Starting a business is not an easy task, by any measure. This does not stop entrepreneurs of every stripe from giving it their all, though. Independent businesses and start-ups are the lifeblood of the UK’s economy, from cutting-edge tech businesses to local tradesfolk offering hands-on services.
Indeed, with the way the economy is headed, the latter option has become far more lucrative – giving skilled workers a unique opportunity to carve a living from difficult times. Still, starting a landscaping business is hard, and growing it even harder. What steps might you think about during your journey to trading as a landscaper?
Every new trade outfit starts with a plan, whether it’s drawn on the back of a cigarette packet or plotted out meticulously in a spreadsheet. You need to know your niche within landscaping, the size you would like to build your business to, and your target demographic for work.
If you intend to hire staff, you’ll need to register as a limited company. Whatever your niche and trade, you’ll need to budget for insurance coverage and credit agreements – making financial decisions a particularly important part of the equation.
The Tools of The Trade
Of course, no landscaping business will get off the ground without some initial investment in tools and equipment. You will need to be able to meet the needs of at least basic landscaping work.
While you do not need to buy an expensive wood chipper before your first job – this can be rented as and when you need them, to allow you to save more effectively in the short term – you will need at least some reliable hand tools.
Buying branded tools, such as Milwaukee chainsaws, is a good way to start, making repairs, servicing, and warranty much simpler. Again, more niche and expensive tools do not need to be bought yet; you will not need them at every job. Rather, your focus should be on everyday tools and transport.
Set Your Value
Newly registered businesses in the field of landscaping tend to set too low prices due to fear of competition and too little faith in themselves and what they offer, but you must know – the price of the service you will define, directly affects the company’s income, your time, your work, your satisfaction and the success of your landscaping business.
When defining prices, you must first calculate the breakeven point and make sure you are not operating in the red zone. After that, think about the value you provide and the position you want in the market, because the amount of margin/profit you will put in depends on this.
Whether you’re using Cost Plus, Competitive Pricing, or Perceived Value Pricing, you need to know that pricing is a process where it’s not wise to just blindly follow a formula. Here are a couple of questions to ask yourself, and define your prices realistically:
- Where do I want to position myself on the market in terms of price and quality?
- What is my coverage point?
- What are my competencies and experience?
- What is my attitude towards my landscaping service?
- Why should my ideal clients choose my landscaping service?
Don’t be afraid to define the price you deserve and never work below the breakeven point because that’s the road to dissatisfaction, burnout, and failure of your business. Instead, focus on creating added value, branding, creating an excellent customer experience, and providing the client with a perception of much greater value than what he paid for.
Digital Presence Strategy – One Step Closer to Customers
When you deal with work that involves contact with potential customers or users of your services, it is very important to keep up with the changes. Digital media have been present in business for several decades, but during the last ten years, their popularity has increased significantly.
For many people today, safe and fast online shopping is one of the most important factors when choosing a company from which they want to order a service. Therefore, having a good online presence and being generally present in the digital world is today considered one of the imperatives when forming a landscaping business strategy.
In addition to a good presentation, it is necessary to create a digital marketing plan, which will expand your promotion to a large extent. This way, you will be able to reach many more people compared to how many people would notice you using only traditional marketing channels (television, billboards, flyers, posters).
Who Are Your Potential Clients?
Or in other words, identification of the people your landscaping business addresses. This item will affect all further plans you will make – from creating content on social networks to defining the price, to who your competition is.
The target group is formed based on the answer to the question – to whom do you want to market your service? Later after that, you will create other items that your target group of people will influence.
Landscaping is an unavoidably seasonal trade, with many clients more likely to get in touch as their gardens spring back to life after winter. There will also be much more work in the way of hedge management and tree surgery, owing to the growth patterns of deciduous trees.
However, the relative roll-off in clients that many new landscapers are likely to experience in the colder months does not mean there is no money to be found. Indeed, there are ways to remain relevant and even competitive in the winter, by pivoting to face new challenges and tasks.
For one, your tree surgery skills might come in handy ahead of stormy weather; you might also be able to pitch your services in rendering gardens and driveways safe over the winter months.