How to Start a Landscaping Business in Ontario: Step-by-Step Guide + Funding Options

With the growing demand for landscaping services in Canada, there has never been a better time to enter the landscaping industry. In fact, according to a recent report by IBISWorld, Ontario’s landscaping services’ market size is around $5.6 bn and the sector employs around 33,686 people.

Starting a landscaping business comes with numerous advantages, such as the opportunity to work outdoors, the ability to be your own boss, and the potential for high-profit margins.

Additionally, with the increasing trend towards eco-friendly and sustainable landscaping practices, there is a growing demand for businesses that offer these services.

However, starting a new landscaping business also comes with its fair share of challenges. These can include obtaining the necessary licenses and permits, establishing a customer base, managing overhead costs, and dealing with seasonality and weather-related disruptions.

Despite these challenges, with the right planning and execution, starting a new landscaping business can be a rewarding and profitable venture.

In this article, we will provide a step-by-step guide to help you navigate the process of starting your own landscaping business in Ontario.

Step 1: Research and Planning

Research and planning are important steps in starting any new business. It can help you understand the demand, identify potential customers, understand their needs and preferences, and tailor your services accordingly.

Here’s how you can do your own research:

  • Identify the demand for landscaping services: Research the local market to determine the demand for landscaping services in your area. This could include analyzing the population, the demographics, and the number of existing landscaping businesses in the area.
  • Determine the competition: Identify your competitors in the market and analyze their strengths and weaknesses. You can look at their pricing, services, and customer reviews to understand their business strategies.
  • Understand industry standards: Research the industry standards and best practices for landscaping services, including the required qualifications, certifications, and licenses.
  • Determine the services you want to offer: Decide on the type of landscaping services you want to offer based on your skills, expertise, and market demand. This could include services like lawn maintenance, tree trimming, and garden design.
  • Identify your target market: Identify your ideal customer and determine the demographic and geographic characteristics of your target market. This will help you tailor your marketing strategies and services to their needs.
  • Calculate startup costs: Determine the initial costs to start your landscaping business, including equipment, supplies, licenses, insurance, and marketing expenses.

Step 2: Develop a Business Plan

Through the process of creating a business plan, you can identify potential opportunities, find funding, and outline challenges in the market.

This includes understanding the competitive landscape, the target market’s needs and preferences, and any regulatory or legal issues that may arise.

Here are the steps to develop a business plan:

  • Executive Summary: Summarize your business concept, mission statement, and goals.
  • Market Analysis: Analyze the local market to determine the demand for your services, your target market, and your competition.
  • Services: Detail the landscaping services you plan to offer, the equipment and supplies you will need, and any necessary qualifications or licenses.
  • Marketing Strategy: Outline your marketing plan, including how you will promote your business, attract clients, and build your brand.
  • Organization and Management: Describe the organizational structure of your business, including the roles and responsibilities of any employees or partners.
  • Financial Plan: Develop a financial plan that includes startup costs, ongoing expenses, revenue projections, and profit and loss statements.
  • Operations Plan: Detail the day-to-day operations of your business, including scheduling, invoicing, and customer service.
  • Risks and Challenges: Identify potential risks and challenges for your business, such as weather-related disruptions, equipment breakdowns, and cash flow issues.
  • Conclusion: Summarize your business plan and your vision for your landscaping business.

Step 3: Register Your Business

Registering a new business in Ontario is necessary for legal compliance, protecting the business name, tax purposes, access to government programs and services, and liability protection.

To register your business:

  • Choose a Business Name: Choose a unique and memorable name for your landscaping business.
  • Conduct a Business Name Search: Conduct a business name search to ensure that the name you have chosen is not already in use by another business.
  • Register for a Business Number: Register for a Business Number (BN) with the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). You will need this number to register for various other permits and licenses.
  • Register Your Business: Register your business with the Ontario government. You can register your business online or in-person at a ServiceOntario center.
  • Obtain Necessary Permits and Licenses: Determine what permits and licenses you need to operate your landscaping business in Ontario. This could include a business license, zoning permit, and safety certifications.
  • Register for HST: If your annual revenue is over $30,000, you will need to register for the Harmonized Sales Tax.
  • Register for WSIB: If you plan to hire employees, you will need to register for the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board.

Step 4: Obtain Insurance

Having insurance can provide peace of mind, knowing you are protected in case of unexpected events. This can allow you to focus on running your business without worrying about the financial implications of accidents or incidents.

To obtain insurance:

  • Research Insurance Providers: Research insurance providers to find one that offers liability insurance for landscaping businesses.
  • Determine Coverage Needs: Determine your insurance coverage needs based on the type of landscaping services you offer, the equipment you use, and the potential risks associated with your business.
  • Obtain Liability Insurance: After reading and understanding the policies, obtain liability insurance that covers property damage, bodily injury, and any other potential risks associated with your landscaping business.
  • Obtain Worker’s Compensation Insurance: If you plan to hire employees, obtain worker’s compensation insurance to cover any injuries or accidents that occur on the job.
  • Review Insurance Policies: Review your insurance policies regularly to ensure that you have adequate coverage and that your policies are up-to-date.

