Whether you’re looking to raise funding from private investors or to get a loan from a bank (like a SBA loan) for your landscaping business, you will need to prepare a solid business plan.
In this article we go through, step-by-step, all the different sections you need in your landscaping business plan. Use this template to create a complete, clear and solid business plan that get you funded.
1. Executive Summary
This is the first part and the most important section of your business plan. This is the first thing lenders and/or investors will have a look at.
Before we dive into the specifics, keep in mind the executive summary is a summary: keep it to 2 pages maximum. Indeed, your executive summary should briefly sum up the key sections of your business plan as well as presenting the funding ask.
Why do you need a business plan for your landscaping business?
The funding ask (or funding requirement), as explained below, is the reason why any business would have a business plan. Business plans are prepared for one of the 3 following objectives:
- Obtain financing from a bank or any other lender (a SBA loan for example)
- Obtain financing from private investors (business angels, investment funds, etc.)
- Get approval for a private or public grant
How to write an executive summary for a landscaping business plan?
The executive summary of your landscaping business plan should include the following important information:
- Business overview: the name of your company, its legal structure, the business model (franchise vs. independent landscaping business), the type of services you will offer (lawn maintenance, hardscaping, design, etc.), the customers you target (individuals or businesses, etc.)
- Market analysis: how big is the landscaping industry in your area? How many competitors are there? What services do they offer? etc.
- People: who is the management team? what is your/their experience in the landscaping industry?
- Financial plan: what is your expected revenue and profitability for the next 5 years? When do you expect to break-even? Simply include here a chart of your key financials (e.g. revenue, gross Profit, net profit, cash flow)
- Funding ask: what loan/investment/grant are you seeking? How much do you need? How long will this last?
2. Landscaping Business Overview
The business overview section of your landscaping business plan highlights what services your landscaping company offers, to whom as well as how your business is structured legally.
Ideally, this section should include the following details about your business;
- The history of the project: why do you want to start this business today?
- The services you offer and their price range
- Your target customers: who are your customers (businesses or individuals?)
- Your company legal structure
a) History of the Project
Why did you decide to start your own landscaping business? Here a brief company history comes in handy if you want to outshine your competitors in the eyes of an investor (or a lender).
Use this section to mention 2 vital things about your landscaping business, including;
- Your interest and passion for getting into the landscaping business
- The rationale behind you starting a landscaping business today
For example, you might be an experienced landscaping worker and found out there was no company offering landscaping services to businesses in the area where you’re from.
Landscaping companies have a number of services they offer to local customers, businesses or individuals. Ultimately, you should prioritize what suits your target audience depending on your market analysis. There are 2 main types of services for landscaping companies:
- Lawn maintenance: one of the most common services. It includes cleanups, pruning, fertilizing, aeration, lime application, mowing, and weed control
- Landscaping services instead include planting, mulching, landscape designing, hardscaping and foundation planting, to mention a few
Of course, there’s nothing wrong with offering both services if you have enough resources. You can also offer your landscaping services individually or as comprehensive packages based on your clients’ needs and budget.
c) Pricing Strategy
It’s crucial to outline your pricing list when writing a landscaping business plan. Focus on the most important details about your pricing structure without going overboard. For example, whilst lawn mowing costs on average $45 per week in the US, the cost of lawn care services ranges from $48 to $211 for homeowners.
Similarly, the cost of landscaping services may vary from one location to another, depending on the target audience. On an hourly basis, average landscaping services cost $50 to $100 per hour on average.
A clear pricing strategy can give you the upper hand when seeking financial support from potential investors and lenders, making it an important part of your landscaping business plan.
Also, it’s important to outline your pricing strategy in your business plan so investors can tie it into your financial projections later on (see more on that below).
d) Target Audience
What’s your target market? Knowing your consumers will always play a key role in the success of your landscaping business. It also gives you a competitive advantage by helping you identify the existing market gap.
Are you targeting homeowners, commercial property managers, or businesses offices and headquarters? Understanding your target market will help you better define your marketing strategy and retain customers.
e) Legal Structure
Finally, your business overview section should specify what type of business structure you opt for. Is this a corporation or a partnership (LLC)? Who are the investors? How much equity percentage do they own? Is there a Board of Directors? If so, whom? Do they have experience in the industry?
