Lush green lawns and stunning landscapes are a point of pride for many Minnesota homeowners and businesses. As a landscaper, you help create that curb appeal and outdoor beauty through horticultural expertise, meticulous maintenance, and an artistic eye. But operating a successful landscaping company in the Land of 10,000 Lakes goes beyond just mowing, planting, and pruning. It also requires properly safeguarding your business, employees, equipment, and reputation from the array of hazards and liabilities inherent to this industry.

A key shield against these risks is insurance. This comprehensive guide provides Minnesota landscapers an extensive overview of typical insurance costs based on your company’s size and exposures. We’ll explore the key factors that influence premiums, drill down on costs for coverages beyond just the basics, and offer strategies for getting the right protection.

With detailed insight on potential expenses, you can confidently secure the necessary policies so your landscaping venture can flourish financially while helping Minnesota yards flourish aesthetically.

Minnesota landscapers must have the right landscaper insurance policies to operate legally in the state. This usually includes general liability insurance for landscapers to protect against third-party claims and workers’ compensation for landscaping businesses to cover employee injuries on the job.

Key Statistics on Minnesota’s Landscaping Industry

Let’s begin with some key data points on landscapers in Minnesota:

  • Number of landscaping companies: Approximately 2,799
  • Median annual wage for landscapers: $37,430
  • Typical cost of general liability insurance as percentage of revenue: 1% to 2%
  • Average workers compensation insurance rate per $100 of payroll: $3.65
  • Common cost of inland marine insurance for $25,000 of equipment: $750 per year

This data provides a baseline understanding of the industry’s landscape and insurance costs. Now let’s explore the factors that influence premiums.

Key Factors That Determine Insurance Costs

Many variables affect insurance premiums for landscapers in Minnesota. The major factors include:

Annual Revenue – Higher revenue translates into increased exposures and more customer interactions. This greater scale raises the likelihood of claims occurring, driving up general liability, workers compensation, and other premiums.

Number of Employees – More employees mean greater workers compensation exposure. Rates start at around $3.65 per $100 of payroll in Minnesota. Just a few additional staff can substantially impact premiums.

Equipment Value – Higher value tools, vehicles, and machinery warrant higher inland marine premiums to cover potential theft or damage. As your fleet expands, so does this coverage cost.

Services Offered – Specialized or dangerous services like tree removal, snow plowing, and wood chipping carry distinct risks that influence premiums differently than routine mowing or planting. Evaluating these exposures is key.

Claims History – Too many past claims will push premiums upward across all policies. Maintaining a clean history keeps costs affordable. Just one major claim can be impactful.

Safety Record – Strong safety protocols like equipment maintenance logs, chemical handling procedures, driver training programs, and proper PPE use help demonstrate effective risk management. Insurers may apply discounts for this.

Business Location – Operating in areas prone to theft, vandalism, or severe weather may increase premiums compared to safer territories. Location matters.

Now that we’ve covered the major variables impacting costs, let’s examine projected premium ranges based on business size and classifications.

Insurance Costs for Small Landscaping Businesses

What can a 1-person landscaping operation with no employees and $150,000 in annual revenue expect to pay for insurance in Minnesota? Here are some typical ranges:

General Liability

Limits: $1 million per occurrence/$2 million aggregate is recommended

Estimated Annual Cost: $800 to $1,700

Workers Compensation

Estimated Annual Cost: Not required for owner-only operations. Will apply once employees are added.

Surety Bonds

Limits: $25,000 is a common bonding limit

Estimated Annual Cost: $50 to $250

Costs assume no substantial claims history. Revenue growth or adding employees would increase premiums.

For a solo landscaper just starting out, this represents an affordable insurance program costing approximately 1% to 2% of total revenues. While leaning towards the lower end of premium ranges is appealing for cash flow, it’s critical to ensure adequate limits and zero coverage gaps. Let’s look at a larger operation.

Insurance Costs for Mid-Size Landscaping Businesses

What premium ranges might a mid-size Minnesota landscaping company with 3 full-time employees and $500,000 in annual revenue expect to see? Here are typical costs for key coverages:

General Liability

Limits: $1M per occurrence/$2M aggregate is recommended

Estimated Annual Cost: $2,200 to $4,700

Workers Compensation

Estimated Annual Cost: $6,200 to $10,300

Surety Bonds

Limits: $25,000

Estimated Annual Cost: $50 to $250

Costs assume no major claims history. Additional employees or revenue growth could increase premiums.

As this illustrates, scaling your business introduces new exposures that amplify insurance costs. Now let’s examine a larger company’s costs.