Step 5: Purchase Equipment

The equipment you need will depend on the specific services you plan to offer and the scale of your operations.

It’s important to carefully assess your needs and budget before making any purchases to ensure that you are investing in the right equipment for your business.


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    Here’s how to purchase equipment:

    • Determine Equipment Needs: Determine the equipment and supplies you will need to provide the landscaping services you plan to offer. This could include lawn mowers, trimmers, leaf blowers, shovels, and other gardening tools.
    • Purchase Equipment: Purchase new or used equipment based on your budget and business needs. Consider financing options, warranties, and maintenance requirements when purchasing equipment.
    • Obtain Supplies: Purchase the necessary supplies for your business, including fertilizer, mulch, seed, and other landscaping materials.
    • Purchase a Vehicle: Purchase a reliable vehicle that can transport your equipment and supplies to job sites. Consider the size and weight of your equipment when choosing a vehicle.
    • Inspect Equipment: Inspect your equipment regularly to ensure that it is functioning properly and is safe to use.
    • Maintain Equipment: Maintain your equipment regularly to extend its lifespan and prevent breakdowns. Follow manufacturer guidelines for maintenance and repairs.

    Step 6: Hire Employees

    If you plan to offer basic landscaping services on a small scale, you may be able to handle all aspects of the business yourself, at least in the beginning.

    As your business grows and your workload increases, you may want to consider hiring employees. The decision to hire employees will depend on your goals for the business, the services you plan to offer, and your own capacity for handling the workload.

    To hire employees:

    • Determine Staffing Needs: Determine the staffing needs for your landscaping business based on the services you plan to offer and the workload you anticipate.
    • Create Job Descriptions: Create job descriptions for each position, outlining the necessary qualifications and responsibilities for the role.
    • Advertise Job Openings: Advertise job openings through online job boards, local newspapers, and social media.
    • Review Applications: Review job applications and resumes to identify qualified candidates.
    • Conduct Interviews: Conduct interviews with top candidates to assess their skills, experience, and fit for the job.
    • Check References: Check the references of top candidates to verify their work history and qualifications.
    • Make Job Offers: Make job offers to top candidates and negotiate salary and benefits.
    • Onboard New Employees: Onboard new employees by providing them with training, safety instructions, and job responsibilities.
    • Establish Policies: Establish policies and procedures for employees, including safety protocols, performance expectations, and disciplinary procedures.

    Step 7: Set Your Prices

    Setting prices that are too low can make it difficult to cover your costs and turn a profit, while setting prices that are too high can make it difficult to attract and retain customers.

    Striking the right balance requires careful consideration of your costs, your target market, and your competition.

    To set appropriate prices for your services:

    • Research Competitors: Research competitors in your area to determine their pricing structure for similar services.
    • Determine Overhead Costs: Determine your overhead costs such as equipment, materials, and labor to calculate your break-even point.
    • Establish Profit Margin: Establish a profit margin that allows you to cover your overhead costs and make a profit.
    • Determine Pricing Structure: Determine your pricing structure based on factors such as service type, complexity, and location.
    • Consider Discounts: Consider offering discounts for customers who sign up for recurring services or refer new customers to your business.
    • Adjust Prices as Needed: Monitor your pricing structure and adjust prices as needed based on changes in overhead costs or market demand.
    • Communicate Pricing Clearly: Communicate your pricing clearly to customers through your website, marketing materials, and invoices.

    Step 8: Market Your Business

    Marketing your new landscaping business is important to help you build brand awareness, attract customers, and differentiate yourself from your competitors.

    Without marketing, it can be difficult for potential customers to learn about your business and the services you offer.

    Here’s how you can make an effective marketing plan:

    • Identify Target Market: Identify your target market based on demographics such as age, income, and location.
    • Develop Branding: Develop branding for your business, including a name, logo, and tagline that represent your services and values.
    • Create a Website: Create a website that showcases your services, pricing, and contact information. Include customer testimonials and images of your work.
    • Utilize Social Media: Utilize social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to promote your services and engage with potential customers.
    • Networking: Attend local networking events and join industry organizations to connect with other professionals and potential customers.
    • Advertise: Advertise your services through local newspapers, radio stations, and online directories.
    • Offer Referral Programs: Offer referral programs to incentivize existing customers to refer new customers to your business.
    • Track Results: Track the results of your marketing efforts to determine which strategies are most effective and adjust your marketing plan accordingly.


    Starting a landscaping business can be a challenging yet rewarding experience. By following the steps outlined in this guide and staying focused on your goals, you can overcome the obstacles that come with starting a new business and build a successful landscaping enterprise.

    Remember to prioritize the needs of your customers and always strive to provide high-quality services that exceed their expectations.

    By building a strong reputation in your community and establishing a loyal customer base, you can ensure the long-term success of your business.

    As you embark on your journey towards starting your own landscaping business, keep in mind that it takes hard work, dedication, and a willingness to learn and adapt to succeed.

    But with persistence and a passion for landscaping, you can turn your dream of owning a successful business into a reality.

    Resources for Landscaping Businesses in Ontario

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