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How to Start a Lawn Care Business: The Ultimate Guide

Field Service Guru

Looks like it's a great time to start a lawn care business.

Starting your own lawn care business can be a great opportunity, especially if you enjoy doing yard work and working outside. Owning and running your own business is also very fulfilling as you only have to answer to you, the business owner. 

Plus, now is definitely the time to jump in. Every year in the US, the market size of the lawn care services industry has grown by 2.5% on average. In the last year alone, the number of businesses increased by 4.9%. With industry growth like that, it makes for high-income earning potential and future job security. Also, depending on the climate where you live, you could even make your business successful year-round.

Let’s take a look at everything you need to know about how to start a lawn care business.

How to Start a Lawn Care Business

A lawn care company can be quite simple to start. If you want to jump right in (today), you could buy or rent a lawnmower and talk to your neighbors about your lawn care services. This makes it easy and cost-efficient to get your foot in the door and begin to start a lawn care business.

However, you also have the option to start a more robust lawn care company. The beauty is how you start can be adapted to meet your current needs and plans for growth.

Create a Lawn Care Business Plan

When you are starting a business, one of the first things you should do is create a business plan. This will help you think through all of the little details to make sure you are doing everything you need to be successful. 

Your business plan will give you a framework to work from. This way, you can accurately align each thing you do with your goals. Plus, if you need financing, you’ll probably need to provide your potential lender with a business plan.

When you create your lawn care business plan, it can help to start by thinking of your goals. What do you want to get out of your new business? Write down some SMART goals focused on what you hope to do. You can always adjust these later on.

Do Some Research

It is critical to success that you do some research before starting work with your business. You need to know some things about your competition, legal requirements, and the services you can offer. You can also find some general startup advice.

Researching your competition can give you valuable insight into your local market. Take a look at what kind of services they offer and who their target market is. In addition, you should start to think about what sets you apart. Leveraging this aspect can help you be more marketable.

Decide on Your Lawn Care Services

A lawn care business can offer a litany of services. You need to narrow down which ones you want to start offering. You could focus on mowing, trimming, weeding, aerating, seeding, and fertilizing for example. 

Or you could expand into landscaping services, especially if you have experience or knowledge in this area. A landscaping company could offer design, installation, and maintenance. You should also think about what services you can offer during the colder months. Just because it is cold and possibly snowy doesn’t mean you can’t work. Many landscapers in snowy regions offer snow removal services during the winter.

If you are in a slightly warmer location, you could offer lawn and landscape care that can be done in colder months. For example, you can reseed lawns or apply fertilizer and pesticide depending on your clients’ needs. Even protecting desert trees from frosty conditions can generate a nice revenue stream.

Get Access to Lawn Care Equipment

Once you figure out what kind of services you want to offer, you should consider what equipment you need to complete these jobs. Depending on your needs and financial situation, you could either rent or buy your equipment.
Buying may be cheaper over the long run. However, you might need to purchase lower-grade equipment depending on your budget. You should also think about the costs of maintaining this equipment. Maintaining cheap equipment can catch up to the cost of higher-grade equipment.

Renting may be a good option if you want to use less cash upfront. You also don’t need to worry about maintaining it quite as much. A good strategy is to rent more expensive equipment and purchase any smaller or less expensive tools.

You’ll need to purchase some tools such as shovels, including square-mouth, spade, and trench shovels. Wheelbarrows and tillers, including rear-tine tillers and cultivators, can be helpful. Some lawn care workers also use chainsaws and drills quite frequently.

On the larger side, you may want to think about a lawnmower, especially if you are focusing only on lawn care. A riding lawnmower may cost over $12,000, so consider renting one. Or, if you are just starting out, a push mower can be a good option.

Since you have all of these tools, you need a way to carry them. If your current vehicle can handle it, use that. Just be sure to talk to your auto insurance company about the ramifications of this. 
Or you might want to consider purchasing or financing a truck, possibly with a trailer. This would be a large investment. Consider looking at used trucks as they can get the job done as well as a new one.

Meet Your Legal Requirements

It is critical that you figure out the essentials for the business side of your lawn care business. One of the first steps is choosing a name. Your name should be short and memorable, so it can give a good first impression and stand out from the competition.

You’ll also need to figure out what kind of business structure you will have. Sole proprietorships and partnerships are easy to get started with. However, they don’t offer any legal protection for you as an owner.

You should consider forming a limited liability company (LLC). This type of business structure still offers a relatively straightforward tax situation. Your business will be a disregarded entity, meaning the company’s profits and losses are reported on your tax return.

However, an LLC does form a separate legal entity. This means that your liability is lower if someone decides to sue the business. This can help protect your personal assets. The requirements for registering an LLC vary by state.

Your state will also dictate what licenses and certifications you’ll need. The specifics will depend on what services you offer and your scope of work. For example, in many states, you will need a special license to apply pesticides to your clients’ lawns.

You can start by contacting your state’s Department of Agriculture, Department of Consumer Affairs, and Contractor’s State License Board. Your state or local municipality may also require a business license. It is very important to get this if you are required.

Get Your Finances and Insurance in Order

Pricing your services will be key to making sure your business is profitable. While there are a number of ways to price services, cost-plus pricing is usually a good place to start. This is sometimes also known as markup pricing.

First, you’ll need to calculate the total cost you will pay to provide your services. Be sure to think of all of the little things that go into your services. Then, you simply add a fixed percentage on top of that as your profit.

You also need to open a business bank account. Your business finances should be completely separate from your personal finances. 

Insurance is a great way to protect yourself from financial loss if something bad happens. Plus, it’s required in many circumstances. You should consider general liability insurance to cover the possibility of someone suing you.

If you have a vehicle, you’ll also need business auto insurance. Having employees requires workers’ compensation insurance. You may want to discuss your individual insurance needs with a professional.

Find Your Lawn Care Clients

Tapping your network of family and friends is a great way to get your first few clients and reviews. Then, you can ask them to spread the word about your new business. 

Building your business’s website can make it easy to market your business. You can choose to build the site on your own or hire a developer to help you. On your site, be sure to list your contact information, services, and what sets you apart.

You should also develop a plan to market your new business. Starting and actively posting on your social media profiles can be a great way to gain traction online. You should also set up a free Google My Business listing to show up in Google Maps and searches easier.

You can also take it a step further by running ads online. In some locations, old-school direct mail can even be successful. Take a look at what works for your competition as a way to get ideas.

If you have the Servgrow Pro Plus plan, you'll get a free custom lawn care website to start marketing immediately.

Having a professional website increase customer acquisition by over 500%.

Servgrow Lawn Care Software

After you find your first few clients, you need to make sure you take care of them. Servgrow lawn care software can make it easier to give your customers a great experience, while also increasing your online presence to find new customers. Not only does this make you look more professional, but this also ensures that your customers keep coming back to you time and time again.

Conclusion

A lawn care business is a great way to reach your career goals and grow your income. This guide should give you a great head start on how to start a lawn care business.  

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