10 Essential Tools for Your Landscaping Business

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The day starts out like any other… 

You login to your computer and begin viewing your crews’ routes for the day.

Before you know it, one of your foreman comes in and tells  you that he was doing his routine morning equipment check, and he discovered your blower stopped working… for the third time this week… and you’re starting on a huge project today.

This is why reliable landscaping gear is so important.

To help shortcut your search for equipment, I’ve created a list of essential tools for you to choose from.

By the way, if you hadn’t had a chance to read the rest of our Lawn and Landscaping Gear Series, you can check out Part 1 here. It’ll give you a list of the best lawn mower options.

It doesn’t matter if you’re just starting out… or you’ve been in the business for years… this list is for any landscaping business owner that’s looking for tools to run their business.


WARNING:

Remember, that with the operation of ANY power equipment, you MUST provide and enforce the use of PPE (Personal Protection Equipment). This keeps you in compliance with OSHA regulations.


1. Multi-Task Tools 

Dedicated Hand Tools vs. Multi-task Tools

“Dedicated Hand Tools” are the regular hand tools without multi-tasking abilities. Whereas, the “Multi-Task Tools” are the hand tools in which you can purchase different attachments.

Within the last few years, Echo and Stihl have begun creating their own versions of multi-task tools.

This means you can purchase the “Multi-Task Tools” (AKA the motor) separately, so that you only have to buy the attachments. This can save you hundreds of dollars.

Who’s it for?

As you try to decide which one you should purchase, consider this: 

Are you primarily in lawn care or landscaping?

If you’re primarily in lawn care, you’ll want to purchase “Dedicated Hand Tools”.

You don’t want to waste time and energy switching between string trimmer and edger attachment heads while you’re on the job.

However, if you’re primarily in landscaping, you’ll want to purchase “Multi-Task Tools”.

Typically, landscapers aren’t going to be switching between different attachments as frequently as lawn care professionals.

And so, you can potentially save a lot of money (especially starting out!) by purchasing a “Multi-Task Tool”.

Wide Variety of Attachments

  • Edgers
  • String trimmers
  • Hedge trimmers
  • Pole pruners
  • Pole saws
  • Brushcutters
  • Pruners
  • Blowers
  • Sweepers
  • Paddles
  • Cultivators
  • Bed redefiners
  • Pole extensions
  • Brushes
  • AND so much MORE.

Models

SPECIFICATIONSSTIHLECHO
MODELKM 131 RPAS-2620
ENGINE DISPLACEMENT (CM³)36.325.4
ENGINE POWER (BHP)1.91.3
FUEL CAPACITY (FL OZ)2420.6
WEIGHT (LBS)9.79.9
MSRP≈ $380**≈ $320**

**Price includes the motor ONLY. All attachments and accessories are sold separately.

ECHO PAS-2620

Pros:

  • Lightweight
  • Quick-change coupler (easier, faster attachment switches)
  • See-through fuel tank

Cons:

  • Not as strong of an engine as Stihl
  • Small fuel tank
  • Can’t use a curved shaft attachment

Stihl KM 131 R KOMBISYSTEM

Pros:

  • Lightweight
  • Stronger engine than Echo
  • Large fuel tank
  • Quick-release coupling (easier, faster attachment switches)
  • Can use a curved shaft attachment

Cons:

  • Harder to see through fuel tank than other contender

2. Blowers

Blowers are essential to landscaping because of their versatility.

They can be used to remove leaves and debris from:

  • Driveways
  • Sidewalks
  • Grass
  • Flower beds
  • And just about anything else you can think of

They’re just one of those staple items you need in your landscaping business.

While backpack blowers are the industry standard, you’ll also want to remember to purchase a handheld blower too.

Handheld blowers will help you reach those tight spaces (e.g. flower beds).

