7 Game Changing Tips for Starting a Hardscape, Landscaping or Deck Company

Here are 7 tips for landscaping startups, hardscape contractors and deck building contractors.

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7 Tips for Starting a Hardscape, Landscaping or Deck Company

Thinking of starting your own hardscape company, landscaping company or deck company?  Well, chances are you’re smarter and handier than we are and you know how to do an entirely different thing than we do here at Proficient Tax & Accounting.

Questions we'll cover:

  • What’s the best advice when starting your own landscaping & deck company?
  • How to lower your taxes as a landscaping & deck company?
  • How can you get good customers as a landscaping company or deck building company?
  • What should hardscape companies do to avoid problems with the IRS?
 What’s the best bookkeeping software or service for landscaping companies and deck building companies?
  • What’s the best website & marketing for a deck building company, hardscape company or concrete company?
  • What are the best write off’s for a landscaping company or hardscape company?

This article will be everything we’ve come to learn from serving as an accountant for small businesses here in sunny, Southern California.

Best tips & advice when starting a landscaping company or a deck building contractor.

What’s the Best Advice we’ve heard or given to our deck building contractors or landscaping companies?

1 - Separate your business account from personal

You probably already knew this, but the most fundamental business accounting is done by separating your accounts. Get a business bank account and ensure that all your income flows into the business checking account. You can take draws out of that account, but only use that checking card for real write offs.

Only use the business account for qualified business deductions. Don’t use it for anything except business.

2 - Setup an LLC for Asset protection

It’s really important that you setup an LLC in California, or a limited liability corporation to help shield your personal assets. The key though is to treat your accounts like a business and not commingle funds or break the rules. Go setup an LLC!

Or better yet, we'll help you setup an LLC and even get your accounting all squared away.

3 - Name Your Business Something Clear and Short

We’ve seen lots of landscaping companies, deck building contractors and hardscape companies choose business names that are really hard to say, let alone remember.

It's extremely important to give thought to how you choose a business name for your landscaping company. We recommend that when you name your landscaping or hardscape company, you sit down and think of the shortest, clearest and simplest names possible.

Last names are good, but you should just start writing down your ideas.

The name of your company should be:

  • As short as possible
  • Clear & memorable
  • Have NO similarities
  • Able to buy a simple domain url

Examples of Good Business Names:

Examples of BAD & Convoluted Names:

  • Lakeville Landscaping Design
  • Lawn Care Services Inc.
  • California Landscaping Pros LLC
  • Hardscapes and Decks Enterprises LLC
  • Apple Valley Landscape and Decks

These bad names lead to a lack of clarity.

When you search their name, the website and google my business never stand out and you’ll see that by adopting a name that’s essentially the service itself, you’re easily forgotten.

Once you’ve narrowed the name choice down, you should search for lookalikes or anything else that’s similar to your business.

Just start googling your name ideas and see what shows up.

You don’t want to choose a business name that is crowded, has a major player in the space already, or that has lots of other types of businesses. It’s hard enough to get your business to stand out, you don’t want to dampen your abilities by choosing a business name that has many others calling itself the same name.

Choose a short domain too.

You might not be able to find the perfect domain, but don’t be afraid of adding a short modifier such as your state initials.

Keep your domain name short.

I’ll write that again - DO NOT choose a long domain name. You’ll hate having to write it out every time and you’re going to be annoyed trying to spell it to people when giving out an email to a potential customer.

I recommend buying your company domains on Google Domains, as it’s a secure and spam-free domain registrar.

4 - Setup your Google My Business & Get Reviews

Head to Google.com/business and get your business profile setup.

Make sure to fill out the profile completely, and then take the time to add your website & a bunch of your branded images with your logo.

Your main objective is to get as many relevant, honest reviews as possible.

If you get more Google Reviews than everyone else in your 20-30 mile region, you'll start to dominate the search engine results pages.

Most of the business that comes from the internet will come from your Google My Business, so you’ll want to make sure you take a great deal of time to invest into getting reviews, positing on the system, keeping your information up to date and sharing your profile with everyone that you do work for.

5 -  Invest in your Website

While Google Business profiles are incredibly important, the core of your business marketing and communications is going to be your website.  We recommend that you invest in a website that will look fantastic, showcase your work, convey your credibility by showing off reviews and work as an advertising machine that can be utilized in Google Ads & other paid digital ads.

We’d recommend connecting with Rob Satrom at Feedbackwrench to get a website for your deck company or landscaping company.  Feedbackwrench teaches business owners that the key to getting customers online is to take a three phased approach:

A - Build a high converting website & presence
B - Drive market share with advertising & content
C - Improve rankings by developing content for SEO

There’s a great deal to unbox when it comes to your website for your landscaping company or hardscape business, but a couple things are true.

  • You need to have a system to add all your projects to and showcase your work
  • You need good messaging that positions you and your value
  • You’ll want it to look high end so you can attract wealthier customers
  • You’ll want to post lots of videos and photos
  • You’ll want to update your blog and write content so you can rank higher in SEO over time

The main thing you’ll want to do is get your website up and running in a meaningful way so you can close business that actually starts to talk with you.  Your website for your landscaping company should be the sleepless salesperson that helps position you as a valuable & credible organization.

6 - Look at Becoming an S-Corp & Get Tax Reduction Planning

Landscaping companies can reduce their taxes big time when they get tax reduction planning from us here at Proficient Tax and Accounting. One of the most important tax reduction strategies out there for deck building companies and Hardscape contractors is implementing an S-Corporation.

Long story short, businesses are initially set up to be taxed as a sole proprietorship. You might be able to dramatically reduce the amount of self-employment taxes, the 15.3% Medicare and Social Security taxes that are owed before you even pay income tax.

In a sole proprietorship, all of your income is subject to the self-employment tax while in an S-Corporation, your income will be split into two pieces which are a salary and then an owners distribution.

Once you convert to an S-Corporation, you'll be able to pay yourself a salary which is reasonable from the corporation, and then you'll take an owners distribution. In an S Corp., the owners distribution is not subject to the 15.3% self-employment taxes while the reasonable salary is subject to the 15.3% self-employment tax.

It's important to know that all income above the Social Security limit each year is not subject to social Security tax, but that limit is usually at or around $140,000 to $160,000 a year.

To keep things simple, landscaping company owners might be able to reduce their overall tax burden in a dramatic way every single year by utilizing an S-Corporation.

7 Get Tax Reduction Planning

Here at Proficient Tax and Accounting we also provide tax reduction planning throughout the year in an aggressive and proactive manner. We come alongside our business owners and keep their books up-to-date all the time and then identify ways for them to mitigate taxes.

Not only do we perform proactive tax planning throughout the year so that you can identify opportunities to save in taxes, but we also implement these tax strategies so that you're not left missing opportunities.

What are some examples of things that can help you reduce your taxes that come from our tax planning services? Understanding Section 179 and bonus depreciation, making adjustments throughout the year as income fluctuates, making decisions on new equipment and tractors and trucks, and just generally being proactive about purchases, cash flow and investing.