Starting a lawn care business is quite an interesting journey, which has high chances of bringing the fruitful results to the owner, who’s really dedicated to the matter and knows his job like a real professional. This business might also be a nice home-based start-up, which might be combined with another full-time or part-time job. it may come in handy if you’re willing to figure out your way to the market of these services and still keep your working place while the revenue is not high enough to fully support you or/and your family. It’s also obvious that the lawns and gardens have to be cared for mostly during the warm months of the year, unless you’re a resident of the sunny California or an area like that. So, a back-up plan for winter might be necessary too, especially during the time when the young company is still too small (although quite ambitious) to keep you afloat throughout the entire year. and, eventually you’ll be able to gain enough profit to be able to set aside enough money for a couple of lawn-free months.
Lawn care business may be quite tricky, as it’s almost impossible to examine the local market and make a 100% clear opinion about it. It’s quite difficult to estimate how many companies or people are engaged in this sphere. Consequently, you’re not able to make the most probable about your chances regarding attraction of potential clients. There’re always some people that do the lawn care jobs without any registration. They come to their friend’s houses or other clients to trim the lawn or clean up the garden after their full-time job is over to earn some extra money. There’re also those teenagers that work for their parents, neighbors and relatives to receive some cash. They need a job too. Moreover, they provide their assistance at lower rates if compared to the lawn care professionals. So, people might still stick to the cheaper alternative even if you lay yourself out to showcase the benefits of the qualified lawn care.
That’s why the competition on the market may throw a couple of unpleasant surprises at the face of a novice lawn care businessman. That’s also why a throughout research has to be conducted by anyone, who wants to open his own lawn care company. This step is required to establish the goals and see if it is possible to achieve them, as you don’t want to lose the start-up capital in vain. Do you?
This will also help you evaluate the opportunities and dig up your own niche on the market of the lawn services. You need to come up with fresh ideas about what services you may provide and how it’s better to present them, so that the clients make their choice in favor of your brand-new lawn care service. You have to be clever about the marketing strategy, expenses and business growth perspectives. Constant development, better offers and newer services are always the winners when it comes to winning the client’s support. And, every new company struggles with attracting new customers. Then, it desperately tries to keep them dedicated to its services. A lawn care company is definitely not an exception.
However, those are certainly not the points to scare you off and prevent you from starting a new page in your life and working for yourself. Those are the points to show you that lawn care business is not as simple as it might seem. And, those are also the tips to draw your attention to certain aspect of this business activity and concentrate your efforts on them. You’ll be able to find the clients among more than 27 million American households, which opt for professional lawn care and landscaping services. Don’t forget about commercial institutions too. And, you’ll certainly be able to enter the industry and become successful in it, as there are no large companies that dominate on the market. As I believe that if a person is really determined to achieve something in his life and strives to reach success, some knowledge, support and encouragement is all that he needs.That’s why I want to give you a simple guide on how to start a lawn care business. I hope that you find a couple of tips on how to develop and grow a lawn care company helpful as well.
How to start a lawn care business (6 practical steps)
1. Make sure to become a highly qualified specialist
Even moving the grass requires some knowledge not to cut it too low or too high, to be able to do that in different interesting patterns. And, before all that good stuff, one has to learn how to use a mover and other lawn care machines and supplies.
But, lawn care is not limited by the grass moving only. It involves planting and growing the grass on the lawn, preparing the surface for that matter, fertilizing the soil to provide more nutrients and minerals for the grass to grow. Most lawn care companies include other related services, like garden cleaning in spring or autumn, tree and bush trimming, pruning hedges and shrubs, caring for the flower beds, planting trees, bushes and flowers, etc. As they grow, businessmen introduce more and more similar services up to the point when they hire a couple of landscaping professionals and gardeners.
So, it’s better to educate yourself in these spheres and visit some kind of professional courses. Some colleges even provide gardening and other similar degree programs. It’s something you should consider for the sake of your business growth and image. The more things you’ll be able to do on your own or control the employees’ performance, the more services you’ll have to offer to your clients. Which, by the way, increases the revenue, as you may contact the clients who’ve already used your services to offer something new to them. And, most likely, they’re going to address your company all over again. Of course, if they found it trustworthy the first time they time they turned to it.
And, don’t forget about the fact that you’ll have to deal with the company’s finances, taxes and employees’ salaries. If it’s something you plan on doing on your own, the according training is important too.
2. Develop a business plan to start the lawn care busines
It will be your start-up’s guideline, as well as the piece of material you’ll use to get the loan capital. Most of the banks won’t even consider lending the money without looking through it. Besides, you’ll use it to show the perspectives of your future business to your prospect ‘investors’ or partners (family members or friends).