Best Options

SPECIFICATIONSECHOHUSQVARNAREDMAXSTIHL
MODELPB-8010T580BTS MARK IIEBZ8550-RHBR 800 C-E MAGNUM
BLOWING FORCE (N)44414141
WEIGHT (LBS)24.526.324.925.8
ENGINE DISPLACEMENT (CM³)79.975.675.679.9
CFM**1071941941912
MPH211206206239
HP4.34.434.4
FUEL CAPACITY (FL OZ)83.887.977.867.6
MSRP≈ $600≈ $570≈ $650≈ $650

**All CFM is based on round nozzle.

Echo PB-8010T

Pros:

  • Active cooling
  • Metal ring at the end of the tube (reduces wear-and-tear)
  • See-through fuel tank

Cons:

  • No waist belt
  • Top straps don’t snap together
  • Engine power is unknown (horsepower not provided by manufacturer)

Husquvarna 580BTS Mark II

Pros:

  • Waist belt
  • See-through fuel tank
  • Top straps snap together
  • Biggest fuel tank (among the other contenders)

Cons:

  • Heaviest blower (among the other contenders)

Redmax EBZ8550-RH

Pros:

  • Active cooling
  • See-through fuel tank

Cons:

  • No waist belt
  • Top straps don’t snap together

Stihl BR 800 C-E MAGNUM

Pros:

  • Waist belt
  • Side pull-start available
  • Top straps snap together
  • Tube can attach to the blower for easier travel and storage
  • Adjustable nozzle
  • Momentary kill switch
  • Adjustable handle

Cons:

  • No active cooling
  • No see-through fuel tank
  • Smaller gas tank

3. Hedge Trimmers

While lawn care businesses might be able to get away without hedge trimmers, landscaping businesses cannot.

Hedge trimmers are useful for cutting or pruning bushes.

Trimming bushes is a fairly easy upsell you can pitch to your clients to make more money on a job. It’s also a simple, quick task your crew can complete in no time.

Best Options – Dedicated Hand Tools

SPECIFICATIONSECHO**HUSQVARNA**STIHL**
MODELHC-2420522HD60SHS 82 T
CUTTING SPEED (CUT/MIN)44005100
KNIFE LENGTH (IN)242424
WEIGHT (LBS)11.51111.2
ENGINE DISPLACEMENT (CM³)21.221.722.7
HP0.80.94
MAX RPM1050078008500
IDLING RPM30003000
FUEL CAPACITY (FL OZ)12.515.215.6
ELECTRODE GAP (IN)0.02
FRONT HANDLE VIBRATION (M/S²)2.8
REAR HANDLE VIBRATION (M/S²)2.5
MSRP≈ $500≈ $530≈ $530

**All of these hedge trimmers have a 30-inch blade option.

Echo HC-2420

Pros:

  • Front-facing exhaust (prevents brush burning)
  • Vibration reduction systems (improves comfort)
  • 5 position rotating handle
  • 21” double-sided, double-reciprocating blades
  • See-through fuel tank

Cons:

  • Small fuel tank

Husqvarna 522HD60S

Pros:

  • Lightweight
  • Large fuel tank
  • Vibration reduction systems (improves comfort)
  • Rotating handle
  • See-through fuel tank

Cons:

  • Side-facing exhaust (potential brush burning)
  • No double-sided blades

Stihl HS 82 T

Pros:

  • Lightweight
  • Large fuel tank
  • Double-sided blades
  • Vibration reduction systems (improves comfort)
  • Rotating handle

Cons:

  • Harder to see through fuel tank than other contenders
  • Side-facing exhaust (potential brush burning)

Attachment Options

 Echo PAS-2620

Stihl KM 131 R KOMBISYSTEM

4. Chainsaws

Chainsaws are highly individualized and largely depend on how you’re going to be using them.

However, for most typical lawn and landscaping businesses, battery chainsaws will do the trick because they’re:

  • Just as good as gas chainsaws (depending on the make and model)
  • It’s safer because it’s silent when it’s not in use
  • Less of a liability (they have more safety features)
  • Less of a learning curve (they’re easier to operate)
  • Faster (easier and more lightweight to operate)
  • No engine choking in between breaks (just press the button again)
  • Less expensive
  • Less maintenance (no mixing gas and oil!)
  • Quickly chargeable (just switch out the batteries!)

