Elevate takeoffs for faster bids and increased project success for FREE. See Details Here.

PlanHub’s Q2 Research Reveals Many Opportunities. Register for the Webinar and Learn More

How to Start a Landscaping Business

Landscaping Man

Do you like to get your hands dirty in the soil? Do you enjoy working outside with plants and trees? Starting a landscaping business is a great way to do what you love and make money doing it. Before you get started, though, let’s look at the steps you need to take to start your landscaping business before exploring subcontractor bidding sites for work.

1. Decide what services you’ll provide

One of the first decisions you need to make is whether you will focus on residential or commercial properties. While the work itself is pretty much the same, where you look to find customers is different, and you don’t want to split your marketing efforts when you’re just starting out. Residential landscaping tends to be smaller in scope and size and is a great way to get started in the landscaping industry. Commercial landscaping projects tend to be larger and will require more workers and equipment.
Next, you’ll need to decide what types of lawn care service you will provide to the client. There are a wide variety of services that landscaping businesses can provide:

  • Lawn mowing and maintenance
  • Lawn landscape design and landscape architecture
  • Tree and shrub pruning and removal
  • Irrigation
  • Fertilizing
  • Planting sod and lawns
  • Planting flowers, trees, and bushes
  • Constructing decks, patios, and walkways

Every lawn service you choose to provide will influence the amount and types of landscaping tools and equipment you’ll need to purchase (which we’ll discuss in a bit). In addition, they may also determine whether you need to be licensed or not. For example, in Oregon, lawn mowing and maintenance companies do not need to be licensed with the state. However,  a landscaping service doing planting, irrigation, and design work needs to have a business license with the state Landscaping Contractors Board.

2. Legal stuff

When you are ready to begin your business, there are several things you need to do legally to set it up.
First, you must select a name for your lawn care company. In most cases, if you work under your personal name, you don’t have to file any paperwork with the state. But if you will be working under a business name other than your personal name, you’ll need to register with the Secretary of State or business registration office.
Next, you’ll decide what type of company to start. You can choose from sole proprietorship, S corporation, C corporation, limited liability company, or a partnership. It’s best to consult with an attorney or a CPA to determine the best structure for your business.
Once you’ve selected your business name and company type, you’ll need to apply for a federal tax ID number. You’ll use this number when applying for a bank account and when hiring employees. You apply for this number through the IRS website.
You’ll want to open a separate bank account for your business. Shop around for the best deal from local banks and credit unions. If you don’t find a good fit for your landscaping business plan, you can also search the internet for digital banks that have no brick-and-mortar locations. These digital banks often have more favorable terms than traditional brick-and-mortar institutions.
As a business owner, you’ll need to track your business finances separately from your personal finances. Business accounting software can help you keep your records straight. There are many free or low-cost options available online, and many come with features like payroll and credit card payment processing.
In some states, landscaping companies need to be licensed as construction contractors. If your company needs to be licensed, you’ll need to complete an application and provide proof of the necessary insurance and bonding. Some states require you to complete mandatory education before applying for your license.
Whether you need to be licensed or not, it pays to purchase business insurance for your contracting company. The two most popular types of coverage include business general liability and workers compensation. If you’re using a truck or other vehicle for your business, you’ll need commercial auto insurance. You may also want to purchase additional umbrella coverage for extra protection.

3. Purchase or rent equipment

While you can theoretically start a landscaping company with just a lawn mower, you’ll probably find that you need more equipment and tools to perform the landscaping job. You’ll also need a truck and trailer to haul all your equipment from job to job. How much you spend on this equipment depends on your initial budget for starting the company. Remember, you can always upgrade your equipment after you’ve started making money.
Choosing to rent or lease equipment is a great way to save money on startup expenses. As your small business grows, you can always transition to purchasing your equipment.
Here’s a list of potential equipment and tools you may want to invest in:

  • Truck and trailer
  • Push and riding lawnmowers
  • Trimmer
  • Edger
  • Leaf blower
  • Garden hose
  • Lawn bags
  • Rake
  • Spade
  • Shovel
  • Hoe
  • Shears/clippers
  • Saw
  • Personal protective equipment (gloves, earmuffs, face shield, etc.)

