According to a recently published report by the McKinsey Global Institute, over 70 million jobs could be lost to automation before the year 2030 in the United States alone. Because it can virtually guarantee employment for the next couple of decades at least, the lawn care and landscaping industry has seen an influx of new practitioners, the vast majority of them coming from dying fields. If you’re hoping to build a career in lawn care and landscaping, there are a number of ways to go about it, but you should pay careful attention to the current state of the industry before deciding on the best route for you.

In this article, we’re going to be examining the various arms of the lawn care and landscaping industry and the options available to somebody searching for employment within it.

What are the different types of lawn care and landscaping businesses?

Sole proprietor

Sole proprietors are more common in lawn care and landscaping than they are in almost any other industry. As a sole proprietor, you almost definitely won’t be able to offer the catalogue of services promised by larger companies, so you should instead focus on mastering a couple of smaller tasks—such as weed control and moss removal—and present yourself as a specialist.

If you are considering moving forward as a sole proprietor, it is important to note that you will be expected to manage virtually all aspects of your business alone, with no receptionist to take your calls or keep track of your appointments. Sole proprietorship isn’t for everyone, so perhaps you should explore some other avenues within the lawn care and landscaping industry to get some experience before you decide to start your own lawn care business. If you’re operating as a sole proprietor you will want to make sure you have the Best Lawn Care Business Apps so that you’re as efficient and productive as possible!

Full-service employee

If you don’t want to take on the many risks associated with sole proprietorship, you may want to consider seeking out a position with an already established lawn care and landscaping firm.

Larger lawn care and landscaping companies tend to offer a wide array of services and you could find yourself doing anything from watering a flower bed to bricklaying in an average day. This is the perfect position for those who want that near-mythical combination of constant stimulation and a steady wage.

Most full-service lawn care and landscaping firms focus more on the quantity of tasks completed rather than the quality as it results in greater profit (at least in theory), so perfectionists may struggle to acclimate to a job with such an organization.

In-house gardener

In-house gardeners are essentially caretakers employed by entities with significant land, meaning you could find yourself working at a school, a heritage center, or maybe even a zoo. As an in-house gardener, you will be almost solely responsible for the upkeep of the property’s grounds, so you’ll have to be comfortable working under your own initiative as opposed to waiting for your next orders every time you complete a task.

One of the great things about working as an in-house gardener is that you will likely be granted some degree of creative license when it comes to the flowers you plant and the ornaments you erect, so those who consider landscaping an art form should certainly look into in-house roles open in their area.

In-house gardeners generally don’t have to worry about being relieved of their duties, making long-term financial stability an added perk of the job. That being said, most organizations will not trust somebody with their grounds unless they have a proven record of excellence, so entry-level gardeners may have to resign themselves to a different role within the lawn care and landscaping industry for the time being.

Independent contractor

In a lot of ways, the role of an independent contractor is similar to that of a sole proprietor. Both positions involve working for yourself and deciding which jobs you take on and which jobs you refuse and both positions carry with them the constant threat of financial instability. That being said, there are differences between the two titles, however subtle they may be.

Unlike a sole proprietor, an independent contractor is enlisted by a larger company that has come into a job that it cannot complete with its current roster of employees. An independent contractor may be called in to offer a specialist service, provide an outsider’s input, or simply to increase the manpower on site.

As an independent contractor, you will have to take orders from and answer to the person who hired you for the job, which is not something a sole proprietor working directly with their own customers generally has to deal with. Furthermore, independent contractors don’t always get to set their own fee, so the ability to negotiate is a must.


On occasion, a sole proprietor may have to outsource a contract to another lawn care professional, either because their workload has proven too great for them to complete the project or because they are lacking in expertise in an area crucial to the job. The person who takes over the contract is known as the subcontractor.

It’s difficult to make a living in any industry working exclusively as a subcontractor and the lawn care and landscaping industry is no different. It’s more a title that one stumbles into while working as a sole proprietor or as a straightforward independent contractor. On top of that, one generally isn’t enlisted as a subcontractor unless the initial contractor is familiar with their work and confident in their abilities in the area in question, so some time in another position within the industry will be necessary in order to build up a portfolio of relevant experience.


Owing to the sheer volume of people trying to do the same thing, carving out a career for yourself in the lawn care and landscaping industry may seem like an impossible task. However, with some thick skin, thicker gloves, and a little bit of skill, it can be done. If you’ll pardon the pun, there are multiple paths to landscaping success, the trick is to find the one that you feel most comfortable walking.