In most cases, primarily tree businesses would truly benefit from using gas chainsaws.

If you’re mostly only grooming/pruning trees, a battery chainsaw should do the trick. 

So unless you also do tree removal, you may not want to invest $1,000+ on a chainsaw that can remove trees.

Plus, you’ll be working in quiet neighborhoods, so electric chainsaws are more ideal in noise-restricted areas.

Now, let’s talk battery chainsaws… 

Best Options

SPECIFICATIONSDeWALTECHOMILWAUKEESTIHL
MODELDCCS670X1CCS-58V4AHM18 FUELMSA 200 C-BQ 36V
VOLTS60581836
POWER SOURCELITHIUM-IONLITHIUM-IONREDLITHIUMLITHIUM-ION
AMP HOUR34126
RUN TIME (MAX CUTS)70112150200 MIN MAX (W/ AR 3000)**
BAR LENGTH (IN)16161610-14
WEIGHT (LBS)12.213.713.911.1
MSRP≈ $330≈ $250≈ $450≈ $630

**Stihl calibrates their run time differently than the other contenders.

DeWALT FLEXVOLT 60V MAX

Pros:

  • Comparable power to a gas chainsaw
  • Brushless motor
  • Longer bars and chains available for installation
  • Auto-oils for continuous lubrication
  • Quarter turn cap for quick oil refills
  • Tool-free chain tensioning and bar tightening knob
  • Chain brake for kickback protection
  • Powerful 60V battery
  • Affordable

Cons:

  • Needs manual draining of entire oil reservoir before storing
  • Only a maximum of 70 cuts per charge
  • Low battery amp hour

Echo Cordless Chainsaw 58V

Pros:

  • Comparable power to a gas chainsaw
  • Brushless motor
  • Automatic oiler (for optimum oiling and longer chain life)
  • Maximum of 112 cuts per charge
  • Onboard tool storage
  • Variable speed trigger
  • Side access chain tensioning
  • Powerful 58V battery
  • Affordable

Cons:

  • Longer bars not available for installation
  • Heavyweight
  • Low battery amp hour

Milwaukee M18 FUEL

Pros:

  • Power is better than a gas chainsaw
  • Faster than a 40cc gas chainsaw
  • Maximum of 150 cuts per charge
  • Reaches full throttle in under 1 second
  • Variable speed trigger
  • Compatible will all M18 batteries
  • Dual-stud for bar and chain retention
  • Onboard tool storage
  • VERY high battery amp hour

Cons:

  • Longer bars not available for installation
  • Heavyweight
  • Only an 18V battery
  • A little on the pricier side

Stihl MSA 200 C-BQ

Pros:

  • VERY lightweight
  • Maximum cut time of 200 minutes (with AR 3000 battery)
  • Quickstop plus chain braking feature
  • Automatic oiler (bar oil consumption reduced up to 50%)
  • Tool-free chain adjustments
  • Brushless motor
  • Rubberized soft-touch handle
  • Coast-down brake (stops chain rotation after trigger release)
  • Anti-vibration system

Cons:

  • Low battery amp hour
  • Only 10-14 inch length bar options
  • Only a 36V battery
  • Expensive

5. Pole Pruners/Saws

Pole saws are useful for trimming trees and brush in hard-to-reach places.

Tree trimming is a pretty typical service, and it can also hold a fairly high price tag. 

… And since pole saws are fairly inexpensive, this means they can be quite a lucrative tool.

