Obtaining City Or County Licenses
Some cities or counties require businesses, including lawn care, to obtain an occupational license. Occupational licenses are typically based on gross receipts. For instance, in Fairfax County, Virginia, if you make more than $10,001 taking care of peoples yards, you must pay a flat fee of $30. If you make anywhere from $50,001 to $100,000, the fee goes up to $50. Check with your local city administrators, town hall or county administrative office to ask if you need an occupational license and if so, where to get an application.
The Size Of Your Business
Insurance costs for a lawn care business are dependent upon the size of the business. For instance, if your business falls under a small-sized firm , a small lawn care business insurance policy will work for you. These companies only compensate you according to the total value of your business. Mostly, these companies work with the utmost good faith policy. They only need their clients to uphold a mutual working relationship.
Cost Of Starting A Lawn Care Business
7 min read
Starting a lawn care business can be a rewarding, lucrative profession if you can get it off the ground. But as the saying goes, you typically do need to spend some money in order to make money.
How much money do I need to start a lawn care company? The cost of starting a lawn care business can be as low as $500, but a successful business requires some investing for equipment, marketing and sometimes hiring additional staff. You can start your business as a solo endeavor where you do all the work yourself, or you can hire part-time, full-time or on-demand labor.
Most lawn care businesses typically range from $5,000 – $8,000 in order to get started .
When planning your business, you may want to consider the following types of cost:
- Business structure
- How to impress potential clients without a lot of cash
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Get The Right Lawn Care Tools And Equipment
Its tempting, but dont buy the most expensive lawn care equipment right off the bat.
Expert Jason Creel explains, We need equipment to have success in the lawn care business. People have different budgets and theres a happy medium when it comes to buying equipment.
Im not going to say you should get the cheapest equipment, says Creel. Im not going to buy a homeowner-grade push mower from the big box store to get started. Thats going to slow down production.
At the same time, you dont necessarily have to go finance the top-of-the-line mower and put that financial burden on your company.
Jason Creel, Lawn Care Life
You can get a used commercial-grade mower for thousands of dollars less than a new one.
To give you a ballpark price range, walk-behind lawn mowers usually cost around $150 to $200, while lawn tractors can be over $4,000.
The key to choosing equipment is to stay within your means. Starting off with cheaper equipment doesnt mean youll be stuck with that equipment forever.
If you work hard and market strategically, its possible to grow your business with just a few inexpensive tools.
Once money starts pouring in, you can start thinking about that $15,000 mower.
Your Landscaping Vehicles And Their Use Determine Commercial Auto Costs
Among landscaping businesses that purchase commercial auto insurance with Insureon, 40% pay less than $1,500 per year and 41% pay between $1,500 and $3,000 per year.
Landscape designers pay a median premium of $245 per month, or $2,935 annually. In contrast, the median cost for irrigation businesses is $155 per month, or $1,855 annually.
The cost depends on the type and number of company vehicles, their use, employees’ driving records, and your claims history.
Learn how coverage limits and other factors affect the cost of this policy on Insureon’s commercial auto insurance cost analysis page.
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Get Your First Lawn Care Customers
The good news: You can book a lawn care job with as little as one inexpensive mower.
The great news: That single job you booked can turn into steady, ongoing income for months.
Since lawn maintenance is an ongoing job, youll get recurring revenuea continuous stream of paymentsfrom every new customer. If you keep your customers happy, youre guaranteed a predictable, steady source of revenue.
Still, getting your first customer can be a big hurdle. Many lawn care entrepreneurs start by knocking on their neighbors doors and leaving mowing business flyers behind.
Experiment with other low-cost advertising methods for your lawn care business. Then you can start figuring out which ones are bringing in the best clients at the lowest cost.
Some low-cost ideas to start with can include:
- Sending out postcards or flyers
- Setting up sandwich boards
Are My Tools And Equipment Covered
Thimbles Business Equipment Protection covers accidental damage, loss, and theft to landscaping equipment you own, rent or borrow, up to a $5,000 coverage limit. Best of all, any equipment less than $2,500 is covered with our blanket coverage. Typically, you need to list out each item you want covered in your policy. We know youve got other things to focus on , instead of updating your policy with new equipment.
