Use Software To Quote Invoice And Manage Lawn Care Clients
Although you may not think your business is big enough to use software when you first start out, it will be down the road.
Choosing how to keep track of quotes, invoices, and manage clients in the beginning will help to keep you organized once your business takes off.
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The longer you wait, the more time youll have to invest in moving your growing client list data over to your software system.
Plus, it takes time to choose the right software for your business. The busier you become, the more challenging it will be.
Our 100% free Job Toolkit makes it easy to create, win, track, and get paid for jobsno handwritten napkins required.
Invest In Software To Track Your Time
When talking to lawn care experts, one of the first things they advise new lawn care professionals is to invest in software to track time on the job.
Heres why: Lawn care specialists spend a lot of time on the road, driving around to different customer properties. All that time on the road can really add up – and unless youre tracking the time it takes to get to and from your customers homes, you could end up losing out on money.
Time-tracking software can help you accurately scope out your projects for the day, so you can plan the most optimal route to each job site.
Additionally, time-tracking software can come in handy if you have any employees who might be at other properties.
Finally, time-tracking software can help you accurately invoice your customers for time spent on their properties, especially if you charge an hourly rate.
Small Business Tax Credits
Aside from grants, you also have other options available to you, such as tax credits. The IRS offers a variety of small business tax credits for small business owners and entrepreneurs, from biodiesel use, to implementing a pension plan.
To see if you may qualify for any, review a comprehensive list of IRS small business tax credits and get the forms you need to claim them.
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Fix Your Wages In Under 10 Minutes
You have to drive to get to jobs. Your equipment runs on fuel.
You need to have an average cost per mile for your vehicle and per hour for your equipment.
Track these costs long enough to get your averages, so you can include them in your costs.
3. Equipment Maintenance
Your vehicle serves around X number of lawns before you need an oil change.
Your blades need to be sharpened regularly, etc.
Divide those maintenance costs over the number of services provided to get a cost per customer breakdown.
4. Drive Time
We dont traditionally think of drive time as work time.
But you pay your employees for drive time. Every minute you spend driving to some out of the way property is a minute you couldve spent with a closer customer.
This is why tight, dense routes are so important. Track this time and incorporate it into your costs.
What Does A Landscaping Business Do
Landscape businesses design, build, and maintain outdoor spaces for homes and businesses. They can range in scope from basic gardening and mowing lawn services to full-service landscape installation of elaborate gardens complete with water features, patios, and lighting.
A landscaping company can be as small as a single person with a lawnmower and some shovels, or a large multi-team business capable of providing a range of landscapers services.
A lawn care professional isnt just a manual laborer. Theyre also experts on which plants are suited to their climate and how to make them flourish. Theres a creative aspect to the job, as well, working with clients to design their ideal outdoor environment.
Some of the things you might do as a landscaping business are:
- Garden and lawn maintenance
- Maintaining and trimming trees and hedges
- Grooming golf courses
- Designing gardens to customer specifications
- Laying out and constructing walkways
- Installing retaining walls
- Building decks and patios
Basically, anything involving the land around a home or business is the domain of a landscape professional. While larger landscaping companies will provide all of these services, others specialize in one area, like lawn maintenance or flower bed design.
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Choose How To Structure Your Business
Youll need to choose how you want your business structured. There are four main types:
- Sole proprietorship: a business run by a single individual
- Partnership: An agreement between two or more persons who run the business together
- Limited liability company: a hybrid of partnership and corporation
- Corporation: a group of people authorized to act as a single entity
If youre just starting out, youll probably want to be a sole proprietorship. Most small businesses are sole proprietorships because this is the easiest and cheapest way to start a business.
In a sole proprietorship, you and the business are one and the same. A sole proprietorship is unique among business entities because its the only one that doesnt have to register with a state.
Starting one is easy.
All you have to do is:
- Come up with a name for your lawn company and decide where you want to be located
- File for a business license with city hall;
- Set up a business checking account so theres a separation between your business and personal cash
If you plan to sell taxable things, youll need to register with your local taxing authority.
Sole proprietorship advantages include:
- Easy startupno complicated business structure
- Controlsince youre the only owner, youll have total power over every aspect of your company
- Use of lossesbecause youre including your business income and losses on your personal tax return, you can use them to offset personal income
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
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Decide On Your Services
Lawn care services can essentially be divided into two categories: landscaping and lawn maintenance.;
Many lawn care businesses offer services in both categories, but many only offer one other the other. Its worth reviewing these so you can decide which services youd like to offer in your new business.
- Design the layout for a home or business
- Update existing landscaping for a client
- Improve curb appeal for houses that are going on the market
- Landscape design services for business that dont have their own landscaper on staff
- Optional: Hardscape designs for rock sculptures, waterfalls, etc.;
- Landscape business accounting software
- Optional: landscape design software
If youre just starting out, it may be difficult to scrape together all the funds needed to get this new equipment. Again, know that you can start small by offering a select number of services and then expand once you have more revenue coming in.;
Why Start A Landscaping Business
Looking for a career that gives you the freedom to work outside, set your own hours and be your own boss? If so, starting a landscaping business may be the right move for you.
People are drawn to entrepreneurship for a variety of reasons, not the least of which being flexibility and financial independence. With a landscaping enterprise, you can pursue your passion while controlling your financial destiny.
