How to Start a Landscaping Business or Franchise in 2024

Written by: Qingyi (Shirley) Cao
Last Updated by Rocio Somoza: January 23, 2023
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Do you know that the American lawn is now the largest single “crop” in the U.S. and roughly 80 million Americans have lawns? Meanwhile, many states forbid grass from being over a certain height. Owning a lawn means watering, mowing, repairing, and cultivating it regularly. It is no surprise that people are hiring people to maintain the lawn for them.

In reality, you do not need much to start a landscaping business, whether mowing lawns or landscaping residential or commercial properties. From Vetted Biz, we will review the costs and how to start a landscaping business or franchise in 2022.

How to Start From Zero - Step by Step

Get Landscaping Experience

Before opening up your own landscaping business, it is always recommended to get some hands-on experience. This isn’t to say decades of industry experience are needed. Getting a few months of professional training before launching the business and working in the field is always better than trial and error when working for your first client! Additionally, it is essential to acquire some basic business skills, such as getting familiar with the cost of materials. Profitable means revenues outweigh the costs!

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Choose Your Services

As we mentioned above, a wide range of services is included under the umbrella of landscaping. It is important to decide the kind of services that you are going to provide because different services require various sets of equipment. Meanwhile, you are able to hire a specialized crew instead of people with a wide range of skills in landscaping.

These services include landscape maintenance, fertilization, and pest control, sod and lawn installation, deck and patio construction, and landscape architecture and design. Moreover, it is a good idea to decide the kind of customers you will work with, either residential or commercial. The residential landscaping business involves lower up-front costs and more freedom for creativity, while commercial landscaping is vice versa.

Set Up a Fair Price

To compete in the industry, you need to set up a fair price. Various regions have different price ranges for landscaping services.

Average National Cost for Residential Landscaping Services

Service Cost
Lawn mowing/maintenance $130
Removing a tree stump $300
Leaf removal $355
Asphalt paving $500
Tree and shrub maintenance $800
Deck sealing and waterproofing $880
Concrete removal $1,000
Patio or path repair $1,350
Deck repair $1,725
Installing sod $1,850
Driveway repair $1,650
Resloping/countouring $1,950
Fountain installation $2,600
Pond installation $3,100
Landscape installation $3,300
Patio and path installation $3,900
Landscape design $4,400
Installing a retaining wall $5,400
Building a deck $7,650
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Get Things Ready – License, Equipment, and More…

You need to come up with a unique company name and register with both the state and federal governments.

Manual gardening tools (shovels, rakes, shears, trowels, etc.)$10-$50 each
Push mower$200-$1,000
Riding lawn mower$1,000-$5,000
Leaf spreader$100-$500
Lawn spreader$100-$500
Sprayer (for fertilizer, pesticides, etc.)$50-$200
Water saw$500-$4,000
Plate compactor$300-$5,000
Heavy-duty truck$10,000-$50,000
Portable generator$500-$2,000

The types of landscape services you’re going to provide determine which specific equipment you’ll need. If your start-up budget is not enough to cover all the tools, you can turn to an alternative: rent tools and buy them as you go.

Three Landscaping Companies to First Get Experience

Not ready to start your own landscaping business just yet? Learn the trade from the industry leaders first! You can apply for a job on their websites.


BrightView was formed by the merging of two landscaping companies in 2014 – The Brickman Group, founded in 1939, and ValleyCrest Landscape, established in 1949. Today BrightView is one of the largest commercial landscaping companies in the country, with over 175 locations providing landscaping solutions to commercial properties. Specifically, BrightView serves a wide range of industrial facilities, such as hospitality companies, retailers, educational institutions, religious organizations, healthcare entities, and more. Although BrightView does not offer franchise opportunities, it provides opportunities for a wide range of people, including university graduates and veterans.

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Established in 1980, Mainscape has since grown to more than 22 locations across multiple states and provides landscaping solutions to over 35,000 homeowners a year. It offers landscaping solutions to residential and multi-family properties, as well as military facilities. Mainscape primarily focuses on residential landscaping, including lawn care and maintenance, weed management, property detailing, seasonal flowering, fertilization, and tree trimming. More importantly, Mainscape specializes in “single-site mobilization,” which means that if your property is not within its main coverage area, it can dispatch workers to your location!

Davey Tree:

Founded in 1880 by John Davey, Davey Tree is a company providing tree services for residential and commercial properties. After becoming an employee-owned company in 1979, Davey Tree currently operates in more than 100 locations in 47 states. Some of the highlighted residential services it offers include tree removal and trims, planting and transplantation, tree inspections, lawn care, and more. For commercial properties, Davey Tree provides landscape maintenance, snow removal, full tree care solutions, and more.