As your landscaping business grows, you may need to lease or purchase a building for office space or storing your equipment. If so, you will likely also need commercial property insurance. This first-party coverage protects the building structure that you own, the area around it, and any equipment or business property inside and within 100 feet of the structure.
Although similar to Business Equipment Protection, commercial property insurance protects business equipment within or near your building, such as computers and printers. In comparison, Business Equipment Protection protects any equipment and tools you take with you to job sites.
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How To Save: Buy Used Or In A Bundle
Our research has found that used lawn care equipment, or commercial equipment bundles from independent equipment dealers, can save you thousands of dollars as you start your business. Full packages including trailers, mowers, blowers, and trimmers are the most cost-effective way to start a commercial lawn care business.
Create Your Business Plan
Suppose youre ready to transform your nebulous idea for a lawn care business into a glorious reality. In that case, youre going to need a business plan.
Youll use your plan as a detailed outline to get you where you are right now to where you want to be. Its a must for all business owners who want their company to thrive.
Having a business plan means youll accomplish your entrepreneurial objectives sooner rather than later. Itll help organize every detail of getting your business off the ground, exponentially increasing the chances that your lawn care business will be a smashing success.
If you dont need a bank loan, your business plan can be short, sweet, and to the point.
Your lawn care business plan should accommodate your needs, and not the other way around.
Have it be a reflection of you in all your wonderful uniqueness.
According to the Small Business Administration website, there are two categories of business plans:
- Lean startup
Traditional business plans are what most entrepreneurs use, and they require a ton of detail and work. They can get so convoluted and complicated, that they can be dozens of pages long.
Lean startup business plans are far less structured because they focus like a laser-guided missile on only the most essential facts.
They can be completed in sixty minutes or less, and are usually no longer than a single page. Heres an example of one.
Here are some of the sections you might want to include:
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A Worker Sustains A Serious Injury On The Job
Itâs a grim statistic, but more than 80,000 people visit the ER every year due to lawn mower injuries. You or your employees could be among those injured, whether itâs a minor scrape or a serious mower rollover on a hilly lot. Workers compensation covers employeesâ medical bills and lost work time if they do sustain an injury while at work.
Ready to learn more about your lawn care business insurance options? â
Get your commercial insurance quote from CoverHound today!
Insurance And Worker’s Compensation
If something goes wrong while youre providing lawn care services, having the proper insurance in place takes lots of the worry away. Liability insurance covers you and your employees from accidents in which someone gets injured. Ask your insurance agent for a package deal that includes general business liability and property coverage for any damage done to your clients lawn or home. You also need truck insurance to protect the vehicle you use for transporting lawn care equipment if you drive to your customers homes. If you hire employees, most states require you to obtain workers’ compensation insurance, too.
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What Are Some Of The Risks For Lawn Care Businesses
Just like other industries, lawn care companies are not without risks and potential liabilities. Below are some of the unique risks applicable for lawn care businesses.
Commercial Auto Insurance
- Your personal auto policy will not cover an incident involving your commercial vehicle.
- If youre involved in an accident while doing business, Commercial Auto will provide coverage.
- Operating your lawnmower and accidentally damaging someones home will mean expenses to repair the damaged property.
- If one of your customers is injured or property is damaged by your equipment, General Liability will provide coverage.
- One of your employees accidentally injured his leg while cutting grass, this policy will help pay for medical and rehabilitation expenses.
- It also protects you from negligence lawsuits due to work-related injuries.
- If your store is damaged by fire, Property Insurance helps recover damages and losses.
- After a storm your equipment and tools were damaged, this policy may also provide coverage to replace them.
Other Insurance Coverage Small Business Owners Should Consider
Other supplements to a comprehensive landscaping insurance policy can include:
- Inland Marine Insurance: Landscaping tools and equipment can be expensiveyou want to make sure it’s protected while you’re traveling to and from clients. Inland marine coverage protects tools and equipment that aren’t permanently attached to your vehicle and while stored at a customer’s home or job site.
- Commercial Umbrella Insurance: If the liability policies you obtain aren’t sufficient, sometimes you can purchase affordable umbrella coverage to increase your policy limits.
- Herbicide & Pesticide Application Coverage: If a customer claims they’ve become ill after being exposed to pesticides or herbicides that you’ve applied on their property, this coverage will protect your business.
