Avoid These 12 Landscaping Industry Pitfalls

And another one gone and another one gone… another one bites the dust…

If Freddie Mercury sang this piece of the lyrics repeatedly, I’d think he was referring to the landscaping industry. To be fair, entering the lawn care business means dealing with dust, soil and vegetation. Much like any other category, being in the landscaping industry comes with business pitfalls here and there.

Some local landscaping companies grow and thrive amidst adversities. Others, bite the dust.

For aspiring lawn care contractors, overcoming the cost of starting a landscaping business is not the only hurdle you’ll face. There are much more perils awaiting you that could cause startups serious trouble.

So, if you’re an aspiring landscape business owner, or already own one, knowing these pitfalls safeguards your business from impact. Keep reading with me and let’s explore these pitfalls one by one.

But first…

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What Are the Weaknesses of the Landscaping Business?

Being in the landscaping industry has its set of pros and cons.

For example, the cost of starting a landscaping business is not that high. Practically speaking, if you have a lawnmower and a capable body, that’s already an entry point to the biz. Moreover, say goodbye to being the person under because landscaping makes you your own boss. That means controlling your own time, resources and commitments.

However, like all other industries out there, you will inevitably have business problems that need to be solved. It’s not a perfect line of work. While potentially lucrative, a lawn care business has weaknesses too that render it susceptible to common pitfalls.

Three common weaknesses of the landscaping industry are:

  • Business seasonality
  • Aggressive competition
  • Economic instabilities

Let me further explain why they’re weaknesses.

First, your work is generally seasonal. The landscaping industry is heavily dependent on the weather and seasons. Your job opportunities will peak during the spring and summer months but may plummet in the winter or fall. This can lead to financial instability if not properly managed. One solution is diversifying your services outside the summer and fall seasons like offering snow removal in the winter.

Next, competition can be fierce. Starting a business in the landscaping industry is truthfully a low barrier to entry. This makes it enticing for more people to join and rake in some greens. Harsh competition often leads to price wars and potentially undercutting each other. That’s why it’s important to differentiate yourself and offer unique services to stand out from the competition.

Finally, economic instabilities can also affect landscaping businesses. When the economy is struggling, people may be less likely to spend money on landscaping services. This puts luxury landscape designers at risk since structures like pools or outdoor kitchens are expensive.

Being in the landscaping industry means accepting these weaknesses and working around them. For example, banking on your advertising and marketing endeavors could attract your ideal customers. If this is something you’re interested in, but don’t know where to start, Landscape Marketing Hero can help.

Simply download our FREE growth guide and we’ll go from there.

12 Common Landscaping Industry Pitfalls to Avoid

As landscaping professionals, it’s important to know the common pitfalls in your industry in order to avoid them and succeed. Here are 12 pitfalls to watch out for: 

Entering bidding wars with low-cost competitors1. Entering Bidding Wars With Low-Cost Competitors

What would you feel if a competitor implied they could do what you’re doing for half the price? Do you sweat profusely and go even lower? Or should you hold your ground?

Haggling prices with low-cost competitors can quickly ruin your profits and reputation. Instead of trying to compete on price, focus on the value you could offer. Keep on producing quality work and giving excellent customer service. You may also offer additional services that further amplify your value and set you apart from your competitors.

The best way to approach this is by advertising these in your marketing materials.

2. Wrong or Inefficient Marketing Strategy

One of the biggest mistakes landscaping businesses can make is not having a clear marketing strategy. Or, they may have one but it proves to be ineffective and inefficient.

Take the time to research your target audience and their needs. Your solution must first correspond to the needs of your market, otherwise, you’re answering questions nobody asked. Second, solidify your advertising endeavors. In the digital marketing age, you can’t afford to neglect to advertise because it could make or break your business.

Remember, your landscaping services are not the only ones being offered. Stay ahead of the competition through world-class marketing.

3. Unprepared for the Off-Season

The landscaping industry often experiences a lull in business during the winter months. It’s crucial to financially prepare for these slower times to prevent budgeting pitfalls. 

One thing you could do is be extra cautious about your spending behavior during slow months. Moreover, you could choose to diversify and offer services outside the summer and fall seasons like snow removal during winter.

4. Borrowing More Funds Than Necessary

Imagine this. You experience financial growth, you feel like you’re at the top so you ask yourself, “should I begin expanding?” Well, that depends. 

Some landscaping businesses may be tempted to borrow more funds than necessary for expansion or equipment. However, it’s important to carefully assess your financial needs first and only take on an appropriate amount of debt.

Overspending leads to financial strain and potential business failure. If you can, consider alternative options like leasing unused equipment like your fleet or forging partnerships with other landscapers. Seeking out investors can also be a good idea to keep your business running and growing.

