What Else Do They Need To Know
Like any legally-binding documents, its vital to clarify any ambiguities in your lawn care contract. This varies, but can be anything from special provisions to modifications or amendments to whos responsible for certain damages to causes of termination to insurance coverage.
Looking for more resources? Check out the Lawn Care Contract Template we put together.
How To Write A Lawn Care Business Plan
A lot of people want to start a lawn care business, but very few understand the groundwork thats actually needed to get fully operational. Of course, you dont need to write out a business plan but doing so can help guide your business and uncover any inefficiencies or lapses in judgement before its too late.
Get Your Business License
While you dont need special industry licenses to start a landscaping company, most states require a business license. Some cities and counties have their own separate licenses.
Getting a landscaping business license is usually a simple process. But you could be turned down if you have a criminal record, fail to pay taxes, violate zoning laws, or fill out the paperwork incorrectly.
Contact your county clerks office to learn which licenses you need and any potential restrictions.
If you plan on transporting plants or other greenery across state lines for your landscaping business, you may need a federal license or permit. If your business may have customers in multiple states, check with the U.S. Department of Agriculture about any specific requirements.
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Step : Create Your Business Website
After defining your brand and creating your logo the next step is to create a website for your business.
While creating a website is an essential step, some may fear that its out of their reach because they dont have any website-building experience. While this may have been a reasonable fear back in 2015, web technology has seen huge advancements in the past few years that makes the lives of small business owners much simpler.
Here are the main reasons why you shouldnt delay building your website:
- All legitimate businesses have websites – full stop. The size or industry of your business does not matter when it comes to getting your business online.
- Social media accounts like Facebook pages or LinkedIn business profiles are not a replacement for a business website that you own.
- Website builder tools like the GoDaddy Website Builder have made creating a basic website extremely simple. You dont need to hire a web developer or designer to create a website that you can be proud of.
Using our website building guides, the process will be simple and painless and shouldnt take you any longer than 2-3 hours to complete.
Consider Specialising In A Specific Landscaping Service
The landscape and gardening sphere contains a lot of specialisations. While it can be tempting for startup landscape businesses to specialise in everything, biting off more than what they can chew can lead to disastrous results if the business fails to meet customer expectations
For new businesses, it is recommended to start with the basic landscaping services. This includes plant moving, fertilising, lawn mowing, garden cleanup, leaf and dirt removal, seeding and spring/fall cleaning. Once the business gains enough funding, the business can hire a landscape contractor and/or a gardener to extend its services to other specialised fields, depending on the needs outlined by the business target market. Regardless of the number of specialisations provided by the business, its important to maintain the business quality of service.
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Step : Obtain Necessary Permits And Licenses
Failure to acquire necessary permits and licenses can result in hefty fines, or even cause your business to be shut down.
State & Local Business Licensing Requirements
In most states, it is necessary to obtain a Lawn Service license. Learn more about licensing requirements in your state by visiting SBAs reference to state licenses and permits.
Most businesses are required to collect sales tax on the goods or services they provide. To learn more about how sales tax will affect your business, read our article, Sales Tax for Small Businesses.
In addition, certain local licensing or regulatory requirements may apply. For more information about local licenses and permits:
- Check with your town, city or county clerks office
- Get assistance from one of the local associations listed in US Small Business Associations directory of local business resources.
Lawn care businesses should require clients to sign a services agreement before starting a new project. This agreement should clarify client expectations and minimize risk of legal disputes by setting out payment terms and conditions. Here is an example service agreement.
Recommended: Rocket Lawyer makes it easy to create a professional service agreement for your lawn care business when you sign up for their premium membership. For $39.95 per month, members receive access to hundreds of legal agreements and on call attorneys to get complimentary legal advice.
Market Your Small Business
Now the fun part: landing your first landscaping clients!
To attract potential clients, youll need to market your new business and get it in front of your target audience. There are quite a few ways to market your business both online and offline.
Here are some of the best marketing strategies for your new, small business:
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Heres All That Theres To Know About Starting A Thriving Lawn Care Business
If you grew up like many American kids, you probably spent your childhood doing a few odd jobs like running your own lemonade stand, selling Girl Scout cookies, or mowing lawnsone of Americas most iconic summertime activities.
Mowing the neighbors lawns, in particular, is something that many Americans do during their dog days of high school or college break to make a quick buck.
And if you were one of them, lawn mowing probably gave you your first taste of a paycheck or perhaps sowed the first ever seed of entrepreneurship in you.
While the job of manicuring grass has a low barrier to entry, the economics around Americas lawn care industry is no joke.
Look at the research data, for instance. By the end of 2020, experts project that the lawn care industry in the US will generate a total of $97.8 billionwith an average spend of $503 per household on lawn care and gardening activities.
