The landscaping industry certainly won’t be going out of fashion any time soon. In fact, statistics suggest that more and more people – and businesses – are hiring landscapers to beautify their homes and surroundings. After all, the busy pace of modern life doesn’t always leave much time for pottering around in the garden. So if you want to dedicate every waking hour to doing just that, now is a good time for you. Here’s a quick guide to starting your own landscape business.
Keeping things legal
Even though you might be itching to start, it’s definitely a good idea to take care of legal matters first. In Australia, the landscaping industry is viewed as being made up of two distinctive sectors – ‘soft green landscaping’, which refers to anything to do with soil, grass and plants; and ‘hard structural landscaping’, which involves the heavier work, such as building walls and fences, pouring concrete and creating timber structures. As a general rule, the former doesn’t require a licence, but the latter does. Check your local regulations before going ahead.
In addition, you’ll need to take care of any additional paper work, such as liability insurance, Business Activity Statements (BAS), Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) regulations and so on. It’s also a good idea to become a member of relevant professional bodies, such as Landscaping Australia and the Australian Institute of Landscape Designers and Managers. They provide useful advice and a helping hand when it comes to rules, regulations and challenges.
Establishing a landscape business can be as cheap or as expensive as you make it. If you’re starting out and don’t have any savings or assets behind you, then you’re best to keep things simple. There’s an awful lot you can do with a good pair of gloves and a decent set of gardening tools! Besides, if you start off with simple jobs, not much can go wrong. Ask for testimonials and, as your client base expands and profits increase, you’ll be able to invest in bigger and better equipment and take on more challenging projects.
Much of your success as a landscaper will depend on your creative flair. The more distinctive, striking and effective your designs, the more people will notice them and chase you up for work. Remember that every job you do could lead to another one. So spend your ‘downtime’ studying landscaping designers who’ve proven successful and analysing what does and doesn’t work. Don’t waste time reinventing the wheel.