For landscapers in South Carolina, transforming gardens and yards into lush, beautiful landscapes is an artform. But operating a profitable landscaping business in the Palmetto State involves more than just mowing, pruning, and planting. It requires protecting your company, employees, equipment, and reputation from the unexpected perils that can impact any business.

A key shield against these risks is insurance. This comprehensive guide will uncover typical landscaper insurance costs in South Carolina, factors that influence pricing, coverages to consider, and tips for getting adequate, affordable protection tailored to your company’s specific operations and evolving risks.

With proper insurance, South Carolina landscapers can continue crafting masterpiece landscapes without worrying about unexpected liabilities, injuries, property damage, or other losses. Use this information as a foundation for understanding landscaper insurance, then work with an experienced agent or broker to craft coverage matching your unique needs.

For landscapers in South Carolina, having the proper landscaper insurance policies is crucial. This typically includes liability protection for landscapers to safeguard against third-party claims and workers’ comp coverage for landscaping companies to cover employee injuries sustained while on the job.

Key Statistics about Landscapers in South Carolina

To start, here are some key statistics about the landscaping industry in South Carolina:

  • There are over 5,000 landscaping companies operating in South Carolina, generating around $850 million in annual revenue.

  • The average annual salary for landscapers in South Carolina is approximately $40,000.

  • South Carolina has a humid subtropical climate and sandy soil that supports a diverse range of plants and landscaping services. Popular services include lawn care, irrigation, hardscaping, and maintenance of golf courses, parks, commercial properties, and high-end residential gardens.

  • Common risks facing South Carolina landscapers include injuries, property damage, extreme weather events like hurricanes, transportation accidents involving heavy equipment and materials, and liability claims.

Key Factors Influencing Insurance Costs

Several important factors determine landscaper insurance costs in South Carolina:

Location – Geographic location influences pricing based on local risk exposures, legal environments, and cost of living. Urban regions generally have more exposures and higher premiums.

Services Offered – Specialized or high-risk services like tree removal warrant higher premiums than routine maintenance.

Years in Business – Newer landscapers are viewed as higher risk and charged higher rates until establishing a solid record over time. The longer you’re in business without claims, the more affordable coverage becomes.

Annual Revenue – Revenue reflects business size and exposures. More revenue equates to greater risks, driving premiums upward.

Number of Employees – Additional staff increase risks like workers compensation claims. Workers’ comp costs often represent up to 35% of a landscaping company’s insurance spend.

Equipment Value – Insurers must cover higher-value equipment and tools, increasing premiums. Unprotected equipment also represents a major business vulnerability.

Claims History – Frequent past claims lead to higher premiums. A clean record helps keep costs affordable, underscoring the importance of safety.

Coverage Limits – Higher liability limits or lower deductibles mean greater potential payouts for insurers, increasing premiums. But limits that are too low leave you underinsured.

Client Type – Maintenance of high-end residential properties and commercial facilities often necessitates increased coverage, boosting premiums.

Business Structure – Sole proprietors, partnerships, LLCs, and corporations each present distinct risks and insurance needs.

Subcontractor Usage – Relying on uninsured subcontractors represents a liability that can expand your own insurance requirements.

Safety Protocols – Advanced safety procedures help demonstrate risk management commitment and may lower premiums.

Small Landscaping Business Insurance Costs

For small South Carolina landscaping businesses with around $150,000 in annual revenue, 1 owner, and 1 additional employee, typical insurance costs include:

General Liability – $700 to $3,300 annually

General liability protects your company if a third party alleges bodily injury or property damage resulting from your operations, products, or services. Common landscaper GL claims involve chemical or water damage to plants, tripping injuries on a client’s premises, and damaged property from fallen tree limbs or equipment. In South Carolina, premiums typically range from 0.5% to 2% of revenue.

Workers Compensation – $1,500 to $2,700 annually

Workers comp insurance covers medical expenses and lost wages for employees that suffer job-related illnesses or injuries. Premiums are based on payroll, risk classification, and claims history. For landscapers, rates range from $1.13 to $13.13 per $100 of payroll.

Bonds – Not required in South Carolina for small landscapers

Though not mandated, performance bonds demonstrate financial credibility and can be required by clients. Costs start around 1% to 5% of the bond amount.