Now thats some serious green to pour so much money on.
On average, you can gross about $80,000 a year in revenue by running a successful lawn care business.
Take a look at this industry statistics from 2018 to understand the market potential of a lawn care business in the US:
But spending your summer weekends trimming grass is one thingturning it into a profitable business is another thing altogether.
And since the hurdles to enter the lawn care business is pretty low, its also one of the most competitive small businesses out there.
Build Your Brand Identity
Building your brand is the fun part of ironing out how to distinguish yourself and communicate your services and values consistently.
You can start building your brand identity by establishing these brand assets:
- Your logo
- Shapes and images
- Brand Guidelines
Once you have a solid brand identity, youll be able to seamlessly incorporate your brand into your flyers, posters, social media posts, and marketing materials. Having consistent visuals helps build trust with customers and establishes you as a legitimate small business and brand.
Check out these brand guidelines for inspiration:
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Find Clients & Advertise
To gain customers, you could go the old-fashioned way and hand out flyers. To entice new customers, you could run a Facebook or Instagram ad which targets your specific audience. In addition, it attracts people in your local area. Remember that having excellent customer service could bring you more customers. If you offer good customer service, those clients may refer you.
Building A Stable Customer Base
First, you need to know who your ideal customers are. Identifying the right customer base is critical for all aspects of growing your business such as pricing, contracts, services, and marketing.
Good lawns symbolize the pride of home ownership in America. In that sense, the ideal set of customers for lawn care businesses are:
- Busy homeowners
- Homeowners looking to sell their property
- Elderly homeowners
- Seasonal homeowners or snowbirds
Most American households mow their own lawns or take care of their gardening needs. But the above demography either dont have the time or the resources to look after their lawns despite their willingness to keep it pruned.
For them, its easier to pay local lawn care professionals to help them manicure their lawns and upkeep their gardens instead of doing it themselves.
Apart from the demography of private households mentioned above, theres another group of customers who need lawn care services on a regular basis:
- Real estate companies who have multiple properties to manage
- Rental property agencies or condominium associations
- Residential and commercial properties
- Schools, colleges, and estate properties
- Local businesses and banks
These business establishments either have their own landscape employees or they hire lawn care experts on a regular basis. However, there is always a steady stream of demand for lawn care professionals who can offer better services at a competitive price.
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Tips For Starting A Lawn Mowing Business
Starting a lawn mowing business might seem tedious for the average entrepreneur but its actually a reasonable business venture that reaps a good amount of profit. Read on as My Business discusses some lawn care business tips for interested individuals.
The key to having a successful landscaping business is treating the business as a business and not just a mere hobby.
Consider the following factors before going out there and gathering business clients:
- Develop a landscaping business plan
- Take professional landscaping/gardening courses
- Consider specialising in a specific landscaping service
- Procure all the necessary equipment
- Create a business marketing strategy
Start And Grow Your Small Business
Now you have the building blocks for starting your own company. While these steps will have you headed in the right direction, part of the joy is in the journey. Dont be afraid to follow your own passions and deviate from the beaten path.
Overall, the success of your new lawn care business depends on you delivering high-quality work to your clients. Keep your clients happy with amazing landscape designs and reliable maintenance services, and theyre likely to work with you for years to come.
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See If You Need To Be Licensed
Each state has its own criteria for whether you need to obtain a license for your lawn business.
To make it more complicated, you might need local licenses as well. So, you might have to take a trip to city hall and contact your states Secretary of States office to get the licenses you need.
Some municipalities require businesses to also get an occupational license, which is usually based on how much revenue you generate in a given year.
For example, in Fairfax County, Virginia, if you make more than $10,000 youll have to pay a flat fee of thirty bucks for your occupational license. If you earn anywhere from $50,000 to $100,000, the amount you pay goes up to fifty dollars.
You can search the Small Business Administrations website to determine the requirements in your state.
Fertilizer Applicator Certification
If youre fertilizing your clients lawns, you might need a fertilizer applicator certification.
The Environmental Protection Agency sets the guidelines for herbicide and pesticide applicators. However, every state sets its own regulations. Some states require that you complete one or all these things to get a lawn care applicator certification:
- Passing a written exam
- Passing a performance-based exam
- Using other standards approved by the EPA
You can find out what the policies are for your state by checking out its Department of Agricultural Resources website.
Name Your Lawn Care Business
A good business name is short, crisp, and unique. It should give people a clear idea about the services you provide and help you stand out from your competitors. Many lawn care businesses include the term, lawn care, in their business name to help customers find them.
