7 Costly Mistakes to Avoid When Running a Landscaping Business

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7 Costly Mistakes to Avoid When Running a Landscaping Business


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Lawn care and landscape business owners dedicate time and training to mastering the art of running a successful and profitable enterprise. But understanding what pitfalls to avoid in landscaping can be equally crucial to safeguarding your bottom line.

Common landscaping business mistakes, such as poor customer service or noncompliance with regulatory requirements, top the list of reasons why landscape companies fail.

Drive lasting success in your landscaping business by learning the top seven common mistakes to avoid.

Mistake #1: Skipping property assessments 

Before starting a new project, landscape professionals need to conduct a thorough property assessment that evaluates:

  • Property size

  • Layout

  • Soil quality

  • Sunlight exposure

  • Existing landscaping features

Property assessments determine the scope of work and ensure landscape designs will be tailored to the property's specific needs. An assessment ensures, for example, you’ll choose shade-tolerant plants for a property with little sunlight. 

Failure to conduct a property assessment leads to:

  • Reputation damage, such as client dissatisfaction and revision work

  • Increased project costs 

  • Damage to the property or ecosystem

Landscape professionals may underestimate the time and resources required for a project without a proper site assessment, leading to project delays. 

Make the property assessment process quicker, easier, and more accurate for your techs with a tool like PropertyIntel from Aspire Software

With aerial photography and precise measurement tools designed for the industry, landscape contractors can easily create takeoffs for maintenance work, design-build projects, and enhancement opportunities.

Mistake #2: Overcommitting to projects

The best landscapers know when to say no to a project. While you may want to accept every landscape job opportunity that comes your way, overcommitting is a detriment to service businesses.

Work quality suffers when resources are spread too thin, which leads to unhappy customers, bad reviews, or negative comments on social media. Overloading your landscapers can also lead to burnout, making it difficult to retain skilled workers. 

→ Poor resource management may lead to a bad reputation in the industry, both as an employer and as a service provider.

Landscape management software makes it easy to manage projects and allocate resources

Landscape business owners should utilize scheduling software to plan and prioritize work effectively. Aspire’s end-to-end business management platform includes a scheduling feature that allows users to visualize capacity and drag-and-drop job assignments to technicians or crews. 

Job progress can be monitored from the scheduling board, so companies truly understand what work is in their queue and how many more assignments they can reasonably schedule. 

product image scheduling open graph

Mistake #3: Neglecting equipment maintenance 

Without proper landscaping equipment maintenance, you risk service delays and downtime when tools stop working at a job site. Extra days must be added to the job, delaying future projects, causing customer friction, and creating additional work for your CSRs and scheduling team. 

In addition, equipment that isn’t properly maintained costs more in the long run by requiring expensive repairs or replacement. 

→ Poorly maintained equipment can cause accidents and injuries to workers. 

Regular maintenance extends the lifespan of equipment and ensures safe and efficient operations, saving on fuel and repair costs. 

Implement equipment management software to maximize the longevity of your tools and vehicles

Aspire’s equipment management feature allows users to track maintenance and repairs within the platform so they aren’t forgotten. 

It also provides usage metrics, which guide replacement decisions for lawnmowers, leaf blowers, chain saws, and other landscape equipment. 

Mistake #4: Inaccurate cost estimation

Estimates must consider many factors, including labor and supply costs, property takeoffs, and profit margins. When any of those factors are off, you end up with an inaccurate estimate, causing your company to either take a net loss on the job or displease your customer with significant cost increases mid-contract. 

→ Manual estimating processes often lead to inaccurate estimates. Landscape estimating software ensures consistency across the board. 

Aspire optimizes and streamlines estimating with historical job cost data

Aspire’s estimating software allows companies to create templates for commonly used services and pricing and kits that combine production factors with labor, material, and supply costs. From there, estimators can bid on even the most complex jobs by adjusting the takeoffs and quantities. 

Image | Opportunities

Mistake #5: Ignoring safety protocols

A proper safety and training program is critical in landscaping, especially regarding heavy machinery operation and chemical handling. Workers ignoring safety protocols out in the field look unprofessional and can lead to accidents and injuries.

→ Legal liabilities stemming from safety incidents can result in costly fines, legal fees, and damage to the company's reputation. 

Implementing and enforcing safety protocols, including regular training, hazard identification, and proper equipment maintenance, are critical to preventing adverse outcomes.

Promoting a culture of safety involves:

  • Clearly communicating expectations

  • Providing oversight

  • Consistent enforcement of safety protocols

You enhance your company's standing in the industry by demonstrating a commitment to protecting your workers and the community.

Mistake #6: Underestimating weather

Unfortunately, the landscape industry is at the mercy of weather conditions. Weather can cause scheduling and resource management stress, but ignoring or underestimating weather can be catastrophic for your business. 

You don’t want to send crews into the field during dangerous heat, cold, or storms. 

Adverse weather, from heavy rain to high winds, can cause delays and increase project costs.

Landscape business owners must remain flexible with scheduling and communicate with customers when jobs need to be reassigned due to conditions outside their control. 

→ Transparent and prompt communication helps manage expectations and minimize dissatisfaction. 

A CRM tool that allows for quick communication between the office, field, and customer helps everyone stay connected and in the know on weather delays. 

Mistake #7:  Avoiding continuing education

From technological advances to sustainability measures, the landscape industry is constantly evolving. Companies that don’t invest in training and continuing education fall behind the competition. 

To foster a culture of continuous improvement, landscaping companies can offer training opportunities for their employees, covering topics such as new techniques, equipment operation, and safety protocols. 

→ Participation in industry events, such as trade shows and conferences, provides valuable networking opportunities and exposure to new ideas.

Encourage employees to pursue professional certifications and licensing, or take it a step further and offer training stipends to your full-time staff. Creating a supportive environment where employees are encouraged to share ideas drives innovation and helps grow the landscape company.

Build a sustainable business with better technology

Many common landscaping services and lawn care business mistakes can be prevented with the help of technology. A business management solution built for the industry, like Aspire, offers robust features for communicating with clients, building accurate estimates, tracking equipment maintenance, and scheduling effectively. 

The Aspire Mobile app empowers field technicians with the information they need to serve customers effectively. Users can view location maps, review job tasks, and communicate with the office when necessary. 

Whether a startup, small business, or landscape empire, successful landscaping business company owners invest in advanced technology and new equipment to power growth.

Empower your team with the tools and know-how they need to be successful. Book a free demo today. 


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