The key to maximizing coverage coupled with affordability is working with your licensed insurance agent every step of the way in creating your lawn care insurance package.
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Lawn Mower Theft Insurance
One of the more common forms of lawn mower insurance is theft coverage, which kicks in if your lawn mowing equipment ends up getting stolen. While lawn equipment insurance may be worth it for smaller lawn mowers as it is more affordable, lawn mower theft insurance for larger businesses may cost multiple thousands of dollars a year, making them relatively expensive. However, since your lawn equipment IS your business, sometimes you have no other option but to insure it, just in case it gets stolen or just damaged. This may save you the costs of buying new equipment or repair in such occasions, which may become an expensive business on its own.
Lawn equipment insurance cost may range from $13 a month to several hundreds of dollars per month, for your consideration. Just be sure to compare quotes and pick the best offer from a reliable insurer.
How To Choose A Business Insurance Provider
On the surface, a lot of business insurance companies may look the same. But when its all said and done, even the most subtle differences might cost you a fortune. Its why weve put together this guide on how to choose a business insurance provider. From price, to coverage, and to customer service, we are…
On the surface, a lot of business insurance companies may lo…
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License And Permit Bonds
A bond provides a financial guarantee that you will comply with your states laws and the terms of any contracts you sign.
Its worth noting that some carriers will allow you to name additional insured parties on your policy at no extra cost. For example, this is useful if your lawn care business works for a homeowners association that could be held liable because of alleged negligence on your part.
Cost Of General Liability Insurance
The average lawn care company in America spends between $400-$1,500 per year for $1 million in general liability coverage.
Check out the chart below for a snapshot of average general liability insurance expenditure across a variety of industries:
Several factors will determine the price of your policy. These include your:
- Per-occurrence limit
- General aggregate limit
You may be able to acquire general liability insurance at a discounted rate by purchasing it as part of a business owners policy rather than as a standalone policy. A BOP is a more comprehensive solution that includes multiple forms of coverage, such as business interruption and property insurance.
Your Business Needs Insurance
Find out which policies your business needs and how much it will cost by getting a free quote today.
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Either Stay Small Or Scale Up The Right Way
Russell keeps his service area small by design.
Most million-dollar companies only have a 10 to 14% margin because they have a lot of overhead. However, he says that companies who do less than $2,000,000 worth of business annually have a 50% to 60% profit margin.
If youre a small company and your profit margins are less than 50 to 60%, youre doing something wrong.
Thats why he doesnt want to get too big.
Although there are advantages to staying small, you can scale up if you do it right. No matter how big you get, stay lean. Heres a video weve done on that topic:
As you grow your business, you might have the desire to branch out into more directions. Thats what Russell is doing right now.
He has big ambitions, and he has plans to give his company a makeover:
You might start out with a broom and a single push mower. But, if you do fantastic work and continue to rake in the cash, theres no telling how high you can fly.
The skys the limit!
Types Of Insurance Coverage Your Lawn Care Business Needs
On a final note, read the entire policy before signing it. You want to make sure youre getting the coverage you agreed to with your agent.
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What Kind Of Services Should I Offer
Most lawn care businesses have approximately 25 customers they see each week and offers services like these:
- Adding mulch
And of course, these old standbys:
- Fertilizer application
As you can see, theres plenty of landscaping services you can offer. Just remember to always provide an superior customer service experience for everyone you do business with.
Workers Comp Insurance For A Lawn Care Business
Workers compensation insurance is required by almost all state laws, except Texas, when you have employees, even just one and part-time. This coverage protects you if your employees are injured or fall ill while working. Even if you dont have employees, you should consider having this coverage as a sole proprietor. Learn more at the best workers comp insurance companies and the cheapest workers comp insurance companies.
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How Do I Make Sure That My Insurance Policy Has Everything I Need
As with any business contract, carefully read your insurance policy before you sign it.
You can ask your agent for clarification about any terms that you dont understand. If your client requires a certain type of coverage in order to secure a job, your agent can also help make sure that you have everything you need to meet those requirements.
Knowing exactly what your lawn care insurance does and does not cover will help you manage risks and better plan for emergencies down the road.