But in fact, a business plan is quite practical ‘step-by-step project’ for a businessman above all. For instance, it includes the points regarding the name of the company, budget planning, profit estimates, market analysis, pricing, equipment list, promotion and development plans, etc.
A realistic business plan will help you stick to the budget while opening the company and carrying out your lawn care activities. Then, you’ll be able to see how soon your company will compensate for its start-up capital and when it will start bringing you decent revenue. Those calculations are based on profit estimates too.
Profit estimates should be quite real. They have to be done on the basis of a throughout research of the local market. You need to see how many households may become your clients (according to their family income and current use of similar services). Then, you calculate the potential revenue taking in consideration the average lawn space of local households and your expenses.
So, planning is everything when it comes to starting any business. Luckily, you don’t have to write a business plan from scratch. You can look for samples of the lawn care business plans online and adjust them to your needs and company’s peculiarities. Don’t forget to include your own calculations and results of the local market examination. An experienced business lawyer may help you do that job correctly.
3. Choose which lawn care, gardening and landscaping services to provide
This should be a whole separate part of your lawn care business plan. I’ve already mentioned most of those services above. But, it’s necessary to determine what your company may start with. Again, it depends on your own working experience, professional knowledge and skills and company’s budget (employing expenses). I suggest that you should start with basic lawn care (like moving, planting and fertilizing) and some other simple services like garden cleaning, leaf removal, etc.
Once you manage to accumulate some money in your development fund, you’ll be able to hire a gardener and even a landscape contractor. Thus, your company will evolve from a simple lawn trimmer and planter into a complex structure, which provides a full range of garden and lawn care services. As bush and tree trimming ad other gardening services don’t require too much equipment, your main expenses will derive from the labor costs. However, those services are more expensive, so the revenue is going to increase significantly too. I won’t even start talking about landscaping, as it includes long-lasting and costly projects a company will definitely benefit from.
4. Obtain a license and take care of insurance
If you’re not going to hire any employers, you’ll have to simply go to the local municipality intuition (like county clerk’s office or local department of licensing) to file for the “Doing Business As” permit. If you’re going to grow your business or hire even one of the co-workers right away, you’ll have to do all the paperwork related to starting a corporation or lawn care limited liability company. Don’t get scared of the names)). You may want to hire a lawyer to figure that out. Find the one that charges per hour not to spend too much on his assistance.
Don’t forget to purchase a liability insurance to be safe in case of client’s complains or accidents. You may consult with an insurance lawyer about the best insurance option too.
5. Purchase the most necessary equipment, find a vehicle and employees
You may go for the most standard hand-pushing lawn mower at first and invest into a more effective and, unfortunately, more expensive riding machine. Don’t purchase a new one if you have a limited budget. There’s no problem in finding a used lawn mower in a good state. You’ll need some garden tools (like rakes, shovels, etc.) too. Again, don’t purchase them all at once. For instance, gardeners may have their own bush trimmers. So, you won’t have to buy them if you hire a gardener and as him to use its own equipment. Don’t buy grass seeds and fertilizers until you receive an according order. Just look for the brands and types of seeds you’d prefer to work with and order them after consulting with a client.
And, you certainly don’t have to purchase a new car. Just buy a used trailer to transport your equipment.
Finally, you need to hire at least one or two lawn care professionals to operate more effectively. Again, cooperate with those who have their own equipment not to splurge on additional mowers. When you decide that it’s time to expand the company, hire a gardener and landscape designer to provide more services.
6. Most important marketing tips for your lawn-care business
Leaflets, yellow pages and business cards may do the job. Especially if you cut the promotion costs by designing and printing your advertising materials on your own. However, if you look around and notice that we live in 2016 and that people are walking around stuck to their phones and laptops, you won’t waste as much time on those papers. You’ll make a wise decision about concentrating on the online promotion. Job hunting sites (like HireRush.com) are the best option. They combine a bunch of ads of different professionals and businesses.
Then, a client, who needs to find a certain specialist or has a certain job to do, goes to this website, searches for a local pro and calls him directly from the site. And, if you create your own profile there, you’ll get notifications about new jobs the clients add. Moreover, creating a profile on HireRush.com is really easy and completely free. So, why don’t you give it a try?
The last thing I’m going to mention is client support and special offers. Those discounts and offers attract people the most. You may provide 10-15% off the client’s first order, or 15% off the next lawn mowing, or perform every tenth grass cut for free. Offering a discount on additional (like hedge trimming) or seasonal (like leaf blowing) services is a good idea as well. Be creative and pay attention the marketing policies of other lawn care companies to provide better deals. However, you should not work at a loss.