For Tennessee landscapers, lush lawns and stunning landscapes showcase their talents blending science and artistry. But protecting their livelihood requires more than mastering the latest mowing and mulching techniques. Securing proper insurance coverage shields their business, employees, equipment, and reputation from unforeseen liabilities and risks. This comprehensive guide examines key factors influencing Tennessee landscaper insurance costs along with illustrative premium ranges based on business size. We’ll also explore additional coverages to consider and proven strategies to get the right protection without overspending.

Landscapers working in Tennessee need to have the appropriate landscaping insurance coverage in place. This typically includes liability coverage for landscapers to safeguard against third-party claims and workers’ comp insurance for landscaping companies to cover employee injuries sustained while working.

Key Statistics for Tennessee Landscapers

  • There are over 5,000 landscaping companies operating in Tennessee, ranging from sole proprietors to regional operations with dozens of employees.

  • The average salary for landscapers in Tennessee is around $40,000 per year. Experienced supervisors and crew leaders earn upwards of $50,000 annually.

  • Major markets for landscaping services include Memphis, Nashville, Knoxville, Chattanooga, and Clarksville.

  • Common services offered include lawn mowing, planting trees and flowers, irrigation system installation, hardscaping like patios and retaining walls, lawn treatment programs, leaf removal, snow plowing, and more.

  • Typical equipment used by Tennessee landscapers includes riding mowers, walk-behind mowers, string trimmers, blowers, chainsaws, tillers, trucks, trailers, excavators, skid steers, and other tools of the trade.

  • Most landscaping businesses in Tennessee are small operations with just a single owner or partner and 1-5 employees. These small businesses make up over 60% of landscapers in the state.

  • However, larger regional and national chains like Brickman, BrightView, TruGreen, and Yellowstone are also active in Tennessee’s major metropolitan areas. Some of these companies generate over $1 million in annual Tennessee revenues with dozens of in-state employees.

  • The landscaping industry in Tennessee brings in estimated annual revenues exceeding $550 million statewide as homeowners and commercial clients invest in lawn care and landscaping services.

Key Factors Influencing Insurance Costs

Several variables impact Tennessee landscaper insurance premiums:

Annual Revenue – Higher revenue equals greater exposure, raising premiums. But generating more income allows absorbing insurance costs.

Payroll – Workers’ compensation premiums are tied directly to payroll. More payroll increases premiums.

Number of Employees – Additional employees increase risks across policies like workers’ comp. Even one or two more workers can add thousands in premiums.

Services Offered – Specialized or dangerous services like tree removal or snow plowing can increase premiums compared to routine mowing and pruning.

Equipment Value – Higher value equipment, machinery, vehicles and tools lead to more expensive premiums for coverage like inland marine.

Location – Operating in high-crime cities inflates premiums in areas like inland marine compared to rural areas. Geographic region also affects workers’ comp and liability premiums.

Claims History – Frequent past claims drive premiums upward. A clean history with no major claims saves money.

Safety Record – Strong safety programs, thorough training, and robust safety protocols help lower premiums as insurers gain confidence in your risk management.

Insurance Limits – Higher liability limits mean greater potential payouts, raising premium costs. But limits should adequately cover worst-case scenarios.

Deductibles – Choosing higher deductibles reduces premiums but increases your out-of-pocket costs in the event of a claim. This is a lever to consider carefully based on your finances and risk tolerance.

Small Landscaping Business Insurance Costs

Typical Profile:

  • Solo Owner Operator or Partnership
  • 1-2 Employees
  • $150,000 Annual Revenue
  • Pickup Truck, Trailer, Mowers, and Hand Tools

Typical Policies & Estimated Premiums:

  • General Liability – $800 to $2,000 Annually
  • Workers’ Compensation – $800 to $1,400 Annually
  • Surety Bonds – $100 to $500 Annually

Total Estimated Annual Premiums: $1,700 to $3,900

Here’s some insight on the major factors driving premium ranges:

  • General liability premiums are generally calculated as a percentage of revenue, ranging between .5% to 1.33% of revenue. So at a .5% rate, $150,000 in revenue would equate to $750 in premium, while at 1.33% it would be around $2,000.

