What You Need to Know
Running a landscaping business can be a bit of a balancing act. You have to keep your cash flow healthy while investing enough in your business to keep bringing in new customers. To keep business humming along, you need to buy expensive equipment like a truck, mowers and spreaders, and supplies like plants, mulch and seeds.
Between the seasonal nature of your business and the lag in getting customer invoices paid, you can also often run into cash flow gaps.
Financing for your landscaping services business can help. A line of credit or short-term loan can help you manage your cash flow or invest in new equipment. Learn more about how to use small business loans as a landscaping service.
When to consider a small business loan for your landscaping business
Purchasing mowers, chainsaws, and all the other equipment you use day-to-day running your landscaping business can get expensive quickly. A short-term business loan can give you the funds you need to invest in new equipment.
Inventory and Supplies
Ordering inventory and supplies – like seeds, plants or mulch – can be costly, though it’s a necessary investment to serve your customers. Financing can help you order supplies in bulk to take advantage of discounts. It can also help you fund supplies for a new job while you’re waiting to get paid from your last one.
Managing cash flow
For most landscapers, your winter season is going to be your slowest by far. A business line of credit can be a good way to bridge those slow months. It can also help you meet ongoing expenses while you’re waiting on getting invoices paid.
Types of loans available for your landscaping business
1. A Business Line of Credit: A business line of credit gives you access to flexible, revolving funds when you need them for your shop. With a line of credit, you borrow what you need, pay down the balance, and the funds are replenished so you can use the line again. Most landscapers will use a line of credit to cover upfront inventory costs, bridge cash flow in between invoices, or cover expenses during their slow seasons.
2. A Short-Term Business Loan: Many online lenders offer short-term business loans for small businesses like landscaping services. With terms that range from three months to three years, this type of financing makes it possible for a landscaper to borrow capital and repay it quickly—often making the total dollar cost lower than a longer-term loan. Getting a short-term business loan from an online lender is usually much faster than getting a loan from the bank. You typically can apply in minutes and get funds within days. Many landscapers will use a short-term business loan to purchase equipment and tools, get inventory and supplies, or run marketing or advertising campaigns.
3. Equipment Financing: Equipment financing is another way to finance the purchase of business equipment (besides just using a loan or line of credit). Any tangible asset used in business operations can be considered business equipment. For landscapers, this can include a mower, auger, truck, or even an office computer. Many landscapers use equipment financing to purchase new equipment for their business, which also allows them to keep their existing cash free for other business expenses.
4. A Bank Loan: As a business owner, the financing option you’re likely most familiar with is a traditional bank loan. A bank loan typically requires collateral to secure the loan, and the application process tends to take several weeks. The length of the loan can be anywhere from 2-20 years. While the interest rates on a bank loan can be attractive, many landscaping business owners may find it hard to qualify for a bank loan and find the application process too slow for their cash flow needs.
5. The SBA (Small Business Administration) Loan Guarantee Program: Although the SBA is not a lender and provides financing through participating banks and credit unions (among others), the SBA Loan Guarantee Program will sometimes qualify a borrower who might not otherwise meet the more rigid criteria required by the bank. If your landscaping business is an established business, with a few years under its belt, and your personal credit score is above 680, this could be an option for your practice.
6. Factoring: A “factor” is a third party that purchases part or all of a company’s accounts receivables in exchange for a percentage of the invoice. The factor then owns the outstanding invoices and collects from the customers directly. The factor earns a profit from the difference between the discounted rate negotiated to buy the accounts receivables, and the full invoice amount collected from the customer. Factoring can be a common source of funding for landscapers who regularly bill for larger projects by invoice.
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Resources for Landscaper Service Small Businesses
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Managing your finances as a seasonal business
Seasonal businesses, like landscapers, need to be more strategic when managing their finances to balance their busy and slow seasons – check out our tips on how to plan ahead financially.Learn More
How to Get Business Financing as a Landscape Contractor
Like many small businesses, it can sometimes be challenging for landscape contractors to find the financing they need to bridge seasons, fuel growth, and meet other business needs. Here's how both new and established landscape contractors can get the business financing they need.Learn More
What type of loan makes sense for your business?
Financing options to help you grow your business
If you’ve ever heard the adage, “It takes money to make money,” you must be a small business owner. Fortunately, there are more small business loan options available today than ever before—you just need to know where to look and what to look for. You don’t need to be a financing expert to build a successful business, but you do need to consider all the business loan options available to determine which one is best to meet your business need.
Small Business Loans and Lines of Credit
With online lenders and lines of credit, there are more options available today than a traditional term loan from the bank when you need extra capital to fuel growth or fund other business initiatives.
Loans with a Purpose
Depending upon why you’re borrowing (your loan purpose), there could be an option custom fit to meet your business need. Here are some of the financing options available with specific use cases in mind.
Non-Traditional Financing Options
Sometimes it takes a different approach to meet a business’ financing needs. There are a number of options from micro-loans to funding sources that won’t even be described as a small business loan.
Each industry has specific loan types that may be better suited for your business. Here are some of the most common industries we work with and the financing options available to them.