Starting a new landscape maintenance company still possible in hard economic times.

About a year ago my wife and I had decided it was time to make a change in our lives. After much deliberation we decided to start our own landscape maintenance company. This decision was not made "out of the blue", both my wife and I have been off and on landscapers for over ten years, and in 2001 I owned my own landscape company in Boise Idaho for a brief time.

Here in Eugene, Oregon there are literally hundreds of landscapers in this town of less than 300,000 people, so it might seem that in these hard economic times that jumping headlong into an already saturated market was risky if not plain stupid. I think perhaps it was a little bit of both, but here we are one year later and although we aren't rolling in money(in fact we are essentially broke) we are still in business and bringing in money (not quite as fast as we spend it.)

Now I don't think just anybody should attempt this, we have literally worked our tails off, at times for a much lower rate than is needed. We have distributed over 8,000 fliers door to door in the south hills of Eugene (this is an incredibly hilly area). We have spent countless hours building our own website, our customer base, and our company image.

Sure you can start a "Mow & Blow" company out of the back of your chevy blazer with a $200 rinky dink trailer from Home Depot, and trust me there are plenty of these "Jalopy Joes" cruising around town under cutting prices and generally under performing. You can make money that way too, but don't expect to create the income needed to raise a family or pay off student loans.

Today we are still in desperate need of more clients, and more work but we are making it and I think that there is still room for others to do what we did. We expect to be paying bills comfortably by the end of the year and in this economy thats all you can really ask for.

If you think your ready to make the jump into owning and operating a landscape maintenance company, the go for it. You will be spending the next few years working your butt off weeding, mowing, blowing, pressure washing, mowing some more.... whatever you have to to get by. A little startup money won't hurt either, we tried to be professional by installing our own vinyl logo and phone to the truck and trailer. We also splurged at first to buy dickies shirts and embroider our company logo and our names on them.

The niche for any new company is professionalism, your customers want it and with landscapers I don't think they are getting it very often. here are some tips from me:

Be on Time
Be friendly
Work Hard
Create a good looking flier and website
make sure your rig looks professional
keep your equipment in good shape
offer many services (i.e. deck restoration. roof cleaning, pressure washing.)
Flier your butt off!
ask for referrals.

We are still struggling to refine our company image so if you have the time please visit one of the links below to our website bloq, FAQ, and facebook page. Any comments or suggestion you have on how to continue to draw customers would be appreciated!

Our FAQ: (it still needs more questions and answers so feel free to submit a question)

our Blog:(just getting it started)

and facebook:


LawnSite Bronze Member
Good luck in chasing your dream and I hope you get to where your comfortable. I've been working hard at my buisness for 8 years now and hope to be heading in the comfortable less stress side of this buisness in the next year or 2.


LawnSite Senior Member
New Jersey
I went to school for horticulture, I worked for a mason for free to learn masonry and learned tree work from a friend also worked for free. I started my company 5 years ago and im doing very well. BUT i did my time paid for schooling worked and learned with experienced guys. I cant stand it when people just start cutting grass and trimming shrubs and call themselfs landscapers or lawn care companies. Nothing against you i realize eveyone needs to eat and make money but if you start off cutting grass get educated about field go to collage or trade school for it learn about the field before you dub yourselfs lawn care professionals or landscape design construction companies. The guys i see around me that do that are horrible i actually charge twice as much for cutting and still get the accounts because they know i know what im doing.

Set Apart Lawn Care

LawnSite Member
I'd say your way ahead of the game. The website is better than 90% of the sites in my area. The "Jalopy Joes" are a double edged sword, while they do take some business undercutting, they also come and go every year leaving there old clients wide open for real landscapers, and they teach customers a good lesson - you get what you pay for - that way they dont mind paying a little extra to have someone like you who is professional and reliable.

This may not be possible for you, but I had a second job the first two years during the off-season to supplement my significantly lower leaf season income, and my wife has worked as a waitress making as much as me (granted its a nice restaurant) for the 3 years I've been in business. I really think I make the worst decisions when I am desperate, having a supplemental income takes some of the stress and pressure off.

I'd say if you stick around, you are going to succeed, seems like you have all the right attitudes and ideas to me!