Interview: Building a Landscaping Business
Building a successful business is no small feat, especially in the landscaping industry. You will work hours on end. You will sweat. You will bleed. And you will find after all of that, it was worth every second.
This article is the beginning of a series of interviews that we will be conducting for our readers to gain insight into the daunting world of the landscaping industry.
Today’s guest is Chris Sadberry, owner and operator of Big League Landscaping, servicing the North Dallas area. Once Chris’ career in the Minor League Baseball ended, he decided to build his own landscaping business. He’s done everything from tree trimming to mowing lawns and building patios.
How did you earn your first customer? Describe any emotions you felt.
Like many before me, my journey started by walking target neighborhoods. Most people in the landscaping industry who walk neighborhoods just pin flyers up on homeowners’ doors or mailboxes. After not having any luck with that, I decided to switch things up. I began knocking on doors to introduce myself and tell my story to potential customers. The results were clear: a friendly smile and a firm handshake go a long way when it comes to landing customers.
It’s hard to describe the feeling when you sell your first type of any job. It’s an amazing experience to lock in the first customer.
What necessary paperwork, documentation, etc. did you need to start your business out? About how much did it cost?
When I first started out I bought some cheap business cards off of Vistaprint for around $40. I also had to pay a business registration fee of $25 for the county I wanted to work in. The actual business expenses were minuscule compared to the cost of equipment.
When did you know it was time to hire your first employee? And what did you look for in that first employee?
I knew it was finally time when I kept running into issues with clients because I would promise too many things to multiple customers and ended up being behind every time. I was failing miserably at the golden rule of sales: under-promise and over-deliver. In order to keep up with the number of new customers coming in, I was basically forced to hire someone.
Reliability is the first thing that I was looking for in my first hire. I really needed a go-getter who wasn’t afraid to help build the business. Secondly, I needed someone trustworthy in case I needed to leave them to go grab materials or even give an estimate.
What’s the most challenging part of owning and operating a landscaping business and how do you overcome that challenge?
The most challenging part is getting past the hump of breaking even. It’s hard when you are just breaking into an industry to charge what the established companies are charging. Majority of companies fail within the first 5 years because they struggle to pay their bills. You can overcome this by putting in hours and hours of walking around neighborhoods after work to keep new business coming in (and knocking on doors of course). You will hear a simple, “No,” the vast majority of the time, but you have to accept it and move on.
What’s your favorite project that you have worked on so far?
My favorite project that we’ve done so far has been a large Flagstone patio that we did in Argyle, TX. We had great clients and really enjoyed providing our services to them.
Photos courtesy of Big League Landscaping
Name your favorite tool that’s not a lawn mower, weed eater, or edger and describe how you use it.
My favorite tool would be the shovel. I’m not sure why, but I’ve always enjoyed digging.
Give someone just starting out some words of wisdom.
In the beginning, there will be a lot of sacrifice from you to build your business off the ground. The end result is definitely worth the struggle in the beginning if you’re someone that wants to be in control of your own destiny.
Follow Chris and Big League Landscaping on their Facebook page to keep up with their latest projects.
Have more questions about lawn care or landscaping? Visit our Dallas lawn care page for more information.