  • Workers’ compensation premiums are driven largely by payroll and the landscaping class code of 0042. Payroll amounts, experience modifier, and Tennessee rate of around $2.65 per $100 of payroll shape each small landscaper’s premiums.

  • Bond costs vary based on the size of specific contracts or projects the landscaper takes on that require bonding. Most small jobs under $10,000 likely just need $100 in bonds for licensing.

Ways Small Landscapers Can Control Costs:

  • Maintain a clean claims history without major liability or workers’ comp claims.

  • Implement robust safety protocols like equipment inspections and maintenance logs.

  • Ask insurers about potential premium discounts for safety initiatives.

  • Consider choosing higher deductibles to reduce premium outlays.

  • Request bundling discounts if placing multiple policies with one carrier.

Medium Landscaping Business Insurance Costs

Typical Profile:

  • Incorporated Business
  • 3-4 Employees
  • $500,000 Annual Revenue
  • 5-10 Vehicles and Trailers
  • Riding and Walk-Behind Mowers, Trimmers, Blowers, Chainsaws, Other Equipment

Typical Policies & Estimated Premiums:

  • General Liability – $1,700 to $5,700 Annually
  • Workers’ Compensation – $2,500 to $4,100 Annually
  • Surety Bonds – $100 to $500 Annually

Total Estimated Annual Premiums: $4,300 to $10,300

Key factors driving premium ranges:

  • General liability is again calculated as a percentage of revenue, ranging from .34% to 1.14% of the $500,000 total.

  • More employees means increased workers’ compensation risks and premiums. Various employee classifications based on risk level also influence premiums.

  • Larger contract bonding needs with bigger projects may require bonds beyond base licensing amounts.

Ways Medium Landscapers Can Control Costs:

  • Enroll in trade association insurance programs like NALP for possible group discounts.

  • Consider higher deductibles to reduce base premiums.

  • Implement robust safety initiatives to control experience modifiers.

  • Leverage loyalty discounts from carriers used for multiple years.

Large Landscaping Business Insurance Costs

Typical Profile:

  • Incorporated Business
  • 5-7 Employees
  • $1,000,000 Annual Revenue
  • 15-25 Vehicles, Trailers, and Large Equipment

Typical Policies & Estimated Premiums:

  • General Liability – $3,500 to $13,200 Annually
  • Workers’ Compensation – $4,100 to $6,400 Annually
  • Surety Bonds – $100 to $500 Annually

Total Estimated Annual Premiums: $7,700 to $20,100

Major variables driving premium ranges:

  • General liability premium factors again include percentage of revenue, ranging from .35% to 1.32%.

  • More employees, higher payroll amounts, and increased risks raise workers’ compensation premiums significantly.

  • Larger contract bonding needs for bigger projects require bonds beyond base amounts.

Ways Large Landscapers Can Control Costs:

  • Ask insurers about multi-policy discounts when placing several policies with one carrier.

  • Consider insurers with historically lower loss ratios indicating disciplined underwriting and potential savings.

  • Emphasize robust safety program credentials to seek lower experience modifiers.

  • Conduct an insurance portfolio review to right-size policies and optimize coverages.

Additional Insurance Coverages

Beyond core general liability, workers’ compensation, and bonds, Tennessee landscapers should also consider these additional coverages:

Commercial Auto Insurance – Protects vehicles used for business purposes in case of physical damage or auto liability claims. Expect around $2,000 – $4,000 per vehicle annually.

Inland Marine (Equipment) Insurance – Covers tools, machinery, and equipment onsite and in transit. Often $1,000 – $3,000 per year or more depending on equipment values.

