The Basic Legal Practicalities Of Starting A Landscaping Business

For many people, possibly including yourself, the dream of owning their own businesses is at the forefront of their daily thoughts. We congratulate you if you have already decided to do so and that business will be landscaping.

We assume you have a passion for landscaping, and it might be the case that you are already working for a landscaping company but have now decided to take the plunge and set up on your own. We will not shy away from the fact that starting a business can seem daunting, especially when there are many matters to address.

Many of these are legal requirements that must be met when starting a business and apply equally to a landscaping business as they would if you were opening a retail store, a restaurant, or a dog grooming business. We are making a point that regardless of what your business will do regarding its customers’ products or services, it must comply with commercial and employment laws from day one.

We have outlined some of the basics to give you a gentle prod in the right direction concerning the legal practicalities of starting your landscaping business. Suppose you are unsure of the legalities of anything within your landscaping businesses. In that case, we strongly recommend you retain the services of a commercial lawyer, as they can help you avoid the legal minefield that running a business can sometimes take you through.

Choosing A Business  Structure

Your first task is to decide which business structure your landscaping business will have, and you have three main options.

  • Sole Trader

When your business is a sole trader, you and your business are regarded as the same legal entity, meaning all assets are regarded as yours, and all liabilities are yours. You can trade under your name or choose a business name to trade as.

  • Company

A company is a different legal entity to you, so although you may own 100% of the company, it is the company that is the business; therefore, assets and liabilities are the company’s, not yours. A company has the word ‘Pty Ltd‘ after it, and you can trade as ‘Your Name’ Pty Ltd or use a business name. Every company must have at least one director who can be yourself.

  • Partnership

Unless you are starting your business with someone else, this would not apply. However, if you are, you could choose to partner with them. You would each need to agree and sign a partnership agreement outlining what share each of you has and your respective responsibilities. Note that partnerships are akin to sole traders whereby both partners are jointly and separately liable for the partnership’s debts.

Business Registration

The next crucial legal step is registering your business, which applies regardless of your chosen structure. You choose a business name for all structures and register for an Australian Business Number (ABN). If you have chosen to operate as a company, you will also need an Australian Company Number (ACN) as this ensures that liabilities are not yours but the company’s


As your landscaping business will be working on the properties of others, and there may be construction work taking place, the critical insurance you should have is Public Liability Insurance. This protects you if an accident occurs and a client, member of the public, employee, or contractor is injured on site. As you will likely be purchasing or hiring equipment, some of which may cost significantly, insurance for theft, loss, or damage may also be prudent.

Legal Documentation

Finally, here is a list of examples of the legal documents you may need to run your landscaping business, some of which you may wish to have created for you by a commercial or employment lawyer, as necessary.

  • Employment Contracts – Full-Time/Part-Time/Fixed-Term
  • Quotation Forms
  • Client Contracts
  • Sub-Contractor Agreements
  • Policy Documents – Refund/Privacy/Terms & Conditions*

*These policies should all be published on your website.

The Basic Legal Practicalities Of Starting A Landscaping Business