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Landscaping, got mower, got time … there’s a lot more to it than that!

If you have or are thinking of having your own landscaping business, it’s imperative to constantly keep on top of all aspects of the industry. It’s the best way to serve your customers and increase your revenue. Running a business is no easy task. Each business owner knows what works best for his company; however, leading business experts and established landscapers alike agree on at least six essential things you’ll need to grow (pun intended) your company:

1. Have a sweeping business plan

Drafting and developing your business plan “should” make you want to pull your hair out. It should be time-consuming and comprehensive. Don’t just include the obvious things, like finances and operations. Think of anything and everything that may affect your landscaping business, such as weather patterns, climate, advancing equipment technology, etc. It’s called a business plan for a reason. When an unforeseen issue arises, it will be beneficial to already have at least a baseline strategy in place for how to deal with it. If you’re a first timer and have never made a business plan before, or even if you just need a refresher, here’s a great article that might help you jumpstart some ideas. The bald spots will be worth it, trust me.

2. Remember the LAND part of LANDSCAPING

It seems obvious, but a mistake landscaping company owners often make is not educating themselves on the actual terrain they’re working with. If you’re a small business doing work in the same general geographic area, do your research on things such as how much rain your area gets annually so you know which grass is best to plant, or how your particular climate affects the type of soil you’ll need. Thinking of things like that beforehand will ensure you provide your customer with the best, most long-lasting job.

3. Invest in your future

Don’t skimp on the equipment or product. It may make you hurt a little bit inside to shell out an extra $1,000 or so for a more advanced or higher quality piece of equipment, but you know what hurts even more? Having to replace poor equipment, or losing time and money because the equipment you have doesn’t get the job done quickly or the most efficiently. This is also true of materials like mulches and other ancillary materials you’ll need to purchase. Think long-term when purchasing the tools and materials you need for your business to be successful. The good news is bulk mulches from American Property Experts is a more cost effective product and is marketable as recycled, organic, pet and kid safe. Visit our website to see the types of mulch we carry and learn about our soil amendment and topsoils.

4. There is power in your people!

Definitely, don’t skimp on the laborers. Though it can be a headache, take the time to vet and interview everybody who applies for your company. Hire somebody who has experience, or somebody you’re confident can be trained quickly and efficiently, even if it means you’ll have to pay them more than any old shmuck, A good, strong workforce is essential to running a successful business. And, perhaps most importantly, pay them well. Study after study shows that paying employees well and providing them an opportunity for advancement motivates them to do their jobs better.

5. You can market…or market smart

Really good marketing is a full-time job in and of itself. That is why there’s an entire industry dedicated to it. Though it can be tempting to think you can cut costs by doing all the marketing and advertising yourself, it’s a smart move to consult with a marketing firm. It’s just like hiring an employee. Speaking of which, don’t forget that all of your employees can be some of your best marketing as well – good, friendly and hardworking employees will build up a positive reputation for the company and a stronger community presence. Even in today’s digital world, word-of-mouth recommendations are still king.

6. The bottom line, is the bottom line

The bottom line is, at the end of the day, the bottom line. The most successful landscaping businesses today have about 15-20% of their annual revenue in cash so they can manage day-to-day operations. That’s quite a chunk…which is why managing your money effectively is the most basic and important factor to keeping your business alive. Do your research, get advice from others in the industry and learn which corners are okay to cut and which ones aren’t. Budget at least a year in advance, barter your services with other businesses when you can and require deposits for jobs up front before collecting final payment at the end of the job. Those are just a few ways you can increase your gross annual revenue, which means more money in your pocket.