According to the Professional Landcare Network (PLANET), the U.S. landscaping industry is worth about $61 billion annually when one takes into account landscape contractors along with lawn and tree specialists. What makes this number unique is not its size, however, but the fact that an industry so large is dominated by small businesses that take in less than $500,000 per year. The predominance of small businesses is both good and bad. It is good because it makes it easy for entrepreneurs and go-getters to enter the industry. It is bad because so many separate businesses competing in the same market space makes it hard for newcomers to differentiate themselves. If you are considering becoming a landscaper or are already working in the industry, a license may be the best asset you can invest in. Even if the area where you do business doesn’t require a license, consider the fact that the cost of investing in one can easily be offset by the boost it gives to your business. Here are just a few ways in which a license can improve your business prospects and your bottom line.
Differentiate Yourself from Competition
Competition is always stiff in an industry with low barriers to entry. It is easy to get into the landscape business, but that doesn’t mean it is easy to become an expert or that every contractor is equal. Having a license is a great way to differentiate yourself from the competition. It demonstrates your commitment to quality and professionalism, which are great selling points. Being able to point to your licensing credentials can help you win bids when you go toe-to-toe with other landscapers.
Expertise is what every landscape business is selling and the more expertise you acquire, the more you can charge for your time. While some people will be looking for the absolute cheapest option on the market, there are plenty of clients looking for quality and are willing to pay for it. Licensed businesses can offer their customers enhanced peace of mind in terms of quality, professionalism, and accountability.
The general rule is that contractors should never compete on price. You should compete on the level of service you offer. Having a license proves that you know your trade and that you can offer a high level of service. Competing on service allows you to choose your customers and generally means that clients are more willing to pay for the higher quality of service you offer.
Some contractors, unfortunately, are not on the level. They are simply out to scam their customers. Having a license demonstrates the legitimacy of your business and your willingness to play by the rules. Potential customers will know that you meet the criteria set forth by the state to be licensed, which demonstrates your higher level of dedication to your work.
Insurance and Licenses
In most places, a company must demonstrate proof of insurance in order to be licensed. Insurance not only protects your company, but protects homeowners as well. If a homeowner hires an unlicensed contractor and that contractor injures another person on the job, it is the homeowner who gets sued. With fully licensed contractors on the job, homeowners are protected against potential lawsuits that occur when an employee of a business gets injured on the job.