Commercial Property Insurance – Safeguards business properties like offices, warehouses, and garages from damage. Usually $1,000 – $7,500+ per year depending on property values.

Professional Liability (E&O) – Shields against third-party lawsuits alleging mistakes, negligent work, or failure to deliver services promised. Approximately $750 – $2,500 annually.

Cyber Liability – Critical protection against data breaches, financial theft, and hacking given increasing reliance on computers and mobile devices. Often just $500 – $2,000 per year.

Pollution Liability – Covers third-party bodily injury or property damage from exposure to chemicals like fertilizers, herbicides, and pesticides. Typically $750 – $2,500 or more per year depending on chemical usage.

Employment Practices Liability – Protects against employment lawsuits around discrimination, sexual harassment, wrongful termination, etc. Expect premiums ranging $2,000 – $7,000+ per year.

Business Owner’s Policy (BOP) – Bundles property and liability coverages together. A cost-effective option providing discounted, broad protection for qualifying small businesses.

How Insurers Determine Premiums

Insurance carriers utilize several factors to calculate landscaper premiums for both new and renewing policies:

Location – Geographic territory impacts premiums based on claims frequency, local legal environments, risks like crime rates, and cost of living in the area. Operating in Memphis may warrant moderately higher premiums than Knoxville for instance.

Class Codes – The National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI) assigns codes like 0042 reflecting risk levels that insurers leverage to price workers’ compensation policies. States approve the codes and base rates.

Experience Modifier – This compares your past claims history to industry peers with a similar risk profile, adjusting your premiums up or down accordingly. More claims drive your modifier and premiums upward.

Loss Ratios – Insurers analyze historical losses or claims payments versus premium dollars collected. Those spending less on claims can maintain lower overhead and offer reduced rates.

Revenue – More annual revenue means higher customer volumes and greater exposure potential, raising premiums charged across most policies. Some premiums are calculated as a simple percentage of total revenue.

Payroll – A major factor used to determine workers’ compensation premiums since it directly increases potential injury claim payouts. Landscapers with higher payrolls face elevated premiums.

Deductibles – Insureds selecting higher deductibles agree to pay more out-of-pocket for each claim in exchange for lower premiums. However, proper cash flow is vital to fund the higher deductibles when claims arise.

Safety Initiatives – Advanced safety protocols like equipment maintenance logs, hazmat training, driver certification programs, and post-accident claim investigations help justify premium credits to carriers confident in your risk management.

Partnering with the Right Insurance Advisor

Given the array of moving parts influencing landscaper insurance costs, having an experienced broker advising you simplifies the process so you can focus on your business. Key benefits a specialist provides include:

Loss Ratio Insights – Established brokers gain access to various insurers’ loss ratio data you can’t obtain yourself. This reveals which companies operate leanest and have room to decrease your premiums.

Top Carrier Access – Long-tenured landscaping insurance brokers cultivate relationships with Tennessee’s top performing commercial insurance carriers. This bargaining position secures preferred pricing and breadth of coverage.

Coverage Optimization – Specialists help properly tailor your policies and limits to avoid over or under-insuring. They also strategically bundle coverages to maximize savings.

Tennessee Regulatory/Policy Knowledge – Local brokers understand intricacies of regulations, required coverages, and unique credits available to Tennessee landscaping operations.

Ongoing Policy Management – Rather than leaving you on your own at renewal, an experienced broker proactively reviews your policies year-round to uncover savings and ensure adequate protection.


Safeguarding your Tennessee landscaping company requires insurance coverage tailored to your specific location, payroll, equipment values, services, staff size, and other risk factors unique to your operation. As this guide outlines, costs vary widely based on these characteristics. Work closely with an experienced Tennessee commercial insurance broker specializing in landscapers to craft an affordable yet comprehensive insurance portfolio. This allows you to focus on operating a thriving business instead of worrying about threats putting your livelihood at risk.