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Whether your landscaping business specializes in lawn and tree care, garden, lighting, or landscaping construction, if it doesn't operate year-round, you're going to face an off season. Maybe you even take on snow removal work, but the weather isn't always in your favor.

Your cash flow is important, and having it interrupted can be critical. How do you stay afloat if you experience an off season - or even just a slow winter season?

At CSI Accounting & Payroll, we've worked with landscaping businesses for over 50 years. We understand your industry's unique accounting challenges. Here, we take a look at how seasonality affects the landscaping industry, as well as how to overcome these challenges.

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What is Your Business Plan for Winter?

The best place to start is determining whether you'll be taking on winter work or not, and then examining how you can transition to winter work or use the extra time to get ahead for next season.

Taking On Winter Work

Many landscaping businesses supplement their summer work with services like holiday light stringing, window washing, and other residential and commercial maintenance needs. There is almost no time to plan for a large transition in supplies and staff, so this needs to be in the back of your mind all year round - and especially leading up to tax time to help minimize your taxes.

If you will be switching business gears for the winter, there are some things to consider:

  • Will you be using the same crew, or will you be working with contractors?
  • Do you reuse equipment from year to year, or do you need to purchase new winter supplies?
  • Will you reuse vehicles from year to year, or do you need to purchase new winter vehicles?

Off-Season Planning

Even if you don’t have a separate winter gig, the end of the summer doesn’t mean your work is over. This is an opportune time to plan. You'll want to figure out how to stretch your funds when you have less money coming in, as well as how you can grow your business for the upcoming season.

If you have some downtime in the winter, there are some things to consider:

  • How can I manage my cash flow during my off season?
  • Will I have equipment or vehicle loans to continue paying during my off season?
  • How can I prospect new clients during my off season?
  • Will I need to hire more employees or contractors to cover future jobs?

How an Accounting & Payroll Service Can Help


To plan for your future success, it’s important to know where your business is now and what has worked for you so far. To gauge your financial health, make sure your income statement and balance sheet are up to date. These statements are part of what a monthly accountant provides each month, plus a conversation based on them - and whatever else you'd like to ask.

If you end up noticing trends at the end of your season, you may want to consider how a monthly accountant could help you:

  • Spot trends earlier and be prepared to handle them
  • Fix small issues before they become larger problems
  • Focus on growing your business - and profits
  • Strategically lower your taxes through 

Monthly accounting is a step up from just bookkeeping and annual taxes. It offers much more value and peace of mind, but it also costs more than DIY-ing with bookkeeping software. That means very small or very new businesses might not get the right amount of value until they have more accounting activity. Find out which level of accounting is best for your landscaping business.


The landscaping industry also faces some payroll challenges, such as:

  • Working with both employees and subcontractors
  • Employing seasonal workers
  • Tracking different pay rates and overtime
  • Following specific labor regulations across many different work sites

Did you know that there are many benefits to having your accounting and payroll services under one roof? There are many areas where accounting and payroll go hand-in-hand, and when your payroll specialist is able to walk down the hall and speak with your accountant directly, information flows faster and more accurately.

Click the video below for the success story of one of our clients: Lowe’s Concrete & Landscaping.

Maximize Your Growth for the Upcoming Season

Once you’ve established your seasonal business plan and know how an accounting and payroll service can help you with the unique challenges that come with it, it may be the right time for you to outsource.

You're an expert at what you do. So, unless you’re an accountant, you’re not an expert at achieving the best financial results for your business regarding cash flow, profitability, and tax savings. Plus, who really wants to crunch numbers or conduct payroll at the end of the day?

Don’t wait for mistakes to pile up or opportunities to pass you by before deciding it’s the right time for professional accounting help. If you're considering monthly accounting, why not check out CSI Accounting & Payroll? We have over 50 years of landscaping accounting experience. For a free consultation, click the button below:

Not ready to talk? That's okay! First, learn more about what it's like to work with CSI:

CSI Accounting Staff

This article was composed by a member of our staff who interviewed our experts to get the facts straight. Any uncited information found here came straight from a knowledgeable accountant or payroll specialist.