A Business Owner’s Policy (BOP) bundle can simplify insurance for small landscapers while maximizing savings. BOPs combine general liability, commercial property, and other common coverages under one policy. Premium discounts are also available with BOPs.

Medium Landscaping Business Insurance Costs

As landscapers grow into medium-sized companies, insurance needs expand:

For South Carolina landscaping companies with around $500,000 in revenue, 1 owner, and 3 employees, typical insurance includes:

General Liability – $1,500 to $6,200 annually

At this middle stage, landscapers often need to increase GL limits to meet contract requirements and properly cover growing risks. But boosting coverage from say $500,000 to $1 million has a relatively small impact on premiums.

Workers Compensation – $4,600 to $7,600 annually

Additional employees and payroll increase workers comp premiums. But a clean safety record helps keep rate increases modest.

Bonds – Not required in South Carolina

Though still not mandated for medium-sized landscapers, some South Carolina municipalities and commercial clients may prefer or expect bonded vendors. The cost to add a $25,000 bond ranges from $250 to $1,250.

Inland Marine – $1,000 to $3,000 annually

Inland marine insurance covers landscaping tools and equipment on jobsites and in transit. Theft and damage risks grow alongside equipment value, making this coverage vital.

Commercial Auto – $2,000 to $4,000 per vehicle annually

Landscapers need coverage for business vehicles like trucks, trailers, and crew cabs. Commercial auto premiums average $2,000 to $4,000 per vehicle depending on factors like vehicle type, driving records, liability limits, and more.

Large Landscaping Business Insurance Costs

For larger South Carolina landscaping businesses with approximately $1 million in annual revenue, 1 owner, and 5 employees, typical insurance includes:

General Liability – $3,100 to $13,100 annually

GL requirements expand for larger landscapers that take on more complex projects with heightened liability risks. Limits of $1M per occurrence/$2M aggregate are recommended at this stage.

Workers Compensation – $7,700 to $11,900 annually

Workers comp is typically one of the largest insurance expenditures for bigger landscapers. Controlling payroll and using safety programs help stabilize premiums.

Inland Marine – $3,000 to $10,000+ annually

Equipment values can surpass $100,000 for larger operations, warranting higher inland marine limits. Scheduling specific amounts for each item is advised over a blanket limit.

Commercial Auto – $6,000+ per vehicle annually

Additional vehicles and expanded coverage like non-owned auto increase premiums. But large companies can qualify for multi-vehicle discounts.

Commercial Property – $2,000 to $8,000+ annually

Protecting office buildings, warehouses, and other real property becomes essential as landscapers grow into commercial facilities. Sprinkler systems and alarms help reduce premiums.

Bonding – Individual/aggregate amounts often required

Most government contracts and many commercial clients mandate surety bonds from larger vendors to guarantee satisfactory work. Typical amounts range from $25,000 to $250,000.

Umbrella Liability – $1,500 to $4,500+ annually

Extra liability coverage above a $1 million primary policy is prudent for large landscapers handling complex projects. Higher umbrella limits are optional for firms concerned about lawsuits.

Larger companies also benefit from packaged insurance policies like Business Owners Policies (BOPs) that combine general liability, property, inland marine, and other coverages under one policy for added convenience and discounts.

Additional Insurance Coverages

In addition to the aforementioned policies, South Carolina landscapers should also consider:

Employment Practices Liability (EPLI) – Protects against employee lawsuits alleging discrimination, harassment, wrongful termination, retaliation, etc. Premiums range from $2,500 to $7,500 depending on staff size.

Cyber Liability – Safeguards against data breaches, hacking, and electronic theft. Especially important for landscapers storing customer credit cards or proprietary corporate data. Usually $500 to $3,000 annually.

Pollution Liability – Covers bodily injury and property damage from exposure to chemicals like fertilizers, herbicides, and pesticides used in landscaping. Typically costs $750 to $3,500 per year.

Business Income (BI) Insurance – Replaces income lost from suspended operations due to a covered peril like fire. Especially useful for bigger landscapers.

