Lawn care service is an evergreen—no pun intended—industry which will always have its place in the economy. From consumers who are physically unable to tend to their yards to those who are too busy to maintain intricate landscaping, there are plenty of clients for any lawn care business. Here’s how to start a lawn care business and ensure its success.
Budgeting for Your Lawn Care Business
When you first start a lawn care business, you may find your budget needs to be beyond your expectations. If you don’t already own a lawnmower, weed eater, leaf blower, and other power machinery, purchasing those items will add up quickly.
In addition to motor-driven equipment, you will also need manual tools and lawn supplies like:
- Garden shears and clippers
- Yard waste disposal bags and containers
- Protective gear
- Eye protection
- Ear protection
- Hard hats
- Grass seed
- And filler soil
Investing in proper lawn care equipment is a requirement of starting a lawn care business. Purchasing equipment one item at a time can help spread your budget out over the long term, but you should have a plan for when and how to purchase the products you need to keep your business afloat.
Purchasing Lawn Care Equipment
When it comes to buying lawn care equipment, you may feel tempted to purchase whatever is most friendly toward your budget. But purchasing low-end equipment will only cost you more in the long run as you pay for upkeep and repairs.
Do your research beforehand and find affordable equipment with a reputation for lasting a long time. Aim for mid-range or higher quality lawn mowers and other machinery and ensure you perform proper maintenance on everything in your garage to keep it in prime operating condition.
Caring for your business tools is not only a good investment, but it’s also a crucial part of managing a successful lawn care business. After all, having machinery out of commission costs you in the form of lost time on the job.
After purchasing all of the equipment you will need for the upcoming season, be sure to factor the investment into overhead costs to set your pricing.
Permits for a Lawn Care Business
Before you start accepting clients and performing lawn care work, you need to plan your business goals and determine what types of permits you need. Your lawn care business plan should outline which permits and licenses you need to operate legally and safely.
In most states, you need a business license for a lawn care company, which requires a fee. If you file your business license as a limited liability corporation (LLC) or partnership, you also need an Employer Identification Number (EIN) to hire employees.
State licensing requirements vary, so it’s crucial to understand your state’s laws before going into business. Cities and counties may also have their own requirements, including fee payment based on how much money your company earns per year. Typically, these fees are part of cities’ and counties’ occupational license rules.
To find out whether you need an occupational license and to figure out how much you might owe the city, contact your city or county administration for information.
Also, consider business liability and property insurance for your lawn care company. Insurance covers not only you and your employees if you sustain an injury while on the job, but it also protects your clients should you damage their property.
Most locales require current insurance as part of your business operation, so look into this requirement before committing to caring for clients’ lawns and gardens.
How to Market Your Lawn Care Business (Online and Offline)
In pre-technology days, finding lawn care clients was simple: you only had to knock on doors. But learning how to get customers for a lawn care business in modern times is more challenging. Most people dislike door-to-door solicitation, but it can definitely work for new businesses just starting out. Just make sure you (or your door-to-door sales reps or technicians) are as polite as can be. Pushy sales practices can lead to negative reviews of your business down the road.
Getting Your First Lawn Care Customers
To reach the most clients possible, you should market both on and offline. Consider creating a website, social media pages, or review service listings for your business to ensure clients can find you. You can use social media marketing and email to reach out to potential clients, too. Learn how to kickstart a successful social media strategy for your lawn care business here.
Offline marketing for lawn care businesses can include posting signage or printing fliers, passing out pamphlets (either door-to-door in neighborhoods or other legally permissible locations), and using advertising and signs on your vehicle to spread the word.
If you have room in your budget for marketing, you may want to consider hiring marketing experts to oversee your online brand promotion. Professional marketers can create advertising campaigns, address your target audience, and secure clients with automated processes and tools.
Word of mouth is also a huge help with marketing for your lawn care business. Encouraging friends and family to spread the word about your business may be the best (and least expensive) way to find potential clients and keep your business operating smoothly.
How to Hire Lawn Care Employees
One of the most important parts of learning how to run a successful lawn care business involves understanding how to hire lawn care employees. Because your team of employees works on clients’ property and around their valuables, it’s important to hire trustworthy employees who have your organization’s (and your clients’) best interests at heart.
Consider running a thorough background check on applicants to your organization to ensure the safety of your clients and your other employees. Consult each applicant’s references to get a better idea of what type of worker they are.
Also decide what type of qualifications to require of your prospective employees. Although most lawn care businesses handle the basics such as mowing lawns, weed removal, and cleaning up the debris afterwards, your company may handle other more complex landscaping tasks.
Hiring someone with a background in landscaping, gardening or horticulture, or even bricklaying can be a benefit to your business as you grow and branch out into more than just mowing lawns. Whatever your future business plans, keep those in mind while interviewing and hiring job applicants.
Determining Your Target Clientele
Your target clientele may have large lawns in need of taming, but apart from that, you need to outline who your ideal client is and how to serve them best. The ideal client for your business may live within a certain geographical area or a set radius from your headquarters. A perfect client may have acreage which requires routine maintenance, ensuring you recurring work throughout the season.
Think about what types of clients you want to work for, including which jobs are most lucrative, and figure out how best to approach those clients and secure long-term working relationships.
Addressing Client Invoicing and Scheduling
In today’s connected world, it’s easy enough to carry a tablet or other device along to the job site. But managing client communication, invoicing, and employee scheduling can be time-consuming and frustrating. Lawn and landscape software solutions address the unique needs of lawn care businesses while streamlining the processes that make your business profitable and successful.