Best Options – Dedicated Hand Tools

SPECIFICATIONSECHOSTIHL
MODELPPF-2620HT 133
ENGINE DISPLACEMENT (CM³)25.436.3
ENGINE POWER (BHP)1.9
FUEL CAPACITY (FL OZ)20.624
WEIGHT (LBS)13.215.9
MSRP≈ $480≈ $650

Echo PPF2620

Pros:

  • See-through fuel tank
  • Lightweight
  • Affordable

Cons:

  • Lower engine displacement
  • Small fuel tank
  • Small fixed pole length (8 ft)

Stihl HT 133

Pros:

  • Higher engine displacement
  • Big fuel tank
  • Long adjustable pole length (7’6”-11’6”)

Cons:

  • Hard to see through fuel tank
  • Heavyweight
  • Expensive

Attachment Options

Echo PAS-2620

Stihl KM 131 R KOMBISYSTEM

6. (Enclosed or Utility) Trailer

Buying a trailer for your lawn and landscaping business is extremely personal.

So I can’t recommend whether you should buy an enclosed or utility trailer.

However, I CAN help you come to your own decision.

Deciding between these two trailer types depends on:

  • Where you’re at in your business (just starting out vs. landscaping pro)
  • Your business size (solo act vs. entire crews)
  • Your budget wiggle room
  • The variety of services you want to offer
  • Your personal preference

As you’re looking to find the right equipment trailer for your landscaping business, all of these factors come into play.

At the end of the day, there is no right or wrong answer. The choice is yours.

Best Options

When it comes to trailers, there are a wide variety of options to choose from. It’s probably best to stop by your trusted dealer in your area to explore the trailers in person.

Your local dealer will be able to help you find what best suits your needs. And if need be, you might be able to go to them for assistance or repairs.

Additionally, purchasing from your local dealer allows you to get a hyper-personalized trailer that’s exactly perfect for you and your business.

7. Dump Trailer

Once your business starts to grow – I mean really GROW – you’ll want to look into getting a dump trailer.

As a landscaper, owning a dump truck is important because it allows you to save money… BIG time.

Dump trailers allow you to:

  • Save money on product deliveries
  • Transport debris to your local dump
  • Transport soil, sod, rocks, etc… 
  • Transport large equipment (that doesn’t fit on normal hauling trailers)

… And guess what?

Just by owning a dump trailer, you can offer more services. Plus, you won’t have to rely on paying other companies to deliver products.

Dump trailers truly have the potential to quickly pay for themselves.

Best Options

The purpose of your dump trailer will determine which one is right for you.

This is why it’s best for you to reach out to your local dealer to find the best option for your landscape business.

Based on things like your truck and budget, they’ll be able to personalize a fit that’s right for you.

8. License + Sprayers

First off, if you’re offering fertilization and weed control, you’re going to need a license.

Every state is different, so contact you local government to find out the steps you need to take to get properly certified.

Then, you need to decide whether you want to purchase a skid sprayer.

Skid Sprayer

Primarily, skid sprayers are used for weed and pest control. They can be a serious investment, but it’s likely they’ll yield you some serious profits.

When priced correctly, you can make as much as $1,978 gross daily profit and $9,890 weekly gross profit – just with this sprayer.

However, you should only consider this investment if you’re an established lawn and landscape business.

There’s no sense in committing to such a huge investment if you don’t have the satisfied clients to purchase your new services.

Best Options

Graham GSE Unit

Pros:

  • Customizable options

Cons:

  • Expensive
  • VERY bulky (no room in the bed)

NorthStar Skid Sprayer

Pros:

  • Affordable
  • Compact (leaves room in the bed)

Cons:

  • Not customizable
  • Limited options to choose from

Solutions Pest & Lawn

Pros:

  • Customizable options
  • Somewhat compact (leaves some room in the bed)

Cons:

  • Can get expensive

Don’t Forget Mist Blowers (AKA Sprayers)!

No matter where you’re at in your business – backpack sprayers are great.

They’re somewhat of an easy investment that allow you to provide more services to your clients.

Backpack sprayers can be used to treat special problems. For instance, you could use it for a specific bug or weed infestation.

Usually, these backpacks can hold between 2-4 gallons of product.

Based on the types of insects you want to treat, you’ll be able to determine which backpack sprayer is right for you.