3. Landscaping Market Analysis
Now that we have covered all about your business, let’s now look at your industry, and more precisely the landscaping industry in your area, your competitors and target audience.
Indeed, before you reach out to lenders or investors, you must prove to them that you understand your market. This helps earn their trust and can make the difference fo them to invest in your business.
a) Landscaping Business Market Overview
You should present in this section the status quo of the landscaping industry in the US, as well as in your city / area. You must address 2 main points here:
- How big is the landscaping industry in your area?
- How fast the market is growing?
How big is the landscaping industry in the US?
Before diving into your specific city or area, it’s always good to get a clear overview of the US market first. Indeed, getting national data will help you address all the factors that could affect your business, such as demographics, market demand, and environmental activities.
The landscaping industry has grown at a steady rate of 2.5% per year in the last few years, up to $105 billion in 2021.
How big is the landscaping industry in your area?
After the US, assess the status of the landscaping market in your city or area. Focus on the zone where you plan to offer your landscaping services.
Naturally, you might not be able to get the data for your specific city or region. Instead, you can estimate the size of your market, for more information on how to do it, read our article on how to estimate TAM, SAM and SOM for your startup. To give you an example, let’s assume you plan to operate in a radius where there are 40 competitors:
As we know the US landscaping industry is worth $105 billion today, and there are about 604,000 landscaping businesses (small and large) in the US in total, we can deduct that the average annual revenue per landscaping company is $175,000.
So we can safely assume the landscaping industry is worth $7,000,000 in the area where you plan to operate. Now, assuming there are 30,000 houses, this means each household that owns a house spend $195 per month in landscaping services, pretty close to the national average.
How fast is the landscaping industry growing in your area?
Growth is an important metric for assessing the status of the landscaping industry in your region.
Here if you don’t find information online or via your research, you can calculate growth using the total number of landscaping businesses in your area.
For instance, if there were 40 landscaping businesses in the region in 2019, which increased to 45 in 2022, it’s safe to assume that the market is growing at 4% per year.
b) Landscaping Competitor Analysis
At the very least, your competitor analysis should answer all or some of these questions:
- How many landscaping businesses are in your region?
- What services do your competitors offer? What’s their average price?
- How many employees do they have on the payroll?
- What’s the approximate number of customers/contracts they serve per month?
After answering these questions, it will be easier to tailor your services and prices to suit the target market.
c) Landscaping Business Customer Analysis
We presented in the Business Overview section who were your target customers. Here instead instead you must show in your business plan that these target customers actually live in the area and need the services you offer.
Indeed, it would be pointless to start a landscaping business in your region when nobody needs your services in the first place.
And having competitors doesn’t necessarily mean your target customers are there. For example, you might not focus on the same customer segment (e.g. individuals homeowners vs. businesses).
There are here a few important questions you must answer:
- What landscaping services do your target customers need?
- How many potential customers are there in the area (for example, if you focus on homeowners, you can use the number of houses in the area as a proxy)?
- How much does the average customer spend on landscaping in the area (if you can’t find the information for your city, use the national average instead)?
4. Sales & Marketing Strategy
The next section of your landscaping business plan gives you a chance to highlight your strategic plan for acquiring new clients.
Start by exploring your unique selling point, the suitability of the proposed marketing strategies, and the overall marketing budget.
a) Landscaping Marketing Channels
Here are a few examples of marketing channels landscaping businesses use:
- Email marketing
- Social media
- Local advertising (newspapers)
- Register with the online business directories (Yelp, Yellow Pages, etc.)
- Google Business profile and ratings
- Word-of-mouth recommendations
b) What are Your Unique Selling Points (USPs)?
A unique selling point makes you stand out in a competitive market. When getting started, it is the easiest way to win over multiple customers and one of the best strategies for edging out your biggest competitors. You can build your USPs around the following aspects;
- Price: affordable services will most likely appeal to most customers
- Specialization: choosing a specific service helps you stand out (for example, you might focus on landscape design and hardscaping)
- Additional services: you can provide extra services not available in the area
5. Management & People
The 5th section of your landscaping business plan should be about people. It should include 2 main elements:
- The management team and their experience / track record
- The organizational structure: what are the different teams and who reports to whom?
Here you should list all the management roles in your company.
Of course, the amount of details you need to include here varies depending on the size of your company. For example, a landscaping business with a number of vehicles and teams would need more detail vs. a small landscaping business run by 1 or 2 persons.