4. Marketing

When you are ready to begin offering landscaping services, you can start marketing and advertising your business. There are many ways to get the word out to potential customers.
These days an online presence is a requirement for most businesses. For a small fee,x you can purchase a website domain (the website address of your company), and there are free options for designing your site. You could also hire someone to create a website for you. Social media is a great way to spread the word about your company.
You can also use more traditional methods for marketing your company, including printing flyers and going door-to-door. These low-tech options are easy to implement and will make your company stand out from the rest.

5. Find jobs

If your new business offers commercial landscaping services, including irrigation systems and new plantings, you may want to offer your services to general contractors working on construction projects. There are a few special tools you can use to help you reach out to these contractors and find out about upcoming projects.
Construction project lead sites, like PlanHub, are a great way to discover projects looking for landscaping contractors. You can use the site’s robust search tool to look for the specific type of work you want to perform and find projects that include that work. You can also receive direct invitations to bid on specific projects from general contractors bidding the work.
Networking is another great way to connect with general contractors and project owners. You can increase your networking opportunities by attending local events, getting involved in community projects, and meeting with contractors and owners.
Builders’ exchanges and contractor associations are another great way to get project leads. These organizations post projects to bid and help contractors find work. There are other benefits to joining these associations, making them a worthwhile investment.

The key to success

The key to business plan success is to keep a pipeline of new work. In order to do this, you must always be marketing and searching for new projects and potential clients. Construction bidding websites like PlanHub can help you get the work you need to keep your employees busy and keep the money flowing. For a demonstration of how PlanHub can help you find new construction projects, contact us today.

Be the first to know

PlanHub insights, resources, and news, sent directly to your inbox.

    planhub icon

    Data and Deep Insights

    We make construction smarter by connecting with the right people, at the right time, for the right project.

    With our technology and data intelligence, we empower construction professionals to easily build the right business relationships, streamline pre construction processes, and make efficient decisions.

    From competitive intelligence in each project allowing you to know how many other contractors are downloading or bidding to insights as to contractors’ performance, we provide the data you need to lead your business to success.

    By providing faster, simpler, and unmatched data insights in each step of the pre construction process, PlanHub helps your business lay a strong foundation for the success of the rest of the construction process.

    planhub icon

    Bid Leveler & Proposal builder

    Comparing bids to one another has never been easier. Users can now see bids side by side, compare bid amounts, and review subcontractors’ certifications and qualifications all in one place.

    Bid Leveler’s apples-to-apples approach allows you to easily drill down and see detailed, easy-to-scan cost breakdowns. Indicate bid preference, hide bids that don’t meet your needs, and request needed information from subs.

    planhub icon

    Full Bid Management

    From the initial decision to pursue a project to the final bid submission and follow up, bid management plays a central role in pre construction.

    Effectively managed bids during the preconstruction phase set the stage for a successful project execution and satisfied clients.

    Streamline bid management from project posting to estimating, bidding, and awarding in one place with easy project posting, project-contractor automatic matching based on trades, location, and qualification with PlanHub.

    Use bid planner, bid builder, bid leveler, and award tools to always know what’s going on with each project and bid.

    planhub icon

    Estimation and TakeOff

    Let’s face it—time is money. And the more time it takes to perform takeoffs and submit bids, the more you risk losing out on valuable revenue opportunities. Manual methods and locally installed desktop software slow your takeoff process, and many digital solutions currently on the market can be overly complex and not user-friendly. 

    Build faster takeoffs, get more bids out the door, and win more projects. Forget pen and paper, outdated desktop software, and overly complicated digital takeoff solutions. PlanHub’s easy-to-use Takeoff tool helps you and your team build accurate takeoffs faster, minimize errors and material waste, and win more projects that boost your business growth. Performing your takeoffs with PlanHub allows you to:

    • Streamline and integrate your process: Perform your takeoffs in the same platform you use to manage your network and bids.
    • Avoid costly estimating errors: Get better accuracy with digital tools instead of traditional, mistake-prone pen and paper.
    • Collaborate easily: Share and work with your team, no matter where you—or they—are located.
    • Submit more bids and win more projects: Get quality bids in front of general contractors faster and get ahead of your competition.
    planhub icon

    Document Management

    Organize, store, and manage various documents, blueprints, drawings and other information related to projects before the actual construction phase begins.

