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Step up your professionalism Licensure and certification requirements

Atlanta, GA 30334. 404-651-9486

Unlike the nursery or greenhouse industry that require a large capital investment to start, a landscape business requires less start-up funds. However, it takes more than a green thumb and a love of the outdoors to become a landscape professional.

Tere are certain legal requirements for someone entertaining the business in terms of permits and licenses that must be obtained. Tese permits and licenses could result in a considerable outlay of money for new firms.

Licenses • First, a firm must have a business license for the municipality in which the business is based. If a firm is headquartered in one county but does business in five adjoining counties, it may or may not have to have a business license in each of those counties. It is suggested that the landscaper check with the business license office in counties where business is done to determine if a business license is necessary. Some cities may have additional requirements.


• Landscape contractors who handle and distribute plant materials must have a Nursery Dealer’s License from the Georgia Department of Agriculture. Also, any plants distributed must be purchased from licensed Nursery Growers and must be free of insects and diseases at the time of installation. If a landscape firm also grows it’s own plant ma- terial, it must also have a Nursery Grower’s License. Nursery Growers and Dealer’s Licenses are available from the Georgia De- partment of Agriculture, Plant Production Division, 19 Martin Luther King Jr. Dr., SW,

• A Commercial Pesticide Applicator’s License is required of a person who applies pesti- cides to the land of another person for hire, or directs the application of pesticides by subordinates. A firm applying pesticides for hire must have a Pesticide Contractor’s Li- cense. Both of these licenses can be obtained through the Georgia Department of Agricul- ture. 404-656-4958

• If the firm will be installing hardscapes a building permit or Contractor’s License is required. Contact the local government for information on permits required.

• A Low Voltage Electrician’s License is re- quired before installing irrigation systems. Te license is obtained through the Secre- tary of State’s office in Atlanta and requires one to pass a written test.

Tax ID • All businesses need to obtain a tax num- ber from the Internal Revenue Service. If a landscaper plans to use part-time workers, temporaries, or subcontractors, the IRS has some rather complicated and specific rules that must be followed.

Insurance • Speaking of liability, firms doing the work on the properties of others must have liability insurance. Generally, liability insurance rates increase dramatically when a firm ap- plies pesticides on the properties of others. Tis finding has caused many newcomers to the landscape profession to think twice about offering pesticide services to cli- ents. Landscape maintenance professionals applying pesticides, including insecticides, fungicides herbicides or growth regulators, to a landscape site are required to post the property with a sign that reads: CAUTION: PESTICIDE APPLICATION....KEEP OFF. Also, the bottom of the sign should read as follows: “Tis sign may be removed on the day aſter application.” Firms may also have their name and address printed on the sign. Te signs must be 4” x 5” in size and made

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