According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the occupation of landscape architect has the potential to grow from 2008 to 2018 at a faster rate than most occupations. People want beautiful yards that provide curb appeal. However, most people live such hectic lives, they don’t have time to accomplish much on the “to-do” list. Instead, individuals and businesses alike are hiring landscapers to do the work for them.
Select a business entity for your Massachusetts landscaping business. You will need this information for registration purposes. Possible choices include sole proprietorship, limited liability company, corporation or partnership.
Choose a name for your landscaping business. According to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts website, a business name "may not be the same as, or so similar as to be likely to be mistaken for" the name of any other registered business.
Obtain the necessary licensing and permits for your Massachusetts landscaping business, including the Landscape Architect License from the Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation. Check with local city offices to see if you need to obtain a business license to offer services in that city.
Acquire an Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the Internal Revenue Service if you intend to have employees for your landscaping business. An EIN is also beneficial for tax purposes and opening a business checking account.
Register your business with the Massachusetts Department of Revenue for state tax purposes, including sales tax, income tax and unemployment insurance.
Know the hardiness zones for the area in Massachusetts where you provide services and the plants that thrive in these zones. Hardiness zones across the state range from four to seven.
Determine to whom you will provide your landscaping services – residential, commercial or both.
Settle on the prices for your landscaping services. There are several ways you can charge your clients, including an hourly rate or a flat rate based upon the size of the job. Consider a flat monthly fee for continued maintenance of the landscaping you provide. Be sure to include the cost of landscaping supplies in your pricing.
Purchase the equipment for your Massachusetts landscaping business. You’ll need a truck to transport tools, plants and other supplies. You’ll also need basic lawn tools, such as shovels, a wheelbarrow and other gardening tools. You can purchase or rent larger equipment, such as a backhoe, when you need it or hire a sub-contractor to take care of large hauling and dumping tasks.
Obtain Massachusetts Worker’s Compensation insurance if you have any employees, as Massachusetts law requires. You must also post a Notice to Employees, in a place they can easily find it, notifying them of the name and contact information for your insurance carrier.
Establish a resume of your landscaping work, including references and pictures of projects you personally completed. A website for your business is a great way to have all of this information in one place and easily accessible.
Promote your business to potential clients. Leave fliers on residential doors or visit door-to-door to talk to people in person. Register with online services that provide you with referrals. Advertise in local publications, such as the phone book or magazines.
You will also need to insure your business since there is potential for accidental harm to come to someone’s property, such as hitting a water pipe while digging. Shop around with local and national insurance companies to find the best policy for your business needs. If you don’t have pictures of previous projects to show potential clients, then you need to obtain some experience, as many people won’t hire a landscaping business without seeing what they can do. Consider offering services to friends and family at discounted rates to get started.