    This phase is crucial for setting the foundation of a successful construction project, and effective document management plays a significant role in ensuring that all necessary information is accessible, accurate, and up-to-date to all interested parties.

    Access, review, work on, and share large complex documents in one platform with amazing speed. From project definition, drawing management, takeoff, estimation, bid management, and contracts, everything happens in PlanHub.

    planhub crm
    planhub icon


    Be part of a construction professionals’ ecosystem that enhances collaboration, streamlines project management, and fosters smart relationships between companies, construction professionals, and projects.

    Enjoy seamless communication, build strong relationships, and streamlines project management. By leveraging the power of connections and collaboration, we enhance efficiency, save time and resources, and drive collective growth in the industry.

    planhub network
    planhub icon

    1M+ pre-qualified network

    PlanHub is the leading platform that connects companies, construction professionals, and projects in the pre-construction industry, focusing on building and developing meaningful relationships to enhance efficiency and productivity.

    We have integrated general contractors, subcontractors, and material suppliers’ workflows in one platform to simplify the complex back and forth usually present in preconstruction. By allowing all interactions to be done through PlanHub, tracking projects and relationships is much easier, saving contractors and material suppliers time and money. Interactions in the platform are tagged and measured to provide insights to users.

    General contractors create bid packages that are shared in PlanHub as projects. They can include templatized lists of all CSI cost items as part of the new Baseline feature. Baseline allows for faster and more accurate bid requests, facilitates homogenization of subcontractors’ bids, and simplifies the comparison of incoming bids.

    Subcontractors are automatically matched with relevant projects based on their profile, preferences, and pre-qualification information saving hours of research to both sides. They can review project details, documentation, and blueprints.

    planhub icon

    High-quality projects

    Your one-stop job for qualified hard-to-find private project leads in varying stages like pre-planning, bidding, etc., and across different geographies, zip codes, or distance to your office.

    Projects include plans, specifications, bid dates, and other relevant project information.

    You can segment project leads by type of project, status, project building use, trades and sub trades, or create your own list of keywords — and be notified when one of them is found in a posted project’s documentation or plans.

    We make it simple to find projects that match your business — and make sure you are notified right away.

    					<script src='https://planhub.com/wp-includes/js/jquery/jquery.min.js' id='jquery-core-js'></script>
    <script charset="utf-8" type="text/javascript" src="//js.hsforms.net/forms/embed/v2.js"></script>
        region: "na1",
        portalId: "7063061",
        formId: "ced7254f-5c61-49b9-9ce0-6f870b79a958"

    Get the report!

    From the very beginning, PlanHub has been a place where people can do meaningful work and build strong relationships.

    Come grow with us! We’re building innovative technologies that simplify preconstruction for everyone.

    Expand your network and connect with general contractors, subcontractors, owners, architects, and suppliers – not to mention thousands of relevant projects at your fingertips.

    Generate relevant leads, faster and with precision. With access to private, hard-to-find projects, you can connect with architects and owners on projects still in the pre-design and design stages.

    PlanHub’s advanced suite of bid management tools allows you to increase productivity, identify relevant projects using data, build bids with Takeoff, and manage bids through the entire process.

    Create quicker, improved takeoffs effortlessly. PlanHub’s Takeoff Core aids your team in accurate, faster estimates, minimizing errors, and driving business growth.

    Expand your network and connect with general contractors, subcontractors, owners, architects, and suppliers – not to mention thousands of relevant projects at your fingertips.

    Generate relevant leads, faster and with precision. With access to private, hard-to-find projects, you can connect with architects and owners on projects still in the pre-design and design stages.

    PlanHub’s advanced suite of bid management tools allows you to increase productivity, identify relevant projects using data, build bids with Takeoff, and manage bids through the entire process.