Biggest Challenges of Owning a Landscaping Business

by Greg DePersio

2 min read

If you have a green thumb, a landscaping business can be a lucrative endeavor. Potential customers are everywhere, you can get started on a shoestring budget, and there are dozens of services you can offer. However, owning a landscaping business also presents some challenges. The landscaping industry tends to be highly seasonal in Canada, where winter hits hard and often overstays its welcome. Because the barriers to entry are low, the competition is heavy. The landscaping industry isn’t particularly recession-proof, as many homeowners elect to take care of their own lawn care when money gets tight.

Seasonality

As spring ushers in warm temperatures, sunshine, and intermittent rain showers that grow grass and bloom flowers, the need for landscaping services explodes. This demand remains strong throughout the summer and early fall. By October in most parts of Canada, the first frost has settled in, and lawn care demand begins to wane. The winter months can be dreary, particularly if your livelihood relies on green grass and leaves on trees. To cope with the Canadian landscaping industry’s seasonal nature, either the money you earn during the busy months has to last you through the lean months, or you must come up with alternative services to offer in cold weather. Demand for snow plowing and driveway clearing, for example, is strong in many parts of Canada.

Competition

One of the most attractive features of a landscaping business is its low barriers to entry. You don’t need a lot of money to start, nor are there restrictive educational or licencing requirements. The ease of entry is a double-edged sword, however, because it tends to bring in plenty of competition. Especially if you live in a populous region, a search engine query for landscapers in your area is likely to pull up several pages of results. Be sure to conduct market research beforehand and determine how you can differentiate yourself from others. Try to identify specific services that are in demand but underserved in your area.

Economic Fluctuations

Landscaping is the type of business that can be susceptible to economic ups and downs. Many homeowners consider it a luxury, not a necessity. Electric and water companies provide products people are loath to let go even in terrible economic times, so they tend to come out of recessions unscathed, while landscaping and lawn care companies are more likely to struggle. In the face of a job loss or income reduction, an easy way to cut household expenses is to let the landscaper go and take care of your own lawn. Consider offering discounts to ease customers’ financial strain when the economy tanks. Your margins will be temporarily thinner, but this way, you’ll retain your customer base when the economy cycles up again. Understanding the challenges of a landscaping business can help you get out in front of them and enjoy the best chances of success.

References & Resources

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