Landscaping can be hard work, but it can also be incredibly rewarding. With landscaping, you can see a project come together right before your eyes, see your clients satisfaction with your work and earn a good living.;
That said, there are pros and cons to any business ventures, so be sure to weigh your options before you jump into a new venture headfirst.;
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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.;
Top 8 Pieces Of Equipment Youll Need To Start A Lawn Care Business
Youll need a reliable vehicle to transport your equipment from job to job. Experts recommend a flatbed truck with a locking toolbox and a dumping mechanism that will allow you to unload topsoil without shovels.
A trailer can be helpful when hauling heavy equipment that you dont want to hoist into a flatbed. A steel-mesh trailer can cost up to $1,200, but you can get by with a simple, single-axle trailer for about $800.
Youll need space to store your equipment when youre not using it, which you can rent for a monthly cost. Alternatively, to save on the monthly cost if you have the room, you can use your own garage or even build your own shed.
Commercial Lawn Mower
There are several types of mowers available from ride-on mowers to walk-behinds or a combination of both. You can even invest in a robotic lawn mower if you want to go high-tech! Youll likely want to start with at least one versatile mower and invest in more as you grow to handle a wider variety of lawns simultaneously.
Trimmers, Edgers, Blowers
These tools allow you to not only trim hard-to-reach places, but they can also help you clean up your work to ensure a neat and tidy appearance for homeowners.
Spreaders and Sprayers
Many clients will ask for fertilization or pesticide spraying to keep their lawn looking healthy, so its a good idea to have these tools on hand to handle these jobs.
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Are You Thinking About Starting Your Own Lawn Care Business
There are a lot of good reasons;to start your own lawn care business. You can be your own boss, get healthy and ditch that commute. I can help you avoid the pitfalls and build a successful business that will give you a great income for years to come.
A lawn mowing business is exactly;that. A business. You cannot stumble into a successful;lawn care business. It takes planning and trial and error. A lawn care business set up correctly can shave years off your starting time and get you to the making money phase a lot sooner. I have done all the trial and error in the last thirty years so I am going to help you avoid making the same mistakes I have made so you can get your business profitable a lot sooner. Sound good? Then read on.
There are simple things like planning your route in the opposite direction to that traffic that will save you hours of time spent sitting in your truck.
Believe it or not, when you start a business you can have so many things going on in your head it can sometimes take you years to figure out all the little things that will save you time and equate to extra income.
Work On Building Your Customer Base
Once you start your lawn care business, its important to find new avenues for building up your clientele base. Whether you create a referral program for existing customers or you invest in paid social ads to reach more people in your community, finding new ways to get more customers should always be an important part of your marketing activities.
Want to get a head start? Check out our guide on word of mouth marketing here.
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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.
Apply For A Business License
Landscaper licensing requirements vary by state, so be sure to check with your local business licensing office for details on how you can get your business license.;
The cost for a landscaping business license can be anywhere from $15 to $200 per year. You’ll also need an employer identification number to be able to set up your business bank account and get business tax deductions.
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Maintain Amazing Customer Service
The only way a customer will refer your lawn care business or write a review is if you provide amazing customer service. It isnt just that you did a good job, its that YOU and your team went above and beyond. You were kind, patient, and attentive. You didnt leave a giant mess behind, you were on time and responsive. Its all about presentation.
Discuss With An Agent To Know The Best Insurance Policies For You
The fact that you can operate your lawn care and landscaping company as a sole proprietorship business does not meant that you will not have need for basic insurance policy that is expected for a business owner or company.
You can talk to your insurance broker and he or she will be able to guide you on the best and most suitable insurance cover that you should buy for your lawn care and landscaping business especially as it relates to the additional services that you offer.
Well, these are some of the basic insurance cover that you should consider purchasing if you want to start your own lawn care and landscaping business in the United States of America;
- General insurance
- Business owners policy group insurance
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Your Lawn Care Business Essentials
There are some things that you need to get out of the way when you go to start your lawn care business. These things are not exciting, they dont make money, they actually cost you money most of the time, yet are the most important ones;for your lawn care companys success in the long run.;
So much so that you need them in place to have a legit business.
A) Choosing a name for your lawn care business;
A good business name is short, distinct, and memorable. It should:;
- Give an idea about the services you provide.;
- Create a good impression on potential customers.;
- Help you stand out in the competition.
Along with all these, you should also consider adding SEO signals to your business name to get a push in organic rankings.
Here are the things you should consider while choosing a name for your lawn care business:
- Include the lawn care term in your business name.
- Your business name should be between 12-25 characters in length.;
- If possible, your business name and website URL should be the same.
- Its not a MUST, but we recommend you to pick a business name that has .com domain available. You can use;Name.com;for this.
- Availability of social media handles for your lawn care business.
- It should be easy to spell, remember, and pronounce.
An example of a good name for a lawn care company is Custom Lawn Care. Heres what we like about this name:
If you are starting as a solopreneur, we advise keeping setup and compliance simple.;
C) Licensing and certification
How You Can Use It
The step-by-step plan we share in this post focuses on the fundamentals to help you get all your bases covered for your lawn care business. Think of it as a launchpad for a; zero to six figures lawn care company.
If youre hungry for more, we added links to different resources throughout the post to satisfy your learning appetite. Each section can be read independently, so you can jump to any topic that is relevant to you. However, we recommend you to go section-by-section to get the most out of it.
So if youre ready to turn your dream of owning a lawn care business into a reality, read on In this post, we are going to lay the foundation to make it super easy for you .
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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.