Four Landscaping Franchise Opportunities

Lawn Doctor:

Founded by Bob Magda and Tony Giordano in 1967 and franchising since that same year, Lawn Doctor offers a wide array of lawn care services, both residential and commercial. In addition, Lawn Doctor has developed its own line of proprietary, patented equipment known as Turf Tamer. Currently, Lawn Doctor has more than 600 franchise locations nationwide, of which none are company-owned and all are located in the US. It claims to have the highest customer retention rate of 80%.

Compared to many other franchise opportunities, Lawn Doctor offers a low-investment franchise opportunity.  For a single territory, the total investment and costs range from $116,465 to $141,815. Franchising with Lawn Doctor will be an easy start because it requires no retail location to build out, limited equipment and infrastructure, and limited initial staffing. 

Weed Man:

Founded by Des Rice in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada in 1970 and franchised since 1976, the number of locations has been on the rise in recent years with over 350 locations recently. Weed Man emphasizes proactive prevention and integrated pest management (IPM), in addition to regular residential landscaping.

Franchisees can opt for starting a brand-new location or converting an existing company to the Weed Man brand. For a single territory, the initial franchise fee is $20,000, an initial investment of $69,490, and a capital investment of $103,700. It is plausible to invest in double territories, just with a slightly higher initial and capital investment of $86,550, and $118,450, respectively.

U.S. Lawns:

U.S. Lawns solely focuses on commercial lawn care and landscaping services for business clients and it is the only franchise opportunity for exclusive commercial landscaping. Founded in Orlando, Florida in 1986 and franchising since 1987, U.S. Lawns currently has over 220 locations in the nation, none of which are company-owned. The company has six different categories of services, including lawn care, landscape maintenance, irrigation, landscape improvements, hardscaping, tree care, and snow/ice management.

For a standard U.S. Lawns franchisee, the franchise fee is $34,000, which is included in a total investment of $57,500 to $123,300. It requires a less initial investment for a conversion or a veteran, with a total investment of $38,800 to $82,300, and $52,500 to $118,300, respectively.

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The Grounds Guy:

The Grounds Guy focuses on providing both residential and commercial lawn services, including lawn and bed maintenance, pest, weed, fertilization, and seasonal and regional color. First opened in 1987 with 10 staff, the Grounds Guy has expanded to 180 franchise locations around the U.S. and Canada. Additionally, the Grounds Guy is a part of the Neighborly company, which provides a whole range of home care services. This helps the Grounds Guy stand out from other companies in the industry, with a strong backup with abundant support and resources.

Operators are able to choose from establishing a brand new franchise territory, purchasing currently established franchises, and starting a franchise location in existing territory. The estimated total initial investment is between $82,820 to $202,470, including an initial franchise fee of $35,000. Liquid capital of $50,000 is sufficient to franchise a business with the Grounds Guy!

Landscaping Business For Sale?

You can visit the business for sale websites like BizBuySell or our business for sale section of Vetted Biz to find your ideal vending machine business for sale. There are many landscaping businesses for sale across the country! The resale price of a landscaping business can range from $200,000 to $1 million, depending on the size and cash flow of the business. Valuations are across the board and generally, you have to pay 3-6X cash flow for a landscaping business.

Profits in the Landscaping Business

Revenues in the landscaping business vary across companies, but their revenues are generally in the range of $700,000 to $1,500,000. One of the advantages of the landscaping business is its low initial investment compared to the revenues and profits – between $80,000 to $150,000. More importantly, the average gross sales profit margin for the top landscaping franchise companies is extremely high, compared to other businesses. Furthermore, revenues in the landscaping franchise business increase dramatically if operating up to 5 years, after establishing a solid consumer base.  

Owner-operating Franchise Businesses

Company NameNumber of Reporting BusinessAverage Annual Gross SalesAverage Initial InvestmentAverage Gross Sales Profit Margin
Lawn Doctor191 (2+ years in operation)$922,043$129,14084.82%
Weed Man125$1,468,589$78,02083.34%
U.S. Lawns210$916,227$79,55053.21%
The Grounds Guy69 (3+ years in operation)$784,950$142,645N/A



Looking at Lawn Doctor, which provides landscaping services for both residential and commercial clients. A total investment can cost $116,465 to $141,815, including between $103,950 to $117,000 that must be paid to the franchisor. Compared to other franchise businesses, the landscaping franchise business generally requires a higher royalty fee of 10% of net revenues and 5% of marketing funds.

The average net revenues for the 191 reported franchisees are $922,043, with the highest at $8 million operating 5 to 6 years and the lowest at $24,645 operating 1 year. Additionally, the average annual customer revenue value is $629, with the highest at $52,601 and the lowest at $100. While this may appear like a great investment, one thing to note is that high revenues and profit margin all depend on a loyal customer base and a viable territory.


Landscaping business could be a stable and profitable business once a loyal customer base is established. As it is highly dependent on the recurring revenue business model, it is important to be ready for a long-term investment. Most of the high revenue generated franchisees have operated for more than 6 years. One of the advantages of investing in the landscaping business is its transparency, where companies normally reveal their revenues and profit margins which are important factors for investors.

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