Neglecting the significance of communication5. Neglecting the Significance of Communication

The importance of communication can never be overstated. One key pillar behind successful companies is strong communication, especially in the landscaping industry. You need to clearly communicate to two groups of people:

  • Your customers. You need to communicate with clients about their specific needs and expectations. Only then can you serve them at the highest level.
  • Your team. Ensure tasks are being delegated and completed efficiently and effectively. Articulating your guiding principles and company culture buttresses your team to work in service of those values. 

Neglecting to communicate can lead to frustrated clients or misunderstandings within the team. This ultimately results in lost business and unreliable workers.

6. Purchasing Low-Cost, Low-Quality Equipment

Your equipment and tools are your best companions throughout the course of your business. That’s why it is important to invest in high-quality and durable products from the get-go. 

While buying low-cost equipment seems like a cost-effective solution in the short term, it can ultimately result in more expenses. Keep in mind that maintenance and repair also affect your bottom line.

There’s no problem buying second-hand equipment as long as they are in still excellent condition. Doing so can help you stave off a few thousand bucks from buying new ones. Make sure your transaction is legitimate and the seller is trustworthy, to prevent scams.

7. Incorrect Service Pricing

Pricing landscaping services can be tricky. Underpricing can result in lost profit, while overpricing may drive away potential clients. The only way to strike the perfect balance for pricing in the landscaping industry is through research. Studying the market rates and factoring in all your expenses before setting a price for your services helps greatly.

Additionally, accurately estimating the time and resources needed per rendered service ensures you’re properly compensated for your work. Double-check your calculations and do not be afraid to negotiate with clients if necessary.

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8. Inconsistency With the Market

Another pitfall to watch out for in the landscaping industry is inconsistency with the market. Entrepreneurs should stay up-to-date with current trends and techniques. Staying informed on market changes and constantly expanding your service offerings will keep you competitive.

For example, incorporating sustainable landscaping practices or offering novel landscaping technology can be your game-changer. Also, not leveraging digital marketing fronts like SEO, social media and email marketing will hamper your desire for growth.

Keeping up with the landscaping industry market is a must if you want to thrive and scale.

9. Overpromising but Delivering Short

Advertising is no longer a new concept in the landscaping industry. In a way, your advertisements are a promise of what is to come when customers choose your solutions. The only problem is when businesses overpromise but underdeliver with the results. This pitfall is a credibility breaker.

Set realistic expectations with clients, as this can lead to disappointment and hurt your reputation. Instead, aim to consistently exceed expectations by accurately assessing project timelines and resources needed. Additionally, keeping positive communication with clients throughout the process can help prevent misunderstandings from arising.

10. Undervaluing the Importance of Word-of-Mouth Marketing

In today’s digital age, most businesses fixate on staying on top in the online space. But don’t you notice that having someone validate your buying decisions eases you more into making the purchase? That’s because people are social creatures too.

Word-of-mouth marketing can still be a powerful tool for landscaping businesses today. Satisfied customers are likely to share their experiences with friends and family. This creates a steady stream of potential leads and new business opportunities.

However, many landscaping companies underestimate the impact of word-of-mouth. That’s why they fail to prioritize creating a positive customer experience leading to negative verbal reviews.

Failure to handle pressure properly

11. Failure To Handle Pressure Properly

Landscaping is a physically demanding job that requires handling heavy equipment and materials. Many landscapers also have to work in hot weather conditions. With all of this tension, it can be easy for landscapers to crack under the pressure and make mistakes.

From a financial standpoint, there’s even more pressure when you’re living off of a shoestring budget. You become more susceptible to price haggling if it means getting some sales and hopefully more financial runway.

Things won’t get easy from the get-go. That’s why developing a strong mindset that manages pressure will go a long way. Plus, it will help you stop, think, breathe and think again before you make a decision you won’t regret.

12. Giving In to Unprofessional Behavior

The effects of the pressure mentioned above could manifest in various ways. Sometimes, it could push us over the edge of professionalism and exhibit unprofessional behavior.

Here’s the thing. The landscaping industry, or any business for that matter, will test your patience, work ethic, and integrity. How we handle those moments will determine our success in the long run.

Always be courteous and respectful, even when facing difficult clients or challenging situations. Especially in this age of social media, one wrong move could compromise your brand image. So, before reacting out of frustration, take a step back and assess the situation. Don’t let difficult customers get to you.

You can always do something to avoid these pitfalls. After all, they’re called pitfalls because entrepreneurs fall into them when they’re not careful or observant. If you could find mentors to walk you through navigating the landscaping industry, that would be splendid.

One of the biggest pitfalls many fall into and fail to recover from is skimping on marketing and advertising. In the 21st century, this is not only helpful but necessary. Landscape Marketing Hero could help you out on these fronts. All it takes is downloading your FREE growth guide and we’ll go from there.