Building Ordinance or Law Coverage – Pays for increased repair/replacement costs to meet current building codes after a covered loss. Often added to property policies.

Hired & Non-Owned Auto Insurance – Protects against liability from employee usage of personal vehicles for business activities. Usually added as an endorsement when employees frequently drive their own cars for work.

How Insurers Determine Landscaper Premiums

Insurance carriers consider several criteria when calculating premiums for landscaper policies:

  • Location – Geographic risk factors like local weather patterns, crime rates, lawsuit frequency, construction costs, and cost of living all influence pricing.

  • Services – Specialized or dangerous services warrant costlier coverage than routine maintenance. Tree removal is much higher risk than lawn mowing.

  • Revenue – Revenue reflects business size and exposures. More revenue equates to greater risks and claims potential, increasing premiums.

  • Payroll – More employees and higher payroll increase risks like workers compensation claims. Payroll directly impacts workers’ comp premium calculations.

  • Equipment Values – Tools and equipment with higher replacement costs mean larger potential payouts for insurers, increasing premiums.

  • Claims History – Frequent past claims drive premiums upward. Landing contracts can be harder with bad loss run reports.

  • Coverage Limits – Higher liability limits or lower deductibles raise potential claim payouts, boosting premiums. But adequate limits are crucial.

  • Client Type – Maintenance of high-end residential properties and commercial facilities brings increased exposures and risks.

  • Risk Management – Documented safety protocols like driver training, equipment maintenance logs, and chemical handling procedures help lower premiums by demonstrating your commitment to loss control.

  • Discounts – Credits are available for things like multi-policy bundling, association memberships, safety programs, and advanced risk management tactics.

Getting the Right Insurance for Your Landscaping Business

Working with an insurance specialist experienced in landscapers is highly recommended to get tailored coverage at the best price. A landscaping insurance expert has access to carriers offering industry-specific options and discounts smaller brokers can’t provide. They also offer risk management guidance and ensure you have the precise mix of insurance policies needed to protect your business as it evolves.

The ideal agent or broker will conduct an in-depth evaluation of your company to identify vulnerabilities and exposures. They’ll educate you about coverages and limits specific to landscapers. And they’ll leverage their carrier relationships to secure tailored coverage at competitive rates.

Partnering with the right landscaping insurance advisor provides confidence your risks are covered without overpaying. Don’t leave your company’s protection to chance. Consult an expert and keep South Carolina’s landscapes looking beautiful without the thorny problems caused by unexpected perils.

Cost Saving Strategies

There are also several strategies South Carolina landscapers can employ to reduce insurance costs beyond maintaining a sterling safety record and favorable loss history:

  • Raise deductibles cautiously – Choosing higher deductibles lowers premiums but increases out-of-pocket costs if a claim occurs. Evaluate risk tolerance carefully when setting deductible levels.

  • Bundle coverages – Packaging multiple policies like general liability, commercial auto, workers’ comp, and property with one carrier often qualifies for a multi-policy discount.

  • Join associations – Membership in industry groups like NALP frequently provides access to lower cost insurance programs.

  • Review coverage annually – As your business changes, insurance needs change. Regularly reviewing coverage optimizes protection and avoids paying for unneeded policies.

  • Enhance safety – Advanced protocols like equipment maintenance logs, driver training, and chemical handling procedures help prove your commitment to safety. Insurers reward risk management, often in the form of lower premiums.

  • Choose higher loss ratio insurers – Carriers with loss ratios below 60% spend less on claims payouts relative to collected premiums, leaving room for savings.

  • Manage payroll carefully – Closely controlling payroll aligns with risk exposure, helping stabilize workers’ compensation costs.

  • Incorporate safety-minded subs – Subcontractors with robust safety programs help protect your own company from liability claims involving subs.


Purchasing proper insurance tailored to your landscaping operations is crucial for South Carolina companies wishing to protect their business, people, property, and reputation from unexpected losses and liabilities. Use this guide as a foundation for understanding typical landscaper insurance costs in the Palmetto State. Then partner with an experienced, specialized agent or broker to craft a customized insurance portfolio matching your unique exposures and evolving risks. With the right coverage, you can continue growing your landscaping artistry in South Carolina without worrying about unforeseen perils.