a bit of energy and some hard work into landscaping services, you might be interested in how this side business can be life-changing.
What Exactly Is A Landscaper?
Most people think this is a low-level lawn moving or bush trimming service, yet you would be surprised at how this profession has been viewed over the years. You average gardener often does the back-breaking work of gardening duties which is only one part of the duties that a landscaper will oversee and be responsible for. A landscaper is not only responsible for helping to design a garden but also maintains and often modifies them throughout the year.
Essentially, a landscaper is responsible for anything outside that is growing and needs maintaining and nourishment. This included water irrigation, fertilization, and maintenance through the help of a crew. You work directly with the owner of a home or property to help design and create a decorative environment that can be enjoyed visually and physically. In other words, you also need to have a sense of artistic garden Zen. If you don’t like the idea of being responsible for someone’s landscaping, another popular self-startup business model is “cleanup and haul away” so you can look more into this where you can earn extra cash if you have a truck/trailer by removing people’s unwanted backyard clutter.
Now obviously, to become a landscaper, you need to understand the basics of landscaping and some experience and education to back this up. This is what you’re going to learn more about in this article since most people might not have any idea where to start. Thankfully, there is no formal education that is needed, except for some helpful tips that are essential to know.
How to Start a Landscaping Side Business
The bare minimum is to have a high school graduate certificate but it’s always a plus to have any kind of college or university degree too. Most people who enter this field have a background in gardening or horticulture. Some go even further to include landscape architecture or landscape design, yet any degree with interior landscaping is helpful too. As long as there is some background in these fields, this is very helpful.
What If I Don’t Have a Degree?
If you don’t have any of these degrees, there are still many options for getting something on paper that is just as easy to obtain. Trade schools, night schools, and even online courses also might appeal to you as a way to obtain training that can provide you with a certificate in landscaping. Of course, you can apply to an apprenticeship opportunity from local nurseries and landscaping companies to learn hands-on and even on-the-job learning in most cases.
After this, you’ll need to have some good references that give you further credit with certifications.
These certificates are easy to apply for when you check the (NALP), the National Association of Landscaping Professionals. This will allow you to have certification in lawn care, water-based systems, and also certified grounds technician certificates. These courses often take 6-10 weeks to earn a certificate of your choice.
What also is a big plus is having the ability to provide a legal receipt of your work, so being self-employed of having a small business is recommended. This is essential for getting all of your liability and insurance is taken care of. If you hire a team, they can be hired as contractors which is helpful so you don’t have to deal with employee details, but you should sign them to a contract that details what their job duties should include.
How To Best Advertise Your Services
In this type of business, word of mouth often works best, but it doesn’t hurt to visit the Chamber of Commerce and other forms of small business mixers for getting your name out there. Business cards and flyers are very handy too and should have simple info on the prices you’re charging. You should also set up a simple website that provides price info and pictures of the services you can perform and past work you’ve done. If you don’t want to spend the time to setup a quick website, setting up a business Facebook page is a great way to look somewhat professional; you’ll then be able to run low-budget ad campaigns with Facebook to promote your services to local residences.
I always recommend people use the NextDoor app. It’s a great way to use your local community to help establish your side business. Neighbors are your best bet to land jobs right away and build your clientele. If you can use the app to gain your first five to ten clients, and each of your clients tell a few people about your services you can potentially have a dozen repeat customers in less than a month or two; moreover, if you’re serving local neighborhoods you can complete more jobs throughout the week as you’ll be saving time traveling to each job.
Compile your list of services to include what you are capable of but don’t over-reach with your skillset. Only when you have the right tools and equipment to provide these services will this become part of your regular service list. This includes equipment that helps showcase what tools of the trade you’re using for your work. It’s always essential to network with local companies and officials to help get your name out there.
This might include starting with advertising your services to local city hall officials and tending to their gardens for a while. This way you can build trust and a solid reputation and move to others who are higher up the business chain. With any luck, you can hear about upcoming opportunities that can be referred to you for landing a bigger landscaping job. It never hurts to keep your aspirations focused on building a great reference portfolio too.
This way, if you offer other services that you’re including on your list, these can be helpful to those who spread the word for you. It’s fine to start with local neighborhood projects, but the best side-projects always have better contacts with those who have the money that always needs landscaping services.