From grass to gardens and everything in between, you understand what’s needed to keep a yard healthy and beautiful. Unfortunately, landscaping expertise doesn’t always translate to business know-how. Even if you provide a premium level of service, you might lose out to competitors who have a better business plan.

A lawn care business plan is a guide that outlines the strategy, goals, and operational details for your lawn care business. Here’s a complete rundown of what you need to know on how to create a lawn care business plan:

1. Understand What A Business Plan Is

A business plan is a roadmap for your business. It describes where you are now, where you want to be in the future, and how you plan to achieve those goals.

You can create a lawn service business plan at any point in the lifespan of your company. If you’re starting a lawn care business, developing a lawn service business plan for a lawn care start-up is the best way to maximize your limited financial resources as you buy equipment and enter the market.

Likewise, lawn mowing business plans are also useful even if your company is several years old. A plan helps you assess the current health of your business and prepare for the future. It’s also a great tool if you’re changing, expanding, or shrinking the focus of your business.
Most lawn care service business plans and lawn maintenance business plans adhere (more or less) to the following format:

• Title Page with Table of Contents
• Executive Summary
• Business Description
• Description of Product or Service Provided
• Market Analysis
• Analysis of Your Competition
• Organizational Logistics, Operation, and Management
• Financial Components
• Any Relevant Documents

Although it involves a fair amount of work, creating a lawn service business plan provides two benefits. First, it’s a helpful way to stay organized and avoid problems. Also, a lawn care business plan is used to attract investors and other financial opportunities.

2. Estimate Your Startup Costs

Launching a lawn care business typically requires relatively high upfront costs because you need to buy a wide range of lawn care equipment. However, the money you spend today helps you deliver quality services that will help your business grow quickly and steadily.

As detailed in How to Start a Successful Lawn Care Business, here’s a general breakdown of what you’ll need to buy:

• Motorized equipment like lawnmowers, trimmers, and leaf blowers
• Manual tools and supplies like rakes, shovels, lawn bags, and protective gear
• Permits, sales tax licenses, and other regulatory requirements for your city
• Field management software for tracking invoices, developing marketing strategies and a clear marketing plan, and more

Your exact needs will vary when preparing your business plan for a lawn care startup. Initially, you can save by only purchasing gear for the core services you plan to offer – which brings us to the next item in your lawn service business plan.

3. Establish Your Initial Service Offerings

You can’t offer a full range of services right off the bat. Instead, your service offerings – at least initially – will depend on a few factors:

• The equipment you own
• The services offered by your competitors
• The services requested by customers in your area

The range of services outlined in your lawn care and landscaping business plan might encompass:

  • Basic Lawn Mowing
  • Lawn Edging
  • Lawn Aeration
  • Lawn Dethatching
  • Lawn Seeding
  • Leaf Removal
  • Fertilization
  • Weed Control
  • Pest Control
  • Mulching
  • Sod Installation
  • Artificial Turf Installation
  • Tree Trimming
  • Bush/Hedge Trimming
  • Yard Cleanup
  • Snow Removal

It is recommended to start with a core selection of services and gradually expand your offerings. This approach will allow you to build expertise and establish a solid customer base, providing a foundation for your company’s future growth.

4. Run a Market Analysis

The next part of your lawn care business plan is developing a market analysis. It’s an evaluation of how well-suited the market is for your lawn care business. Creating a market analysis might seem complicated, but it’s essentially nothing more than answering a few fairly simple questions.

Identify Your Potential Customers

First, who is your target market? You might feel tempted to answer with something like, “Everyone with a lawn.” However, that’s far too general.

Instead, try to narrow down your target market as specifically as possible. Do you mainly provide service for residential or commercial customers? Are your customers looking for the lowest prices, fastest turnaround times, or something else?

Your target market will depend on a few factors, such as:

• The demographics of your service area
• The geography and environment
• The equipment you own

Determining the first two requires research and an understanding of your community. Additionally, the services you provide are limited by the type of equipment you own and the size of your team. You can provide more services as your lawn care business grows.

Assess Your Competition

Another major aspect of a market analysis involves taking a closer look at your competition. If you’re lucky, you’ll launch your business in an area without much in the way of established lawn care providers. However, most likely, you’ll have competition.

Pretend you’re a customer looking for lawn care services. Hop online and check out what options are available in your area.

When researching your top competitors, focus on two factors:

• Their prices
• The services they provide

Why would someone choose your competitor over you? Identifying what your competition does well allows you to tailor the services you provide. You can either offer a superior alternative at a better price or focus on services the competition doesn’t offer.

