How to Open & Operate a Financially Successful Landscaping, Nursery, or Lawn Service Business


If you enjoy working with people and working outdoors, operating a small nursery, landscaping, or lawn service may be the perfect business for you. In fact, many operators combine all three of these elements to make an ideal year-round business.

This complete manual will arm you with everything you need to get started and run with your new business, including: business forms, contracts, and worksheets and checklists for planning, opening, and running day-to-day operations. You ...

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If you enjoy working with people and working outdoors, operating a small nursery, landscaping, or lawn service may be the perfect business for you. In fact, many operators combine all three of these elements to make an ideal year-round business.

This complete manual will arm you with everything you need to get started and run with your new business, including: business forms, contracts, and worksheets and checklists for planning, opening, and running day-to-day operations. You will learn dozens of other valuable, timesaving tools of the trade that no business should be without.

While providing detailed instructions and examples, this book leads you through every detail that will bring success. You will learn how to draw up a winning business plan and about deciding on a name, choosing the right equipment, and selling your other services to your present customers.

You will learn about advertising, insurance, basic cost control systems,  and market research. You will learn how to build your business by using low and no cost ways to satisfy customers, as well as ways to increase sales and have customers refer others to you.   The companion CD-ROM is included with the print version of this book; however is not available for download with the electronic version.  It may be obtained separately by contacting Atlantic Publishing Group at

Atlantic Publishing is a small, independent publishing company based in Ocala, Florida. Founded over twenty years ago in the company president’s garage, Atlantic Publishing has grown to become a renowned resource for non-fiction books. Today, over 450 titles are in print covering subjects such as small business, healthy living, management, finance, careers, and real estate. Atlantic Publishing prides itself on producing award winning, high-quality manuals that give readers up-to-date, pertinent information, real-world examples, and case studies with expert advice.  Every book has resources, contact information, and web sites of the products or companies discussed.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781601382283
  • Publisher: Atlantic Publishing Group Inc.
  • Publication date: 11/23/2009
  • Pages: 288
  • Sales rank: 655,662
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Table of Contents

Introduction 9

Section 1 Choosing The Outdoor Business That Is Right For You 15

Chapter 1 Characteristics of a Successful Business 17

Chapter 2 Know Yourself Before You Start a Business 23

Franchise or From the Ground Up? 25

Starting from scratch 30

Section 2 Outdoor Opportunities 37

Chapter 3 The Nitty Gritty Work of Landscaping 39

Doing a Good Job Is Not Enough 42

Outdoor Maintenance 43

Chapter 4 The Nursery Business 47

Green is "In" 47

How to Make "Beautiful Work" Profitable 52

Section 3 Business Operations 57

Chapter 5 Planning for Success 59

Getting Started 59

Business Planning 60

Becoming a Small Business 65

Parts of Your Business Plan 69

Insurance 79

Chapter 6 Branding Your Business 89

Creating an Effective Brand 92

Chapter 7 Funding Your Business 99

Financing Options 100

Professional Advisors 103

Money Management 105

Controlling Costs 107

Chapter 8 Estimates, Bids, and Contracts 129

Contracts with Vendors 129

Contracts for Customers 131

Planning for Profitability 135

Bidding for Commercial Jobs 137

Negotiating Prices 140

Billing and Collection 142

Secrets of Job Estimating 144

Section 4 Bn The Office 161

Chapter 9 Locating Your Office 163

Home or Facility, Pros and Cons 163

Chapter 10 Buying Office Equipment and Supplies 187

Setting Up Your Office 167

Computers and Software 174

Hiring Office Help 187

Section 5 In The Field 193

Chapter 11 Buying Professional Equipment and Supplies 195

Outdoor Equipment 195

What Does All of This Cost? 204

Essential Maintenance 205

Outdoor Supplies 207

Chapter 12 Hiring Outdoor Workers 219

Interviews 222

New Employee Paperwork 227

ImmigrationConcerns 227

Drug Testing 230

Training 230

Payroll and Benefits 234

Subcontracting and Partnering/Referral 235

Additional Schooling 242

Section 6 Your Customers 245

Chapter 13 Finding Customers- or Helping Them Find You 247

Inexpensive Marketing Methods 247

Conducting Appointments 260

Cross-selling Your Services 262

Chapter 14 To Focus or Expand 271

Appendix Bibliography and Additional Resources 277

Immigration and Job Form Information 278

Bonding 280

Business community resources 280

Drug Testing 280

Gardening 280

Government sites and forms 281

Landscaping 281

Marketing 281

Pest control 282

Small business help 282

Software 282

Supplies 283

Web site Design 283

Index 285

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Sort by: Showing all of 7 Customer Reviews
  • Posted January 8, 2010

    A Great Book on Opening and Running Any Business

    This book completes all the background research necessary in order to understand the landscaping business as a whole so that prospective owners will make the best choices as they are first beginning their business. From detailed information on equipment, advertising, business forms, hiring practices, financial backing and narrowing the focus of services to offer, no area of concern is left unexamined or open ended.

