Licensing requirements for landscape professionals

There are many laws and regulations pertaining to the landscape industry. While the following list is not exhaustive, it can help to orient members to some of the most common laws and regulations that may apply.  This list is abbreviated and is not intended to provide legal guidance, but rather highlight some of the most common regulations pertaining to the industry. Businesses must practice due diligence in knowing and interpreting the laws and regulations that apply to their work.

Local business license

  • Required for: Owning and operating a business
  • Issuing authority: Obtained from the local governing authority such as a city or county.

Live Plant Dealers License | Live Plant Growers License

Commercial Pesticide Applicators License | Pesticide Contractors License

  • A commercial pesticide applicator license is required if any pesticide is applied to a property for a fee. The test is a two-part exam covering general standards plus a specific category. The most common category of a commercial license for our industry is the Ornamental and Turf license (Cat. 24).
  • Study materials and exam registration may be found here
  • Issuing authority: Georgia Department of Agriculture, 404-651-9486

Federal DOT#

Landscape Architect, Architect, or Engineer's License

  • Required for anyone designing walls over 4’ in height or charging for landscape plans.
  • Issuing authority: Georgia Secretary of State

Low Voltage License

CDL License - Class A (Restricted)

  • Required for trailer & truck with a combined weight over 26k lbs.  Restrictions include no tractor trailer and if testing with an automatic transmission you are not permitted to drive a stick shift. Class B license is required for “box” type delivery trucks.
  • Issuing authority: Georgia Department of Transportation


Tax ID

  • All businesses need to obtain a tax ID number 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 in this area that must be understood and followed.


  • Firms doing the work on the properties of others must have liability insurance. Generally, liability insurance rates increase dramatically when a firm applies pesticides on the properties of others.
  • 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: “This sign may be removed on the day after application.” Firms may also have their name and address printed on the sign. The signs must be 4″ x 5″ in size and made of sturdy, weather resistant material. Contact the Georgia Department of Agriculture for additional information. The Georgia Department of Agriculture also has a source list of manufacturers who make the signs.

State law regarding landscape design

  • Georgia House Bill 417, passed during the 1993 legislative session, relates to who can and cannot do landscape design work for money. According to this act, only a Registered Landscape Architect can sell his design. A Registered Landscape Architect is one who passes a stringent Landscape Architect’s Certification Exam administered by the American Society of Landscape Architects and is licensed with the Georgia Secretary of State’s office. A landscape contractor, designer or retailers (or anyone who is not a Registered Landscape Architect) who performs design services cannot charge for his/her design and must follow up by installing the design. Newcomers to the landscape profession need to be aware of this act if considering design services as a part of their business.

E-Verify for Georgia

  • Georgia employers of more than 10 full-time workers must enroll in E-Verify.
  • E-Verify (or an accepted exemption) is required in Georgia to receive a business license or professional license.
  • Many city and county governments provide the required affidavit form or exemption affidavit, and notary at the time of application.
  • Click here to read more on the Georgia E-Verify website.