How to Start and Grow a Combined Landscaping & Pest Control Business in 2024

Blog post hero image

A single pest control appointment costs around $170 in the US.

Because an exterminator handles several gardens or houses per day, it’s easy to start seeing dollar signs.

But starting a pest control business isn’t as easy as you might think. There are strict regulations (varying by state and country), with many licenses requiring two years of hands-on experience before you can start a business.

If you don’t have it, you can start a landscaping business, work with partners for pest control and management, and eventually expand to do both. 

In this article, we’ll cover how to start a combined pest control and landscaping business and how to optimize and scale it to grow.

Let’s do this.

To navigate to the section which interests you the most, click below:

How Do I Start a Pest Control Business?

Before you can start your own pest control business, you must secure the right license. You need to have (or hire someone with) a Structural Pest Control Applicator commercial license or “master” license, depending on the state.

This license typically requires 1-2 years of experience as a “journeyman” or worker, in addition to taking and passing the licensing exam.

The journeyman or non-commercial license typically just requires passing the test and a few hours of apprenticeship.

Beyond that (if you have a pickup truck or van already), spraying equipment for insects like ants, fleas, ticks, and other common pests will only cost a few hundred bucks.

For small scale pest control, the barrier to entry is more in the license itself than in the equipment required.

So while you’re getting your license in order, you can start by establishing another business with a strong overlap with pest control…

Why You Should Combine Pest Control With a Landscaping Business

Landscaping vs Pest Control

Instead of devoting yourself to just one or the other, offering both landscaping and pest control services is a solid idea to double your potential business growth.

Both services serve a similar target audience and you can start building valuable relationships before you get your pest control license.

Why these two industries, though?

Landscaping is easier to start

While regulations vary from state to state, in many of them all you need to get licensed is insurance.

In some states, in fact, you don’t even need a landscaping license to work as an independent landscaper.

The target market is often the same

Homeowners with wooden houses and large (landscape-able) gardens are more likely to face issues with pests like termites, ants, and more.

That means while you’re working on getting licensed, or finding a partner who is, you can establish valuable relationships with potential customers.

Expand on existing revenue by selling more services to existing customers

Once you’ve gotten your landscaping business off the ground, you can expand your business by offering basic pest prevention.

And vice versa.

After a pest control job, you can offer ongoing garden maintenance to prevent similar issues.

Overlap in required equipment

There’s also a significant overlap in the necessary equipment for each business.

Whether handling infestations or overgrown lawns, you need a truck or van. You also need sprayers, protective equipment, and more.

As a business owner, the more value you can get out of an asset, the better.

A truck, though, will only get you so far. You’ll also need a proven business plan.

4-Step Landscaping and Pest Control Business Plan

Without a roadmap, it’s easy to get lost and waste time and money investing on the wrong things.

To start a combined landscaping and pest control company right, here’s what to do.

1. Identify your target market and most profitable service areas

Before you even start a business, you need to figure out if it’s even viable in your area.

Are there enough wealthy homeowners who can afford to pay for your services?

Of course, with landscaping, it’s not enough to just consider net worth or home value. You need detached homes with gardens. The white picket fence dream.

If you live in a city, explore local suburbs and see what their garden situation is like. The sizes and states of the gardens in a neighborhood will quickly show you whether there’s any market potential.

2. Optional: Find a flexible partner

If you’re working towards getting licensed as a commercial pest control operator, you can start by finding a partner.

By upselling landscaping clients and taking a cut, you can earn extra income from the very beginning.

Plus, this approach will allow you to go deep in one area and use each other’s expertise, like Jobs and Wozniak.

3. Create a unique combined offering

Once you’re licensed to offer both services, you can stand out by offering a combined service for a single price. For example lawn care and pest inspection and management together for a monthly fee. You can also offer specialty services like integrated pest management.

If you’re working with a partner, you can offer this service from day one.

4. Plan a budget and growth timeline

Instead of buying everything you think you’ll eventually need up front, focus on a minimum viable product.

What services have the lowest barrier to entry?

For example, with just a few shears and pruners, you can offer basic pruning of hedges and smaller trees.

Make your initial investment in basic equipment so you can offer small-scale services.

Then set revenue thresholds to meet before investing in further equipment and expanding your business.

As you establish your brand, you can expand your services with new business ideas and exterminate indoor pests like bed bugs.

How to Optimize and Scale Your Pest Control and Landscaping Business With OptimoRoute

With OptimoRoute you can easily optimize your business processes to drive your bottom line northward and make scaling easier.

OptimoRoute software can help anyone from a new small business owner to an enterprise with a dedicated fleet manager.

J&S Landscape is a Colorado landscaper that uses OptimoRoute to manage its work crews. The transition from manual to automated planning has made the company more efficient and profitable.

Here’s how:

They’re able to service more clients in less time (without hiring more staff) 

OptimoRoute offers automated schedule planning, considering factors like technician skills, qualifications, vehicle capabilities, client time windows, service areas, and more.

With more efficient employee scheduling, you can easily forecast availability and squeeze in more jobs per technician. 

They’ve reduced fuel costs and crew travel time with better routes

J&S saved over 15% in both crew travel time and fuel costs the first year with OptimoRoute. Our software makes fuel management simple. 

Smarter, shorter routes that consider multiple stops, breaks, and returning to the depot, make life easier for everyone involved.

They can automatically schedule and route the right tech and gear for each job

With OptimoRoute, you don’t need to worry about sending the wrong technician for the job. You can set skills, qualifications, vehicle capabilities, and equipment at the driver and vehicle levels.

The software will then use these variables to match the right technician with each work order.

They’re able to stay on top of seasonal demand changes by planning up to 5 weeks at a time

With the ability to plan up to five weeks at a time you can easily get a grasp of seasonal changes in demand.

Then, you can make informed decisions on whether you need to hire extra temporary workers or not.

They minimize missed appointments with time windows and live ETAs for dispatchers and customers

Nothing is worse than a missed appointment. If your technicians drive all the way to a customer’s home, and they’re not in, it’s a waste of time and money.

Even if you charge a cancelation fee, that’s not a great way to build a high-value relationship. 

OptimoRoute offers real-time tracking of technicians and SMS and email notifications with live ETAs. Say goodbye to missed appointments.

OptimoRoute - Realtime Order Tracking

Easily Manage Various Skill Sets and Qualifications

It’s easy to manage a multi-faceted business like landscaping plus pest control with OptimoRoute. Our software lets you automatically assign work orders to your technicians with the right skill set, qualifications, and tools.

Since you can schedule and plan all weekly service calls in minutes (rather than hours), you, the owner, also have more time to focus on revenue-generating activities like marketing and sales.

Optimize and grow your pest control business with OptimoRoute, start your 30-day free trial today.

Try OptimoRoute for Free

No installation or credit card required