    Beginning with a Personality Quiz to better identify what type of business owner the reader aims to be, the chapters work through partnerships, franchise possibilities, and independent ownership as an option. The following chapters provide information on forming a Business Plan, determining the bottom line to cover expenses, estimating job bids, marketing, finding the best customers and even how to set up an office.

    Taking the guesswork out of business ownership, there are checklists that cover the pieces of a business plan, forecasting revenue, insurance requirements, services to offer to customers, seasonal services, and additional information on the permits, regulations on hiring, use of chemicals, and laws that vary from state to state. I recommend this book not only to anyone who is considering running their own business in Landscaping, Nursery or Lawn Service, but also to anyone who may dream of opening their own business of any type. It forces the reader to weigh all options in advance, warns against bidding low on jobs that it harms their end product, and arms the future business owner with all necessary tools to become successful and profitable.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 15, 2010

    You Can Do It

    At first glance I didn't think this book looked all that impressive, but after taking a closer look, I found I was wrong. I've always enjoyed landscaping and this book's got all the bases covered. I was surprised, first of all, by how easy it was to read.

    The layout of the book was easy to follow as well. I found the step-by-step process a great help in determining right off if pursuing a landscaping business was right for me (everything is divided up into six simple sections for easy reference).

    Most of all, the case studies of actual real life people were a benefit. And the business plan process will be a great help in my brainstorming. I don't know if landscaping is right for me, but I do know that this book had opened my eyes to a lot of aspects I never could have even considered on my own, I give it Five stars! It's a must read if you're thinking about going into business for yourself! It provides all the details you'll ever need, -from A-Z!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 27, 2010

    A beneficial necessity for anyone looking to start a business of their own: review by A.Shrum

    How to Open and Operate A Financially Successful Landscaping, Nursery, or Lawn Service Business: With Companion CD-ROM is a beneficial necessity for anyone looking to start a business of their own. But, don't let the cover fool you. This guide can be used as a reference for any kind of business. Complete with 290 easy-to-read pages, it is a realistic portrayal of what developing a business truly means. It is broken down into nine sections with step-by-step instructions. The format helps in strategizing and creating a distinct "personality" for your business, ultimately becoming the anchor that will bring in your customers.
    The author is very responsible in explaining not only the background of business development and management, but also the details on financing and hiring as well, going into such distinct detail as to what equipment will work best for your particular goals. From the opening sentence, we can be assured that nothing is sugar-coated: "This book does not sell dreams - rather, it shows you, step by step, how to make your personal dream for working for yourself in the outdoors come true." It explains how "passion" is a great first step, but cannot be the only driving force.
    Taking a very holistic approach to entrepreneurship, the book even examines how knowing yourself and your limits before you open your business will be beneficial in the long run. And, to help give you a better understanding of what that truly means, it's equipped with a Personality Quiz (my favorite part!). The layout of the book flows seamlessly, from the basics all the way down to the "nitty gritty" details. The resource section in the back of the book is an excellent tool for aspiring business owners. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone looking to be profitable with their business.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 27, 2010

    How to Open & Operate a Financially Successful Landscaping, Nursery, or Lawn Service Business

    With green and eco-friendly living an increasingly more socially responsible choice for home owners and businesses, it is also a great opportunity for outdoor-loving entrepreneurs to begin and/or build a business in landscaping, grounds keeping or plant nurseries.

    The unfortunate reality of starting and running a business is just that: learning the basics of how to run one successfully. This How-to guide breaks down what is often the most intimidating and difficult aspect of small business ownership-setting up the business correctly from the start so that it runs smoothly in the long run. Whether you choose to buy into a franchise, purchase an existing business, or begin from scratch, every vital aspect of starting a landscaping-related business is outlined step by step, including: tailoring the business to suit your strengths, developing a business plan, becoming a small business, branding, financing, money management, dealing with vendors, purchasing insurance, supplies and equipment, cost estimates, bidding on a project, hiring workers, marketing, government paperwork, web site design, finding customers and finally. collecting payment.

