Don’t underestimate the humble lawn care business.
If you’ve ever lived in a household with a garden, you’ll know that lawn care can be a neglected and troublesome chore.
If you’re looking for a relatively easy and inexpensive business to start, running your own lawn care company could be just the thing for you.
We’ll talk you through all the steps you need to take in order to become your own boss and put your right foot forward in the world of landscaping services.
1. Choose the right equipment and tools
The first thing you need to know about how to start a lawn care business is that it is all about the tools and kit you’ll need.
Some of the most common tools that most lawn care businesses use include:
- Lawnmower. This one’s pretty straightforward – if you offer lawn care services, you will need to have a lawnmower at your disposal.
- Trimmers. From hedge trimming to keeping the areas around the flower beds clear, you’ll probably want to invest in a few trimmers.
- Blowers. Clean those sidewalks fast with a leaf blower and run an excellent landscaping business.
- A spreader and a sprayer. These tools will save you time and make it much easier to apply fertilizer, insecticides, and pesticides on the ground.
- Vehicle(s). Let’s be real – you’re not going to fit a lawnmower in a Smart car.
- Equipment trailer. Unless you have a big truck or a van, a trailer will be essential for transporting heavy equipment around town.
- Buckets and lawn bags. You probably don’t want to dump all the gardening waste on the freshly mowed lawn. Opt for heavy-duty plastic buckets and bags for maximum hardiness.
- Hand tools. Think rakes, shovels, pruners, and other small tools for tasks that require attention to detail.
- Safety equipment. Sure, you’ll need to get insurance coverage, but chances are that your insurance provider will require you to wear personal safety equipment, like eye and ear protection, gloves, long-sleeved shirts, and steel-toed work boots.
But, before you run to your local garden center and start buying equipment you should stop and think about the direction of your lawn care business.
If you’re trying to start your business with very little or no budget, you might not need to invest in every tool under the sun.
Instead, you can start small and grow your service selection bigger over time by investing in more advanced equipment.
2. Take care of insurance and other paperwork
If you want to start a lawn care business properly, you should take the time to do all of the paperwork.
If you want to offer an excellent lawn care service like a real professional, you have to make sure you’ve got the right business insurance to protect yourself, your business, and your customers.
From accidental damage to your customer’s property to broken down (or worse, stolen) lawn mowers, you want to cover your lawn business with business insurance.
As most business insurances are tailored to your company’s specific needs, you’re not going to find a product titled ‘lawn care insurance’. Instead, consider setting up a call with an insurance broker to discuss the different policies available. Most commonly, you’ll be offered general liability insurance that’s tailored to your needs.
In order to get the most out of your insurance, make sure you’re thinking about the different risks your business and your potential employees could face. Think about all the things that could go wrong: your truck could get hit, equipment stolen, or there could be accidental property damage.
The better you can assess potential risks, the better coverage your insurance policy will have, meaning that you’re not risking your personal finances if something goes wrong.
You most likely also need to create a legal entity for your company and apply for a local business license – talk to your local governmental small business administration to get the full picture of all the paperwork you’ll need to set up your company properly.
We also recommend taking the time to set up a working relationship with a professional accountant. They will be able to help you keep your personal assets safe while making the most out of potential business tax deductions and such.
Pro tip – If you want to hire employees down the line, you most likely also need to have specific employee insurance as well.
3. Set up pricing
Next, you need to think about how much money you’re going to be charging for various landscaping jobs.
A good place to start is to check the average prices in your local area by other lawn care professionals and base yours on the market average.
You want to make sure your profit margins are high enough so that you’re covering things like:
- Offline and online marketing costs
- Gas and fuel
- Employee wages
- The cost of your business license and other startup costs
While you might not be sure how much revenue you’ll be able to bring in off the bat, it’s good to try to come up with a rough estimate of how much you hope to be earning in a given month or quarter.
It’s also worthwhile to think about additional services you could offer, based on your skills. Being able to offer other gardening services on top of just lawn care can help you score repeat customers and schedule jobs across the seasons.
You could also think about offering ongoing monthly service packages, like bi-weekly or monthly lawn mowing during the summer months, raking, and other fall maintenance later in the year.
This way, you can keep the unit prices lower but have a steady stream of monthly income – and more dedicated and committed customers.
Remember to also factor in taxes relevant to your area – depending on where you are in the world, you might be required to include or at least inform the customer about the amount of sales tax you’re obligated to charge them.
4. Build your customer base
So, you’ve filled out all the necessary paperwork at your local city hall or at another federal government office, set up your very own limited liability company or sole proprietorship, and have successfully got your hands on a business license and insurance.
Now, it’s time to find clients for your small business.
One trusted route of getting new customers revolves around local advertising.
Print out flyers to local notice boards and shop windows and hand out leaflets and business cards to potential clients in your area.
Think of excellent customer service as your priority: answer email queries, incoming phone calls, and messages online, and try to always understand your customer’s needs.
It’s worth setting up a social media presence and putting your business name and contact information quite literally on Google Maps. You’ll be able to reach many clients who might never pay attention to what’s written on the local supermarket’s notice board.
On top of saving money running paid ad campaigns online (compared to traditional print ads), you’ll also be able to collect valuable insights into consumer behavior and buying trends overall.
Plus, you can survey existing customers and social media followers to improve your business services at the same time.
