Transforming landscapes into lush oases is your passion, but ensuring those beautiful projects translate to a healthy bottom line is crucial. Understanding your landscape maintenance costs is the first step towards making financially sound pricing decisions and building a truly sustainable business. Let’s break down the key cost categories and how to calculate them.


Fixed Costs – The Foundation

Fixed costs are those that stay relatively the same, regardless of how many jobs you complete. Here are some common ones:

  • Rent/Mortgage: The cost of your office, storage yard, or facility.
  • Vehicle Payments & Insurance: Expenses relating to your trucks and trailers.
  • Software & Administrative Expenses: Subscription costs for management software, accounting, or marketing tools.
  • Licenses & Permits: The costs of keeping your business compliant and legal.
  • Salaries (if applicable): If you have employees with set salaries, those are considered fixed costs.

Variable Costs – Fluctuating with Your Workload

Variable costs change in direct proportion to the amount of work you do. See the earlier article section for a deeper dive on variable costs, but a refresher is below:

Purchasing used equipment for new business
  • Labor
  • Materials
  • Equipment (fuel, maintenance, depreciation)
  • Subcontractors

Calculating Your Total Costs

Here’s how to find your overall operating costs for your landscape maintenance business:

  1. Choose a Timeframe: Analyze your costs on a weekly, monthly, or even annual basis.
  2. Record Fixed Costs: List all your fixed expenses for the selected time frame. Add the amounts to determine your total fixed costs.
  3. Track Variable Costs: Meticulously log your variable expenses for the same time frame. Add up these costs for each category and then to get your total variable costs.
  4. Combine and Analyze: Add your total fixed costs and total variable costs to get your overall operating costs.

Putting Your Cost Data to Work

Now that you understand your costs, here’s how to use them to your advantage:

  • Price with Precision: Calculate your minimum hourly rate by dividing your total costs by working hours. This ensures your pricing covers your expenses. Next, add your desired profit margin on top!
  • Detect Inefficiencies: Track your costs over time to identify trends. Are fuel costs rising? Is a particular type of material breaking your budget? Pinpoint potential problem areas for targeted cost control.
  • Make Growth Decisions: Your cost analysis will show you how much you need to charge to scale your business profitably.


By understanding your landscaping costs, you take control of your financial destiny. Regularly reviewing these costs empowers you to make informed pricing decisions, optimize your operations, and build a landscape maintenance business that is as profitable as it is beautiful.