Is Landscaping a Smart Side Hustle for Your Homestead?

Reader Contribution by Holly Welles
Many homesteaders are looking for ways to diversify their income and make the most of the tools and skills they possess.

For some, landscaping may seem like the natural choice, since you’re already familiar with the great outdoors. Why not go for something you’re skilled in?

Lawn care can be an excellent source of additional income, but like any business, it requires patience, motivation and financial smarts.

Take your time and do your research before making a decision. Running a business is a fulfilling venture that also calls for a lot of hard work. If you’re sure about taking it on, you’ll need to know the elements that come along with it. Here are some points to consider about starting a landscaping side hustle.

Advantages of a Landscaping Business

Turning your current landscaping skills into a side hustle can be a successful way to supplement your income. Owning a business is a great feeling — you get to be the boss and manage operations as you see fit. Several more advantages exist beyond this new freedom.

Increased Income

One of the first advantages of a side gig is extra income. More money doesn’t hurt, and it can help you perform upgrades around the homestead. There’s likely no shortage of people near you who need work done on their lawns, meaning you’ll have a steady flow of clients.

However, client retention also depends on what services you offer and what people need. Matching what you do to what they want will naturally bring in more money.

Trade Associations

Join a landscaping association, and you’ll have tons of help from mentors and peers. You get to talk with others who know the field and can give you pointers you weren’t aware of. Networking and advertising your services become more credible through word-of-mouth referrals.

You may also find contractors you can hire to help with your business. Industry associations are well worth the cost to join because they put you in contact with people you wouldn’t have found otherwise.

Interpersonal Development

Excellent interpersonal skills are integral to this job — you’ll deal with a range of clients who all have different preferences. You’ll have to know how to communicate well with them and answer any lawn questions they have.

Working in landscaping and dealing with people from all walks of life can quickly make you a better communicator. Remember to stay up to date on your gardening knowledge — continual learning enables you to provide valuable help.

Preparing the Right Equipment

Landscaping jobs require lots of equipment, some of which you may or may not already own. Having the right tools to start with puts you ahead of the game, and you get more use out of your household equipment.

Your tool collection will have to accommodate every season — each one calls for different landscaping needs. Snow shovels and plows become must-haves in winter, while leaf rakes are necessary for fall. Plenty of standard equipment is usable year-round — stock up on the basics before buying specialized gadgets.

The best way to start is to conduct research and either rent machinery or buy used tools. Both of these options cost less than splurging on brand-new, top-model equipment. You can purchase a used model for over 25 percent less than new equipment and avoid severe depreciation while receiving similar functionality.

New equipment looks impressive at first, but it depreciates fast, making the resale value much less than the initial investment. Plus, if you’re not looking to scale your work into a full-time business, you’re not likely to use this machinery enough to justify the higher price tag.

Potential Challenges

The advantages are looking great, but there are still a few more things to think about before taking the first step. Don’t let these challenges discourage you. Instead, view them as the realities of how the job can impact your life as a homestead owner. Avoid taking on more work than you can handle if your home duties are overflowing. If you do try landscaping, here are some more factors to accommodate for.

Injury Risk

This field is comparable to construction work concerning injury risk. You’ll work with dangerous tools like hedge clippers, chainsaws and lawnmowers, and long hours under the sun can dampen your focus.

There’s an extra layer of liability due to working on someone else’s property — if you damage anything, it’ll be your responsibility to pay for it. Many landscapers invest in insurance for these reasons. Adequate breaks and proper equipment training don’t hurt, either.

Offseason Work

Winter can bring work to a halt with less need for lawn maintenance. Planning for this in advance will save you the stress of losing part of your income for the year.

Offer services like snow plowing, tree care and ice removal to keep operations running even in the cold months. The cold season doesn’t have to freeze your bank account if you know how to take advantage of the opportunities.

Startup Costs

Starting a business means hiring and paying contractors, marketing your brand and purchasing equipment. These expenses can add up fast if you don’t properly budget for them. Many entrepreneurs get in over their heads because they don’t save enough money to cover their business launch.

Start saving as soon as possible and investigate cost-effective ways to procure the tools and services you need.

Hopefully, these points will provide some insight into what direction you’ll take with landscaping. Maintaining two livelihoods can be a valuable lesson in discipline and professionalism. There’s no right or wrong answer to whichever you choose — it all depends on what’s right for you and your homestead.

  • Published on May 20, 2022
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