After weeks of dedication, you’ve finally perfected landscaping layouts and are ready to create carefully crafted outdoor spaces — but now you have to learn how to build a business. Being a small business owner comes with a lot of perks, like being able to set your own hours and prices and increased flexibility. But it also means you’re on your own to figure out the ins and outs of making it all work.
However, once you get up-and-running, your business can become a well-oiled machine. Here are some ways to get started.
1. Conduct a cost analysis.
In order to make a profit, you’ll need a clear picture of your costs and how much you want to make. Think about how much you’ll need to spend on every aspect of your business, such as supplies, travel, staffing costs, and marketing efforts. After assessing costs, determine your profit margin and multiply your costs by the percentage you want to make. That number will be your price.
But pricing doesn’t stop there. Be sure to also research the market to see what your competitors are charging for their services and factor that in. This will help you balance your profit margin with how much people are prepared to pay.
2. Create a client base.
If you want to start out making money, you need customers. Word of mouth — one of the oldest marketing tactics — is extremely effective. People trust people they know or feel a connection with (just look at the booming influencer industry). So if you have a satisfied customer, ask them to share your services. Consider offering discounts for referrals. Create and share a business card. Make it easy for people to find and contact you.
3. Build your brand.
What makes you unique in your area and industry? Discover what makes you different and market that to your clients. It’s also a good idea to narrow down which of your skills makes the most money. If people are willing to pay for those services, try to maximize your time with work that will maximize your profits. Conduct market research and find out what people’s pain points are. Ask friends and family what they’re looking for in a landscaping business, create surveys and ask people to share them, and try to identify what people are lacking. Then you can fill that void.
4. Launch a website.
Thanks to the internet, it’s easy for customers to find home services that fit their needs. To help sway their decision and gain their trust, make sure your page looks polished and professional. Hire copywriters and designers to create a website that will draw customers to your business and convince them to book. If you’re on a budget, try websites like Fiverr or Upwork. Hire local students. And use a platform such as Squarespace to create an aesthetically appealing design as well as to set up a secure payment system.
5. Clearly communicate with your customer.
This may seem simple, but it’s a key to success. It is easier to keep customers than to bring in new ones. Customers are more likely to stay loyal to businesses who put them first, so listen to their needs. Quickly address problems. Be responsive. Every interaction you have can build a positive relationship with your customer — and then they’ll be more likely to spread the word and get you more business.
Relay can help personalize your communication. With an easy-to-use system, Relay allows you to carefully draft communication templates that sound professional and give you time to proofread. Once they’re created, you can send them via text with the click of a button. Using your brand voice, you can communicate with customers during every step of your service, such as introducing yourself, orienting them to your business, letting them know you’ve arrived, giving progress updates, sending an estimated time of arrival, and more. You can also request reviews or referrals after providing your service.
6. Streamline business operations.
Conducting a client-based business requires a lot of project management, including scheduling services, communicating with multiple clients at a time, time management, and processing payments — to name a few. Relay allows you to integrate several systems so you can manage it all from your phone, saving you time to complete your services.
You’ve done the hard work of honing your trade. Now these six steps can help you make it a viable business. Good luck — we’re rooting for you!