Starting a landscaping business is risky, like any startup, but it’s a lucrative field that’s growing quickly and bringing in $93 billion annually. But how do you get a landscaping business off the ground? Check out our step-by-step guide to starting your own landscaping business.

Note: Before you read on, you’ll definitely want to take a look at our guide to starting a business in Arizona. Even if you’re not in AZ, the process is much the same. And there’s no better place to start a landscaping business than in Arizona, since there are very few rainy days and no snowy off-season in the winter (for the majority of the population).

Step 1: Plan The Kind Of Business You Want

A landscaping company can entail all different kinds of services. You’ll need to take a look at what you can offer. You may only be able to offer a small range of services in the beginning, and once you’ve had a chance to grow, you can expand to other categories.

First, you’ll want to decide if you prefer residential or commercial spaces. Keep in mind that as a startup, it might be difficult to break into commercial landscaping; you may have better luck with friends’ and neighbors’ homes. From there, you can decide the specific services to offer. The most common type of service is lawn mowing and maintenance, which can include spraying fertilizers and pesticides. You can also focus on removing or trimming trees and shrubs. For more maintenance services, you can offer irrigation, mulching, edging, and weed removal.

If you’re interested in landscaping design, you’ll need a degree in order to be competitive and ensure that you know what you’re doing. While getting a degree is definitely more work than starting a business without one, it will open up a lot more avenues for you. Regardless of whether you do landscaping design or not, you’ll need to demonstrate a good knowledge of the plants, trees, weeds, and chemicals you’ll be working with.

If you’re not sure what services you’re interested in offering, it can be a good idea to look at what your competitors in the area offer. Is there a need that hasn’t been filled? If so, that’s the perfect way to set yourself apart.

Step 2: Determine The Tools You’ll Need

Once you’ve decided on the services you’ll offer, you can figure out the tools and equipment you’ll need. You’ll definitely want a truck, and possibly a trailer if you need more equipment than can fit in a truck bed. From there, your equipment will vary depending on your services.

Unfortunately, this part can get pretty expensive, so you might want to consider renting your equipment if you can’t find it in the budget to buy it all. It’s probably not worth it to buy used, unless the tools are in like-new condition; otherwise you’ll end up spending as much or more money on maintenance than you would have if you had bought them new in the first place. If you choose to rent, remember to keep track of your rental costs so you can decide when is a good time to stop renting and buy your own equipment.

Step 3: Set A Budget

Now that you’ve figured out the equipment you’ll need and how you’ll get it, you can get a rough estimate of a budget to get your landscaping business off the ground. You should also figure out how you’re going to handle the bookkeeping side of things—marketing, finding new clients, setting up payments for your employees, that kind of thing. If you don’t think you’ll be able to do it all yourself, you’re probably going to need to hire someone for the office work. This is also when you’ll need to decide if you want to rent out a space to conduct your business. This step blends in with Step 4, because you’ll need to budget for registering your business and getting insured.

Before we move on to the next step, though, you’ll also need to decide how to set your pricing for each service you plan on offering. You can check out this helpful article to help you learn the best techniques to use when setting your pricing.

Step 4: Get Licensed, Insured, and Registered

Not every state requires a business license to operate, but it’s possible that even if your state doesn’t require it, your city does. You’ll also need to get yourself and your employees properly licensed. For example, spraying pesticides requires a license to ensure that no chemicals get where they shouldn’t be.

As far as insurance goes, you definitely won’t want to skimp, since landscaping is a manual labor job that puts your employees at risk of injury and your tools at risk of damage. Here’s a great resource for information on landscaping business insurance, so you can decide the best plans for your startup.

Don’t forget to register your business for federal and state taxes. Completing all parts of this step can be boring and time consuming, but it’s a necessary part of getting your business up and running.

Step 5: Start Marketing and Expanding

Marketing is going to look different for every business, depending on budget, services offered, skills sets, and more. You can check out our post for more information on marketing and what that might look like for your business. Regardless of the different marketing tactics you use, the important thing is to keep good relationships with your customers and work hard to give them a great experience.

Landscaping: From The Ground Up

With hard work and a little luck, you can grow your business from one person with a lawn mower to a warehouse that stores several trucks full of equipment. If you like working outdoors and don’t mind getting dirty, this could be the perfect job for you. Just make sure you’re always working to keep the business growing. If you’re not sure how to do that, check out Pro In Your Pocket to find dozens of new leads.