    This guide is a remarkable resource, offering solid, reality-based strategies for building an efficient, profitable outdoor-services business. Case studies of specific businesses illustrate the pros and cons of one type of business versus another, and also walk the reader through worst-case-scenarios and provide personality tests that encourage the reader to be realistic about their role in the business and the double-edged nature of being one's own boss. The entire process is broken down into straightforward, do-able parts, so that the most important thing-the love of green things and making beautiful lawns, gardens and landscapes-can be the focus, along with a healthy dose of realistic expectations.

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  • Posted January 25, 2010

    comprehensive guide

    I'm sure we have all been victims of a poorly planned business. Whether it is a restaurateur who can't pay his employees each week, a contractor who doesn't get work done on time or within budget, or some other business blunder, the management of a small business can make or break it. Especially in a struggling economy, small business owners need to get everything right in order to stay afloat. This book sets out to help potential owners of Landscaping, Nursery, or Lawn Services businesses turn their ideas into reality in a responsible way.
    Landscaping obviously had unique issues that other business owners would not encounter. Wasnak includes chapters on "The Nitty Gritty of Landscape Work", equipment and supplies ("buy the best you can afford, it will be cheaper in the long run"), and hiring outdoor workers (including precise advice on how to pick out the most effective candidates). The author does a good job of showing how a passion for landscaping design is not all you need to run this type of business. Customer Service, profitability, and marketing techniques are the priority, as well as the focus of this book. The Bibliography and Additional Resources at the end of the book are also a very helpful tool to get even more in depth information.

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  • Posted January 4, 2010

    This is the perfect book if you want to know all about landscaping and how to start your very own business.

    The opening of this book draws in everyone because it shows the benefits that everyone could have from this book. It tells how simple your entrance into the landscaping business but accompanies it with the problems that many new start-ups will run into. Also showing the demand for landscaping has increased in the United States can almost made me want to start a new lawn mowing and gardening business!
    I like the layout of the book. It seems to flow from the basics all of the way to the very little details that anyone starting a business will run into before they can have a successful business. This book is very easy to read and I feel that everyone could learn many things from this book about landscaping, but most importantly about life. I really believe that the section on knowing yourself before you start a business is genius. Many people do not know what type of personality is required for these different jobs but this book lays it out for you and it is as easy as following a checklist to know which path you should follow.
    The case studies contained within this book are very helpful. Each case study allows the reader to see a different situation, equipped with your very own Personality Quiz. It is very nice to have real life circumstances shown for the many sections within this book because it shows why exactly they included each chapter. All of these sections contain questions that you should ask yourself when starting and maintaining your business. There are websites and walkthroughs for these chapters that will come in handy to those who are serious about following the steps suggested. This book is so helpful for anyone looking to start a business of any kind!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted December 23, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    How to Open & Operate a Financially Successful Landscaping, Nursery or Lawn Service Business: Companion CD -ROM

    This book has 290 pages and deals with "How to" start a landscaping or an outdoor business. The nine sections in the book provide a step-by-step guide for a person new to business. The author set out to provide detailed instructions for setting up a landscaping/ lawn business and succeeded in doing this.
    After reading this book, the reader will have more than enough information to know how to start and run a business.
    I found this book to be very informative and recommend it for the following reasons:- if you are in the landscaping business or trying to decide if that is the business for you, then this book will show you how to shop for the right equipment, provide you with information on the procedures and practices required in starting your new business. The case studies in the book provide information on how others have built their businesses.
    If you are not in the landscaping business, this book provides you with great information too. You can skip Section 2 which deals Landscaping as a business, and use the outstanding information in the remaining sections. Information such as: characteristics of a small business; the book talks about, "Passion" being a prime ingredient. A successful business is "more than a business to its owner". It encourages you to know yourself before you start a business, and to plan for success while branding your business.
    This is simply a great book for any person interested in starting a business, any kind of business -outdoor or otherwise.

    However, I feel that the title of this book may prevent business owners in a different niche from purchasing it, because they may assume that it deals specifically with starting an outdoor business, which unfortunately is not the case at all.

    I rate this book as a 4 star.

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