Becoming a self-employed landscaper is really easy, and there are lots of levels you can work at. Anyone with a bit of get-up-and-go, a van, and a lawnmower can go out and earn a few dollars cutting lawns, and there are still jobs you can do in yards for people even if you haven’t got those basics. The issue here has to be, do landscapers earn a lot of money, or is it just a minimum wage laboring job?
What’s the hourly rate for a landscaper?
The employment website ZipRecruiter.com states a landscaper in the US will earn between $10 and $18 per hour, but that’s the minimum, and there’s massive scope to earn considerably more if you know what you’re doing and you’re prepared to put in the work.
Of course, it depends where you are and what work you can do, but the website glassdoor.com puts the prospective annual earnings for a landscaper in San Francisco at between $7.9k and $190k per year.
Someone can work as a freelance landscaper around their local area doing the basics such as mowing lawns and cutting hedges, and that’s the type of work that would command that $10-$18 hourly rate. You’d effectively be working as a laborer doing the jobs in the yard that others didn’t want to do or weren’t physically able to manage.
Many people want to employ someone else to do that sort of thing, and it’s a sound basis for starting your own business. But why stop there? Even if you start off without the skills to charge money for more complex and specialized landscaping jobs, you can always learn as you go by gradually expanding your repertoire as you earn a crust with the basics.
How do you get started as a landscaper?
As I said at the start, you can launch yourself as a self-employed landscaper with only the very minimum skills and equipment. Many people who have big yards that need looking after will already have the tools required for the basics, so all you are doing is hiring yourself out for your labor.
Interestingly, this brings us to the first opportunity to increase your rates and overall income. If you turn up to do a job and you are relying on the tools provided by your client, it’s clear they will expect you to work for the lowest possible rate. However, if you have your own equipment, especially some items your client is unlikely to have or better tools than the average household would own, you can inevitably charge more for your services.
Even if you are only mowing lawns, don’t you think it would be easier to charge a higher rate if you turn up in a van with your own, professionally maintained mower and edging tools than if you relied on whatever the client had to hand?
Buying your own lawnmower is a sound investment, and getting a cheap van just for doing your landscaping work can be much cheaper than you’d think. One of the best places to buy a cheap used commercial is from an auction, and some of the best auctions are government auctions where ex-government vehicles and confiscated goods are sold to the public, often at a fraction of their book value.
These auctions are not easy to find, so you will need to subscribe to one of the government auction directories. I recommend gov-auctions.org, which generally costs just $47.95 for the lifetime membership and access but is sometimes on offer for even less. If you buy only one vehicle from one of these auctions in your entire lifetime, those few dollars for the membership fee will look like chicken feed. You can check it out by clicking here.
If you don’t want to spend even that much, another one I recommend is GovernmentAuctions.org, and you can get trial access to this one for just $1. There is a monthly fee after the initial trial period, which means this will cost more than the first one, but at least you can check it out for next to nothing by clicking here.
There are more ways to get your name out there and advertise your services today than ever, and it doesn’t cost much to reach a reasonably wide audience.
The most basic and cost-free way of getting the word out is to tell people you know and ask if they need their lawn cutting or know anyone else who might be able to use your services. However, I suggest you spend a little money to be more professional and get more work by making sure prospective customers have your contact details.
In some industries, physical business cards now seem like something from the Ark, but they’re still a valuable item for a freelance landscaper. How often have you been in a conversation with someone, and they’ve told you about someone or somewhere you might need in the future, and you forget about them?
If you talk to someone about the landscaping services you offer and give them a business card, you’d be amazed how long it will stay in a wallet or purse until it’s needed. They can even serve as a basic flyer for putting in mailboxes and through doors of prospective clients, although a good flyer with more details is still a better option for that particular use.
You need your own website
Business cards and flyers are all well and good, and I’ve just explained how valuable they can be, but any business today has to have a website. Your new landscaping business is no different, and creating one has never been easier.
You don’t need anything fancy, but you do need an online presence of some sort. Even if it is just a single-page website with your phone number, email address, and a summary of the work you offer, you can’t afford to do without one.
The overwhelming majority of people will look online first when they need help, and you could be missing out on a tremendous amount of work if you don’t appear online in your local rea for landscapers.
There are loads of user-friendly website options that allow you to choose a domain (website address) and set up a site without paying big money to a specialist company to build one for you.
Honestly, building your website yourself couldn’t be easier these days. Imagine how much better it would be to attract prospective clients if you had online images of some of your work. You only need to take a few photos of your handy work on your phone and upload them. The results will speak for themselves.
Check out the likes of Web.com for all the resources and help you need to set up and maintain your landscaping website. Setting up your site doesn’t take a ton of effort, and the rewards will make your time and effort more than worth it.
Can landscapers earn a lot of money?
Being a landscaper is a great way to start your own business and become your own boss. The initial investment required is minimal, and it’s a business that can be scaled up to be as big as you want it to be.
There are many ways you can grow the business, and you might find you want to specialize in a particular landscaping area. You could stick to lawns, but you could also look at becoming a tree surgeon or specializing in ponds and other water features.
Of course, there are other benefits to becoming a self-employed landscaper that go beyond the financial rewards and becoming your own boss. You could enjoy a better work-life balance that may help with your mental state, and it’s hard to overstate how much better it would be for your physical well-being to be out and about doing a physical job rather than being in an office chained to a desk.