Starting a Landscaping Business Costs $39,500 to $43,500

Are you looking to start your own landscaping business? As part of your business plan, make sure to consider the total cost for startup and operating expenses to start and run a landscaping business.

We’ve identified that it costs anywhere from $39,500 – $43,500 to start a landscaping business with 4 employees plus $20,700 – $33,000 in operating costs per month to run the business the first few months.

Want to know more? In this article we’ll go through all the different costs you will need to budget for before you can start running your landscaping business. Read on!

For more information on starting your own landscaping business, make sure to read our guides below:
How to Write a Landscaping Business Plan: Complete Guide
How to Start a Landscaping Business in 8 Steps
How to Build a Financial Model for a Landscaping Business

Landscaping Business Startup Costs

Starting a small one-person landscaping business can cost as little as $500, but most large-scale landscaping businesses need to spend more on equipment, marketing and staff.

That’s why most landscaping businesses typically cost between $15,000 and $50,000 to start (excluding the cost of a truck). 

As you can see, startup costs vary significantly according to factors like the size of your business, the number of employees, quality of equipment, etc. 

So, we have given you a clear overview below of all the essential costs you can expect to start a small landscaping business with 4 employees.

There are 2 types of costs: startup costs and operating costs. Note that these costs are for illustrative purposes and depend on several factors which might not fully apply to you.

Operating costAmount (per month)
Office / Warehouse Lease Deposit$12,000
Equipment Costs$5,000 – $8,000
Vehicles (x2)$20,000 (loan deposit)
Licenses & Legal Costs$2,500 – $3,500
Total$39,500 – $43,500

Download the Landscaping financial model template

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Office / warehouse lease deposit

Finding a location to store and maintain your equipment might be difficult if you don’t have access to a garage. Due to this, a covered trailer can double as a garage and might be well making the additional cost. 

If you run a small landscaping business, you may be able to use your own garage. Another choice is to rent a storage space. The average monthly cost for portable storage units (like PODS) is $150. Self-storage facility units are reasonably cheap, costing about $90 per month, while larger units can run up to $300 per month.

Instead, if you run a large-scale landscaping business, you might want to rent an office and a storage / warehouse unit. Assuming you rent a 2,500 sq. ft. office and warehouse at a rate of $20 per sq. ft. per year, you’ll be paying around $4,000 in rent.

Like for most commercial space leases, you’ll likely have to spend a 3-month refundable lease deposit, costing you about $12,000 upfront.

Landscaping equipment startup cost

One of the major cost to start any landscaping business is the cost of the equipment itself.

The tools you require depend on the services you intend to provide. Never forget that you may always start small and develop your services as your company expands.

You’ll require some mowing tools, edgers, and safety gear. The cost of purchasing all these items can range from $5,000 to $8,000.

Here is some of the equipment you’re likely to need as a landscaping business, along with their average cost:

  • Manual gardening tools (shovels, rakes, shears, trowels, etc.): $10-$50 each
  • Push mower: $200-$1,000
  • Riding lawn mower: $1,000-$5,000
  • Leaf blower: $100-$500
  • Lawn spreader: $100-$500
  • Sprayer (for fertilizer, pesticides, etc.): $50-$200
  • Trimmer: $50-$300
  • Edger: $80-$350
  • Water saw: $500-$4,000
  • Plate compactor: $300-$5,000
  • Trailer: $1,500-$5,000
  • Heavy-duty truck: $10,000-$50,000
  • Portable generator: $500-$2,000

Wearing eye and ear protection when working outdoors is another criterion for safety set forth by OSHA. To protect your bodies from piercing blades and flying debris, you and your technicians should wear thick boots and pants. Hearing protection is another necessity for safety. Price range: Safety goggles can be as cheap as $10 per pair, while earmuff-style hearing protection can cost roughly $25 per pair.

Landscaping vehicles startup cost

When starting a landscaping business, you might want to consider buying a number of vehicles (van) depending on the number of teams (employees) you have. This is, with equipment, probably the most important cost you must budget for when you start your landscaping business.

It can cost anywhere from $5,000 to $50,000 depending on whether you lease or buy the vehicle.

For example, a landscaping business with 2 teams of 2 employees working on different sites will require 2 vans to carry heavy equipments and supplies.

Assuming you decide to purchase the 2 vans upfront with a bank loan, you’ll likely have to deposit 20% upfront, so $20,000 minimum.

Licenses & legal startup cost

Lawn care businesses are not required to obtain special permits but must register their company name and obtain a business license. The average cost of an L.L.C. is $100. A DBA, or false name charge, which costs about $50, can be filed in several states. Legal fees for forming a business could be one of the additional costs.