Insurance Costs for Larger Landscaping Businesses

What may a sizable Minnesota landscaping company with 5 full-time employees and $1 million in annual revenue expect to budget for insurance? Here are typical premium ranges:

General Liability

Limits: $1M per occurrence/$2M aggregate is recommended

Estimated Annual Cost: $3,800 to $8,800

Workers Compensation

Estimated Annual Cost: $10,400 to $16,100

Surety Bonds

Limits: $25,000

Estimated Annual Cost: $50 to $250

Costs assume no major past claims. Extra employees or services could increase premiums.

As shown, premiums grow substantially for larger operators, making risk management and loss control vital. Next we’ll go over other common landscaper policies.

Additional Insurance Coverages to Consider

Beyond general liability, workers compensation, and surety bonds, Minnesota landscapers should evaluate these additional coverages:

Inland Marine – Protects tools and equipment onsite and in transit. For approximately $25,000 of gear, annual premiums often run $750. Higher value equipment warrants more coverage and higher premiums.

Commercial Auto – Covers vehicles used for business purposes. Average cost is $1,500 per vehicle annually depending on factors like type of vehicle and driving records.

Umbrella Liability – Provides extra liability limits above and beyond primary general liability and auto policies. For $1 million in additional coverage, typical MN costs range from $750 to $1,500 annually.

Cyber Insurance – Protects against data breaches, hacks, and electronic theft. For $250,000 in coverage, premiums often run approximately $500 per year.

EPLI – Shields against employment practices liability claims like wrongful termination, discrimination, or harassment. For $100,000 limits, annual premiums average around $2,000.

Pollution Liability – Covers third-party bodily injury and property damage from exposure to chemicals like fertilizers, herbicides, or pesticides used in landscaping. For $500,000 in coverage, premiums range from $1,500 to $2,500 annually.

While basic policies provide a foundation of coverage, evaluating risks unique to your business model is critical when assembling a complete program. An experienced agent can help customize your portfolio. Now let’s look at how insurers develop prices.

How Insurance Carriers Determine Premiums

When pricing landscaper policies in Minnesota, insurance carriers evaluate several key variables:

  • Exposure base – Payroll, number of employees, annual sales revenue, vehicle count, equipment value
  • Location – Crime rates, weather risks, court award trends in the region
  • Claims history – Frequency of past claims, severity of prior losses, specific details on previous incidents
  • Services provided – Specialized or hazardous services warrant pricing differently than routine maintenance
  • Safety protocols – Formal processes for equipment/vehicle maintenance, PPE use, hazardous material handling, and incident investigation help minimize risks
  • Deductible levels – Higher deductibles lower premiums by transferring more cost sharing to the insured

Insurers input these data points into complex predictive modeling and pricing algorithms to derive suitable premiums for each coverage based on possible loss projections. This underscores the value of partnering with an independent agent or broker who understands these variables intimately so they can accurately represent your unique exposure risks and operating characteristics to underwriters. This expertise helps secure proper coverage, adequate limits, and competitive rates tailored for your landscaping business.

Tips for Buying the Right Landscaper Insurance

Follow these best practices when shopping for policies:

Use a Specialist – Work with an agent who focuses specifically on landscapers and understands the nuances of risks, pricing, and coverage options. Generalists often lack this depth of expertise.

Bundle Policies – Insurers offer premium discounts when you bundle multiple policies together, such as general liability, commercial auto, inland marine, workers compensation, and umbrella. Maximize these savings.

Audit Exposures Annually – Review equipment values, payroll, revenue, vehicles, and services before each renewal to ensure you have adequate limits and aren’t overpaying.

Consider Higher Deductibles Cautiously – While raising deductibles can lower premiums, it also increases your out-of-pocket costs if a claim occurs. Evaluate your risk appetite and cash flow before opting for a higher deductible.

Implement Safety Protocols – Develop and document formal safety processes around equipment maintenance, chemical handling, driver training, and PPE. This demonstrates effective risk management that carriers may reward with discounts.

Analyze Insurer Loss Ratios – When comparing carriers, look for loss ratios below 60%, indicating less premiums paid out in claims. This leaves room for lower pricing.

Use a Surplus Lines Specialist – For unique or complex risks, partnering with an agent who can access surplus lines markets offers broader, more customizable coverage options.

The right insurance advisor simplifies your risk management process so you can focus on sustainably growing your Minnesota landscaping business.


The typical cost of insurance for Minnesota landscapers ranges from 1% to 2% of revenue for general liability coverage and around $3.65 per $100 of payroll for workers compensation. However, actual premiums vary based on your particular business’ size, risk profile, services, safety record, and history.

Work closely with a specialist who understands the nuances of the landscaping trade. This expertise ensures you get adequate and affordable policies customized for your operation’s specific needs, allowing you to run a financially sound business focused on helping Minnesota yards look their best.