When naming your lawn care business, you should also make sure that the name is available as a domain and has not been trademarked by someone else.
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How To Price Your Services
Lawn care is a highly competitive industry. You shouldnt price your services at a higher rate than your competitionat least not until you are a well-known brand in the local market.
To build a stable customer base, you have to find the sweet spot between what your competition is charging and how much you should make to run on profit.
Start out by calling a handful of top-ranking lawn care companies in your locality to know their pricing. Remember that their quotes will be based on how big a property is, so be ready to give them specific details of the properties that you are looking to serve.
Once you get an aggregate of your competitors pricing, you can match their rates when you offer price quotes to your customers.
Another way to determine your pricing is by calculating the total money you are spending to run your businessequipment buying, staff payroll, monthly operational costs, etc.and put a mark-up based on that.
A third way to set your pricing is by determining your yearly income goal and work backwards to achieve it. For instance, if you want to make $50,000 a year from your lawn care business, heres how your targets should look:
- Per month target: $50,000/12 months = $4,166.66 per month
- Per week target: $50,000/54 weeks = $925.92 per week
- Per day target: $50,000/365 days = $136.98 per day
Although you wont work seven days a week or throughout the entire year, its important to break this math down in order to determine the pricing.
How To Start A Lawn Business
This article was co-authored by Jeremy Yamaguchi. Jeremy Yamaguchi is a Lawn Care Specialist and the Founder/CEO of Lawn Love, a digital marketplace for lawn care and gardening services. Jeremy provides instant satellite quotes and can coordinate service from a smartphone or web browser. The company has raised funding from notable investors like Y Combinator, Joe Montana, Alexis Ohanian, Barbara Corcoran and others.There are 22 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been viewed 144,649 times.
A lawn service can be a great source of extra income or even your primary income. Many homeowners don’t have the time or energy to do lawn maintenance, which makes your service valuable. However, starting your business does take some time and planning.
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Starting A Landscaping Business: The Economics
Most lawn care operators make between $30 and $50 per hour. If youre interested in going further if you feel like you have the work ethic, dedication, people skills and willingness to learn little is stopping you from starting your own landscaping business.
Clayton went on to sell his business in 2013, in the largest acquisition in the lawn care industry in a decade, before starting GreenPal. And remember: He got started on his own, with just a push mower to his name. Success isnt guaranteed to everybody who gets into landscaping, but its a field that shows no sign of disappearing anytime soon. And theres no time like the present to capitalize on peoples love of a well-manicured lawn.
This article originally appeared on JustBusiness, a subsidiary of NerdWallet.
About the author:Eric is a former insurance writer at NerdWallet.Read more
How To Start A Landscaping Business In 5 Steps
Considering the range and depth of landscaping from residential to commercial, maintenance to removal and designing to tree care the economics of starting your own landscaping business are remarkably simple. It can be as easy as renting a lawnmower and knocking on doors.
My previous company was a lawn care business that I grew from myself and a push mower to over 125 employees, says Bryan Clayton, the founder of GreenPal, an online lawn care ordering service that is a bit like the Uber of landscaping.
Most customers have to deal with shoddy and unprofessional competitors, says Clayton. Creating a successful landscaping business is almost easy if you simply answer the phone when your customer calls, return their voicemails promptly, and do the work that you agree to with your clientele.
Sounds simple enough, right? But what else can a landscaping business owner do to move beyond the basics? Here are some tricks of the trade as you start your landscaping business.
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Addressing Client Invoicing And Scheduling
In todays connected world, its 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.
Get The Right Tools And Equipment
We just talked about how important it is to protect your tools and equipment with the right business insurance coverage.
Now lets chat about what tools and equipment youll actually need to start your lawn care business. Keep in mind that this isnt a definitive list rather, its meant to help give you an idea of what you absolutely need right out the gate as a landscape contractor:
A mower and edger
Youll use your mower every day so do yourself a favor and start with a self-propelled one instead of a basic push mower. You can get a well-made entry-level model for around $400.
If you want to get a little fancier, look into a zero-turn deck mower, starting at around $3,000. Thats a major purchase, so unless youre doing big lawns right off the bat, you might want to hold off.
And dont forget an edger to make your lawns look really sharp. Expect to spend around $160 for a high-quality model.
With string trimmers, you tend to get what you pay for. So, while you could spend as little as $40 for a new trimmer, it probably wont stand up to commercial use and youll just end up buying another one later. Top models cost around $400, but you can get a very good gas trimmer for around $175-$200.
As with string trimmers, leaf blowers can be bought very cheaply but those wont stand up to commercial use. A gas-powered backpack leaf blower from a reputable company will cost around $190 or so.
Truck and trailer
Safety gear and other equipment
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