Helping individuals and businesses beautify their outdoor space is its own reward. But as a landscaping business owner, how much can you expect to make?
Landscaping is a thriving industry, and it’s only expected to grow as more millennials become homeowners and hire landscapers to make their gardening dreams a reality.1
But the amount that landscapers make can vary wildly, in large part because you can choose how much to pay yourself out of your business’s profits.
In this short guide, we’ll go over the general salary range for landscapers and the steps you can take to maximize your take-home pay.
Landscaper salary range
According to Green Industry Pros, the salary range for landscaping contractors varies from just under $30K to over $110K.2
What accounts for this huge variation?
There are two major factors:
- The amount of business the landscaping company bills annually
- The way the landscaping business owner pays themself
According to a further analysis in Lawn & Landscape, owners’ methods for paying themselves include the following:3
- Some business owners pay themselves based on a percentage of sales. For example, a landscaper doing $300,000 of yearly billing may choose to pay themselves 12%, or $36,0000. In this case, they might take 12% out of each client check as it comes in.
- Others want to make sure their business has a profit. On any sale, they make sure that 10% is invested back into the business. That could mean there’s less money available to put back into their own bank account.
- Others still calculate their salary at the beginning of the fiscal year and pay themselves what they think they’re owed no matter the business’s costs or billing.
The key is finding the best fit for your business.
It’s easy enough to choose to pay yourself $100K—but what will happen if you can’t pay your business’s bills? To stave off this problem, you may be tempted to pay yourself next-to-nothing, but your lowered quality of life will eventually impact your business.
So what’s the solution?
Survey the local market and set reasonable goals for your salary based on the rates you can charge.
Factors that affect your salary
How much you can bill annually depends on a number of variables. While only some are in your control, it’s important to have an awareness of all of them so that you can plan accordingly!
Your training – If you’re adept at using landscape design software to give elaborate mockups or have specialty training in an area like energy efficient landscaping, you may be able to charge more for your services than less qualified competitors.
Geographic location – Landscapers in affluent areas with lots of green space will have a much larger client base than those in urban and lower-income areas. Your competitors’ rates also directly impact the amount you can charge.
Your hustle – How many days a week are you willing to work? How much effort do you put into advertising? To make more, do more.
Reputation and reviews – Are you the #1 local landscaping company on Yelp? If not, you’ll receive fewer leads and book fewer jobs. Make sure to give clients promotional discounts in exchange for prompt and favorable reviews
Efforts to scale – As a business owner, you want to be present at each and every job site. But as you take on more business, you may need to hire additional crew so you can say yes to every job.
If you’re just getting started, make a detailed business plan that anticipates how much work you’d have to bill to make your desired salary.
How to increase your landscaping income
As we’ve noted, hustle is a major factor in your success as a small business owner. But the goal is to work smarter so that you still maintain a healthy quality of life.
Some of our favorite tips for business owners seeking balance include:
Increasing your rates annually – Some clients give you regular business maintaining their plants. While it’s important to value their loyalty, you should still raise your rates to keep pace with inflation and rising material costs. Consider offering them a discount in exchange for a referral to a friend!
Prioritizing efficiency – When working between different job sites, create a mapped plan to cut out unnecessary commuting time. If you have enough income, hire an intern or delegate tasks to the crew and give yourself more bandwidth for finding new business.
Actively advertising – There are more methods than ever to connect with potential customers, from emerging social media like TikTok to local business databases like Angie’s List.
Protect your profit
As a small business owner, you want to spend any profit reinvesting in your business—not dealing with costly lawsuits.
Are you wondering why landscapers need insurance?
Since you work with chainsaws, edgers, and other tools, it’s not hard to imagine a situation where a client or third party gets injured. It’s totally possible that you could damage a clients’ garage or deck in the midst of a makeover.
Beyond liability risks, your state or municipality may have licensing requirements that require you to take out general liability insurance. Likewise, some clients may request it in the contract. Finally, proof of insurance conveys professionality and seriousness.
For these reasons, it’s important to take out insurance that provides coverage for client and third-party claims of property damage, bodily injury, and personal injury.
Landscaper Insurance via Thimble is designed for your growing business’s needs. Take out coverage by the hour, day, or month so that you’re only paying for insurance when you’re actually on the job.
Additionally, if you take out a monthly plan, it’ll come bundled with an optional business equipment protection add-on. This means you can protect your landscape equipment too.
The grass isn’t always greener…
As a landscaper, you get to work in the great outdoors, turning dusty lots and neglected lawns into verdant slices of paradise.
While the salary range for landscapers can vary considerably, you can take active steps to maximize your earnings.
- Understand the local market and seek out a niche where you can garner the most work at the highest rate
- Pay yourself a fair wage while reserving a portion of the business’s profits to reinvest in marketing or scaling your business
- Use your acumen to gradually increase your rates and grow your business
- Hedge against risk by taking out insurance
As long as you follow these tips, we’re confident you’ll find the grass is perfectly green in the landscaping business!