If you plan on running your business independently, you may write a short paragraph explaining who are the co-founders and/or senior managers (if there are any in addition to yourself). It’s important to highlight their experience in the industry and previous relevant professional experiences.
b) Organizational structure
No matter how many leadership roles there are, you should now explain how you intend to run the company from a management standpoint.
What are the different teams (management, sales, operations, mechanics, finance, etc.)? Note that you should include these details even if you haven’t hired anyone yet. It will show lenders and investors that you have a solid hiring and management plan to run the business successfully.
A great addition here is to add an organizational chart that list all the roles, from Directors to managers, key supervisory roles, employees and contractors. Make sure to highlight with reporting lines who manages/supervises whom.
6. Financial Plan
The financial plan is perhaps, with the executive summary, the most important section of any business plan.
Indeed, a solid financial plan tells lenders that your business is viable and can repay the loan you need from them. If you’re looking to raise equity from private investors instead, a solid financial plan will prove them your landscaping business is an attractive investment.
There should be 3 sections to your financial plan section:
- Your historical financials (only if you already operate the business and have financial accounts to show)
- The startup costs of your project (if you start a new landscaping business or if you plan to purchase new equipment and vehicles, etc.)
- Your 5-year financial projections
a) Historical Financials (optional)
In the scenario where you already have some historical financials (a few quarters or a few years), include them. A summary of your financial statements in the form of charts e.g. revenue, gross profit and net profit is enough, save the rest for the appendix.
If you don’t have any, don’t worry, most new businesses don’t have any historical financials and that’s ok. If so, jump to Startup Costs instead.
b) Landscaping 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 vehicle).
As you can see, startup costs vary significantly according to factors like the size of your business, the number of employees, the quality of equipment, the services you offer and the tools needed, 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. For more information on how much it costs to start and run a landscaping business, read our complete guide here.
Note that these costs are for illustrative purposes and depend on several factors which might not fully apply to you.
|Operating cost||Amount (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|
c) Landscaping 5-Year Financial Projections
In addition to startup costs, you will now need to build a solid 5-year financial model as part of your business plan for your landscaping business.
Your financial projections should be built using a spreadsheet (e.g. Excel or Google Sheets) and presented in the form of tables and charts in your business plan.
As usual, keep it concise here and save details (for example detailed financial statements, financial metrics, key assumptions used for the projections) for the appendix instead.
Your financial projections should answer at least the following questions:
- How much revenue do you expect to generate over the next 5 years?
- When do you expect to break even?
- How much cash will you burn until you get there?
- What’s the impact of a change in pricing (say 20%) on your margins?
- What is your average customer acquisition cost?
You should include here your 3 financial statements (income statement, balance sheet and cash flow statement). This means you must forecast:
- The number of contracts (customers) you will win over time ;
- Your expected revenue ;
- Operating costs to run the business ;
- Any other cash flow items (e.g. capex, debt repayment, etc.).
When projecting your revenue, make sure to sensitize pricing and the number of contracts as a small change in these assumptions will have a big impact on your revenues.
7. Funding Ask
This is the last section of the business plan of your landscaping business. Now that we have explained what type of landscaping services your company offers and to whom, at what price, but also what’s your marketing strategy, where you go and how you get there, this section must answer the following questions:
- How much funding do you need?
- What financial instrument(s) do you need: is this equity or debt, or even a free-money public grant?
- How long will this funding last?
- Where else does the money come from? If you apply for a SBA loan for example, where does the other part of the investment come from (your own capital, private investors?)
If you raise debt:
- What percentage of the total funding the loan represents?
- What is the corresponding Debt Service Coverage Ratio?
If you raise equity
- What percentage ownership are you selling as part of this funding round?
- What is the corresponding valuation of your business?
Use of Funds
Any business plan should include a clear use of funds section. This is where you explain how the money will be spent.
Will you spend most of the loan / investment to acquire the cost for the vehicles, tools and equipment? Or will it cover mostly the cost of the salaries of your employees the first few months?
Those are very important questions you should be able to answer in the blink of an eye. Don’t worry, this should come straight from your financial projections. If you’ve built solid projections like in our landscaping financial model template, you won’t have any issues answering these questions.
For the use of funds, we recommend using a pie chart like the one we have in our financial model template where we outline the main expenses categories as shown below.