5. Create your own lawn care business website with Zyro
On top of building a local presence in your area, you shouldn’t underestimate the power of having a website for your lawn care company.
Having a website for your brand will bring your business to another level: it’ll make you look professional, and most importantly, a website will help you reach new clients.
Not only can you keep all relevant information about your lawn care business in one place when you have a website, but you can also leverage online marketing strategies that can save you considerable time, effort, and money compared to traditional advertising avenues.
And thankfully, in this day and age, it’s possible to build a website from scratch without having to know a single line of code. With a website builder like Zyro, all you need to do is pick a designer-made website template that suits your business, customize the layout and content to reflect your company, and you’re done.
For a lawn care business, Zyro boasts plenty of templates that are all about the service industry. But thanks to the intuitive drag-and-drop builder, it’s really easy to change anything and everything in a ready-made template from fonts and colors to page elements, sections, and the rest.
Okay, but what about money? Surely you’re required to part with a lot of money upfront, right?
Wrong – Zyro is one of the most affordable players around, you’re really not looking at spending more than $15-$25 on your website on average each month. That’s considerably less compared to how much it could cost you to have a website.
6. Build a brand and market your lawn care company
Another important aspect many small businesses neglect is branding and marketing.
Too often, business owners pay attention to the equipment, accounting software, and other factors that are important when you’re in the process of setting up your first own business.
But what will you do when nobody knows about your great business and you’re failing to attract more customers and grow?
Start by thinking about a catchy business name, and create a logo and a slogan for your lawn care business. If you’re short on time or haven’t really done graphic design in the past, there are plenty of free AI-powered tools for making logos and other marketing collateral.
The key to building a strong brand is to not overcomplicate and overthink things. For example, what’s the first color that comes to mind when you think of lawn care? Probably green.
Especially if you’re planning on specializing in something else than just mowing lawns, you might want to work your niche or unique selling point (USP for short) into your branding and design.
For example, if you’re one of the only lawn care business partners in the area that manages bigger landscaping projects, it makes the most sense to indicate this in your business name and slogan.
On the other hand, if you specialize in small, detailed trimming services, don’t base the branding of your business cards around a lawn mower if you hardly ever operate one.
7. Scale and grow your lawn care business
Well done, you’ve done it – starting a lawn care business takes dedication and planning.
Especially if you have employees, you want to make sure that you’re able to remain a stable employee for the foreseeable future, right?
If you’ve started with basic equipment and services, think about what you need to specialize in a particular lawn care niche.
Do you need to invest in sturdier equipment? Or maybe you could find staff with a more specialized skill set?
Whatever it may be, remember to keep your eye on the bigger picture and think strategically. With so many businesses failing in their first year, make sure you’re planning ahead.
Identify certain milestones and goals you want to reach, and think about what you need to do to get there.
Let’s say you want to reach $100,000 in revenue in the same year you start a lawn care business.
Depending on how many employees you have and how much you invested in your equipment, you can estimate how much you’ll be able to earn in a given month based on the number of clients or ongoing projects.
This way, you can identify how many new clients you should have every month in order to reach your desired annual revenue.
Extra tips to make your lawn care business successful
While starting a lawn care business does require some startup costs (you need the basic lawn care equipment, like a lawn mower, after all), everyone who has a garden is a potential customer.
Make the most of your new business assets and get ahead with these business tips.
Be professional at all times
Since you will be operating a very local business, people will be recommending your services to others by word of mouth or online.
It’s important to be kind, friendly, and professional at all times, especially if you’re serving a smaller community – after all, word travels fast.
Streamline your bookings
Another way to ease your workload is to create a booking system on your website.
By allowing your customers to reserve a lawn care slot that works best for them you save a lot of time going back and forth with customers confirming details.
Plus, you’ll be less likely to double-book yourself by automating the booking process and avoiding human error.
Work smarter, not harder
Starting a lawn care business is going to require you to put in the hours in the beginning while you’re still setting things up.
Since there are only 24 hours in a day, and believe it or not, you too need to sleep, eat and rest at times, it’s wise to look for ways to simplify and automate your business processes.
Many digital marketing campaigns, customer relationship management software, and booking systems can be easily set up and automated, leaving enough time for you to enjoy the fruits of your labor.
Collect reviews and testimonials
Customer recommendations go a long way when you’re looking to convince new customers to choose your services over your competitors.
Plus, an honestly written customer review can also be used for informational purposes: take the negatives, as well as the positives, and learn from them.
Testimonials are also strong social proof for your website and marketing materials. Don’t assume potential customers want to take just your word for your awesomeness – instead, let them hear from other buyers how good a job your business does.
Review your prices periodically
When you start a lawn care business, it’s easy to take the time to think your pricing strategy through – after all, you don’t have much work coming in during the planning and set-up phase.
But you should make time to periodically review and update your prices to reflect the market and your costs overall.
As you gain experience and fine-tune your skill set, you can also justify raising your prices by being able to offer better service than before. Maybe you’re able to finish jobs faster or operate more complex machinery.
Start the next successful lawn care business today
If you’ve ever wondered to yourself how to start a lawn care business, by now you should understand that while it requires some leg work to get your business up and running, it’s a viable start-up business for any business structure.
So whether you’re an aspiring sole proprietorship or look at ways to take the world of lawn care business by storm, we hope that you’re now equipped with the knowledge of how to get started.