5. Determine Your Pricing Strategy

How much should you charge for your lawn care services? Your lawn maintenance business plan should contain detailed pricing information.

When creating a pricing structure, you have two options:

• Cost-Plus Pricing
• Value-Based Pricing

Cost-Plus Pricing

Cost-plus pricing is the most straightforward type. It’s the cost of the product plus a margin for profit. With lawn care, cost-plus pricing involves the following factors:

• Labor costs
• Material costs
• Overhead costs
• Profit

Add them together to get the price of each service. Cost-plus is commonly used for physical goods. Many services, including lawn care services, determine costs with value-based pricing.

Determining cost-plus pricing is both easy and difficult. Usually, you’ll have minimal issues figuring out the cost of labor and materials for a given job. However, determining indirect costs is often more confusing. Your prices for all services have to cover overhead costs such as marketing, equipment maintenance, office rental, and more.

Most lawn care business owners don’t determine these costs on their own. Instead, they hire an accountant or bookkeeper. You don’t necessarily need a full-time accountant on staff, but you want to consult with one while setting up your pricing plan (and about once a year afterward to help you stay on track).

Read More: The Only Lawn Care Estimator You’ll Ever Need!

Value-Based Pricing

Value-based pricing is more subjective. It’s based on the perceived value the service has to a customer. In lawn care, customers are often willing to pay more for what they consider premium work.

You can influence the perceived value of your services in a variety of ways. First, commit to performing quality work. If you mow in neat rows, trim the edges of the yard with precision, and otherwise pay lots of attention to the little details, customers will often consider you a premium-level service provider.

Additionally, your teams should arrive on time, in matching uniforms, and with a consistent commitment to friendly and prompt customer service. A clean appearance and a positive attitude go a long way toward creating the appearance of premium service. In many ways, value-based pricing is as much based on psychology as on the actual quality of the work.

Pricing is one of the most complicated aspects of developing lawn mowing business plans. For help, check out How to Set Lawn Care Pricing and Quotes.

6. Implement Effective Marketing Strategies

You don’t want to create your lawn care business and then turn your attention to marketing later. Instead, marketing strategies should be woven into your lawn-mowing business plan from the initial stages. Fortunately, many effective lawn care marketing strategies don’t require much money as long as you’re willing to do some work.

Hanging fliers on doors around the neighborhood is often a surprisingly effective way to drum up business. After all, you can see the best leads right from the curb. Leave a flier on the door of any house with an unkempt, overgrown lawn.

Additionally, advertise your lawn care business while you work. Place a small sign with your company name on the yard while your crew provides services. Offer the homeowner a discount on their bill if you can leave your sign in their yard after the work is completed.

Uniforms and truck logos also offer inexpensive marketing opportunities. Make sure your company name is visible on the sides of your vehicles. When your vehicles are parked on the street, passersby can then easily identify your company name.

Marketing might feel a bit outside of your area of expertise. If you want help, consider lawn care business software. It helps you develop and implement a wide variety of marketing and advertising strategies, including customer tracking and seasonal specials. 

7. Create a Financial Plan

Finally, you want to end your lawn care business plan with a financial summary. It includes the following:

  • Overview of the Lawn Care Business Model
  • Initial or Necessary Startup Capital
  • Details of Existing Loans (Including Purpose, Amount, Duration, and Interest Rate)
  • Overhead Expenditures
  • Projections of Revenue
  • Financial Position Statement
  • Statements of Profit and Loss
  • Statements of Cash Flows
  • Costs Related to Staffing
  • Budget Allocation for Various Expenses
  • Statement of Personal Finances

You want to project incoming and outgoing costs for at least one year. Ideally, you want your financial plan to include projects for years two and even three. Your financial plan is an important document when applying for a loan or other types of financing.

Final Thoughts

Operating a successful lawn care company requires more than just the ability to deliver excellent service. Developing a lawn care business plan for a lawn care startup helps you stay on a steady course during the sometimes-rocky early stages of running your business. Additionally, you’ll want lawn care software to help develop not only your lawn mowing business plan but also run the day-to-day aspects of your business. Contact RealGreen today to schedule a free software demonstration, even if you’re still in the early stages of creating your lawn care business.

Start Using Lawn Care Software!

RealGreen’s lawn care business software helps you run your business more efficiently with features such as scheduling, dispatching, reporting, and more.

Hosam Sayed is a Product Marketing Manager at WorkWave with extensive knowledge of B2B product and marketing positioning. When not in front of his computer, he can be found spending time with his family, enjoying outdoor activities, and working on perfecting the art of landscaping.