For instance, if you want to treat flying insects (like mosquitoes) you’ll need something that has a high spray range. 

However, if you’re not treating for flying insects, you could probably choose a less expensive model.

Also, I recommend purchasing a gas-powered sprayer, because it will spray faster, farther, and more efficiently than a manual-operated backpack sprayer.

SPECIFICATIONSMAKITASOLOSTIHL
MODELPM7650H451 BACKPACK MIST BLOWERSR 450
ENGINE DISPLACEMENT (CM³)75.666.563.3
ENGINE POWER (BHP)3.672.93.9
CHEMICAL TANK CAPACITY (GALLONS)3.933.7
FUEL CAPACITY (FL OZ)616457.5
WEIGHT (LBS)29.323.828.2
MSRP≈ $770≈ $700≈ $700

Makita PM7650H

Pros:

  • Powerful 4-stroke engine
  • Fuel efficient
  • L-shaped chemical tank (improves balance)
  • Single action switch activates chemical flow
  • Includes high AND low viscosity nozzles
  • Liquid chemical in tank automatically mixed by intake airflow
  • Anti-vibration system
  • Padded shoulder straps
  • Large fuel tank capacity
  • Large chemical tank capacity

Cons:

  • Expensive
  • Heavyweight

Solo 451 Backpack Mist Blower

Pros:

  • Lightweight
  • UV-resistant tank
  • High air expulsion technology (extends reach)
  • Includes long reach nozzle, wide spray grille, and interchangeable deflectors
  • Wide variety of nozzles for different plants
  • Large filling and cleaning aperture

Cons:

  • No anti-vibration system
  • No padded shoulder straps
  • Expensive
  • Only a 2-stroke engine (not as fuel-efficient as 4-stroke)

Stihl SR 450

Pros:

  • Padded shoulder straps
  • Anti-vibration system
  • Adjustable support harness
  • Converts from misting to dusting applications
  • Can convert to a leaf blower
  • Multi-function control handle
  • Precise control over product feed and airspeed
  • 20% greater spray range than previous models

Cons:

  • Expensive
  • Only a 2-stroke engine (not as fuel-efficient as 4-stroke)
  • Heavyweight
  • Smaller chemical tank capacity (than other contenders)

9. Spreader

If you’re applying dry fertilizer or other ingredients to the property, you’re going to need a spreader.

Depending on the type of product you’ll be spreading, the distance, terrain, etc. will all determine the type of spreader you need.

Check out these spreaders to find the right one for you:

10. Software

In order to really give your landscape business the boost it truly needs, you should choose a software solution.

You need a software that provides:

  • Client accounts
  • Payroll reports
  • Expense reports
  • Client scheduling
  • Employee scheduling
  • Route condensing
  • Estimate templates

While you can technically operate without a software, it’s definitely going to grow your business much more quickly and profitably if you have one.

And even better?

Service Autopilot gives you that and so much more.

With Service Autopilot, when you choose a partnering credit card processor, you can set it up to automatically charge your clients and email invoices.

Plus, if you have automations, you can automatically notify clients when there’s an alert on their account.

This means you don’t have to take time to hunt down your clients to get their updated account information.

So stop wasting time and money, and start utilizing Service Autopilot.


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Conclusion

In the landscaping industry, there are so many potential tools at your disposal.

As a result, your consistent need for new equipment will never end.

This is why it’s important you choose specific areas of expertise and then add more services later.

You can’t do everything at once, so just do a few things you’re good at and have the right equipment for.

Then, you can gradually expand your services as you can afford the proper equipment and training.

While the lawn and landscaping equipment mentioned in this article is just the beginning of what you need – It’s enough to keep your landscaping business afloat.

Every landscape business is different.

So it’s important to evaluate what kind of landscaping business you’re aspiring to be. Then, choose the equipment that’s right for you.

If you follow the tips in this article, your landscaping business will likely be lightyears ahead of your competition.


Catch up on the Lawn Care Gear Series!


Originally published Sept 17, 2019 7:00 AM

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