Starting a landscape architecture business can be daunting, but the following are some tips to assist you.
Check the legal requirements
Before you start picking a name and creating your website, you must check the legal requirements for practising as a landscape architect. It varies from country to country and sometimes region (state/province) depending on whether you need to registered and certifications.
Speak to your local landscape architecture organisation, colleagues, alumni, and seek advice from accountants and lawyers to create your business plan, work out your legal structure (single operator, company, etc), finances, operation, and hiring.
Work out your finances (budget)
You may wish to think of your business name, start setting up your business and doing some business development but your business is only as good as your financial situation. Work with an accountant and look at how much cash you have, determine your monthly and annual costs, create a cash flow schedule and how long you can operate before you need to have your first client pays their invoice. Working out your finances and creating a budget is key to the short and long term success of your new business.
Create a Business Plan
Your business plan does not have to be a long document. It can be a simple 3-5 page document that outlines your name, ethos, description, structure, market research and analysis, marketing plan, people(structure, employees), finances. Keep it simple and to the point. Remember to review the business plan at regular intervals to keep it up to date.
Register you business
After seeking advice and speaking to various legal and financial advisors and determining that you have the finances, You may need to register your business depending on your legal structure (individual, company), this may include a business licence, tax registration, an employer registration and other various registrations depending on your country and location.
Some landscape architects neglect to get proper or sufficient insurance. It is an annual cost (which some companies are willing to do bill monthly) that may seem like ‘dead money’; however, it could save you from financial ruin in the case of a claim. Please seek advice from your local landscape architecture organisation as they often have partnerships with brokers or insurance companies that can save you money.
Develop policies and systems
Many firms start with ad-hoc systems and policies, but at some point realise that they are spending too much time searching, clicking and looking for documents, determining billable time, checking and rechecking invoices or repeating the same information to employees. Developing your process, systems, templates and policies at the start will reduce your stress levels and give some organisation to your business.
Remember to have fun
The reason many people set up a landscape architecture practice is to design, create and have fun. However, running a business can sometimes weigh on you, and you forget why you started. This is when you have to remember to have fun.
Starting a landscape architecture business article was written by Damian Holmes – Editor of World Landscape Architecture.
DISCLAIMER: This article is for educational purposes only. The content is intended only to provide a summary and general overview on matters of interest. It’s not intended to be comprehensive nor to constitute advice. You should always obtain legal, financial or other professional advice appropriate to your own circumstances before acting or relying on any of the content. This advice is general in nature.