Accounting services (software, P.O.S. machines, and other software) and legal fees for obtaining licenses and permits cost about $3,300. A business consultant can be hired for $2,500, including business plan writing.

Landscaping Operating Costs

In addition to the one-off start-up costs before opening your landscaping business, you must also consider the total recurring cost of running the business. 

The operating costs depend on the type of services you offer and the size of your business. Here’s a brief overview of the operating costs you can expect for a small landscaping business with 4 employees.

Operating costAmount (per month)
Staff$12,000 – $20,000
Fuel$3,200 – $4,500
Rent$4,500 – $5,000
Repair & maintenance$500 – $1,500
Marketing$500 – $2,000
Total$20,700 – $33,000

Download the Landscaping financial model template

  • Lender & investor-friendly
  • Easy-to-use Excel template
  • CPA-developed financials
  • 30+ charts and metrics

Landscaping staff cost

The total cost for your staff will largely depend on the number of employees you have, as well as the types of services you offer (for example, if you hire a landscape architect or not).

You would want the assistance of the following experts to launch a typical landscaping business on a large scale: 

  • Manager (Owner)
  • Landscape Architect/Landscapist (optional)
  • Field Staff
  • Front Desk Officer (optional)
  • Human Resources / Office Manager (optional)
  • Marketing and Sales Executive (optional)

On average, a landscaping worker can expect to receive $22,800 to $48,300 per year depending on experience. Assuming you run a business with 4 employees (including yourself) at an average salary of $35,000 per year, you would be spending around $14,000 per month in wages.

Landscaping fuel cost

Unfortunately, landscaping is very dependent upon fuel.

You’ll be on the road as a lawn professional going from one job to the next. Many professionals travel considerable distances outside their immediate area to complete jobs.

You might easily spend several hundred dollars a month on gas, particularly if you use heavy machinery and huge trucks. Creating efficient routes and locating reasonably fuel-efficient trucks are two ways to lower this expense. 

But fuel isn’t just about travel costs from one client to another, it’s mostly about the cost to run the machines (heavy machines, lawnmower, etc.).

Your lawnmower and other gas-powered equipment will also require gasoline. A gas-powered mower uses around $7 worth of fuel every hour. Assuming you use it 4 hours a day, 5 days a week, that’s $560 worth of gas per month just for one mower..! Assuming you have 4 employees, each using a gas-powered mover for 4 hours a day (assuming that’s the only gas-powered machine they use), that’s a total of $2,000 per month minimum.

Now, let’s add travel costs.

Let’s assume you run a landscaping business with 2 small vans traveling each 50 miles per day (consuming 8 to 10 miles per gallon) at $4.50 per gallon. You would be spending over $600 in gas per month per van, so $1,200 total minimum.

You do the math: fuel costs would be anywhere from $3,200 to $4,500 per month for such a business.

Rent

Rent expense depend whether you run a small or a large scale landscaping business. In other words, how many pieces of equipments and machines you need to store, and whether you have a separate office to run administrative tasks (finance, human resources) and welcome clients.

Suppose you run a small landscaping business, you may decide to rent a storage space. The average monthly cost for portable storage units (like PODS) is $150. Self-storage facility units are reasonably cheap, costing about $90 per month, while larger units can run up to $300 per month.

Instead, if you run a large-scale landscaping business, you might want to rent an office and a storage / warehouse unit. Assuming you rent a 2,500 sq. ft. office and warehouse at a rate of $20 per sq. ft. per year, you’ll be paying around $4,000 in rent. Adding up utility bills, you should budget for $4,500 to $5,000 per month.

Insurance

The cost for insurance (general liability, workers’ compensation, and property-casualty) coverage at a total premium is about $2,400.

Landscaping equipment maintenance cost

Daily equipment maintenance is usually not very expensive, but repair expenses are common and must be budgeted for. Typically, a mower repair costs between $60 and $100.

Of course, small repairs can be done by yourself, but for large-scale landscaping businesses with heavy machinery, you’ll likely pay a $500 to $1,000 annual fee so the manufacturer can take care of the maintenance, repair (and free replacement) of your equipment.

Landscaping marketing cost

Online advertising can also be rather affordable. You’ll first need to build a basic website, which can cost between $100 and $500 by yourself or by hiring a professional to set up a WordPress or Wix site. Then, you should use Pay-per-click (P.P.C.) advertising, social media marketing, local internet advertising, and SEO to draw traffic to your website (SEO). 

These are all methods for promoting your website to internet users; therefore, even with a limited marketing budget, we advise starting with a budget of $200 to $2,000 per month, if you can.

Download the Landscaping financial model template

  • Lender & investor-friendly
  • Easy-to-use Excel template
  • CPA-developed financials
  • 30+ charts and metrics